“This is Earth – the year 2100. New York is the headquarters of Space Patrol; and men from Earth, Mars and Venus live and work there as guardians of peace. This is the story of those men, whose courage and daring made the universe safe for us all.”
This children’s puppet series follows the adventures
of the crew of Galasphere 347: Captain Larry Dart (a fuzzy-bearded human),
Husky (his ever-ravenous Martian sidekick) and Slim (a fair-haired, elfin
By the 22nd century, Earth, Mars and Venus have banded together to form the United Galactic Organization (UGO). Space Patrol, the UGO’s military wing, has the tough job of peacekeeping within the Solar System.
Head of Space Patrol is the cranky Colonel Raeburn, but, as they say, behind every great man is a great woman. She takes the form of his super-efficient Venusian secretary, Marla, equipped with resourcefulness akin to that of “Star Trek”’s Mr. Spock, and the looks of Lady Penelope. From time to time, Raeburn must also call on the brilliant but eccentric Irishman, Professor Aloysius O’Brien O’Rourke Haggerty, for scientific solutions to the endless dilemmas faced by the gallant crew of Galasphere 347. The professor is occasionally assisted by his daughter, Cassiopea.
Perhaps the most remarkable character is the English-speaking Martian gabblerdictum parrot, Gabbler. His constant chattering and clumsiness has gotten him into trouble on more than one occasion, but the babbling bird has often proven to be an invaluable asset to the crew.
Throughout the 39-episode series, the trio encounters a menagerie of strange and wonderful things, including: new planets within the solar system, alien life-forms from other systems, ultra-evolved fish with human intelligence, and even water that could bring inanimate objects to life!
The series was created in 1962 by Gerry Anderson’s
former storywriter, Roberta Leigh. Together with Anderson’s former business
partner, Arthur Provis, she set up Wonderama Productions.
Following the success of their first series, “Sara and Hoppity”, Leigh pitched the concept of Space Patrol to the British network Independent Television. ITV bought the idea and commissioned a total of thirty-nine episodes in two seasons. These were filmed in 1962 and shown first on ITV’s northern regional station, ABC, on April 7th, 1963. The series was sold overseas to Canada, Australia and the US. To avoid confusion with the 1950’s American series of the same name, it was renamed Planet Patrol in the States, where most fans know it under that name.
After its initial runs throughout the 1960s, all known copies of Space Patrol episodes were destroyed by the series’ distributors, National Interest Pictures, who deemed it to be of no further commercial value. For years, it was believed that all that remained of the show were cut-down 8mm home-movie versions of a handful of episodes. However, in 1997, complete film prints of all episodes were miraculously discovered in the home garage of Roberta Leigh.
The complete series has now been released on nine PAL VHS videocassettes by Network Video in the UK and on PAL region 0 DVD. Click here for more information on these releases.
“Space Patrol and Planet Patrol” is Yahoo! Group for Space Patrol fans. Click here to visit the Group.