austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Who cared, to make it begin?

[ The new modem should be in tomorrow, maybe. ]

Buck Rogers Chapter 9, ``Bodies Without Minds'', opens with the discovery that Rogers, Deering, and Prince Tallen are not dead.

With Rogers's ship shot down, though, the Hidden City has the idea to be ready with a rescue expedition, but Kane's ships land looking not at all like they're on a ring being lowered to the same landing set used for every spot on Earth and Saturn this serial. But Kane's men capture Rogers and Deering, and claim that Kane has wanted to get his hands on Rogers ``for a long time'', although as best I can tell there's been maybe a week passed for the characters since Rogers and Buddy (remember Buddy?) woke up in the 24th and a half century.

Kane tells his council how ``because of his strategy'' Rogers is a prisoner, which seems to be just him claiming he thought out Laska's pretty good improvising. Anyway, Rogers refuses to lead Kane's men to the Hidden City, so gets an amnesia helmet/hypnotic-control hat on while Buster Crabbe does an eerily prescient impersonation of William Shatner whenever Kirk was being tormented by special effects from the planet's local computer-god.

While the Hidden City leadership has written off Rogers and Deering as dead, Buddy, just out of the hospital, refuses to believe it. He uses Huer's past-o-scope to view some fighting Rogers did with Kane's men in earlier installments, which proves somehow that Rogers wouldn't have been killed here on Earth I guess, and also ... wait, they have a past-o-scope that can not only view past events on another planet but can edit down the scenes from earlier episodes? It's a weirdly long flashback that doesn't prove anything and I suspect they were trying urgently to pad out the installment, which runs a couple minutes shorter than the others in the chain.

Anyway, Buddy coaxes a friend to flying over Kane's capitol and ``not notice'' him jumping out with parachute and antigravity belt. He dodges some spotlights using the serial-universe rule where if he just stands beside an object (here, some gargoyles) and thinks he's hiding then he can't be spotted. But he sneaks into the Council Room, at night. While he's poking around, Kane, who I guess got up in the middle of the night for a warm milk and to check his Electro-Twitter feed since he's wandering around in a long, loose robe that looks like just the thing for evil overlord bedrobes, finds him. Somehow Kane manages to lose Buddy in the room while calling in the guards, but they catch and shoot him squarely in the back, and that's our cliffhanger.

Trivia: Alberto Santos-Dumont's 19 October 1900 attempt to win a prize for flying a balloon-type airship from the Aéro-Club de France headquarters in Saint Cloud around the Eiffel Tower and back (around 11 kilometers) saw his engine fail about half a kilometer from the finish line. Santos walked out, without safety line (or parachute) on the keel of his balloon to make repairs, and crossed the finish line ... 40 seconds later than the prize's deadline allowed. He was, after review, awarded the 129,000 franc prize (approximately US$25,800 at the time; today, perhaps something like a half-million dollars), which he split between his mechanics (54,000 fr) and the Paris police (75,000 fr) for distribution to the city's four thousand registered beggars. Source: Taking Flight: Inventing The Aerial Age From Antiquity Through The First World War, Richard P Hallion. (I dare you to tell me any part of that adventure isn't cool.)

Currently Reading: The Second City Unscripted: Revolution and Revelation At The World-Famous Comedy Theater, Mike Thomas.


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