“Watch “Rocket Man” sweep from the clouds to battle America’s enemies!”
1949: King of the Rocket Men is a 12-chapter black-and-white Republic movie serial, produced by Franklin Adreon, directed Fred C. Brannon, that stars Tristram Coffin, Mae Clarke, Don Haggerty, House Peters, Jr., James Craven, and I. Stanford Jolley.
This serial is notable for featuring the only character actually called “Rocket Man”, a misnomer applied by fans to the other Republic rocket-powered-suited heroes that followed in their later serials, Radar Men from the Moon (1952), Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952), and Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe (1953).
An evil genius of unknown identity, calling himself “Dr. Vulcan” (heard only as a voice and seen as a shadow on a brightly lit wall), plots to conquer the world, but first needs to eliminate, one by one, the members of the Science Associates, an organization of America’s greatest scientists. After narrowly escaping an attempt on his life by Vulcan, one member of Science Associates, Dr. Millard goes into hiding and then outfits another member, Jeff King with an advanced, sonic-powered rocket backpack and jacket, a bullet-shaped, aerodynamic helmet, and raygun they had been working on together.
Using the flying jacket and helmet and other inventions provided by Dr. Millard and aided by magazine reporter and photographer Glenda Thomas, Jeff King, as Rocket Man, battles Dr. Vulcan and his henchmen through a dozen action-packed Republic chapters. Eventually, Vulcan steals Millard’s most dangerous invention, a Sonic Decimator, and uses it to flood, then destroy both New York City and the rest of Manhattan Island before finally being unmasked and brought to justice by Jeff King in his Rocket Man persona. [Wikipedia]
Watch the trailer on the Throwback YouTube Channel.