Rocky Jones (Richard Crane) and Winky (Scotty Beckett) have just returned from a mission in space and are ready for a little vacation. A young woman in a convertible races by them and stops at the office of the Secretary of Space, Mr. Drake. The woman is Vena Ray (Sally Mansfield) and she wants to talk to the Secretary about Professor Newton (Maurice Cass). Drake is not interested in discussing the Professor. He believes that Newton is a traitor to the “United Worlds of the Solar System”.

Vena manages to convince Drake that Professor Newton and his ward Bobby (Robert Lyden) are prisoners of the aliens on planet Ophesia. Rocky and Winky hear what she has to say and also think that Newton and Bobby may be on Ophesia against their will. Drake decides to send them to Ophesia and pretend they are having trouble with their rocket ship so they can make an emergency landing on the planet and make repairs. That way they can snoop around. Drake also sends Verna along. He believes she can be valuable since she understands the Ophesia language and has been an interpreter previously. She has also been trained as a flight navigator so she has more than one skill that could be utilized. Rocky is not keen on this idea. He is a sexist that thinks women have no place in space. Despite his objections Verna goes along.

The team takes off for Ophesia unaware that there is a traitor in the Secretary’s office. Ranger Griff contacts Ophesia and warns them of the upcoming ploy to gain access to the planet and the professor. In space they are attacked by an unidentified Ophesian space ship. They destroy the attacking ship but incur damage that results in an air leak. Rocky seals off the section of the ship with the leak not knowing that Verna is in that compartment. When Winky realizes that Verna is stuck in the fast leaking section of the ship he and Rocky scramble to save her.

They land on Ophesia and meet the ruler of Ophesia, Cliolanta (Patsy Parsons). Cliolanta has hypnotized both Professor Newton and Bobby making them tell Rocky that they wish to stay on Ophesia. Cliolanta becomes infatuated with Rocky and wants him to stay as well. She tries to hypnotize Rocky but is interrupted by Verna. The team quickly blasts off from Ophesia with the professor and Bobby. Cliolanta, however, is not a ruler to trifle with. She has more than one trick up her sleeve and is not done with Rocky Jones or the Space Rangers.

“Rocky Jones, Space Ranger: Beyond the Moon” AKA “Rocky Jones, Space Ranger: Beyond the Curtain of Space” was part of an American science fiction television series originally broadcast in 1954. The series lasted for two seasons. Most of the series was comprised of stories that spanned three episodes. Eventually the stories were packaged as movies re-titled and released on VHS and DVD. The films are classified as part of the science fiction subgenre called space opera.

The movie is a fun look at science fiction during the fifties. Cool rocket ships and supposedly strange alien worlds that look an awful lot like Earth are just part of fun. Primitive special effects add to the entertainment by enhancing the imagination.

Unfortunately along with the cool stuff comes the sexism of the fifties. Rocky Jones is a perfect example of that. He is extremely sexist and believes women do not belong in space. It’s a bit of karma when the first time we meet him he is not only stuck with a woman navigator but is also pitted against a woman who rules a whole planet. She is attracted to him and the series producers make her attraction her downfall. It shows that the producers were sexist too. As for Rocky he appears not to see the attraction Cliolanta exudes. Fear not. I seriously doubt that the series producers intended for Rocky to appear gay. I believe that the producers intended for Rocky to be a grown up boy who gets to do cool stuff in space. Since the target audience are eight year olds and they think girls are icky, then so should Rocky. Perhaps I’m too simplistic but so is the show.

Winky is a little different. He may spend most of his time in space with another guy but he definitely likes girls. He is just short of needing sensitivity training. He appears harmless and tries to go for adorable waif that means no harm, but I’m not fooled.

Despite the personality deficiencies of the two main heroes the film itself is a welcomed bit of local television nostalgia. In a world where special effects replace everything from any kind of plot to actual actors it’s nice to watch something where your imagination is part of the story. Rocky Jones is a character and a world that you can take from the small screen and put into your basement, garage or backyard with your friends dressed up like Rangers and your space ship made of cardboard. All you need is a baseball cap and your inventive spirit.

Super stellar