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Blast-Off

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SummaryEdit

Rocky and Bobby are on their own - literally - when they are forced to land on a primitive planet that thinks they are their great gods returning to lead them!

Jealousy and misunderstanding abound while Rocky and Bobby attempt to repair their ship again and again to leave the strange out of the way planet for the safety of more familiar skys!

Blast-Off
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Overview
Season Season One
Production
Original Air-Date August 14, 1954 (Chapter I)
August 10, 1954 (Chapter II)
August 17, 1954 (Chapter III)
Written By Arthur Hoerl
Marianne Mosner
Directed By Hollingsworth Morse
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 10th Episode Produced
Order in Season 10th Episode Aired
Previous Episode "Crash of Moons"
Next Episode "The Cold Sun"

Chapter IEdit

The Orbit Jet with Rocky and Bobby sails into unknown space on automatic pilot. Bobby watches the controls and sees an approaching meteor pack! The oxygen is hit, and they need to land to affect repairs. Luckily, they are near an unexplored planetoid. With a quick check of the spectrascope they learn the planetoid has a near Earth atmosphere! They find a flat valley and land.

Torro, the cheif of the Valley People, and his daughter Muanna, believe the landing ship is the return of the "All High" - a god like being who came to their planet long ago and has been away for over one hundred generations! Poulie goes to light the signal fire for the All High, but Zakar of the Hill People does not believe in the All High, and believes the ship to bring them all evil!

On their way to the Valley People's village, Rocky and Bobby are jumped by the Hill People! They defend themselves, (Bobby even getting in on some of the fighting) and the Hill People run off! Rocky shoots a rock to scare them away. Bobby and Rocky continue towards the village, but fall into an animal pit and are trapped!

Durat, a Hill Person, is brave enough to go aboard the Orbit Jet. (Rocky must have forgotten to lock it...) Durat is shocked by the magic of the technology as he flips switches and the noises scare him. But he steals the ticking clock on the wall before he leaves. (Which is the first time the clock has ever been on the wall!  ...Orbit Jet can't have nice things...) In the process, Durat loses his good luck charm on the cockpit floor.

Zakar feels the clock Durat has brought him is an evil charm, and that it has affected him. He protests to Torro, who offers his faith as an answer, but Zokar is too superstitious to change.

Rocky has Bobby play his new Space Lark instrument to get the attention of someone. (And it looks as if he might actually be playing it too!) Poulie shows up and hears the music and throws down vines to rescue them. He takes them to the village, and Rocky attempts to explain, but the faithful are all too convinced Rocky is the All High to listen. The local people do not even understand that there are other planets, so Rocky is frustrated.

As Muanna tries to explain their beleifs, Rocky is shown a strange plaque with his own likeness and the promise of his return on one hundred life times! Poulie is assigned to bodyguard Rocky and Bobby. Poulie is enchanted with the music Bobby plays, and the two bond quickly.

A home, and a shrine were prepared for the All High, because when he returned, the people believed the All High would stay forever. Rocky wants to see it, and search it for some clues. Muanna is happy to assist the All High. But Zakar, who was promised Muanna in marriage to keep the peace, believes the All High has cast an evil spell over Muanna and taken her away from him. He plots to destroy the All High, and the ship he came in!

At the sacred site, Bobby learns that not all pretty things are safe, and Muanna explains the deadly poisonous flowers on the planet. Rocky and Bobby enter the restricted sacred site, and discover a flying saucer! It must have come from outside the solar system, and has been there for a very long time! The appearance of the saucer shows that interstellar travel is possible, as those from outside it reached the planetoid. Rocky reasons that the distant planetoid could be a potential port for United Worlds to launch their own interstellar flights from one day.

Back at the Orbit Jet, Rocky and Bobby learn that they do not have the parts to fix their XV2 ship. The only thing they can do is use the remaining power they have to broadcast a Celestial Code SOS through their radar. (Using the Cold Light device, of course - is there nothing that device can't do...?!!) They turn the signal on, and cross their fingers.

If no one hears the signal, they will have no choice but to become natives...

Chapter IIEdit

Bobby watches the SOS while Poulie attempts to play the Space lark.

The oxygen compressor shaft is burned through by a meteorite from the storm in episode one. There is nothing else they can do.

Bobby finds the dropped Charm of Maha on the cockpit floor. Poulie says that it will bring good luck, so Bobby keeps it as a souvaneir.

