April 11: This Day in Sci-Fi History

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Apr 11, 2017

On this day in 1939, the serial film series Buck Rogers premiered. Audiences would return each week to see short installments for 12 consecutive weeks. Let’s take a moment to consider that in 1939, Netflix binging was a 12 week process. The movie starred Buster Crabbe as Buck Rogers and the story was about Buck and his pal Buddy, who wake up after a 500 year sleep to find that a bad dude named Killer Kane is ruling the world and must be stopped. As you would imagine, Buck Rogers stops Kane with the help of a gorgeous blonde. In 1953, all of the serialized pieces were re-edited and released as a movie called “Planet Outlaw.” It’s not a great movie, but it’s worth a watch if you’re into oldey-timey language and also what 1939 Hollywood thought the future would look like.

Of course, we have to thank the 1939 Buck Rogers serial for starting the domino effect that resulted in the 1979-1981 godsend, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. And by that we mean giving Erin Gray a pre-Silver Spoons break and also Twiki:

Also, if you’re keeping track of those oddball non-holidays, today is officially Eight Track Tape Day. If you don’t know, these were the first advancement in being able to carry music albums around since vinyl records. The music was recorded onto tapes wound into a plastic case that were plugged into a player.  Honestly, you should look these up if you’re interested in media. They were pretty serious.