we've had our crash of moons with Rocky Jones, so, personally, I
think Mr. Jones would be perfect to lead us through a MENACE FROM
Because that's where all the good menaces were coming from back then, yes?
Anyway. We start with credits we already know, and footage of the Rocky rocket no doubt impeding some peril. And Richard Crane's credit, and some other people we have not heard of, but, we're guessing, will include Chipper, Kid, Winky and Prof. And yet new stereotypes, because, after all, this is the future!
Once again, the teleplay is by Warren Wilson, and the director is once more Hollingsworth Morse. What busy people! We could all profit by studying the habits of these industrious aliens.
Well, maybe later, as we have a plot to get through. And we open on an observatory. With a few stock shots to reassure the more gullible of us this is, in fact, an observatory. And inside, a guy with a shock of white hair is watching a comet move across the field of vision. And this guy, who looks so much like Prof from Crash of Moons that I would bet money if I had it, shakes his head and rubs his chin. He puts on his glasses in that inevitable way that geniuses had back then, and we cut to a swell sports cart driving up to the very same observatory, but this celestial car is being piloted by a celestial body: to wit, one hot blonde with a bank account. She pops out of the car, and rushes (cape flapping) to the passenger seat (which has a passenger), and as she pauses there, we can see that they look like Chipper and Kid from that first feature, and that they look pretty unhappy, except for Chipper, who looks just plain pretty.
The two of them rush up the steps to the observatory, and guess what! Prof is Prof, Chipper is Chipper, and Kid is Kid! Who, other than me, would have guessed!
Kid notes that the last meteor was named after Prof, so this one should be named after Kid. Fair's fair and all that, I guess. Whoah, Kid, let us get filled in first! Although, let's guess that Prof has found a new comet and informed all his pals of this swell news. Though, Prof seems pretty grim about the prospect, because, after all, we're supposed to have drama.
“Bobby's Comet,” muses Kid, “Bobby's World!”
Prof notes that right now, this titular world is pretty small, but it “moments, it will strike the world!” You picked a loser world, Kid! And Prof invites them to witness this spectacle on the NewFangledOTron. “Let's hope it doesn't fall too close!” Prof adds. Is that part of the plot?
So, they switch on the NewfangledOTron, and watch the comet's lazy descent. Kid notes how it would be a “dirty trick” if this comet, now bearing his name, wrought havok and stuff. You know, like people curse that Haley guy, to this day, for all their misfortunes and bad advice and cold breakfast.
Prof tells Kid to hang on to that thought, as he's detected something with his Prof sense. He wants to get a closer view, with his telescope! The others wait uneasily as he readies this arcane device.
He rushes up the stairs to the eyepiece and sees...uh, some kind of negative or solarized image (well, he is a genius) that looks like a spaceship rushing across the view. Absorbing this view, he again looks thoughtful (rubbing his chin and like that). He rushes down the stairs, back to Chipper and Kid, and without telling them anything he immediately calls for the Secretary of Space (you'll recall him from the last show, kind of like an ambassador or something).
Well, the urgent undertones in Prof's voice make the Secy get up from his desk and cross the room from where his radio is. Why it's not on his desk is, uh, because it's more dramatic if he walks a lot (whew!).
Secretary asks about Prof's latest figures about the meteor heading toward earth.
“It's isn't a meteor, it's a rocket,” Prof blurts, “a man-made weapon!”
Secy tells Prof to hang on a moment, then he orders his aide to go and gets the ticker tape which is also charting this meteor. Secy reads off the numbers of the “meteor's” course, and concludes that it will strike the Earth at “15.10 plus 30.”
This weird time-frame throws us, and no one makes us any wiser. Kid asks Prof “who's shooting at us,” and Prof has to admit he doesn't know, “no one knows.”
Back at the Secy station, they look at the clock. It's 10 past three. Which, in military time, is 15 hours 10 minutes. So, plus 30, um, means, a day and six hours from now. I guess. Makes reviewer's head hurt.
The aide turns to Secy and says, “Forty-five seconds to go, sir.” So I guess I was all wrong, and this movie will be over after barely five minutes. Cool!
Everyone watches the screen as the ship descends through the atmosphere, and aide and Secy both note that the ship is heading right for where Prof, Kid, and Chipper are! Cut to this same trio, who don't look pleased at all to be where they are now.
The ship suddenly drops and there's a fireball, and the Secy calls the Prof. Looks like everyone is okay, they were just kind of tossed to the floor along with a lot of paperwork and stuff. Secy, seeing them on screen as they stagger to their feet, asks if they're okay, and he is assured they are, as the “meteor” missed Prof's observatory and instead hit some airport. Oh, good. It was just an airport!
Prof and the others say they'll head over to the airport to see what's happening, and they all dash out to Chipper's tricked-out Corvette Of the Future. And they roar off! And then they stop by an overlook and gaze down at a deep canyon, with black smoke issuing from one part of it. They jump out to look closer, and a wad of hair flies up to the top of the screen and vibrates. That's just part of how bad the print is, though, it's not a bizarre alien visitor or any other part of the movie.
Anyway, they don't seem to like this smoke-belching hole, so Prof runs back to the Chippermobile and uses the Cell-Video-Phone to call the Secy.
Prof tells the Secy that the weapon missed the airport, just barely, so no one was hurt, and he's going to get himself lowered down so he can study what's left of the weapon and maybe find out something about it, like where it came from and stuff like that. Which is good to know if you've got people throwing weapons at you.
Secy tells Prof to be careful, and he signs off and tells his aide that if this is the start of a bombardment, it's lucky the first shot was wasted. He then asks Aide where Rocky Jones is, and Aide walks over to a mural of the solar system. He points to a place somewhere in Earth orbit (Secy conveniently blocks our view of the exact point). Aide says that Rocky isn't convinced that “Griff” is dead, so he's patrolling the Pacific to, uh, make sure that this Griff guy bought it fair and square.
And we fade to the Rocky rocket hurtling through the cosmos. On board, Rocky and Winky are in t-shirts. Winky is sleeping, because he's the comic relief. Rocky notes that the “Actiphone” is ringing, and that Winky ought to answer it.
Winky, however, is fast asleep, so Rocky takes the call. The Office of Space Affairs orders Rocky to stop doing what's doing and get back to HQ on the double. Rocky has no problem with obeying this order, and he glances comically at the sleeping Winky. Hey, is some mischief afoot? No, Rocky is too much of a straight-shooter for that. He turns the ship around, but when the engines fire, it wakes up Winky, who accuses Rocky of hi-jinks!
