Flash Gordon: Planet of Death
Tonight it's the classic sci-fi series Flash Gordon from 1954! Dr. Zarkoff's request to test his new anti-gravitation device on a remote planet is denied because of the mysterious deaths of a recent scientific expedition. Can Flash Gordon solve this mystery?
- [Man] Now wasn't that nice?
- [Ron] Hello and welcome to this week's episode of
I Remember Television Again.
In the year 1954,
nearly a decade since the end of World War II
the characters of Alex Raymond's comic strip
Flash Gordon came to life on television screens
across the country.
Steve Holland stars as Flash Gordon,
with his sidekicks Dale Arden played by Irene Champlin
and Hans Zarkov portrayed by Joseph Nash.
As agents of the Galactic Bureau of Investigation,
who travel in their ship, the Sky Flash
across the galaxy to battle cosmic villains
of grand proportions.
Easily recognized by the opening theme song
and Flash Gordon's distinct costume pieces,
we enter the Galactic Bureau of Investigation
where Hans Zarkov is trying to convince the commander
to approve a test of his anti-gravitation device
on the abandoned planet of Tarset.
So let's take a look back at The Adventures of Flash Gordon
as I Remember Television Again.
- [Narrator]The planet Tarset.
Inhabited only by shadows of a civilization long dead.
A planet where life of every kind has departed.
- We must use Tarset, Commander Richards.
There is no other planet on which
we can conduct our negative gravity experiment.
- Theremust be another place!
Tarset is out.
- Tarset is deserted.
We can set up our experimental equipment
using robot mechanisms, and gage the impulse reactions
by electronic equipment set up in the Sky Flash.
- I'm fully aware of the importance of your work, Dr. Zarkov,
but you'll have to find another planet
that will do as well as Tarset.
- There is none to our knowledge. I told you that before.
Tarset is ideal.
- Well then, you'll have to find some place
that's not so ideal.
Tarset will not be used.
- But why?
Will you please tell me why?
- You don't know what just happened
to the exploratory mission we sent to Tarset?
- No, I've been in my mountain lab
completely out of touch with things.
- We'll soon know the details.
All I've had up to now are fragmentary reports,
but even from them, I'd be a murderer if I let you go.
- Flash Gordon is here sir,
with Dr. Jeffers of the Tarset expedition.
- Good. Send them in at once.
Now we'll get the full story.
- I'm so sorry, Dr. Jeffers. Can I get you something?
- I don't think he's strong enough
to answer any questions right now, Commander.
Ever since he landed his spaceship, he's been hysterical.
We did what we could to calm him down, but--
- This is Dr. Jeffers, one of the scientists
we sent on the exploratory mission to Tarset.
- Jeffers, of course.
- You know him?
- By reputation only.
I'm familiar with his treatise on astro-hydraulics.
- That's right, Doctor.
He's in a state of complete nervous shock.
Well Dr. Jeffers, what happened up there?
I'm Dr. Zarkov.
What happened on Tarset?
Where are the others who went with you?
- [Richards] How?
- Speak up, man. What happened?
- I'm afraid he won't be able to answer
any more questions, Doctor.
- No, no. It's important that they know.
I'll do my best.
Don't send anyone there.
You'll murder every man you send to Tarset!
- What kind of nonsense is this?
Do you call it nonsense when your own companions
are stricken before your very eyes?
When suddenly they are dead for no reason,
for no cause except the curse.
- The curse?
- Curse...of Belphegor.
It strikes in silence. It will kill anyone
who sets foot on that horrible planet.
- [Flash] It didn't killyou.
- I escaped. It's a miracle.
Just a miracle.
- Perhaps you better tell usexactly what happened?
Yes, I will.
There were four of us in that expedition.
Four of us who landed on Tarset.
There was Williams, leader of our company,
an outstanding physicist.
Bending, our engineer,
Our landing on Tarset was easy enough.
We made our way to a structure
that we had seen from the spaceship.
It was the only building not in utter ruin.
- [Jeffers] Inside, we made our way along a corridor.
the sides thick with dust
and all around there was the horrible feeling of death.
We reached a bend in the corridor,
like an invisible hand it grabbed us.
We stopped, afraid to make the turn.
Williams finally had the courage to go on.
I wanted to turn and run back to the ship.
