Throwback Thorsday: Flash Gordon

So, I’m too young to recall watching this at all, but my father watched it when he was a child. This serial sci-fi flick was the archetypal inspiration for early science fiction shows, ranging from Star Trek to Star Wars. If there was science fiction in Hollywood, it followed the camp and criteria of Flash Gordon. In the early 1900s, two comic strips competed for the attention of audiences, Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, as a part of the visual expansion in an era where the advertising agencies rose to power.

Compilation of artist renditions by Jim Keefe.

Compilation of artist renditions by Jim Keefe.

FlashGordon1Created by Alex Raymond in the 1930s, Flash Gordon is recognized by people today through the 1950s television series and later iterations in the 1980s. While the Sci-Fi channel tried to resurrect Flash Gordon in the later 2000s, the iconic ideas of the series is still inspired from the much older iteration in the early 1900s. The original 1930s pieces, starring Buster Crabbe as Flash Gordon, pit him against the villainous, fu-manchu ‘stached, Ming the Merciless. When it came to science fiction villains, it’s hard to forget Ming. To me, if Flash Gordon was James Bond, Ming would be Blofeld.

FlashGordon2In pop-culture, George Lucas admitted to being inspired by Flash Gordon and its contemporaries during his development of the early Star Wars films. He enjoyed the serial nature of the material and wanted to emulate it in his projects. Similar, cartoons such as Futurama and movies like TED all have paid homage to this iconographic sci-fi adventure.

FlashGordon4For today’s aesthetics, it’s probably best to stick to the 1980s movie which TED referenced. I mean, Ming the Merciless and all the set pieces are great. There is this cheesy bit of epic when it comes to ’80s sci-fi and fantasy, all which are harnessed by that film. You can get a copy of the Flash Gordon – Blu-ray on Amazon.

Max von Sydow as Ming the Merciless? I mean, c’mon that’s just epic! Music by Queen? Total win!

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Jaynesis Ong
Jaynesis Ong 162 posts

He is currently a graphics designer by trade, illustrator for indie games, fashionisto, film production assistant, socialite, sampler of fine music, and taster of various new MMO games. JB likes destructive walks on the beach, visceral plot points, maniacal villains, and collapsing galactic empires.