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Flash Gordon. King of the Cliffhanger

Alex Raymond, in 1934, with his creation Flash Gordon, conceived and rendered a spacefaring future so intriguing and exciting that it has persisted in the visual imagery of Science Fiction ever since.

In 1936, Universal Studios would produce the most expensive serial production to date bringing Flash Gordon to the big screen starring Buster Crabbe and Jean Arden. A reported $350,000 budget was set, about double the normal serial budget.

So successful, Flash Gordon has become synonymous with Cliffhanger Serial. After three serials and film adaptations of those serials, Flash Gordon would find a home on television during its early years in the 1950s.

Flash Gordon reappeared on the big screen in 1980 with Sam Jones playing Flash and Max von Sydow playing Ming the Merciless. Timothy Dalton of James Bond fame plays Prince Barin.

Flash Gordon Serials

“Flash Gordon: Spaceship to the Unknown” The planet Mongo is on a collision course with Earth! Flash Gordon and Dale Arden join Dr. Zarkov and blast off in his rocket ship to Mongo, trying to avert worldwide destruction.

“Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars” (1938, 299 min., 15 episodes) – A mysterious beam of light emanating from Mars is sucking the nitrogen from the Earth’s atmosphere, and only Flash Gordon can stop it, battling Queen Azura, the Clay People of Mars, and his mortal enemy Ming the Merciless!

“Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe” (1940, 234 min., 12 episodes) – A rocket is dropping purple dust into the Earth’s atmosphere, causing instant death! Can Flash Gordon stop the madman from Mongo while retrieving the antidote to the death dust from the frozen planet of Frigia?

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