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Flash Gordon was one of the first comic book heroes to get the big screen treatment, and made Buster Crabbe, who played him, a legend with sci-fi fans.
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DVD - March 25, 2002
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Space Soldiers - Flash is enlisted to save Earth from a runaway planet. "Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars" - A light beam from Mars is sucking away Earth's atmosphere! "Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe" - A rocket is dropping deadly purple dust onto the Earth! 3-disc box set.
Robert F. Hill, Ford Beebe, Ray Taylor, Frederick Stephani
Buster Crabbe, Charles Middleton, Jean Rogers, Frank Shannon, Richard Alexander, Carol Hughes
This article is about a character originated in a comic strip. For the major league baseball player, see Tom "Flash" Gordon.
The comic strip followed the adventures of Flash Gordon, for whom the series was named, and his companions Dr. Hans Zarkov and Dale Arden. The story begins with Dr. Zarkov's invention of a rocket ship, in which the three of them make a journey to the planet Mongo, where they are stranded. Mongo is inhabited by a number of different cultures, some quite technologically advanced, that have been falling one by one under the domination of the vicious tyrant Ming the Merciless.
The three Earthpeople are befriended shortly after their arrival by Prince Barin, rightful heir to the throne that Ming has taken. Ming banishes Prince Barin and his followers including Ming's own daughter, Aura, Barin's bride to the forest realm of Arboria, and the three join in Barin's quest to topple Ming.
Sunday, Alex Raymond, 1934 - 1943
daily, Austin Briggs, 1940 - 1944
Sunday, Austin Briggs, 1944 - 1948
Sunday, Mac Raboy, 1948 - 1967
daily, Dan Barry, 1951 - 1990
daily, Harry Harrison, writer, 1958 -
Sunday, Dan Barry, 1967 - 1990
Sunday and daily, Tom Warkentin, 1991 -
Sunday, Richard Bruning, Kevin van Hook,
Tom Warkentin, 1992 - 1996
Sunday, Jim Keefe, 01/1996 - 03/2003
A 1957 film adaptation starred Steve Holland, who also starred in a 1954-1955 TV series which ran for 39 episodes and is, to date, the only live-action series based upon the character. The series had the distinction of being filmed in West Berlin, less than a decade after the end of World War II.
The six-part Star Wars saga is loosely based upon the Flash Gordon series.
In 1979, Filmation produced an animated series based on the comic strip and the first season is remembered as one of the better efforts of the studio. The 1979 animated series was released first, but the made-for-tv movie, Flash Gordon, the Greatest Adventure of Them All was made first, and the tv series endlessly reused footage from the movie, while eliminating more adult material, including a subplot involving Hitler. In the 1986 cartoon Defenders of the Earth, Flash teamed up with fellow King Features heroes The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician.
The 1980 film adaptation stars Sam J. Jones in the title role and also features Melody Anderson as Dale Arden, Topol as Dr. Zarkov, Max von Sydow as Ming, Timothy Dalton as Prince Barin, and Ornella Muti as Aura. Although not a critical success, the film is also noted for its musical score, which was composed and performed by Queen. It also contained a quote which probably sums up the whole Flash Gordon plotline: "Flash, I love you, but we've only got fourteen hours to save the Earth."
Within the UK at least, the film is noted for being very camp, and as such has acquired a cult status amongst students, sci-fi fans etc. Many of the films lines are very quotable, and often tongue-in-cheek, and this knowing sense of humour contributes heavily to the collective affection with which the picture is remembered. A good example of this is the performance of the actor Brian Blessed, who 25 years later is still most often remembered by the British public as the Hawkman character 'Prince Vultan', despite being in many more serious, dramatic roles in film, theatre and television.
In 1988, DC Comics produced a modernized version of the comic strip. It featured a Flash as washed up basketball player who finds new purpose in life on Mongo, which is no threat to Earth, a Dale who is an adventurous reporter who is just as capable as Flash, and a gray-skinned Ming who is less of an Asian stereotype.
In 1996, Hearst Entertainment premiered a Flash Gordon animated television series.
In his youth, George Lucas was a fan of the Flash Gordon serials, and once wanted to adapt it to the screen as part of his modern-day myth. Dino De Laurentiis, who owned the rights, was not interested in Lucas' interpretation, so Lucas wrote Star Wars instead, which borrowed liberally from the serials. The opening expository roll-up that appeared in episodes of Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe became the now-famous opening crawl of each Star Wars episode. Flash Gordon and Dale Arden inspired not only Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, but also their parents, Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala.
The Alex Raymond Sunday strips have been reprinted by several publishers, notably Nostalgia Press, Kitchen Sink Press, and Checkers Books. The Kitchen Sink versions are the best in color, the Nostalgia Press the best if you prefer black and white. The Mac Raboy Sundays have been reprinted by Dark Horse. The Dan Barry dailies have never been entirely reprinted, but the early years were published by Kitchen Sink and the stories written by Harry Harrison are reprinted in Comics Revue from Manuscript Press. Tempo Books published 6 massmarket paperbacks reprinting strips from the 1970s in the 1980s. Some of the Austin Briggs dailies were reprinted by Kitchen Sink Press.
Flash Gordon on the Planet Mongo (1934-35),
Flash Gordon in the Winter World (1935-37),
Flash Gordon Escapes to Arboria (1937-39),
Flash Gordon vs Frozen Terrors (1939-41 ?),
Flash Gordon Joins the Power Men (1941-43 ?),
Mongo, Planet of Doom (1934-35), Kitchen
Three Against Ming (1935-37), Kitchen
The Tides of Battle (1937-39), Kitchen
The Fall of Ming (1939-41), Kitchen Sink
Between Worlds at War (1941-43), Kitchen
Triumph in Tropia (1943-44), Kitchen Sink
Flash Gordon: Volume 1 (1934-35), Checker
Flash Gordon: Volume 2 (1935-36), Checker
Flash Gordon: Volume 3 (1936-37), Checker
Flash Gordon: Volume 4 (1938-40), Checker
Flash Gordon: Volume 5 (1940-41), Checker
Flash Gordon: The Dailes by Austin
Briggs, 1940-42, Kitchen Sink Press
Flash Gordon: The Dailes by Austin
Briggs, 1942-44, Kitchen Sink Press
Mac Rayboy's Flash Gordon, Volume 1, Dark
Mac Rayboy's Flash Gordon, Volume 2, Dark
Mac Rayboy's Flash Gordon, Volume 3, Dark
Mac Rayboy's Flash Gordon, Volume 4, Dark
Amazing Adventures of Flash Gordon, 6 volumes (mix of dailies & Sundays from 1970s), Tempo Books
Guide for the 1954 Flash Gordon TV Show.
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