on Film

Flash Gordon

Greatest Super-Hero Films
(chronological by time period and film title)
Introduction | Flash Gordon | Buck Rogers | Superman | Batman | Spider-Man | X-Men
Marvel Cinematic Universe | The DC Extended Universe
Iron Man | Hulk | Thor | Captain America | The Avengers | Guardians of the Galaxy
Others: A - F | Others: G - N | Others: O - Z

Greatest Super-Hero Films: Flash Gordon
(chronological by time period and film title)

Flash Gordon - was a super-hero derived from the science-fiction adventure comic strip by Alex Raymond, first published as a King Features syndicated Sunday comic strip on January 7, 1934. Cartoonist Austin Briggs began a daily Flash Gordon strip beginning on May 27, 1940. Raymond's authoring of the Sunday comic strip lasted until April 30, 1944, although the strip (both daily and Sunday) continued to exist with new stories until March 16, 2003.

First Flash Gordon Comic Strip
January 7, 1934, Sunday comic strip
Earth Bombarded by Meteors

Another Example of Flash Gordon Sunday Strip
February 25, 1934

Reprints of the Austin Briggs Comic Strip Dailies

Flash Gordon Dailies

Flash Gordon Dailies

Many iterations of the character were developed (to compete with Buck Rogers) in the adventurous, sci-fiction/fantasy Flash Gordon serials of the late 1930s (with Buster Crabbe as Flash Gordon and Jean Rogers as blonde Dale Arden). Flash fought daring intergalactic battles to save mankind.

The action-oriented episodes were filled with fantastic spaceships, androids, death rays, futuristic scenes and cities, monsters, exotic enemies and other imaginative creations.

Title Screen
Super-Hero Films

Flash Gordon (1936) - Theatrical Serial

A 13-installment serial from Universal, the first Flash Gordon screen adventure, and the first pure science-fiction serial. The original and the best of its type, with Buster Crabbe as adventurer Flash Gordon, Jean Rogers as girlfriend Dale Arden, Frank Shannon as scientist Dr. Zarkov, and Charles Middleton as Planet Mongo tyrant Ming the Merciless. Later retitled for its home video release in the mid-1950s as Flash Gordon's Space Soldiers, to differentiate it from the same-titled TV series.

It was condensed from the 245-minute serial into two feature films (cutting out the repetitive opening titles, duplicate footage, etc.), both released in 1966: Rocket Ship (1966), 66 minutes, released theatrically, and Spaceship to the Unknown (1966) (aka Atomic Rocketship), 97 minutes, released to TV and non-theatrical rental markets:

Theatrical release - 1966
TV feature film - 1966

Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938) - Theatrical Serial

A 15-episode serial from Universal, the sequel to the 1936 serial, with Jean Rogers as a brunette. It was the final appearance of Jean Rogers as Dale Arden. Later retitled for TV viewing in the mid-1950s as Space Soldiers' Trip to Mars, to differentiate it from the same-titled TV series.

There were two edited or condensed versions of the 15-part 1938 Universal serial, both released in 1966: the 99 minute The Deadly Ray From Mars (1966) released to TV in a syndication package, without the cliffhangers, the repetitive openings, etc. Another version that condensed the 15 parts of the 1938 serial into a 68 minute theatrically-released film was Mars Attacks the World (1966).

TV feature film - 1966
Theatrical release - 1966

Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940) - Theatrical Serial

A 12-part serial from Universal, the third of three serials in the late 1930s, and the last of the trilogy of serials. With Carol Hughes as Dale Arden. Later retitled for TV viewing in the mid-1950s as Space Soldiers Conquer the Universe, to differentiate it from the same-titled TV series.

The multi-part serial from 1940 was edited into two halves, for two feature films shown on TV: the 88-minute The Purple Death from Outer Space (1966) (the feature-length edited version of Chapters 1-6), and the 85-minute The Peril from Planet Mongo (1966) (the feature-length edited version of Chapters 7-12).

Two TV movies in 1966

Flash Gordon (1954-1955) (aka The Space Adventures of Flash Gordon) - TV series

This was a syndicated, live-action TV version produced in Germany. Steve Holland portrayed the superhero Flash Gordon. It aired throughout the US - and specifically was broadcast by the DuMont TV Network on the East Coast.

Set in the year 3203, Flash was joined by pretty Dale Arden (Irene Champlin) and bearded Dr. Zarkov (Joe Nash). They journeyed to the planet Mongo to defeat Emperor Ming.

There was one season of half-hour TV shows, for a total of 39 episodes, running from October 1, 1954 to July 15, 1955. The premier episode was titled: "Flash Gordon and the Planet of Death."

The New Adventures of Flash Gordon (1979-1982)

Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of All (1982)

The New Adventures of Flash Gordon (1979-1982) (aka The Adventures of Flash Gordon, or Flash Gordon) - TV series
Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of All (1982) - TV movie

Filmation's Saturday morning cartoon TV series was notable as the first Flash Gordon animated TV series. In the familiar story, Flash Gordon (Robert Ridgely was the voice of Flash) rocketed to the planet Mongo with girlfriend Dale Arden and scientist Hans Zarkov to prevent evil dictator Ming the Merciless from dominating the universe.

It was broadcast on NBC-TV for two seasons (a total of 24 episodes) from September 22, 1979 to November 6, 1982.

Season 1: 16 episodes, Sept. 22, 1979 to January 5, 1980
Season 2: 8 episodes, Sept. 18, 1982 to Nov. 6, 1982

The first 16 episodes of the first season were serialized the same way as the old 1930's Alex Raymond comic strips. The second season suffered when NBC decided to change the format of the show by cutting them down to 12 minute chapters (2 unrelated stories per episode), dumbed-down the story for younger audiences, and introduced a kid-friendly, comic-relief character, a squeaking pink dragon named Gremlin.

After the TV series was cancelled, the footage was re-edited and assembled as a full-length, 95 minute made-for-TV animated film that aired in 1982, titled: Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of All (1982).

Flash Gordon (1980, UK/US)

This feature-length Flash Gordon film revived interest in the super-hero, following in the wake of the immensely-successful space opera Star Wars (1977). Now a major cult film.

Director Mike Hodges' campy, sometimes witty, and cartoonish super-hero film starred Sam Jones as the heroic space warrior (with Melody Anderson as his attractive female companion Dale Arden). They fought against Emperor Ming the Merciless (Max von Sydow) on the planet Mongo and his plans for world domination - with cliff-hanger action.

Accompanied by a rock musical score from the band Queen.

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