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King of the Rocket Men is notable for introducing the "Rocketman Character" who reappeared under a variety of names in later serials. Commando Cody serials are sometimes confused with King of the Rocket Men (1949), because the rocket-powered flying suit worn by the title character also became a wardrobe piece worn by Cody. To add to the confusion, Larry Martin wore the same suit again in Zombies of the Stratosphere. Referring to these different Republic Pictures characters wearing this prop suit were called collectively "The Rocketman".
The Rocket Man Serials were:
1. King of the Rocket Men (1949) - See Below2. Radar Men from the Moon (1952)<-Click Here3. Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952) - See Below4. Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe (1953)<-Click Here
1a. King of the Rocket Men - chapters 01 thru 06 Combined
1b. King of the Rocket Men - chapters 07 thru 12 Combined
1c. King of the Rocket Men (1949) 12 Chapter Movie Serial - Tristram Coffin:
[All 12 chapters on on this link]
An evil genius of unknown identity, calling himself "Dr Vulcan," plots to conquer the world, but first needs to eliminate one by one the members of the Science Associates, an organization of the Earth's greatest scientists. After narrowly escaping an attempt on his life by Vulcan, one member of Science Associates, Dr. Millard (James Craven), outfits another member, Jeff King (Tristram Coffin) with an "atomic powered rocket flying suit."
With the help of the suit, a magazine photographer named Glenda Thomas (Mae Clarke), and other inventions of Dr. Millard, King battles the minions of Dr. Vulcan for twelve suspenseful episodes. Eventually Vulcan steals one of Millard's more dangerous inventions, the Decimator, and uses it to flood and destroy Manhattan Island (courtesy of stock footage from the once-thought-lost film, Deluge (1933), before being brought to justice by Jeff King in his flying suit.
Jeff King / Rocketman - Tristram Coffin
Dr. Millard - James Craven
Glenda Thomas - Mae Clarke
Director - Fred Brannon
Zombies of the Stratosphere (Republic Studios, 1952) was intended as the second serial featuring "new hero" Commando Cody and the third 12-chapter serial featuring the rocket-powered flying suit introduced in King of the Rocket Men (1949). Instead, the hero is "Larry Martin", preventing Martian invaders from using a hydrogen bomb to blow Earth away from the Sun so that Mars can take its orbital place. The serial is remembered today mainly because Leonard Nimoy plays one of the three Martian invaders, Narab. In 1958 a feature film called Satan's Satellites was made by re-editing footage from this serial.
Mars is too far from the Sun and its ecology is dying. The Martian invaders want to swap Earth's and Mars' orbits, so Mars will be closer to the Sun and Earth can have Mars's old orbit, with a hydrogen bomb being used to blow Earth out from the Sun. Just as filming began on this serial, the name of the hero was changed from Commando Cody to Larry Martin, as played by Judd Holdren, who had previously played TV hero Captain Video in a 1951 Columbia Pictures movie serial, but he retains all the same sidekicks, high-tech props and laboratory facilities that Commando Cody had in the previous serial, Radar Men from the Moon.
NOTE: Not one zombie in the movie.