downthetubes continues to track down Dan Dare-related items of ephemera and interest. One unexpected discovery is that the theme tune for the Radio Luxembourg Dan Dare radio show was also used for the 1950’s SF show Space Command, whose regular cast included a young James Doohan, better known as Star Trek‘s Montgomery “Scotty” Scott.
Written by Alfred Harris – who, as Alf Harris, would go on to write episode of shows such as Mission: Impossible, Dragnet and The Bionic Woman. It was directed by Murray Chercover and broadcast live, sadly, despite what appears to have been a lengthy run, only one episode of the show has survived, and is on YouTube.
Before any Dan Dare fan gets too excited, it’s unlikely this means that any episodes of the Dan Dare radio show – few have survived – are lurking somewhere in Canada. The YouTube rights information notes the music featured is licensed through Chappell Music, suggesting the producers of Space Command bought in the theme. It also suggests, of course, that someone on the production team was familiar with Radio Luxembourg Dan Dare show.
A Canadian children’s science fiction television adventure series, Space Command was broadcast on CBC Television in 1953 and 1954, the first time the network aired its own dramatic series.
The show ran for two seasons, the number of episodes noted online as 150 in all, focusing on the work of the worldwide Space Command.
Its cast included Bob Barclay as Frank Anderson, Aileen Taylor, James Doohan as Phil Mitchell, and, apparently saw appearances by William Shatner, although ShatnerWeb has been unable to find supporting evidence for this, as it’s not even mentioned in any of the actor’s official biographies. Barry Morse, later of the TV series The Fugitive and Space: 1999, also appeared.
Author Barry Smight notes the show was “live” – video tape was a few years away – but was recorded on film, so it could be “bicycled” (delayed; distributed to various stations across Canada). It seems strange that just one episode has survived and details of the show are so scant.
As we’ve previously reported, “Radio Location” the opening theme for the Dan Dare radio show, was created by composer and pianist Clive Richardson, and a version of it features The Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra Volume 3, released by Vocalion in 2003, listed as one of the “bonus tracks”.
The Robert Farnon Society web site – created by fans of the Canadian composer, conductor and musical arranger – has a review of the album, explains the bonus tracks are “Radio Location” and two other Dan Dare radio show-related items, “Commandos” and “Searchlight”, created by Charles Williams – the latter used frequently as links in Dan Dare’s fights with the Mekon and other miscreants.
The Society says Vocalion included the tracks “just for fun” but hoped that they would provide some happy memories for the generation now rather disparagingly described as ‘silver surfers’.
Unfortunately, the album is not currently available from Vocalion but copies can be found on amazon.co.uk.
Track Listing Information
• COMMANDOS (composed by Charles Williams)
• RADIO LOCATION (composed by Clive Richardson, who died in 1998)
• SEARCHLIGHT (composed by Charles Williams)
“Commandos” also features on Charles Williams: Radio and Television Memories No. 2, which according to this post in 2003 on the Robert Farnon Society web site is only available direct from Evergreen Melodies, PO Box 52, Cheltenham, GL50 1YQ, England – tel. 01242 515156 or online at The CD costs £8.95 including postage; a shorter cassette version is available for £7.50. Non UK residents should enquire about extra postage costs. The album includes “Devil’s Galop”, the Dick Barton theme.
With thanks to Shaquille le Vesconte for the discovery of the Space Command episode on You Tube
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