I'd never known fear like that,
even when Iknew what I feared!
Finally, one by one, we followed him.
- [Jeffers] Williams saw it first.
Belphegor, ancient God of Tarset.
Its face, its face looked as if
it had been carved out of a solid block of evil.
And then, we heard its voice.
- [Belphegor] I am Belphegor.
Know all ye who trespass upon my tomb
that upon ye shall rest my curse forever more.
- [Jeffers] The voice!
That horrible voice.
Istill hear it.
Williams walked towards the idol on the throne.
Then suddenly, a blinding light shot down upon him,
shooting from its single eye.
Leclair ran to help him, and the light caught him.
Bending and I stood horrified.
They were dead. So we turned. we ran.
As if evil on the wind were after us, we ran.
I heard Bending running behind me.
Suddenly, he screamed.
I looked back.
The lighthad him.
He fell towards me.
I just ran on.
- A terrifying experience.
- Don't sendanyone to that planet.
- [Zarkov] Ridiculous.
Wemust use Tarset for our negative gravity experiments.
- [Flash] Aren't we sticking our necks out?
If what happened to him happened tous --
- We have no choice!
The threat to our galaxy from the people of Ebon
has never been so serious as it is now.
Our only defense will be negative gravity.
- Find some other place for the experiments!
- [Zarkov] Thereis no other place.
Tarset is the one astro-graphical location
where the repelling force of negative gravity
is effective in relation to Earth.
Besides, who believes this business
of idols and strange curses?
It's superstitious rot.
- Isaw it!
- You'll have a chance to see it again.
I'm going to Tarset.
- I'm with you, Doctor.
- [Dale] I'm ready to start right now.
- Well, Dr. Jeffers?
We can't make it without you,
but if you'll come along as our guide
we can save much valuable time.
- [Flash] The defense of the galaxy depends upon it.
Everything we have, our civilization, our science.
Everything will be wiped out if the people of Ebon
How can you refuse?
- No. Of course, you're right.
I can't refuse. I'll go along with you to Tarset.
- Good. Prepare the flight plans. Will you, Commander?
We'll be off in 48 hours.
Come on Dale, Doctor.
- [Flash] Invasions from Ebon.
Idols, strange voices and strange lights.
Do you think anybody will believe that stuff, Doctor?
- [Zarkov] Idols, curses? Rot.
How canyou, a trained scientist, believe it?
- A man believes what hesees,
and I have seen these things.
So will you.
- Wait! Around that bend is the temple.
Please don't enter.
We'll never get out alive.
-You did the last time. Maybe we'll be as lucky.
- Let's go, Doctor.
- [Jeffers] Stop!
Please stop here before we all die!
- [Zarkov] Going someplace?
- Who's this? Bending?
- [Jeffers] Just as he fell.
- Williams and Leclair?
- [Belphegor] I am Belphegor.
- The voice!
- [Belphegor] Know all ye who trespass upon my tomb
that upon ye shall rest--
- Get back.
- [Belphegor] My curse forever more.
- What's the matter around here?
- No, don't!
Now do you believe me?
I've got to get outside!
Open the door! Let me out! Let me out!
- Flash and the professor are trapped!
- Dale, one trip out there and you're dead.
- But we've got to help them!
- There's nothing we can do.Nothing!
- [Jeffers] Inside!
Professor Jeffers, inside!
(banging) Let meout!
- All right, Professor Jeffers.
If you ever expect to get out of here alive,
start telling the truth!
- The truth?
What are you talking about?
You saw-- - I saw plenty!
Enough to know that you've been lying from the word go.
- I haven't!
- Tell the truth! What's it all about?
- I don't know.
The curse of Belphegor.
- What kind of a moron do you take me to be, Jeffers?
The next you'll be spinning about will be witches
riding around on brooms!
You'relying! - No!
- You said Benning was killed while running
down the corridor with you. But when we found him,
his head wastowards the idol.
He wasn't killed while running away,
he was killed before he evergot there!
Why did you lie aboutthat?!
- I didn't!
- All three were killed, but you were allowed to escape!
Why?! - I don'tknow!
- Youdo know! Tell me the truth!
- I won't tell you anything!
Let me out!
It's I, Professor Jeffers!
- The walls!
They're coming in to crush us!
- Now will you tell the truth?