Rocky calmly explains how they were ordered back, and there's some banter and such, and just then, on their viewscreen, another weapon shoots by! Wow! Both are astonished at this spectacle, but it is Winky who wonders what this strange visitor from the aether might be. And we fade to black.
And we fade in as Prof shows some crystalline rocks to the assembled cast. He explains that the entire missile was made from this crystalline material. The others discuss this, but the consensus is that whoever shot this thing is way ahead of us in science and knowledge.
Secy asks Aide if he's been able to contact some base in Tibet, and Aide says Not yet sir.
Prof says that the motive force of these missiles is “friction.” He then goes on to give a science lesson by rubbing crystals together to generate intense heat. Kid does so, and his hands get burned. He makes some comic remark regarding this which no one, least of all me, bothers to write down.
Prof asks Chipper what her conclusions are. She walks over to the solar system mural and says, based on the ship's flight pattern, it can only have come from a moon around Jupiter.
“Fornax,” Rocky Jones pronounces. He then expresses his failure to believe, as “that moon is so hot, it was used to coin our word, furnace.” Somehow I doubt this. He goes on to say that Fornax is so hot that nothing could live there. Yes, but maybe the enemy aliens don't live there, they're just renting.
Prof notes that crystal could exist there, and that it would grow in such intense heat, and “growth is life.” He points out that scientists never believe anything until it is proven. Which must make ordering fast food pretty difficult.
Rocky counters with “seeing is believing,” and Prof correctly guesses that Rocky will go to Fornax to see if there are crystal creatures there, and discover why they want to toss bombs at us. Prof is totally envious of this trip, though he notes the danger. Hm, I smell at least one stowaway!
Secy says that Prof has told him that the Fornachos would like Earth's minerals and ores, just as Earth would like some of the Fornachian energy they've got a lot of.
Winky asks when they might refuel, and Rocky comically points out that they're going from “here” to “there” and there aren't any rest areas and Winky is like, “Oh.” But then, Aide manages to raise the observatory in Tibet.
A very nervous flunky in Tibet says that he saw the second missile land. And we pull back to see some guy in a heavy coat holding a weapon on this flunky. Flunky is told by Secy that the “real story” of these meteors shouldn't leak out. Gun man hastily scribbles a note for Flunky, who reads, “What is the real story?” and Secy lets on about the fact that the meteors are missiles from Fornax. Rocky et al are going to Fornax, which has a lot of energy as noted. Flunky signs off, and confronts Gun Man by saying “Come on, Griff, you haven't got a chance!” (I knew it was Griff, did you?)
Griff notes that Fornax is considered a “rich prize, eh?” As he turns to look at the Solar System Mural (every station has one), Flunky tries some fisticuffs but is defeated. Griff notes that, not only will Rocky not get to Fornax first, but he “won't get there at all.”
And we fade to Rocky looking at this mural again. Man, this mural should get “Special Guest Appearance” billing, the number of scenes it shows up in (and dominates).
Anyway, Aide pops into frame and asks if he can come along, and Rocky says Sorry No, as Prof has to go to make measurements, and Rocky has the rest of his crew of Winky and someone who's name I didn't catch. Aide smothers his disappointment offscreen.
Kid shows up and wants to come along, but Rocky says Sorry No again. Kid explains how he has muscles now and could be helpful, but Rocky says they have to conserve all weight, and Kid switches and says he hardly weighs anything. Yeah, we all know where this is headed. Sigh.
Prof says Kid is more valuable than his weight in instruments. So Kid is now on the crew, and we fade to black again. Everyone who’s everyone is going!
And we fade in again as Rocky, Kid, Chipper and Prof (with a hat on) all stride toward the rocket on the launch pad. Triumphal music plays. The rocket is moved into place.
Winky comes over to the Secy and notes that all weapons (except the nose rockets—eww) have been removed, Secy notes it was because of all the fuel they need, Winky notes that it doesn't matter as, if the Fornachos want to fight, nothing the Rocky rocket could do would make much of an impression anyway.
Everyone else shows up then, and Secy technobabbles about the g-force and stuff, and Winky joins in with more.
Rocky orders the others on board, calls out to Chipper and she comes back. She notes that she already knows what he's gong to say, that the large g-force will make them all black out, but they'll be ready. Rocky smiles and tells the assembled ground crew (one guy) to switch on the “synchronizer.” The guy does, and it sounds like some giant moose waking up.
Rocky and Secy exchange final words and shake hands, and Rocky scrambles on board, and as the beeping climaxes, everyone straps in and the ship pops off into space.
Everyone on board is flung into sleep as the g-force climbs, and in the control room, Aide notes that he “sure hopes” the robot guidance system will work okay until they all regain consciousness. Secy opines that he's “sure it will.”
And the ship further pops off earth, into space. On board, Winky struggles to stay awake, and looks at some spirograph patterns. He flops forward and hits some switches, and the spirograph patterns disappear! And the ship's engines stop, and it starts to fall toward the earth! Winky, you idiot!
At Space Central, Secy and Aide note the trouble, and Secy calls the ship and asks Rocky to “pull out of your dive!”
Rocky wakes up just in time, reactivates whatever Winky turned off, and the jets roar into life. Of course, the ship is still pointing down, so that will just kill them all quicker.
Except it doesn't, the ship turns and goes the right way. Rocky calls the Secy and tells him that the ship is now under manual control.
Winky comes to, and asks what happened, and Rocky posits that he, Winky, “must have come to...”
The full force of his folly hits Winky. He starts to apologize, but Rocky tells him to go tell the others that the liftoff was perfect. Winky, reinvigorated, goes off to do so. Rocky Jones, what a guy!
Fade out, then fade in as the Rocky rocket traverses the heavens. And then fade in as Griff and some no-doubt evil henchman watch the progress of the Rocky rocket.
Back on board the Rocky rocket, Rocky and Chipper are talking about what they're going to do when they get to Fornax, especially (once they're done there) about getting away from Fornax. Rocky says they'll land on the tail section of the rocket, so that should help somehow.
Just then, they note the radar blip showing Griff's ship, though they don't know who it is yet. Chipper calls and asks for identification. And the music is all low and menacing.
