Showing posts with label jetpack. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jetpack. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Now! You Can Be King of the Rocketmen for a Mere $220!


Many serial enthusiasts, the Mayhem included (and I trust you’ll note how the “the” in front of Mayhem makes me seem all dark and mysterious) think the last great motion picture serial was Republic’s 1949 chapterplay, King of the Rocketmen. It featured the premiere of Republic’s bullet helmeted rocket suit which was later featured in the more often seen and very silly Radar Men from the Moon, Zombies From the Stratosphere and the 12 episode Commando Cody TV series.


Unlike its campy offspring, King of the Rocketmen is a deadly serious adventure about a flying superhero’s efforts to stop the ever escalating evil of the murderous Doctor Vulcan. The serial’s exciting climax features Vulcan using his decimator ray to create an earthquake which causes New York to be destroyed by a tidal wave. In one of the greatest serial finales ever, Rocketman and Vulcan duke it out in the villain’s secret headquarters as the military drops tons of bombs down upon it.


Despite the serial’s grim tone, some of the dialogue seems dumb, particularly a line from the Rocket Suit’s creator, Doctor Millard, telling Jeff King, the future Rocketman, to “fly slowly and close to the ground” for the first few test flights.


Well, it turns out that Millard’s caution was on the money.

This month’s Popular Science has a squib about the real world’s first general public-accessible one man flying rig, the Martin Jetpack. It explains how for $220 you’ll be able to take a 10 minute test flight using the Martin Jetpack, but: “computers will cap public rides at around five feet and 10 mph”. In other words, you can fly slowly and close to the ground, just as advised by Doctor Millard – 60 years ago!


Here’s a nice history of the Rocketman films:
http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/r/rocketmn.htm

You can see the original rocket suit in Bob Burn’s amazing basement, here:
http://bobburns.mycottage.com/album/basement3.htm

Our friend Bill Black offers the King of the Rocketmen serial for sale, here:
http://www.accomics.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=ACS&Product_Code=KOTRD

And here are some related film clips:











As always, the images and movies are copyright by their respective rights holders and the Masked Mayhem and related text and images are copyright Will Meugniot 2009.

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