They're gonna kill you along with the rest of us.
- No, they can't.
They promised to save me.
- Who, who promised?
- The men of Ebon, they trapped us in the temple.
They told us to help them or die.
Williams, Leclair, and Benning chose death.
- Why is Tarset so important to them?!
- To the invasion, it's coming in this direction.
They want to use Tarset as a staging area
for their final assault upon Earth.
- How could you betray your galaxy like that?
And worse, watch Earth, watch your friends die
while you agreed to help their killers!
- I don't know. I know it's crazy.
They offered me money, power, and a chance to be
recognized as a great scientist.
I'mafraid! I'm afraid to die!
- You think you have a right to live?
- Save me.
I'm sorry!Save me!
- Talk to the walls, Jeffers.
Maybe they'll hear you.
Call on Belphegor, maybe he'll listen!
- [Narrator]The planet Tarset, a dead, desolate world
long deserted by its people.
Here in the crumbling temple of Belphegor,
the mystic god of death,
while Flash fights for his life,
Dale and Dr. Zarkov are desperately trying to avoid
the touch of the lethal ray
emanating from the single eye of Belphegor.
In a cell nearby, Flash and the traitor Jeffers,
an Earth scientist who sold out to the people of Ebon,
are trapped between two slowly moving walls
that threaten to crush them at any moment.
- A miracle! A miracle.
- No miracle, Jeffers.
The walls are so dry and crumbling
that the pressure from the moving wall pulverized them.
The whole temple is ready to fall.
- What are you gonna do with me now?
- Right now I'm interested in Dale and Dr. Zarkov, not you.
Who else is on this planet besides us?
- Metzen. - [Flash] Who's he?
- A man from Ebon,
one of Aaron Troyson's agents,
the one who bribed me.
- How many with him?
- I don't know.
Maybe three, four.
- What's behind it all?
- I told you.
They want to use this planet to spearhead an invasion
on our galaxy.
- When? When will it begin?
That's all I know, soon.
It was crazy.
I didn't know why I did it.
- Come in, Dr. Zarkov.
And bring your charming companion.
I am Metzen.
I am chief of intelligence to his exalted mightiness
Grocko, ruler of Ebon.
- Yes. Ebon.
And you were an unexpected prize, Dr. Zarkov.
I hardly expected so impressive a bag to fall into my net.
- I'm easily bored with second rate theatrics.
So why not get to the point?
- Point one, don't look for help from Flash Gordon.
He and that idiot Jeffers are dead
- [Metzen] I have spared your life, Dr. Zarkov,
up to this point because you can be of use to my sovereign.
- [Zarkov] My services are expensive.
- You can name any price.
The information we want isworth it.
- And the information?
- Complete plans and details of the negative gravity force
you have developed.
And you must give us the method to combat it.
We must know how to smash through it
so we can land our forces on Earth.
- And if I refuse?
- You will watch Miss Arden
slowly and painfully
put to death.
Well, Dr. Zarkov?
What is your answer?
- [Dale] His answer is no.
- [Zarkov] But Dale--
- [Dale] My life against the millions
they could take on Earth?
We have no choice, Doctor.
- We'll see how brave you are, Zarkov,
while you watch her slow destruction.
The death eye of Belphegor will bring
you Earthlings to your knees!
Take them to the pillar!
- [Zarkov] I'm sorry, dear.
- I can't say I'm not scared.
- Your scientific mind, Dr. Zarkov,
won't accept the preposterous idea of an idol
possessing a lethal curse.
- The curse of Belphegor is maddening.
It's a lethal weapon, not a curse.
- You have seen the results.
- Obviously, you have a paralysis ray machine
set into the idol's head.
- Quite right.
A paralysis ray machine, whose controlled ray
cuts through organic matter,
destroying the millions of nerves,
eating its way deep into the very nerve centers
until total paralysis is achieved.
- You're a fiend.
- Not by choice.
- Dale, I can't let them do it.
- You must.
- [Zarkov] I can't! I can't.
- You must.
And you will.
- Your last chance, Zarkov.
Can you stand there and watch her shrivel slowly?
The instant I lower this lever,
- He's not going to tell you anything, so turnon your ray!
Get it over with.
Stop talking! Turn it on!
- [Metzen] Very well.
But only a few degrees at first,
so you can feel its power.