Griff hangs up without answering, and says (I guess to himself), “We haven't got a license, Rocky, but you'll find out who it is soon enough.”
On board the Rocky rocket, Rocky comes to the main control, and Winky is already apprised. “Griff, huh?” he asks, and Rocky says “Right.” Geez, Griff, you must be really evil for them to detect you so easily, by just guessing. Either that, or Rocky and Friends have already taken care of all other criminals and you’re the last of a dying breed, your once proud numbers diminished to a lonely one.
Maybe. Griff orders his crew to take battle stations. And the Griff Ship moves right across the Rocky rocket's tail, and shoots, but of course it goes way wide of the mark. On board the Rocky rocket, Rocky notes their own minimal weapons, and Winky says that what they have won't “scratch the paint” on Griff Ship. Rocky says their only chance is to score a direct hit “right in the tubes.” Ooo!
They get behind the Griff Ship, and toss a salvo right up Griff's tubes. Griff's rockets go out, his ship tumbles, the look on Griff is priceless (“I've been foiled!”), and Winky congrats Rocky on his shooting.
But Rocky's not in a celebrating mood. He shows Winky the fuel gage. They're right at half-empty (or half-full, viewer's choice). But, even when empty, you can probably get another ten to fifteen miles!
...guess that doesn't mean a whole lot—IN SPACE.
Rocky orders the whole crew forward. He explains that they might, MIGHT barely have enough fuel to get there, but not to get back. He says they can a) return to Earth and refuel, or B) go to some other refueling station (which would take just as long), or C) go on, and hope they can get some fuel, maybe from the Fornachos, who are probably just misunderstood. Okay, he didn't say the last part.
Everyone votes rather cheerily for plan C. So they go on. Later, Rocky and Winky turn on the viewer, and see a Moon in the sky. Rocky asks if Winky sees it too.
“Well, rattle my rocket reflexes,” Winky says, using a vernacular FROM THE FUTURE. “Crew forward,” he says into the intercom. “Fornax, dead ahead!”
The others gather forward. “Mighty Meteors,” Kid says, using more bizarre vernacular, “it's terrific! But sorta creepy too.” That’s how Citizen Kane was described, too!
“How many times have I watched and studied Jupiter's moons in the telescope,” Prof muses, “and now, now I'm going to LAND on it!”
“That moon looks like millions of diamonds,” says Chipper. She notes how this fact probably proves Prof's theory.
Rocky tells them all to prepare for a landing, and adds that they ought to check each other's safety harness. Hey, I volunteer to check Chipper's! What do you mean, you know I was going to say that? I might have been from space when I wrote that.
As the others rush off to check each other's straps, Winky notes that the instruments must be “daffy” and they show a gravity twice that of Earth level. Well, gosh, Winky, different strokes and all. Lighten up! Ha ha ha. See, he was talking about gravity and, oh, never mind, I'm not twelve years old anymore either.
They decide to land anyway, and move the ship upright, and descend to the Fornachion surface. Rocky notes, as they do, that there's a lot of power and stuff, and he shouts orders to Winky who carries them out, and he asks, finally, that the emergency fuel tank be employed. Winky's rejoinder: “We're already on it,” ie, using it.
And the ship lands safely, though a shot of the fuel gage indicates they're darn empty, fuel wise.
Winky calls down below and everyone rushes into the cockpit to see Fornax. Winky goes into comedy barker routine, and everyone has these huge grins on their faces as they gaze out on what must be rather hellish environment whose inhabitants want to bombard earth with crystal missiles. I mean, who wouldn't be thrilled and elated?
We see a quick shot of the outside, which seems to be a landscape full of melted Jell-O sculptures with some cube-like buildings here and there.
Prof opines that this means there must be some kind of life here (I guess the missiles didn't clue him in) and Winky wonders what kind of life. How about Miller High Life! Don't mind if I do.
And fade to black. Fade in as we see the Rocky rocket surrounded by melted Jello sculptures while great theremin music plays. Everyone's still on deck, marveling and marveling at this great view (and it's convenient to shopping, too).
“Man, with his small mind, is too ready to accept the apparent,” the Prof says, and a dollar to anyone who can figure that statement out. “Now, we've always believed that life wasn't possible on Fornax, but look, Rocky, look,” he says pointing, “those pyramids, [uh, no, not really] no, they're not a phenomenon of nature, there must be a civilization here, too.”
Kid wants to have a look around, Rocky advises that “we'd better see what we're in for” first on this planet that where the environment was thought hostile to human life. I mean, that sounds like sound thinking, Rocky. Get some sunscreen or something. And a bag of marshmallows.
Rocky asks Winky to “uncage a mechanical canary” to test the atmosphere, and Winky dashes off to comply. (Miners used to lower real canaries into mines to test for poison gas.)
Outside the ship, a small mechanical device lowers and begins to rotate. Inside, Winky fulfills the odious side of his comic relief duties by talking to the probe as if it was a real bird. Makes me hope the natives are uncontrollably hostile.
Rocky asks the Prof to test the atmosphere, and asks Chipper to update the log.
“Oh dear,” Chipper flutters, “I do hope I brought the right clothes!” I'm sure you can update the log in anything you brought, dear.
Cut to Rocky, who is dictating their dire straits to Chipper, who's writing it all down. He notes there is evidence of “skilled human life” and he hopes that the power that sent their missiles at Earth “can be adapted” to power the Rocky rocket. Me, I'd kind of hope that the intelligences there can be reasoned with, but that's just me I guess. Rocky does add, as an afterthought, that he hopes the natives will be peaceable. Just then everyone else enters and they pronounce the planet quite comfy for humanoids, skilled or not. Prof says it's comparable to Spring in Connecticut, and adds, “I can practically smell the flowers!”
Winky's report is more succinct; “The birdy says 'tweet tweet,'” he tells Rocky. Yes, but the ice is slippery.
Everyone decides going outside would be simply super, but Prof calls Rocky aside and points out a building that looks like two triangles stuck together at their apexes. Apexi. Tops.
“See, Rocky?” he says, “I was right about their lack of alloys for steel!” Wow, he sure is a genius! “Their architecture dates far back!”
Rocky wonders how much the stone blocks would weigh, and Prof says “Twice what they would on Earth.” He points out that their “ratio of weights” is “two pounds to our one.” This would seem to indicate stronger gravity than Earth, but no one so far seems affected. Prof seems to think it will only affect them when they leave the ship. Uh. Well, uh, I guess Rocky brought Earth gravity with them. Yeah, that's it. Or maybe they have artificial gravity generators on board. Okay.
