Today we had the best family laugh session in a while, thanks to Hulu.

Did you know that before the Flash Gordon of 1960s fame, there was Flash Gordon, the 1936 theatrical serial?

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Not only is it hysterically bad, it is awesomely important.

A Great and Noble Legacy

For instance, just by watching the first episode, “Planet of Peril”, you know that Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas both saw it and were impressed. So many classic points of the Star Trek and Star Wars systems are present: the necessary torn shirt in the battle scenes, the laughable monsters, the actors leaping hither and yon as their craft encounters turbulence, the scale models, the ray guns, the trap-door-accessed “Pit”.

And you hear some really decent screaming. Heroines hardly scream anymore, and when they do, it’s more of a shriek.

Perhaps even more enlightening than the clues pointing towards the sci-fi boom of the 1960s-80s (which, huh, kind of coincides with NASA developments…what a coinkydink!) was the sudden realization that there is a great chance that my grandparents went to see this in theaters. More