Friday, August 14, 2009

Watch Buck Rogers battle Tiger Men of Mars in rare 1934 promotional film

Thanks to the UCLA Film Archives, a blog called Matinee At The Bijou, and YouTube, you can watch Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: An Interplanetary Battle with the Tiger Men of Mars, a rare, 8-minute promotional film that premiered at the Chicago World's Fair in 1934 but never made it into movie theaters.

Adapted from the Buck Rogers comic strip and starring John F. Dille, Jr., the son of the businessman who owned the strip, here is a description of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: An Interplanetary Battle with the Tiger Men of Mars, taken from the Internet Movie Database:

A signal from Buddy Deering on Mars warns Earth that the Tiger Men of Mars and their cruel king have broken their treaty and are attacking. Buck Rogers and Wilma Deering go to rendezvous with the Earth battlefleet before setting off to fight the tigerships. Baldpated genius inventor Dr. Huer uses the ‘cosmic radiotelevision’ to watch the space battle. Which side will be victorious? The tigerships and their paralysis ray? Or our Earth forces, armed with the flash ray and Dr. Huer's new magnetic ray?

According to Matinee At The Bijou, a 35 mm print of the film was discovered by the filmmaker’s granddaughter, donated to UCLA, restruck, and posted on the Internet. Apparently, the film was also shown at the July 2006 Pulpcon in Dayton, Ohio, and at the May 2007 Windy City Pulp Convention in Chicago. For more information about the making of the film, read “Oh, Buck! Wasn't that a battle!” on Matinee At The Bijou.


Roxy Ron said...

The film was first shown in 1984 at a Cinecon convention in San Francisco, in a 35mm print supplied by UCLA. None of us had ever heard of it or seen anything like it. Flabbergasted would be a fitting word. I contacted the granddaughter, who sent me a VHS copy that she got for donating it to UCLA, and I wrote a story about the film for "Film Collector's World." I can't find that story and do not recall the kind lady's name. Years later I put it on Youtube for Matinee at the Bijou and supplied the DVDs that were shown at the recent pulp cons.

Research has turned up a fuzzy photo from the 1934 World's Fair with "Buck Rogers" on a pavilion in the distance, so I know the exact location of where the film was first enjoyed.

-- Ron Hall

Paul said...

Ron, thanks so much!