Winky pops up and announces that (basically) he's opened all the windows so they're breathing Fornax air. Rocky, the sly dog, asks Chipper if she's been putting on weight, and she gets all indignant as ladies do when weight is mentioned. Rocky wants her to weigh herself on the cargo scales, and Kid should vouch for her truthfulness. So never mind what I said about artificial gravity.
See, this is funny because ladies are always concerned with how much they weigh. Okay, it isn't funny. But I think it was supposed to be.
Let's hope the Fornachos aren't lobbing more missiles at Earth while Rocky has his fun. Because that would (I hope) make it less fun.
Anyway, Kid comes back like he's seen a ghost, and announces that Chipper weighs 236 pounds. When she appears, looking totally depressed, he avers that she “ought to go easy on the mashed potatoes” and all the adult males chuckle.
Okay, stop the boat. Fun's fun and all, but if a person is heavier because of gravity, he or she is going to notice more than the scale ballooning. Moving would be more difficult, lifting anything would also be harder—it's not just a matter of “Oo, my diet!” kind of stuff.
So, back to this, we fade to everyone disembarking onto the surface of Fornax. They make small talk, wondering why no one is here to greet them. Uh, maybe because they're hostile? That would be my vote.
Kid lets off a “Hello” which echoes around rather ridiculously. Prof points and says, “Rocky, look!” and it's that double pyramid thing again. Yeah, yeah, we've seen that already. But everyone trundles off toward it. And eventually, they get to a big door in the side. (Similar to but not identical to a big pain in the neck.) They all stand around, and Prof says “Amazing!” but I've kind of stopped listening to him. Obviously, someone else still does, because the door swings open and two guys walk out. They have glittering costumes and crowns.
Winky tries to talk Indian-talk with the natives, but it (ha ha ha) turns out they speak perfect English. The head king guy is glad to see Earthlings, as it means “our missile was a success—it attracted your attention to Fornax!” He turns to Winky. “I'm glad you like-ee Moon,” he says.
Rocky notes that they speak English, and King (til we get a better name) says that Rocky and friends are not the first Earthers to visit, and King sends the Other Guy off to get someone else. Let's hope it isn't Griff.
King introduces himself as Zorvek, and introductions and handshakes are passed all around. There's some talk of diplomatic channels being opened, and trade and stuff, and then Other Guy brings out the previously visited Earthman. It's a bald, paunchy guy who gets his own musical sting. Prof recognizes him at once: “Professor Cardos!”
Cardos cheerily greets Prof, noting that he's been here eight years. He congrats Rocky on his great landing, noting that he himself crashed here and owes his life to Zorvek and “his vonsule.” He then grins, asks forgiveness, and explains that “vonsule” means “wife.” He then tells Prof that he's a changed man.
Well, I for one never expected to see Professor Cardos show up again! Since I'd never heard of him before this very moment, this isn't that unexpected a reaction on my part.
Fade to the Rocky rocket. Cardos is showing Zorvek how great Earth rockets are, and Zorvek admits they sure are great, and Winky offers to show the king the engines, as that's where they'll need his help. As everyone departs, Rocky pulls Prof aside and asks him about Cardos. Rocky notes that the name rings a bell, in connection with...murder!
Prof confirms that Cardos was supposedly lost in space, but before that, he was conducting an experiment “for personal gain” (gasp!) and that he “ruthlessly murdered his two assistants.”
Elsewhere, the tour concluded, Zorvek wants to show everyone some stuff his planet has whipped up, including his daughter to interest Kid. “I've always wanted to meet a girl out of this world!” Kid pipes.
Rocky declares that he and Winky should stay behind to see to the ship. Winky wants to chow down on luxury, but Rocky gives him that stern yet friendly look, and Winky just melts. And fade to them fixing various things in the cockpit.
Winky's still on about going to the party, and Rocky wants to look in using their “visiograph” which seems an analogue to Superman's x-ray vision. They zoom in on the hep party going down in the Zorvek crib. As the women and children leave, Rocky asks for sound.
We hear Cardos explaining to Prof how the crystal power of Fornax works. They take silicon, polarize it, punch holes in it, and a chunk no bigger than your fist powers a whole rocket.
Rocky and Winky opines that this proves the Fornachos friendly.
Just then Kid and Space Daughter pop in, and Space Daughter asks Zorvek about “baseball.” It's such a tremendously funny fish out of water conversation that I feel evil for depriving you of it, but what can you do? I'm evil. I admit that.
Just then, Chipper comes out wearing a Fornacho slave girl suit, laughing and giggling and accompanied by a posse of like-dressed ladies. Then she leaves. And so do Kid and Space Daughter. Uh, was that, um...was there a point to either of those bits? Did I miss it?
Well, Zorvek and Cardos leave Prof in the lab, there, and Winky, watching, thinks it's all right and fine if they go join up, but Rocky's Rocky-sense starts tingling and he elbows Winky to shut his pie hole post haste. And the “visiograph” follows Zorvek and Cardos as they leave the lab, with Zorvek saying how Prof talked about “friendly trade, the mutual gain of an exchange—isn't it possible that we could become friends?” (And the music turns kind of sadly “Uh-oh” at this point too.)
Cardos says that he's already told Zorvek how the Earthmen “lie and deceive” and how all planets become slave satellites to Earth, and how, “for the time being, we'll play their game of deceit.”
Zorvek seems waver between anti-Earth and pro-Earth in his outlook, while Rocky and Winky note how this isn't so good. They continue to watch, and Zorvek starts to say something, but Cardos shushes him, saying, “Are a few moments with these deceitful Earth people going to destroy the work of years?” He then smiles. “Point one of our plan is complete. We know the accuracy of our missiles! And they have sent a spaceship. And now for Point Two!” And he leaves (before saying, “Point three: Profit!”)..
He and Zorvek walk into another room, which goes all negative. “There's something in that room that positive rays can't cut!” Winky explains. So, they have lost the audio portion of their pictmission.
“So you wanna see Fornax with these, huh Winky?” Rocky says, pointing to his eyes. “Well, let's go!”
And he and Winky leave with determination as we fade to black.
