Vena Ray (Sally Mansfield) and Space Ranger Reggie (Ray Montgomery) are heading to Cassas 7. The United Planets are building an outpost on the planet and Vena’s brother Paul Ray (Tom Brown) is currently assigned there. Vena is on her way there on a cargo ship to visit her brother. Suddenly all the systems on the ship stop. They are boarded by Rinkman (Henry Brandon) and a couple space pirates. The cargo is offloaded and the ship with Vena and Reggie still aboard is set in a permanent orbit around Cassas 7. With no way to contact the planet they are essentially adrift forever.
Back on Earth Rocky Jones (Richard Crane) and his co-pilot Winky (Scotty Beckett) are sent for by Secretary of Space Drake (Charles Meredith). Drake tells Rocky and Winky that there have been ships that have mysteriously disappeared in the area of Cassas 7. Now the ship Verna is on is one of those that are missing. Rocky and Winky manage to find and save Vena and Reggie.
On Cassas 7 Rocky investigates the situation and determines that the pirates are working from a nearby planet called Prah. The mysterious planet has an unknown defense system and has never had a successful unauthorized landing. To overcome this Professor Newton (Maurice Cass) has developed a cloaking devise using “cold light”. With the device Rocky and Winky land on Prah but are invisible to anyone on the planet. Rock finds out that Queen Cleolanta from the planet Ophesius is behind the pirates.
Rocky and Winky have their hands full trying to outwit the pirates while keeping Cassas 7 safe and eluding Cleolanta’s wicked plans. But unknown to Rocky there is a traitor in their midst. Unless Rocky can find out who it is and stop them, Cassas 7 will be attacked and Professor Newton’s secret of “cold light” will fall into evil hands.
“Rocky Jones Space Ranger: Manhunt in Space” AKA “Rocky Jones: The Pirates of Prah” was released in 1954 and was directed by Hollingsworth Morse. It was part of an American science fiction television series originally broadcast in 1954. It is a compilation of three of the series shows repackaged as a standalone film and released on VHS and DVD. The science fiction story is part of the space opera subgenre. It is the fourth story in movie form in the series.
The concept of “Cold Light” is explained as: Heat can affect light waves to a point where images that aren’t even there can be seen by the human eye. Similar to desert mirages. Intense cold can have the opposite effect and blot out images that are actually there. When the devise is switched on the rays sent out by the terrifically cold light will make the orbit jet invisible. Cold light of approximately minus 243 degrees centigrade will surround the ship. Inside the ship everything will be normal.
Scotty Beckett, who appears as Winky, wrote the song "Sleepy Little Fellah" for this feature. Although he is featured in the movie his name does not appear in the credits.
“Manhunt in Space” was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode 413.