- Swear to me, Dr. Zarkov, you won't tell them.
- [Zarkov] No.
- [Zarkov] All right.
- [Metzen] You've barely felt anything.
Now let us see how brave you are, Miss Arden.
Guard! Help me!
- Flash! The ray machine, turn it off!
(ray gun firing)
- No, no!
No, no, no!
You'll kill us both!
- Untie them.
- We'll die,
just asthey did!
- You exaggerate, Metzen.
- Untie them.
- Flash, how did you figure-- - It's okay, Dale.
I heard him say the ray penetrates organic matter,
so I flipped my watch glass over the lens of the machine.
Stopped the ray dead.
- That was quick thinking.
- Yeah, we've gotta get out of here.
- Where's Professor Jeffers?
- I don't know. He said Metzen led us into this trap.
- It's hard to believe that.
- It's true. He admitted it to me.
We've gotta get back to the Skyflash
and notify Commander Richards immediately.
The invasion is about to begin.
- Stand where you are! Don't make a move!
- Who are these Earthlings?
- They are those who would stand against
your exalted mightiness.
Flash Gordon, Dale Arden, and the bearded one is Dr. Zarkov.
- Ah, so.
I know of them.
Whosoever shall stand between Grocko and his destiny
shall be ground into dust!
- Back, get back!
- Let's get out of here!
- Wait wait!
- [Dale] That little man Professor Jeffers was able to
topple over that huge idol?
Howcould he? Where did he get the strength?
- [Flash] Sometimes a man finds strength in himself
he didn't know was there.
Professor Jeffers saw his chance,
and found a power to balance his books.
- [Zarkov] With a little to spare.
- Flash Gordon in Skyflash 2 calling Commander Richards
at GBI Headquarters on Earth.
(on radio)Flash Gordon calling Commander Richards.
- Richards, here.
Flash, I've been on tenterhooks
waiting for your report!
- [Flash]I'll give you all the details as soon as
we land, Commander. In the meantime,
you can call off all emergency defensive measures
as far as an invasion from Ebon is concerned.
There will be no invasion.
Grocko, the tyrant of Ebon is dead.
- Flash, are you sure? This is tremendous news.
- When you release the news, Commander,
one thing you must do.
- [Richards]Yes, Flash. What is it?
- Be sure that all credit is given to Professor Jeffers,
a great patriot who sacrificed his life
in the service of his galaxy.
Skyflash 2 signing off.
The truth will be our secret.
Ready for takeoff.
Chart a course for home. Will you, Dale?
- Home, it is.
- [Ron] I'm glad Flash Gordon was right about men
finding hidden strength,
because if the professor didn't knock over that idol,
who knows what could've happened?
Flash Gordon was actually a co-production
partly filmed in West Berlin.
So the real life rubble still there from World War II
reflects the perceived chaos of uncharted space.
Each episode of Flash Gordon was given
a three day shooting period,
and since they shot the episodes in Germany,
the majority of the crew didn't even speak English.
So you can imagine how hectic it was
during those three days.
Our next episode, we get to watch what chaos ensues
when androids enter the picture,
and see what happens when Flash Gordon's convictions
- [Narrator]On the little planet Sithio,
a mistake is being corrected.
These are androids, creatures without minds, without souls,
indestructible, the servants of people
betrayed by their own creations.
- Gentlemen, what I'm about to do is for all mankind.
As you know, this is the central power source
for all the androids.
The men and women of our worlds
have grown useless, stagnant,
Possessed of servants that need no food or rest,
human beings do not struggle.
Progress ceases as the sense of accomplishment dies.
Without this sense of fulfillment,
human beings are no better
than these things they have created.
We, the representatives of all the planets,
have all taken the vow never to reveal
the three secrets of the use of androids.
The location of the vaults throughout the universe,
the frequency readings to which the androids are attuned,
and most important, the location
of this, the central power source.
Gentlemen, the future of humanity
depends upon our keeping that vow.
- This is Cartho.
- [Man]Yeah, yeah?
- I substituted myself for one of the androids and gained--
- [Man]Never mind all that.
What have you learned?
- I know all three secrets of the androids.
First, the location of the vaults.
There are android vaults on Earth, Saturn, Uranus,
Livi, Sithio, Minos...
- What is that android doing there?