Fade in as Rocky and Winky, dressed in their space service finest, approach the front door of the double pyramid motel. They walk on in, and poke into the room the “visiograph” could not penetrate. Lucky for them, both Professor Cardos and Zorvek are engrossed in watching a Van der Graaf Generator concert or contraption and don't note the two snazzily dressed intruders (who are, after all, just kind of standing there).
Cardos checks a couple of things, then says to Zorvek that they are now prepared to fire one missile every Earth month (like a Book of the Month club thing, or a phone bill). “Four of them should do the trick,” he says with an evil grit to his teeth.
Zorvek looks a bit uncomfortable at this, and stalks off, and Cardos looks uneasy at this stalking-off. Zorvek walks over to a viewing-type eyepiece thing, and says, “Look, Professor Cardos.”
Cardos duly looks, and sees the Rocky rocket. “Yes, Zorvek,” he says with a grin, “that's the spaceship that will take us into their communication zone.” But won't that have a roaming charge? “To negotiate a surrender, on our terms!”
“I wasn't thinking of a spaceship,” Zorvek says, and looks the evil Professor right in the eye. “You've always taught me that we were surrounded by a galaxy of enemies. There was no such thing as 'friendship' in the universe.” Quick shot of Rocky and Winky looking worried. “Now that I have seen these people from Earth,” Zorvek goes on, and Rocky and Winky start their grinning, “I think they completely suck, and I want to kill them!”
Just kidding. He says, instead, “I'm beginning to question your teachings.” And he walks away from Cardos.
Rocky and Winky decide now would be a good time to leave, but guess what? You'll never guess that they were found just then, and the alarm raised. I mean, they were just standing there in the room by the wall, not trying to hide or anything, but their trick of acting nonchalant didn't work. In the last film, we had a lot of fist-fights, and this here is our first.
What's interesting is that the Fornachian giving the alarm never looks at Rocky and Winky until after he's shouted out “Earth men!” He just opens a door and shouts out “Earth men!” and it looks like he was pretty surprised to be proven right this once. I wonder if he's one of those crazy people who shout in public parks. I bet a lot of them shout “Earth men!” and I bet most of them are right when they shout that.
Let me just break in here to point out that, since Fornax's gravity is twice that of Earth, Rocky and Winky should be defeated in short order. But they aren't, and the fight is just like all the others.
As Rocky and Winky wrassle with their respective partners, there's a great shot of a third person who was manning some tech station or another. He keeps looking from one fight to another, as if thinking, “He's winning, I'll help him—oh wait, he's winning too, I'll help him—oh, wait—man, this is confusing! I want to be on the winning side without any effort, and these fighters aren't helping!” Finally, he joins the fight where the odds favor the Fornachos. Damn pansy!
He holds Rocky's heaving shoulders as another Fornachoan rubs and rubs his crystal sphere against the floor until it glows. He then holds this glowing crystal toward Rocky's face, looking as if to plunge it right into him.
But Professor Cardos won't have this sort of thing happening in his lab. So he hauls the crystal guy away from Rocky. Winky, too, wrestles free and goes to comfort Rocky.
Cardos says he'll show Zorvek how these Earth people were spying and stuff and are, thus, totally worthy of being annihilated and things.
Fade to Kid reciting to Zorvek about how the United Planets aren't bad guys, and let everyone have independence, and they only time they fight is “when someone gets out of line.”
Well, who could argue with a kid? Besides everyone I mean. Other than that, who? Yeah, no one, that's who!
Anyway, Zorvek says he'll go to Earth himself to see what's up with these space rangers. Cardos starts to pipe up, but Zorvek silences him pretty regally. He says that Chipper, Kid and Prof will remain as hostages while he is doing his investigative work. Kid pipes up that this is swell, as (it's hard to hear) he things Space Daughter is pretty cool and things. Zorvek agrees and says that he and his moon people will give the Earthers all the assistance they need to power their spaceship.
Uh, we're only 42 minutes in. So, just warning you, this isn't over yet. Sorry.
Fade out, and fade in as Winky tells Rocky that they've “really got some thoroughbreds” under the hood of the ole Rocky Rocket.
Rocky says great, and asks Prof if he took an instrument calibration. Prof says sure, and it's sure great how this crystal power works. Kid pipes up with the math. Rocky rolls his eyes at this precociousness, while most of us roll our stomachs. Kid goes on for a while, and Rocky sidesteps having to understand any of it by asking Winky if he likes what he hears, and Winky, obviously not understanding any of it but unwilling to be thought of as a dolt (a bit late, what?) says it sounds swell with him.
Rocky says they'll make a test flight later, and for this, it has to be him, Rocky, alone. He points out that the new power may be adaptable, but proof is needed, which requires risks to be taken.
Winky and everyone else gets this look like, Oh yeah, that's a good point, I hadn't thought of that. And we fade to more preparation for Rocky's solo jaunt.
Rocky radios out for everyone to clear out, and they do, and he fires up the engines. He and Winky opine that the ship sounds “like it has plenty of zip,” and Winky begs to go, too, but Rocky puts his foot down. On the space accelerator, of course. Winky asks to be kept apprised of the goings on, and the ship pops up into space. And Rocky's flung into sleep. I guess from the acceleration, as he can't be that bored yet.
On the ground, both Winky and Kid make sheep noises into the mic to illustrate their displeasure at being kept grounded (in the background, Cardos and some random guard look significantly at each other, and no, not in that way). But Rocky is all unconscious and the music blares to let us know this isn't so good for him.
On the ground, Rocky's pals all call into the phone with more and more dispirited voices, while Cardos grins triumphantly. And we cut to later, with Chipper still trying to raise Rocky (not like that!) and Winky gazing forlornly into space. The music gets all violin-y as Zorvek asks about the status, and Winky tells him still no word. He then says that the Secy once told him that when you have a pal lost in space, nothing is quite as scary as silence (nicely phrased). And fade to black.
And fade in as Kid and Space Daughter are climbing around the pyramid to gaze up into the silent sky. Winky ambles over to Prof, and asks if the jets are still firing on the Rocky rocket, how long can his fuel last? Prof says they don't know the rate of consumption, so he can't answer. Thanks for nothing, Prof. At least you remembered the atmosphere belt, this time.
Up on the pyramid, Kid asks Space Daughter (who's name is finally revealed as Follica) if she sees something up there in the sky. Follica says no, all she sees is spots. Remember that old Doctor-Spots joke? Insert it here, as I'm busy marveling that Kid has spotted the Rocky rocket, still soaring through the sky. It then tilts and begins heading back down to land.