At the Office of Space Affairs Headquarters, Ranger Marshall reports that station XO-11 reported Rocky had contacted them most recently, so they will use XO-11 as their communications point. Winky is out seaching, but unable to be located or contacted. Ranger Marshall wants to send Ranger Sandy, Vena, and Professor Newton out to look a well. They will be going into the unexplored region - good luck! Sandy, Vena, and Newton take off in their rocket.

Rocky, Bobby, and Poulie have created a makeshift forge. They plan to melt down and recast the oxygen compressor shaft. Of course Zakar believes it to be witchcraft. He confesses he still does not trust the All High.

Sandy, Vena, and the Professor near Rocky's last known position. They pick up the Celestial radar code! They recognize the SOS and Sandy hones in on the signal beam and they soon locate the planetoid on the fringe of the solar system!

Zakar, Durat, and the Hill People prepare to send rocks down the hills onto the Orbit Jet and destroy it. Zakar wants to destroy Rocky too. Durat fears there will be no peace between the Hill People and the Valley People if they defeat the All High. But Zakar says the All High prevents such peace - so the rocks will soon fall!

Meanwhile, Torro confronts Rocky with the rumors that Rocky plans to leave. Rocky tries to express that he is not the All High, and only mortal. Torro explains that if Zakar has his way, Rocky will be killed. And if the people feel Rocky has betrayed their fatih, they will kill him as well. So, Rocky reasons, that if he wants to live, he must leave...

Poulie arrives to say Zakar is destroying the ship. Rocky goes to see! Moanna soon follows to protect the All High! On the way, Rocky spots the United Worlds ship landing! He knows he will be rescued! Zakar orders the Orbit Jet destroyed before the second devil ship can join to help! And Moanna scratches herself on a poisoned flower! She calls to Rocky who helps her back to the village.

Ranger Sandy begins to land the ship, and as he does, an avalanch of rocks begins and knocks the Orbit Jet over onto its side with a loud hollow thud! Zakar and the Hill People hide to ambush the United Worlds crew. They capture Sandy, Vena, and Professor Newton and take them to the deep caverns to be held prisoners!

Poulie helps Rocky bring Moanna into the safety of the hut. Rocky must stand by and watch the local shaman Casaban try his best to save the dying Moanna. Zakar arrives and sees Moanna on her death bed. But he does not blame the flower of death - he blames the prisoners he has locked up in the deep caverns!

Sandy, Vena, and the Professor try to use their communicator pen to contact Rocky - zip...

Rocky convinces Torro to bring Sandy, Vena, and the Professor from the caverns. When he learns from them that their ship is operational, Rocky negotiates the chance to leave for the "spell" that will save Moanna. Zakar fears the strangers will all run away. Torro asks for a sign of pledge. Rocky offers to leave Vena, Sandy, Professor Newton, and Bobby behind. Zakar says that Vena, Sandy, and the Professor are already prisoners and can not be used to bargan with! Rocky can only use Bobby! But Torro says if Moanna dies before Rocky returns, the people will rise up and kill Bobby! Rocky wants to forget the whole thing, but Bobby convinces him that he trusts him, and Rocky goes for help!

Vena, Professor Newton, and Sandy are taken back to the caverns. Bobby convinces Poulie to help him rescue them. Bobby distracts the guards with his new found good luck charm, and Poulie takes them out! The prisoners are released, and they go to the restricted sacred site of the All High to hide. They find it richly decorated, and Bobby explains everything.

Everyone gets comfortable and waits...

...while Rocky Jones races against time to get to Earth!

Chapter IIIEdit

Rocky flys to Earth and meets Ranger Marshall. He picks up the supplies he requested, and takes off without contacting Secretary Drake!

Zakar confronts Poulie for releasing the prisoners, but even the dying Moanna wants everyone to wait on the return of the All High. Zakar draws his knife, but Poulie easilly subdues him. Zakar now confronts Torro, who questions if Zakar's answer to everything is death? Zakar then sees Moanna, who asks him to be patient and wait.

Rocky lands, and heads to the village to see Torro and Zakar. He learns that his friends escaped the deep caverns, and both Torro and Zakar will have them killed! Rocky uses his pen radio to contact Sandy, and orders them all to come back to the village. They do as ordered, and Professor Newton administers the anti toxins Rocky brought back for Moanna. Casaban watches with interest and surprise. Moanna gets better, and everyone is happy - save Zakar... Zakar demands one more task. He feels it is evil to have brought his dying bride back to life! If Rocky is the All High, then he should have no trouble righting the ships and sailing away! Zakar has knocked over the second ship - they now BOTH lay in ruins - useless to Rocky and his crew! Rocky and his crew now await the verdict of the people of the village. Zakar has convinced everyone to agree to kill them! Moanna alerts Rocky and will distract the guards. Then she leads them to the sacred taboo land, and Rocky convinces her to stay with them for her own safety.

