The Rocket Men - Jeff King, Commando Cody and Larry Martin

Rocketman

Jeff King, King of the Rocket MenReal Name: Jeff King

Identity/Class: Human, technology user

Occupation: Detective

Affiliations: Professor Millard

Enemies: Dr.Vulcan

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: U.S.A.

First Appearance: King of the Rocketmen (Republic Pictures, 1949) starring Tristram Coffin as Jeff King;

Jeff King flying. Surprisingly the other two looked a lot like this too.Powers/Abilities: A good fighter and excellent shot. Has a ray gun more dangerous than a normal pistol.

His main power comes from the atomic powered rocket pack he wears. Designed by Professor Millard, it allows him to fly at great speed (estimated to be around 50mph). It is controlled by dials on his vest, deceptively simple controls including one which switches between "Up" and "Down", and one which controls his speed, labelled "Fast".

History: When Science Associates, a group of top scientists, is plagued by a series of murders, Jeff King is brought in to investigate. He learns that Dr.Vulcan, a criminal genius, is behind the deaths, plotting to steal the group's discoveries and take over the world using a "Sonic Decimator". Figuring that Vulcan is secretly one of the surviving scientists, King enlists the assistance of Professor Millard, believed by the rest of Science Associates to be among those who have died. Seeking to even the odds between King and the forces of Dr.Vulcan, the Professor equips his ally with a ray gun and a prototype rocket pack. With his foe hidden behind anonymity, King responds in kind, creating the identity of the Rocketman.

Comments: Played by Tristram Coffin.

In 1991 Innovation released a comic adaptation of the serial, Rocketman: King of the Rocketmen, written and drawn by Chris Moeller. 

 

 


Rocketman

Real Name: ? Cody

Identity/Class: Human, technology user

Occupation: Scientist

Affiliations: Unnamed assistants

Enemies: Retik, the Radarmen, the Ruler

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Commando Cody

Base of Operations: Earth and the Moon

First Appearance: Radar Men from the Moon (Republic Pictures, 1952) starring George Wallace as Commando Cody and "Commando Cody, Sky Marshall of the Universe" (Republic Pictures, 1953) starred Judd Holdren.as Cody;

Powers/Abilities: A good fighter and excellent shot. Has a ray gun more dangerous than a normal pistol.

His main power comes from the atomic powered rocket pack he wears. It allows him to fly at great speed (estimated to be around 50mph). It is controlled by dials on his vest, deceptively simple controls including one which switches between "Up" and "Down", and one which controls his speed, labelled "Fast".

Commando Cody - honest, it's not Jeff King! History: (Radar Men from the Moon) Cody was a scientist working for a top government agency. Along with his colleagues, he learned of unusual atomic activity on the moon, and apparently related incidents of sabotage taking place on Earth. Having somehow come into possession of the Rocketman suit, Cody and his fellows invent an atomic rocket to allow him to travel to the lunar satellite and investigate things more closely. On Luna he discovers a race of beings, the Radarmen, led by the megalomaniac Retik. In his guise as the Rocketman, Cody manages to thwart their plans to invade the Earth.

(Commando Cody, Sky Marshall of the Universe) When an alien calling himself The Ruler invades and conquers much of the solar system, Cody and his fellow scientists again form the backbone of Earth's resistance.

Comments: Played by George Wallace in the original serial, and Judd Holdren in the subsequent 12 part series.


Rocketman

And this is clearly Larry Martin...no resemblance to the others at allReal Name: Larry Martin

Identity/Class: Human technology user

Occupation: Scientist

Affiliations: Unknown

Enemies: Marex

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Earth and Mars

First Appearance: Zombies of the Stratosphere (Republic Pictures, 1952) starring Judd Holdren as Larry Martin

Powers/Abilities: A good fighter and excellent shot. Has a ray gun more dangerous than a normal pistol.

His main power comes from the atomic powered rocket pack he wears. It allows him to fly at great speed (estimated to be around 50mph). It is controlled by dials on his vest, deceptively simple controls including one which switches between "Up" and "Down", and one which controls his speed, labelled "Fast".

History: When the forces of the Martian villain Marex threaten the Earth, Larry Martin dons the Rocketman outfit to combat him.

Comments: Originally the character in this serial was intended to be Commando Cody, but this was changed at the last minute. As a result, little or no explanation is given for how Larry Martin laid his hands on the rocket pack.


General Comments Pertaining to All Three Rocketmen: All the Rocketmen gleefully ignored such minor things as the laws of inertia, able to fly at a moving vehicle at top speed and then effortlessly land on them, instantly slowing down without any problems.

Made in the last days of the cinema serials, where each weekly episode would end on a cliffhanger, King of the Rocketmen saw the introduction of one of the most distinctive superheroes who originated in this medium. Made as a response to Columbia Pictures' hit Superman serial, Rocketman proved to be Republic's most popular original character, guaranteeing his return.

Jeff King (aka Tristram Coffin) unmasked.Seeking to get maximum usage out of the money spent making the Rocketman outfit, Republic reused it it in three subsequent serials - Radar Men from the Moon (1952), Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952) and Commando Cody, Sky Marshal of the Universe (1955). Tristram Coffin played Jeff King, while George Wallace played Commando Cody in "Radar Men from the Moon" and Judd Holdren played both Larry Martin in "Zombies of the Stratosphere" and Commando Cody in "Commando Cody, Sky Marshall of the Universe".

Rocketman's flying abilities were created by running a life-sized dummy along hanging from invisible wires. Special effects men Howard and Theodore Lydecker would place one end of the wires atop a hill, and the other in a valley, then let the dummy slide smoothly down to create the illusion of flight - once the film was sped up and sound added, it proved quite effective. Putting the dummy on facing backwards, so that it slid down feet first, and then printing the film backwards, gave them their take-off sequences.Commando Cody, Sky Marshall - without the helmet

The legacy of the Rocketmen would later inspire the Rocketeer.

CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with

Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

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