“It's Rocky!” shouts Kid, but I'm suddenly doubtful. I'm sure a) we would have been shown Rocky awakening, and b) Rocky would have called. I'm wondering if this isn't Griff again.
Well, we get a shot of a fully-revived Rocky sitting at the controls, so color my speculations blood red. On the ground, Winky excitedly grabs the mic and yawls away for Rocky to land.
When he disembarks, they ask him what was up with all his silencin', and he says that all the instruments were knocked out, including the astrophone. He says they have to find some way to lessen the power. Prof says this is no problem, and Winky agrees, going off on some technobabble that would do Data proud. It turns more and more into nonsense, though (you should see Prof's expression as he tries to take in Winky's info, and then the penny drops), and everyone has a good chuckle.
Zorvek drops by just then to offer his congrats on surviving and stuff. Cut to Cardos, in the exact same place he was standing in before, with the same random guard, but now Cardos has this real sour expression. And we fade to black.
Fade in as Rocky is apologizing to Prof, as he, Chipper and Kid will have to be left behind. They all look stage right, and we get a smirking Cardos looking all, Yep, I'm still here, just you wait. Rocky advises Prof to be cautious and Prof says he'll stay on top of things. Like Chipper. Oo, did I type that? Sorry. Strike that from the record!
Rocky, Winky and Zorvek climb aboard, and the ship blasts off. We get some swell starfields and some swell theremin music as the ship courses through space.
On the bridge, Rocky and Winky are doing their stuff while Zorvek looks on admiringly over their shoulders. Which, I don't care if you're a king, is kind of annoying. But, small set and all, I guess. Maybe on Fornax, they only make one copy of the newspaper and everyone has to read over someone else's shoulder. It is space, after all.
They get a faint transmission from Prof. Rocky tells him that they should be back on Earth in a month (!). Prof says this means the new power is all they'd hoped it would be. Winky breaks in to say that the power is so great, it's “super spacial” and notes that they just passed a meteor “like it was standing still.”
I gotta give credit to the producers here, as in real life, it would take a tremendous power source to go from Jupiter to Earth in a month. In space drama, that would be unheard of (it would be a week, max) so props to the producers for keepin' it real. Yo.
Zorvek asks to speak with his “wife” and she's real excited to talk to him (I think it's her first line in the show). But suddenly the line goes dead and she looks like the mic has personally insulted her. Chipper smiles and puts away the astrophone as Prof tries to comfort her with science.
As he does, Cardos pops out like someone going to have a smoke, and right in front of everyone, he signals the random guard to come close, and he whispers in his ear. They move off stage right.
And we cut to the Griff yacht moving through space. Griff's radio guy is trying to call someone or DJ some hot tunes or something. The language all seems to be like, Italian or something with some German bits thrown in. He finally gets an answer and Griff takes the mic. Griff is going to be guided to the planet (wait for it) Officius, where he will get an audience with (wait for it) Queen Cleolantra! Why, it's like old home week, or perhaps old TV week. All we need are those folks from the Lightning Moon. Let's hope they got a sitter for the baby though, as he was awful loud.
(Ed’s Note: You may recall that Officius was destroyed in the last film, Crash of Moons. Despite the fact that this film was cobbled together and released two years after that one, no mention is made of the previous events. Maybe it was all a dream!)
Anyway, Griff is landing in front of the Officius Office Building, and we fade into the middle of a discussion, as Griff is explaining to the Queen that he did, in fact, mean Fornax, and he points to something on a chart.
Some guy who might be Preener says that they should claim Fornax before anyone else does. Cleolantra says that life is impossible (according to science) on Fornax, so who cares who claims it?
Griff mentions the two man-made missiles that Fornax fired at Earth, and how they had tremendous power and were completely cool, and the Queen and Her Stooge realize that if they, Officius, got this power, they'd be cool and awesome and no one else would be.
Queen asks Stooge if he would like to make “an exploratory flight” to Fornax, and he responds that he would prefer to think of it as “a flight of conquest!” so you know where this is leading.
(You might further recall from Crash of Moons that at the conclusion of that drama, Queen Cleolantra decided her new policy was to be nice to people and say “Thank you” more. Well, if it was all a dream….)
We fade with evil smiles all around, to the landing of the Rocky rocket on Earth. Soon, Zorvek, Rocky and the Secy are wandering around a place with lots of pylons and overhead cables, which Zorvek thinks is completely great, saying that Earth is a “forest of iron and steel” and he is way impressed. He apologizes to Rocky for being suspicious of Earth and says he knows, now, that Cardos was evil and stuff. Rocky mentions to the Secy that the police might be interested in this Cardos guy. “I know where he can be found,” Rocky says, and sure enough, we fade to Fornax (where Cardos can be found).
Kid is wandering around outside with Follica. “Do you like going on a picnic?” asks Kid.
“Oh yes,” Follica says, “that's a new and funny word for me—picnic. Let's go on one every day!” So you didn't know what it meant, but you agreed to go on one? Can I have your credit card number?
“No, Follica,” Kid cautions, “you can't do that. Well, I guess you could, if you pretend that this is summer vacation.”
“Vacation? What's that?”
“That's when you don't have to go to school.”
“What a wonderful idea!” she says, falling prey to Kid's delinquent tendencies, and becoming just like a corrupted Earth youth. Fornax's vast educational system—now rubble! “I like that word—vacation.” And they chuckle and go into some sparkly corridors in the pyramid. The music turns a bit tense at this point, to let us know that something is afoot, and sure enough, in the next room is Cardos and several Fornachos who have fallen under his spell. Follica notes that this is where the missiles are fired.
Just then, we hear more semi-Italian talk coming from the room. Kid asks Follica for a translation, but her voice is so soft it's hard to make out much of what she says. The important bit seems to be that Cardos is going to fire more missiles. Kid and Follica go off to tell the Queen.
Queen says she'll “talk to those men who are plotting against my husband. And Professor Cardos—I'll teach him a lesson!” And she (and Kid, Follica, Chipper and Prof) all stride off to do just this. How about bringing some guards you know are loyal? Or some guns?
They show up, and arrest Cardos, and the Queen has him taken away. However, he's grinning pretty widely, and we've got over eighteen minutes to go, so, don't get your hopes up or anything.
