Posted tagged ‘science fiction meets the wet’

“I think the dampness and dead air of your land is more suited for rats and moles.”

September 9, 2014

This morning was busy for me. I woke up early, read one of my papers then went to vote in the state primary. More people than I expected were there as a low turnout was predicted. Next, at nine, was my monthly library board meeting. It lasted an hour. I came home, made coffee and finished reading the second paper.

It is a chilly morning with a strong breeze. The sun held sway earlier but clouds have appeared. The day is darkening. Rain is expected.

When I was a kid, Saturday morning TV would show old movie serials. Each week we’d see a new episode. The one I remember the best was The Phantom Empire starring Gene Autry as himself, the singing cowboy. Gene stumbles on a subterranean civilization called Murania. The serial then becomes a mix of the west and science fiction, and that’s why I love it. Gene is kidnapped by the Thunder Riders from Murania, who often ride above ground wearing breathing masks. You know they’re around as their horses’ hooves make a thunderous sound. Gene is brought underground. I remember he rode a see-through elevator tube that went from above ground to miles underground where there were ray guns, robots, a queen, moving sidewalks and male workers wearing skimpy outfits. It was the west meets science fiction. There are bad guys, there are always bad guys, who want Autry’s Radio Ranch so they can strip mind the land for radium. They keep trying to kidnap him so he misses his show and loses the ranch, and if they aren’t kidnapping him, the Thunder Riders are so poor Gene hustles from deep underground to the surface during many of the episodes.

Like most serials this one always ended with a cliff hanger so we had to wait a week to see the good guys triumph as we already knew they would.

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