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Buck Rogers
1932: Space adventurer Buck Rogers debuts on CBS radio. The science fiction show, eventually called Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, will delight loyal fans over a span of 15 years and inspire aficionados for decades more.

Writer Phil Nowlan unveiled space swashbuckler Buck Rogers in a story called "Armageddon ? 2419," which was published in Amazing Stories magazine in August 1928. Nowlan collaborated with John F. Dille and Dick Calkins on a newspaper comic strip that started Jan. 7, 1929.

The radio show, originally named The World in 2432, featured Buck, co-pilot Wilma Deering ? a woman aviator or rocketeer was an advanced concept for the 1930s ? and genius scientist Dr. Huer, fighting evildoers 500 years in the future. The trio relied on futuristic weapons like death rays, incendiary missiles, gamma bombs and a mechanical mole, among others.

Sound effects made these all come across with dramatic impact. Buck's psychic destruction ray was really a Schick electric razor held at just the right distance from the microphone. The sound effects crew could also simulate anything from a regiment of marching robots to a scary rocket-ship crash.

The show debuted the night before Franklin D. Roosevelt trounced incumbent President Herbert Hoover in the presidential election. It was an instant hit, in no small measure due to the premiums listeners could get by sending in cereal boxtops or other proofs of purchase. Gifts included a map of the planets, a cardboard space helmet and Big Little Books (3-5/8 inches by 4-1/2 inches) of Buck Rogers comics.

The 15-minute serial ran Monday through Thursday evenings, from Nov. 7, 1932, to May 22, 1936, on CBS. It was revived as a thrice-weekly, 15-minute series on the Mutual Broadcasting System from April 5 to July 31, 1939, and then as a half-hour Saturday show on Mutual from May 18 to July 27, 1940. The show had its final radio incarnation Sept. 30, 1946, to March 28, 1947, as 15-minute episodes weekdays on Mutual.

Sponsors over the years included Kellogg's, Cocomalt, Cream of Wheat and Popsicles, Fudgsicles and Creamsicles. Calkins was a writer on the show, along with Joe Cross, Albert G. Miller and producer-director Jack Johnstone. Over the years, four different actors played Buck and two did Wilma.

Voice actors Matt Crowley, Curtis Arnall, Carl Frank and John Larkin brought Buck to life during the show's 15-year run. Adele Ronson played Buck's co-pilot, Wilma Dearing, and Edgar Stehli portrayed scientist-inventor Dr. Huer.

source:Wired.com


Sample shows - left click headphones to listen, right-click & save-as to download

Show Title Broadcast Date File Size Length
Details
Left-click to listen, Right-click to download Origin Story 4/4/39 4.4 00:15:21 In Buck Rogers' first radio episode, Buck reveals how he got from 1919 to the 25th Century. Loaded with all kinds of scientific stuff, and brought to you by the makers of Creamsicles and Fusgesicles.

Left-click to listen, Right-click to download Gyro Cosmic Relativator - Part 2 4/7/39 3.97 00:13:53 Black Barney and Willie arrive from Mars with the Gyro Cosmic Relativator.

Left-click to listen, Right-click to download Gyro Cosmic Relativator- Part 3 4/9/39 3.98 00:13:53 The test ship makes an unsceduled liftoff.

Left-click to listen, Right-click to download Gyro Cosmic Relativator - part 4 4/12/39 4.03 00:14:04 Bad news. The psychic restriction ray is missing.

Left-click to listen, Right-click to download Gyro Cosmic Relativator - part 5 4/14/39 4.03 00:14:04 Buck and Wilma take off after the missing ship.

Left-click to listen, Right-click to download Gyro Cosmic Relativator - part 6 4/16/39 4.06 00:14:13 Killer Kane & Ardela set up shop in an abandoned subway station in the ancient city of Philadelphia

Left-click to listen, Right-click to download Gyro Cosmic Relativator - part 7 4/19/39 4.11 00:14:21 Killer Kane puts Black Barney under the psychic restriction ray.

Left-click to listen, Right-click to download Gyro Cosmic Relativator - part 8 4/21/39 4.05 00:14:10 Buck & Wilma are summoned back to Niagra, and a ship crash lands near the lab.

Left-click to listen, Right-click to download Gyro Cosmic Relativator - part 9 4/23/39 4.08 00:14:13 Willie is almost killed in a crash.

Left-click to listen, Right-click to download Gyro-Cosmic Relativator - part 10 4/26/39 3.27 00:14:16 Killer Kane sends Black Barney out to collect weapons, and Dr Huer sends out a decoy message.

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