And we fade to an Offician ship traveling through space. On board are Stooge, Griff and Griff's Stooge. Man, too many stooges. Anyway, they talk about how they'll claim the planet and be powerful. As they prepare to land, Griff notes the strong gravity. (Don't worry, Griff, it only affects scales. Wait a sec, he's the bad guy. Uh, worry, Griff. Worry a lot. Then perish. Please?)
“But I hope, I mean, I think our ship can make it,” Griff says. Stooge says they'll make an observation dive. Which we then see, form the outside. As the ship looks down on the rocky (not that Rocky) surface, Griff asks if Stooge can see anything, and Stooge astounds us with his vision powers by saying he sees some pyramid shaped buildings (our view of the same surface shows us just rocks). He then orders the ship into a tighter ellipse.
On Fornax, Kid wonders if this spaceship is Rocky, returning. Prof says it isn't like Rocky to turn back (it's too soon for Rocky to be back normally). In the background, guards still hold Cardos. Everyone leaves the room, including Cardos and his claspers.
As the Offician ship prepares for battle (in case of the unexpected, notes Stooge), everyone rushes out of the pyramid to watch the ship land. They all admit that they don't recognize this ship, while Cardos starts his evil grinning again. Kid wishes they could warn Rocky.
And the Offician ship lands. On board, Griff uses the super video camera to show Stooge the Rocky crew. Stooge asks for the radio, and says “Warning to Fornax inhabitants, we are preparing to land, by force if necessary [uh, I think you already landed, Stooge], and you Earth people that I see must convey this message to the natives at once. This is Darganto.” (I think that is Stooge's real name). The name “Darganto” echoes around the set while everyone (esp the Earth people) looks really alarmed at this. And we fade to black.
Fade in as Professor Cardos, now free, thanks Griff and Darganto for their timely arrival, as he was just about to be popped into prison. Cardos says that whoever controls the crystal power can control the universe. He then asks Darganto if he can expect a big reward, and Darganto points out, “You put the universe in our power. Name your own prize.” How about a weekend for two in Hawaii, in your new Ford Suburban, with 50,000 spending money!
Well, we don't know Cardos' final answer, as we fade to Prof, Kid, Chipper, Queen and Follica all brought down low by events, and probably confined to this one room, too. Chipper asks Prof if the plan is to bombard Earth from Fornax, and he confirms this. Good show, Prof, that’s only what they’ve been doing the whole movie. How’d you guess they’d continue? All of them moan about their impotence to stop this impending unpleasantness.
In lieu of a decent escape plan, Kid tries the direct approach, walking out the door of their holding area like he owns the place, but an Offician drags him back in and scowls at him.
“What would Rocky do in a case like this?” Kid speculates.
Back on Earth, Secy gets a call from a Professor Collins. He excuses himself from Zorvek, Rocky and Winky to take this important call about home mortgage rates and how now is the time.
Actually, it's not a call, this new professor shows up in person to tell everyone there's another missile coming from Fornax. “Cardos!” Zorvek spits.
Rocky says there's one chance, to explode this thing before it reaches Earth (sounds like a good idea). He tells Winky to get prepared and Winky's all gung ho. Fade to space, and the Rocky rocket streaking along to intercept the missile of doom. On board, folks are still doing their calculations with pencils and things.
Zorvek tells Rocky he's with him, and against this bombardment, and Rocky says “We'll talk about that later,” as he and Winky prepare to save the Earth. They set on a collision course, and need to shoot the thing straight on with the first shot. Winky opines that it's too bad they can't lasso it and send it to Officius.
Rocky sends the king back to strap down, and he orders Winky to take command as he moves to the missile console. Winky protests but Rocky asserts his authority. Rocky fires and destroys the missile, and Winky quickly dives out of the path of destruction as Rocky is thrown to the floor.
As Winky helps Rocky up, Rocky notes the direction to head for Fornax. Winky is ready to bust on in on those coordinates. As for you, well, don't get too excited yet as we're nearly eleven minutes from the end and a lot can happen in eleven minutes. At least two servings of popcorn, eg.
Back on Fornax (what a coincidence!) some dispirited Fornachos are loading bags of crystals aboard the Offician ship. Now, these are kind of tiny bags (the Fornachos carry them without difficulty with one hand) but, you know, they have tremendous power so you don't need a big bag, besides a big bag of crystals is just greedy and would make you sick too if you ate them all.
Cardos is by the pyramid door, looking all sour again, so I wonder if something happened that we missed. The door opens and Kid and Follica step outside. They glance at the ship being loaded, then at Cardos (who glances sourly at them in turn), then they exit stage left.
Griff watches them go with an expression of bemusement. The two kids scramble to the top of the pyramid and unleash their astrophone. They contact Rocky, and chit chat for rather a long time before Kid says that Griff, Stooge (back to his old name) and Cardos are here (well, Cardos never left...) along with “a flock” of Officians, who are going to blow the Rocky rocket up when they see it.
Rocky asks if there's going to be another missile launch at Earth, and Kid says he doesn't know that, but he can find out.
Rocky says they should synchronize their watches. Kid agrees this is the best thing to do in the circumstances, but says his watch has stopped and “there's no way” to set it on Fornax. Uh...um. Well, then. Ahem.
Rocky says the time is 15:44, and that Kid should find out what he can, and call him (Rocky) back at high noon. 15:44 for you non-military folk is quarter til four in the afternoon, so Rocky won't hear anything for almost twenty hours. I hope a) they're still a ways away from Fornax, or b) the X-Box is current on all games while they orbit waiting for noon.
Kid tells Follica to spread the good news to the good folks, but not to let any of the bad folks know, and to be careful. He (Kid) is going to do a job for Rocky Jones.
Follica runs back into the pyramid, but that Griff doesn't miss anything. Kids running around? That has to be suspicious! He tells his flunky to “take over” and he'll see what's going on. (Hm. Griff is the bad guy, must distract him.) Hey Griff, you ever play 52-pickup?
Kid, meanwhile, is skulking around. Griff then walks to the pyramid door, looks around, looks around some more, checks inside, looks around (by this time Follica is probably married and has grandchildren), then he decides to go inside. Which he does, slowly.
Kid manages to get to that place where the missiles are fired. There, he hears Cardos and Stooge discussing launch schedules, and how the second missile might detonate the Offician's cargo of crystals. Stooge says, okay, hold off on missile two, but missile three should be on schedule.