Rocky's plan is to fix up the flying saucer and fly it home. They will have to figure out how it works and what parts they need to scavenge. The long arduous task of repairing the saucer begins!

Finally, they are ready to test the craft! Rocky invites Moanna along to Earth, but she decides to stay on her planetoid. She heads back to her village as the test flight begins. The lawnmower sounding saucer lauches just before Zakar's newest avalanche crushes it! But the returning Moanna is in the path of the avalanche! Zakar tries to save her, but he is seriously injured by the falling rocks!

There is a problem with the power supply aboard the flying saucer, and Rocky and crew choose to continue with a full test flight before landing to make repairs.

Moanna tends to Zakar, who is burning with fever. The saucer returns. Moanna goes to Rocky for help. Professor Newton applies anti toxin and Zakar is healed, and morally better, and finally welcomes the strangers as friends!

Bobby leaves the Space Lark with Poulie, who finally learns how to play it.

The flying saucer launches for the final time, and they head towards Earth with new technology, and new friends on the distant planetoid!

END

GalleryEdit

CastEdit

CrewEdit

TriviaEdit

  • The - VERY - faded version that I have of this episode shows some signs of being in COLOR! You can definitely see (in what is an obviously bad videotape transfer to DVD) the (very faded) red of their uniforms, and the hint of straw yellow of Bobby's hair! There is even some sign of color staining to the native's skin, and some signs of green to the jungle plants! I was amazed, because I never knew any episodes were in color! I have long fantisized about someone colorizing the series, but now wonder if they were all shot in color to begin with? (Certainly the few behind the scenes photos indicate the sets were VERY colorful!) I understand that there is a color process whereby the black and white negatives (which are easier and cheaper to store) are passed through color filters and a color print is printed from it, but most film transfer companies have lost this technique, and simply pass the black and white negative directly onto black and white film (or tape, or DVD, etc) - so ANY color is completely lost due to the lack of color processing. Another possibility is that it was cheaper to reprint the black and white copies, and since most television stations were still broadcasting in black and white, those prints are all that survived the test of time. For example; most WWII film footage was originally shot in color 16mm, but the copious reprints that went around to all the newreels and theators were black and white duplicates (cheaper to mass produce). Virtually every b&w footage of WWII you've ever seen on the history channel (or elsewhere for that matter) has a color original sitting in a vault somewhere. (This is why you sometimes see the atom bomb tests in color and other times in b&w.) Maybe the same is true for Rocky Jones! Hopefully, one day the color versions will be made available to the fans!
  • This is the first episode without Winky! (Though his name is mentioned by Marshall.)
  • Secretary Drake does not appear in this episode. (Although his name is mentioned.)
  • This is the first three part episode with the Copywrite of 1954.
  • See wall lights from Fornax reused in the sanctuary home set.
  • Bill Lechner's name (Ranger Sandy) is listed BELOW Sally Mansifled's (Vena), but ABOVE Robert Lyden's (Bobby) in the credits. This is a pretty prestegious place! Was Bill considered a possible replacement for Winky's character?
  • There are no opening titles on my version of part three - just snow and then the episode proper starts.
  • The planetoid the Hill People and the Valley People live on does not seem to be named - not even by the inhabitants!
  • Bobby actually appears to be capable of playing the Space Lark instrument!
  • If time was of the essence for Rocky to get the anti-toxins back to the unknown planetoid to save Moanna, why didn't he go to the much closer station XO-11? Or have a ship meet him half way? Instead of flying all the way back to Earth? Ranger Marshall could have at least met him on the landing tower with the bag, and they could have talked while they refueled, instead of having Rocky walk all the way down to Space Affairs Headquarters!
  • The flying saucer interrior looks to reuse some walls from the space station control room set.
  • The three chapters that form this episode were edited together to create the Rocky Jones movie, "Blast Off". (I have never seen this movie offered in any format.)


Previous episode:
"Crash of Moons"
Episodes of Rocky Jones, Space Ranger
in Production Order
Next episode:
"The Cold Sun"

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