Monday, November 28, 2016

Cult-TV Theme Watch: Jet Packs

Haven’t you always wished for a jet pack?

I know I have.  A jet pack is a device worn on the back that can permit one to fly through the air or space (using propellant fuel).

Cult-TV has given us many memorable action scenes with jet packs over the years.

In 1960s animated series such as The Jetsons (1962-1963) and Johnny Quest (1963-1964), rocket or jet packs were de rigueur.

In the first, black-and-white season of Irwin Allen’s Lost in Space (1965-1968), for example, John Robinson (Guy Williams) would often strap on a backpack to search the barren planet where the Jupiter 2 had crashed.  He flew for purposes of reconnaissance, but also sometimes rescue.  In some notable occasions, he flew with passengers, like Penny (Angela Cartwright) in tow.

Filmation’s post-apocalyptic, live-action, Saturday morning series Ark II (1976) was set in the “Dark Ages” of the 25th century, as a giant roaming vehicle searched for human life in the wastelands. The series’ central protagonist, Captain Jonah (Terry Lester) would often take airborne journeys with his jet pack, also known as the jet jumper.

In Space: 1999 (1975-1977), the Alphans sometimes perform EVAs beyond their Eagle transporters using rocket thruster back-packs (see: “The Exiles.”)

Another Filmation series, this one animated, also featured a jet pack.  Flash Gordon (1979-1981) introduced a jetpack in its second season, and Flash and Dale, in particular, were often depicted jetting about.

The whole concept of jet-packs was satirized on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), when the Nerds of Dooms’ leader, Warren had one at his disposal in the sixth season tale “Seeing Red.”

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