Kid, hiding behind the door, hears all this, but Griff isn't a fool and when he strides into the missile room, he reaches behind the door and pulls out Kid. It's like a magic trick, only with a kid instead of a rabbit or bikini-clad assistant.
Cut to the Earth folks demanding of Darganto where Kid is. Stooge points out that Kid disobeyed the laws and Cardos will see that he causes no further trouble. Follica takes this opportunity to sneak out of the room, unnoticed.
At the pyramid, an Offician guard is guarding, uh, well, I guess just a doorway, but he is so crappy at it that Follica easily slips past him. She climbs up to the same place on the pyramid where she and Kid had their radio talk with Rocky, and guess what! Right there is also the window to Kid's prison cell. What luck! She calls out to Kid, and Kid answers.
Follica wants to know what to do, and Kid gives her his watch, and says when both hands are straight up, she has to call Rocky. “But what will I tell him?” she asks.
“Sh, the guard's coming back,” he answers.
And we cross fade to the Rocky rocket streaming through space like streaming video, only without the clipping and pauses. Rocky is listening to Follica explains how Griff and Stooge are going to take off, tomorrow morning, with Kid, and then fire another missile at Earth. Rocky says he'll stop those bad people from doing bad things, somehow.
He thanks Follica and they all prepare to launch missiles at Stooge's ship.
On Fornax, Cardos gives Stooge the plans for making all the Offician ships use new improved crystal power, “making them the finest in the universe.”
Then, Rocky swoops down and fires at the Stooge ship. But he misses, the damn fool! Rocky, where's your sense of urgency, come on, aim better! Bust heads! On board, Griff thinks that “they[the Rocky rocket]'ll be back” and “we've got to do something!”
Stooge pulls a gun on both Griff and Cardos, and tells them, “Stay at your posts, and prepare to fire!”
“With a load of crystal on board? Not me!” says Cardos and runs away, and Griff takes this as his plan as well and they overpower Stooge and vamoose. Stooge quickly recovers and decides he'll check out this “vamoosing” stuff too as it's so popular.
They all disembark and run to the pyramid door, which remains closed as Rocky gets a direct hit on the Stooge ship. This explodes, kind of non-spectacularly, but hey, whatever. Kid hears the explosion in his cell and grins huge.
The pyramid door opens, and Queen, Chipper and assorted others spill out to see the explosion. Noting the three dastardly deed planners, Queen orders her guards to “seize the infidels!” Ooo, nothing like some topicality, eh?
Cross fade to Rocky telling Stooge that, sure, he'll tell Queen Cleolantra about him, but he'll stand trial before the United Worlds, who will stick him with plenty. “It's too bad you're so handsome—they like pretty faces in prison,” he doesn't say.
Griff and Cardos are also promised their just desserts, and then the guards herd them off to the Rocky rocket for a serving of hot buttered justice.
Fade to the Rocky rocket, as the Earth folk are all reunited as they prepare to strap down and receive the weight of Rocky's liftoff. Uh. Yeah. Winky sees that Chipper and Prof are strapped down and ready, but Kid is nowhere to be seen—Winky though, is kind of an idiot but also kind of perceptive, and he turns on the visiograph to see Kid and Follica saying their tender au revoirs on the planet surface.
Zorvek and his Queen also show up, and tell Kid to relay to Rocky that the people of Fornax are Rocky's “friends through eternity” (sounds like an email scam) and that he need but ask for any help, ever.
Winky turns off the screen. “You know,” he says, turning to Rocky, “that kid has a way with the women.”
And they chuckle over this because it's funny, and...hey, wait. It's not funny. Not really. In fact, it's kind of stupid.
Well, whatever, the ship blasts off, and we get the end credits (basically just “The End” followed by “Another Official Films, Inc, Presentation.” I hope that doesn't mean this film was made on Officius, because those people can be mean.)
And the saga of Rocky Jones, at least on this DVD, comes to an end.
I suppose this is the best place to say this, so here goes: if you’re going to watch a Rocky Jones double feature, you should watch this one first. Even though it was put together two years after Crash of Moons, Menace from Outer Space takes a huge whack at the established continuity. Officius is still around, and still inhabited by mean people, including the meanest of them all, Queen Cleolantra. Anyone watching this one after Crash of Moons is going to think that everyone’s suffered relapses in character.
The second reason to watch this one first is that it is worse than the first one, and you’d like your evening to end on a high note, wouldn’t you?
Why the films were assembled this way is anyone’s guess, but the best guess would be that they made a decent, semi-good film early on, and had to do what they could for later entries. Either that, or they figured people were too stupid to remember two years previous. Back then, you may recall, DVDs and even simple videotape were unheard of scientific marvels, not available to the public at large (if at all) and certainly not to be used for archiving cheap 50’s sci-fi TV. So you would have to have a prodigious memory (and appetite for trivia) to remember what Rocky Jones was up to two years prior.
As for quality…well, you know, the first Rocky Jones show in this set, Crash of Moons, would be laughed off the screen by today's audience, fed to busting on a diet of CGI and irony, but it had an unmistakable charm and, more importantly, a belief in the science of the day and the necessity of heroes like Rocky to see that the light of reason shone throughout the universe. Primitive sure, but fun and done with a level of respect I hadn't expected.
This one doesn't reach that level.
For one thing, both Winky and Kid strut their respective stuffs way too much. Comic relief doesn't have to be odious, but both these characters were certainly shooting for their merit badge in Obnoxiousness.
Secondly, this tale is overcomplicated. In Crash, you had Rocky’s posse, Lightning King Moon and some Officians confronting a simple problem made complicated through politics. Here, you’ve got paranoid moon people, a mad scientist, some kind of criminal and the Officians again. We’ve got missiles being shot at Earth, and a potential new power source, and the balance of power in the solar system. I mean, toss Winky and Kid into that mess and you’ve got a real cauldron.
Even then, though, they felt they had to throw in more elements. There was Kid and Follica doing some light romance, Chipper showing up in the Fornachoan slave-girl suit, the bit with Chipper’s weight…I mean, they just stuffed this thing with whatever was lying around. And it’s a mess.
Like I said, if you can’t get enough of Rocky Jones, watch this one first as the second, Crash of Moons, is most definitely superior and will leave you feeling with a general sense of goodwill toward the series. And that’s always a good thing, right? That’s the first step toward good interplanetary relations.