It should be back in the vault.
- I don't understand it.
I'msure I saw five androids in the vault.
- No one is to go back into that vault
except in my presence.
- We will carry it in, King Lazarine.
- I shall accompany you.
- Klius, and Delio.
The frequency length of the androids
is in the delta spectrum.
Zine, omega, zine,
omega, cosign, epsil--
(ray gun fires)
- [Man]What about the power source?
The location of the power source?
- Who is this?
Someone has learned all the secrets!
- Only two.
They did not learn the location of the power source.
Without that knowledge, all other is useless.
No one need know of this.
- I understand.
- [Narrator]And so the secrets of the androids were kept.
Now, over 400 years later, in the year 3061,
three men, each a member of the Galaxy Bureau
of Investigation, know the secrets,
and each knows only one.
Commander Richards, who knows the locations
of all the android vaults throughout the universe,
Dr. Zarkov, who knows the android frequency readings,
and Flash Gordon, who holds the key,
the vital secret of the location of the power source.
- I defy the power of the Galactic Council
and refuse to appear before them to answer
any such ridiculous charges.
- But you must answer to the Galactic Council,
The GBI's received reliable information
that you've signed a mutual assistance pact
with the renegade planet Satura.
- The GBI's mistaken.
- That's hard to believe since I find of Satura's
best known agents in your throne room.
- Tridon is nothing but a personal friend.
- There are some friends that it is better not to have,
- [Fubia] I will select my own friends, Dr. Zarkov.
- Not this time.
Tridon is an outlaw.
Only the fact that this is your throne room
prevents me from arresting him.
I'll give you five minutes to make up your mind, Queen Fubia.
Either you order Tridon off your planet,
return with me to appear before the Galactic Council,
or I'll have Sithio declared a renegade planet, too.
We'll wait outside.
- I'll have them killed.
- No, my dear queen.
You will need that young fool and his friends.
- For what?
- For what they know.
The secrets of the androids.
Without the androids, our plan to take over the galaxy
is doomed from the start.
Don't let that hot head of yours ruin everything.
- You're right as usual, Tridon.
But how do we learn those secrets?
- That will be my part of the bargain, my queen.
- Dr. Zarkov, does the planet Sithio
mean anything special to you?
Why? Does it toyou?
- Tridon doesn't make any alliance without a purpose.
A purpose for the planet Satura.
- What purpose, Flash?
- Well Dale, I'm sure that...
Has the queen made up her mind?
- Youknow what'll happen to you for this, Fubia!
- I know what's going to happen toyou,
my handsome blond friend.
- Yes, my queen?
- [Fubia] Your part of the bargain.
- You know what this is? Don't you, Doctor?
- A centrifugal table.
Used to test the effects of a specified number of G's
on an android.
- Or a human being.
Strap him on!
- [Tridon] You know what the force of gravity can mean?
Every time you blast off in a rocket,
you experience nine G's.
How would you like to experience 15?
Do you think you could survive?
- What do you want, Tridon?
The location of the android power source.
Well, my friend?
Will you tell me the location of the android power source, or
must I give you a ride on the merry-go-round?
- You're a fool.
Granting that I know the location,
do you think I'd tellyou?
-You are the fool.
He won't tell.
And we can't afford to kill him.
But there isanother way.
I can give you a kingdom.
You could rule Earth.
Better, you can rule the universe at my side.
Tie him on the table!
- No, my queen.
As you said, if he dies, the secret dies with him.
I suddenly have a better idea.
I don't think he'll stand silent and watch thegirl die.
That will be better.
- Get on with it!
You'll pay for that, Gordon!
The location of the android power source,
or the girl dies!
Don't tell him, Flash!
(machine hums louder)
- Flash, don't forget.
Control of the androids means domination of the universe!
(humming noise fades)
- She's still alive.
- Let me look at her.
- The location of the android power source!
- If I tell him, Fubia, I warn you he'll betray you.
As soon as he has no further use for Sithio,
you'll become slaves to the planet Satura.
- The power source,where is it?
- Send Dale back to Earth.
As soon as I hear from Commander Richards that she's safe,
then I'll tell you.
- You take us for idiots?
Then, watch the girl die.
