Local News

November 9, 2009

Buck Rogers returns

Ti man brings back space hero for Internet series


Eighty-one years after his creation in the pages of Amazing Stories Magazine, space hero Buck Rogers is back.

Ticonderoga resident James Cawley acquired the rights to do "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" as a series of Internet video shows, and part of the 40-minute pilot was shot at the Penfield Homestead in Ironville recently.

Playing Buck's parents were Gil Gerard and Erin Gray, who starred as Buck Rogers and Wilma Deering on the 1979-81 ABC-TV series.

Gray's daughter, Samantha Gray Hissong, is also in the production, playing Buck's girlfriend, Maddy.

Cawley, who also produces the "Star Trek: New Voyages" Internet shows shot at his Retro Film Studios in Port Henry, acquired the video rights from Flint Dille, whose grandfather, John, drew the Buck Rogers newspaper comic strip from 1929 to 1967.

The Dille Family Trust is allowing Cawley to create and distribute a 20-episode Web series based on the "Generation One" Buck Rogers franchise. Unlike Cawley's "Star Trek" productions, viewers will have to pay to watch the new Buck.

The programs are expected to air sometime in mid-2010.


Buck Rogers first appeared in a novel by pulp writer Philip Francis Nowlan in the August 1928 issue of Amazing Stories.

"We're going back to the original novels and newspaper strips," Cawley said. "Previous filmed incarnations never really captured the original Buck. Buck is a World War I aviator. He's trapped in a cave. A gas in the cave puts him in suspended animation. He wakes up in the 25th century."

Understandably, things have changed a lot in 500 years, and Buck's 20th-century moxie puts him in demand as Earth fights some fierce 25th-century villains.

The Buck Rogers character spawned two network TV series, a 1979 feature film, a 1939 film serial, 12,061 daily comic strips and 1,839 Sunday strips in 400 newspapers, and a radio show from 1932 to 1947.

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