|Original Air-Date|| August 28, 1954 (Chapter I)|
April 13, 1954 (Chapter II)
April 20, 1954 (Chapter III)
|Written By||Warren Wilson|
|Directed By||Hollingsworth Morse|
|Order in Series||2nd Episode Produced|
|Order in Season||2nd Episode Aired|
|Previous Episode||"Beyond the Curtain of Space"|
|Next Episode||"Escape Into Space"|
A pretty comet turns out to be an alien missile aimed at Earth! The tragectory tells them that it originated from Fornax; a moon of Jupitor not thought to have life. The fact the missile hit Earth means that Fornax must have a higher level of technology. Rocky and crew are off to investigate, but the spy Griff informs Ophiuchus of Rocky's plans.
Ophuichus decides that they would like to have that technology for themselves and Fornax under their rule!
Professor Newton tracks a comet en route to Earth and it crash-lands near the Inter-Nation Airport. He races off with Vena Ray and Bobby to collect what is left of it. Meanwhile, Rocky Jones and Winky are patrolling in the Orbit Jet looking for signs of the escaped ranger/spy Griff, (because nobody bothered to go out and search the car wreckage for a body in the previous episode). Secretary Drake recalls them to Space Affairs Headquarters so they can hear about Professor Newton's analysis of the comet. On their return trip, the Orbit Jet is nearly struck down by ANOTHER comet but the Space Rangers make it safely back to headquarters where Newton reveals that the comets aren't comets at all; rather, they are missiles of incredible power! Based on their trajectory, Vena is able to determine that the missiles were launched from Fornax, one of Jupiter's many moons.
Secretary Drake orders the crew of the Orbit Jet on a mission to Fornax to determine why Earth is being attacked and also to gather more information on the incredible crystalline power of the missiles.
At the same time, at the Tibet Observatory, near where the second missile landed, the missing Ophiuchun spy Griff holds a helpless Ranger at gunpoint and overhears the orders for the mission to Fornax. Griff launches in his own ship to attack the Orbit Jet. Rocky Jones is able to evade the attack, and the Orbit Jet lands safely on Fornax, but with their fuel is completely exhausted.
Stranded on enemy territory - what is a Ranger to do?
The crew of the Orbit Jet use the Mechanical Canary to check the planetary atmosphere. Discovering that it is safe to breathe the air, they leave the ship to explore the massive and ancient Fornax pyramids. They are greeted by Zoravac who surprises them by speaking English. He tells the crew that they are not the first visitors from Earth. The disgraced Professor Cardos has been living on Fornax for some years since his spaceship crashed there.
While Professor Newton, Vena and Bobby enjoy the "boundless luxury" offered by Zoravac and his Vonsoom (wife); Rocky Jones and Winky use the Visiograph to take a covert look at the doings of Professor Cardos. They discover that he has been filling Zoravac's mind with lies about Earth people being treacherous. When they attempt to confront Cardos and dispel those myths, they are attacked by several Fornax guards, and Rocky has a close encounter with a powerful crystal.
Zoravac decides the only way to discover the truth about Earth is to visit it himself. He assists the crew in adapting the Fornax crystals as a power source for the Orbit Jet and Rocky takes a test flight. The crystals are so powerful that the blast-off knocks Rocky unconscious and damages several instruments. The crew are out of contact with their commander for a long while until Rocky awakens and manages to make enough repairs to land again. Professor Newton says he can make modifications so that the crystals will function as a safe power source and Zoravac leaves his Vonsoom and daughter, Volaca, for a trip to Earth. Vena, Bobby and Professor Newton are left on Fornax as Winky and Rocky Jones blast-off with their guest for Earth!
Meanwhile, Griff aboard the WOV, contacts Darganto on Ophiuchus to let him know that Rocky Jones has discovered an incredible new power source on Fornax. Griff then travels to Ophiuchus to consult with Cleolanta who orders a mission to Fornax to conquer its inhabitants. When they arrive on Fornax, Professor Cardos wastes no time in allying himself with Darganto and Griff. Luckily, Bobby and Volaca overhear their plotting and reveal the plans to Zoravac's Vonsoom. When she tries to assert her authority, she, Vena, and Professor Newton are held hostage. When Bobby tries to warn Rocky by Astrophone he is imprisoned.