(machine hums noisily)
- [Narrator]In an attempt to conquer the
civilized galaxies, Fubia, Queen of the planet Sithio,
and Tridon, agent of the renegade planet Satura,
are trying to learn the secret location
of the android power source somewhere on Sithio.
Only Flash Gordon knows the location,
but Dale Arden will be put to death
on the whirling centrifugal table if he does not reveal it.
Stop it, I'lltell ya!
- No, Flash. It's no use.
They'll kill us all later--
- Sheis alive.
- Now, the location!
- You got a map of the Sithian mountains?
- [Flash] You'll find a door overgrown with brush.
It leads into the heart of the mountain,
and a solid cobalt quarry.
- Thank you, my friend.
You aremost cooperative.
I hope your information is accurate.
I would hate to have to operate
my little merry-go-round again.
Take this man to the cell.
The universe is ours!
- Yes, my queen
after a few formalities.
Like destroying the planet governments and the GBI.
Come, my queen.
It is not far to the mountains.
- Dr. Zarkov?
- Come on.
- Oh, Flash.
Oh, why did hetell them?
They'll just destroy everything in their path.
- I know.
- [Dale] Why did you tell them?
- I couldn't let you die!
It won't do them any good. They don't know the
frequency the androids are attuned to.
- That's true.
But they'll just come back for the information
when they find that out.
- Maybe by then we'll be ready for them.
- [Zarkov] Try and get some rest.
- The power source.
The universeis ours!
- Hey Doc, I've got an idea.
- Here is the first setting for our planet Sithio.
Sithio, gamma, eight, eight, seven, six, rho.
- Gamma, eight, eight, seven, six, rho.
(bangs) - Guard!
- It's an android!
- Tridon and Fubia have the settings,
they've brought them tolife!
Commander Richards has to know,
androids under Satura's control
could be the end of civilization.
- If the androids are on the loose,
Commander Richards will know about it soon enough.
Let's get out of here!
- Gamma, eight, eight, six, five, kie.
- Gamma, eight, eight, nine, three, beta.
- Gamma, eight, eight, nine, seven, beta.
- You must be mad.
There are no more androids!
- [Man]Commander, I can see them!
- You never told me how you learned these frequency readings
and the location of the android vaults.
- Years ago, a Saturian spy
learned two of the androids' secrets.
Before he was killed, he managed to relay them.
But not the third secret, the location of the power source.
- Only Flash Gordon knew the location of the power source.
- [Man]Well, where is he?
- We haven't been able to make contact with the Skyflash
for several hours.
He was on a mission to Sithio,
and Sithio doesn't answer.
- [Man]Find Gordon.
- I'll find him!
And when I do, he'll answer to the Galaxy Council for this.
- Androids, attention on all planets.
Androids on all planets,
advance on the cities.
take the communication centers.
- Get me Uranus.
- [Operator]Uranus does not answer, sir.
- Earth androids, attack the GBI!
attack GBI headquarters.
Androids, attack GBI!
- Get me Saturn.
- [Operator]Saturn does not answer, sir.
- What about the three prisoners?
- I'm sure the android we sent has disposed of them.
- They'll break in, in a few minutes, Commander!
That's no use, sir.
Ray guns don't stop them.
- My dear, I need your help.
- My help?
- Something only you can give me.
- My ab...
- Androids,take her!
- Earth androids, listen to this.
When you have accomplished your mission,
stand by for further orders.
Stand by and wait for further orders.
Gordon! - Stand back, Tridon.
(ray gun fires)
- It's all over, Tridon.
- [Dale] It's a good thing you blasted the machine
before the android got the gun away from you.
- Now once and for all, the androids are destroyed.
- As they should've been 300 years ago
when the androids were outlawed
and this their power source was turned off.
- Well, we better get back to the Skyflash
to notify Commander Richards
that the androids will never return!
- [Ron] A classic thriller intensified with its provocative
use of music and a compatible cast.
Flash Gordon began America's longterm love affair
with science fiction television.
A show first of its kind,
that gave its viewers an escape
from the chaos of the Cold War.
Would later be recut into a movie
and remade for television screens once again.
If anything is certain,
it's that viewers are not willing to let the character
of Flash Gordon or his sidekicks go.
So we bid you farewell,
as the crew sets the coordinates for back home.
That is until next time,
when we again venture back to the golden days,
to the days that remind us of where this magic all began.
As I Remember Television Again.