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Captain Video and His Video Rangers, the first American science fiction television series, premiered on the Dumont Television Network on this date in 1949. The show was broadcast live, six days a week and then five, at 7:30 PM EST, and it ran for seven seasons. It was conceived by Larry (Abraham) Menkin, who would become well known for his work on Wagon Train (1957) and other early television series. Among the scriptwriters for Captain Video were Isaac Asimov, Milt Lesser, and Cyril M. Kornbluth. While Captain Video was awkwardly low-tech and crude, even for its day, it achieved great popularity and was also translated into comic books and movies. To watch the show, look below.
”‘Guardian of the Safety of the World,’ private citizen-scientist Captain Video, assisted by his teenage helper The Ranger and an army of Video Rangers, preserves the peace in the far-off future, fighting the evil Dr. Pauli of the Asteroidal Society and a bunch of other baddies (Nargola, Mook, Kul, Clysmok). The show appeared nightly Mon-Fri, featured many outlandish weapons and techno-gimmicks, and was run on a minuscule prop budget.” —Ed Stephan
Update: Bazza Gee’s comment below reminded us of how great the “Captain Video” section of the “Captain Norton” episode of The Honeymooners was. You can watch that segment here and watch the entire episode at this link.