During the Orbit Jet's long journey back to Fornax from Earth, Professor Cardos has enough time to create a powerful new missile which Darganto launches at the approaching Orbit Jet. Winky and Rocky Jones manage to evade and destroy the missile. Then, from orbit, they destroy the Ophiuchun WOV ship. Then they land and free the prisoners, taking Griff, Darganto, and Professor Cardos into custody to be sentenced by the United Worlds and the Civil Police.
- Richard Crane as Rocky Jones
- Scotty Beckett as Winky
- Sally Mansfield as Vena Ray
- Robert Lyden as Bobby
- Maurice Cass as Professor Newton
- Charles Meredith as Secretary Drake
- Cliff Ferre as Ranger Marshall
- Walter Coy as Zoravac
- Nestor Paiva as Professor Cardos
- Patsy Iannone as Volaca
- Joanne Jordan as Zoravac's Vonsoom
- Patsy Parsons as Queen Cleolanta
- Frank Pulaski as Darganto
- Leonard Penn as Griff
- Charles Horvath as Cardos' Henchman
- Sol Gorss as Fornaxian Soldier (uncredited)
- Uncredited as Tibetan Ranger
- Uncredited as WOV Pilot
- Uncredited as Professor Collins
- Directed by Hollingsworth Morse
- Director of Photography Walter Strenge
- Production Manager Dick L'Estrange
- Supervising Editor Roy Luby
- Edited by Fred Maguire
- Photographic Effects by Jack R. Glass
- Art Director McClure Capps
- Casting Director Bill Tinsman
- Sound by Chas. Althouse
- Sound by Joel Moss
- Script Supervisor Hazel W. Hall
- Technical Advisor Dick Morgan
- Technical Instruments Loren Sackett
- Assistant Director Dick Moder
- Costumes by Berman Costume Co.
- Teleplay by Warren Wilson
- Executive Producer Guy V. Thayer, Jr.
- Associate Producer Arthur Pierson
- Producer Roland Reed
- Original Music by Alexander Laszlo (uncredited)
- Produced in 1953 by Roland Reed Productions Inc. and Space Ranger Enterprises
- This episode is coppywritten 1953.
- This is the second appearance of Griff and Darganto in the series.
- Nearly every set was designed to be utilized more than once - usually by returning to that planet in another episode - to save production costs. Rocky Jones would return to Fornax in "Escape into Space".
- The "crater" the Fornax missile makes near the Inter-Nation Airport is some stock blasting footage from the construction of the Hoover Dam Project.
- The Griffith Observatory is used as the location for Professor Newton's observatory.
- Rangers still wear the Pale Chamois White t-shirts and light caps for casual duty. The rolled up short sleaves did not survive the color change later on in the series!
- Radio video phones in cars are the norm in the future!
- If you are important enough, you get your own visiograph channel!
- No one comments on women drivers in the future.
- Ranger Marshall takes over for the vacated Ranger Griff position at Space Affairs Headquarters.
- Ranger Marshall is rejected by Rocky to go on the flight to Fornax - but Bobby easilly gets the green light to go!
- The enemy ship always seems to approach at two oclock on the scope!
- Somewhere between prep for launch, and actual take off, Rocky and Winky lose their red dress uniforms and are now wearing blue jackets and caps and white t-shirts.
- The "footage" of the comet space ship is the ONLY footage utilized from the original Rocky Jones pilot that went unaired!
- In case you missed it, Bobby's "comet" is really a space missile made of crystal! So he probably won't have it named after him - oh well, maybe next time... At least he didn't turn out to be Elijah Wood in "Deep Impact" and have the object of the Earth's destruction named after him - (Maybe the idea for that movie came from this episode...?)
- The three chapters that form this episode were edited together to form the movie, "Menace From Outer Space". The opening music of this movie is slightly rearranged from the television episodes. The opening graphic and music is from the tv episode one, cutting to the closing credits and music of the third episode and then cutting back to episode one proper. The ending is the final ending card and music. This movie is available on DVD.
| Previous episode:|
"Beyond the Curtain of Space"
| Episodes of Rocky Jones, Space Ranger|
in Production Order
| Next episode:|
"Escape Into Space"