|Colorized promo image of Tom Corbett.
for the series came from a blending of sources. Joseph Greene,
a writer for various genres across various media, had conceived of a
space-faring hero named Tom Ranger in 1946. He had written the character into a
radio script along with his colleagues, Kit Koo and Bob Bradley. The script was
submitted to Orbit Feature Services
Inc. under the working title The Space Cadets, and later Space
Academy, but it went unproduced. Greene tried again by adapting his
characters into a syndicated newspaper strip in 1949, but it never saw
|Heinlein's Space Cadet.
In 1950, CBS was looking to compete with DuMont’s
popular series, Captain Video and His Video Rangers. Green saw an
opportunity to give his Tom Ranger concept another go, but there was a slight
hitch: in the interim, Robert A. Heinlein
published a juvenile novel called Space Cadet
in 1948 which featured concepts very close to that of Tom Ranger. Rockhill
Productions, who Greene submitted one of his scripts to, was interested in
developing the concept for their expansion into television. They purchased the
rights for the term “Space Cadet” from Heinlein and used the connection to
bolster publicity for the project. At the insistence of Rockhill’s Stanley
Wolf, the title was expanded to Tom Ranger, Space Cadet. From there, Tom
Ranger would go on to become Tom Corbett at the last minute.
Corbett, Space Cadet was set in the 24th Century. Earth had
become a commonwealth with cities combined into several megalopolises and had
established colonies and outposts throughout most of the inner solar system
called the Solar Alliance. The peacekeeping force charged with protecting the
Alliance was The Solar Guard, who were also tasked with exploring the unknown
and conducting scientific research. Cadets enlisted into the Space Academy with
the hopes of joining the Solar Guard—provided they could cut the mustard both
in skill and meeting the stringent discipline requirements of the Academy.
|The original crew: Roger, Tom and Astro.
|Ad featuring Dr. Joan Dale.
|A cutaway diagram of the Polaris.
|The diminutive T.J. joins the crew.
|One of the newspaper strips.
|The cover to Dell's Tom Corbett #9.
|One of the View-Master slide images.