: Anthony "Buck" Rogers first burst from writer Philip Nowlan's imagination in 1928, when the intrepid spaceman appeared in "Armageddon — 2419," a story published in Amazing Stories magazine.
From his pulp roots, the character developed into an influential American hero on the airwaves and the silver screen. Subsequent space swashbucklers like Brick Bradford
and Flash Gordon
took a cue from Buck Rogers' sci-fi adventures.
Buck took to the radio Nov. 7, 1932, with the first broadcast of The World in 2432
. The radio show launched Buck and his female co-pilot, Wilma Deering, into the nation's living rooms, introducing such sci-fi staples as spaceships and death rays.
Take a look at the 25th century in this gallery of images showing various incarnations of Buck Rogers over the years.
Nowlan's hero makes his second appearance in Amazing Stories, this time landing on the cover of the March 1929 issue.
: The Buck Rogers in the 25th Century comic strip debuted Jan. 7, 1929, with a Sunday page appearing a year later. The strip, which was initially written by Nowlan and drawn by **** Calkins, appeared in more than 400 newspapers around the world at the height of its popularity. It didn't stop running until 1967.
In the strips as well as the Amazing Stories novellas, Buck Rogers is a World War I veteran, a former U.S. Air Service pilot who is later trapped by a mine cave-in and put in suspended animation by radioactive gas.
After 500 years, he awakens to save America from "Mongol" invaders and other enemies.
: This cover graced a licensed, full-color reissue
of a rare Buck Rogers in the 25th Century book. The original was printed in 1933 and distributed as a breakfast-cereal premium.
: This publicity photo plugged the original Buck Rogers radio show.
Voice actors Matt Crowley, Curtis Arnall, Carl Frank and John Larkin brought Buck to life during the show's 15-year run. Adele Ronson played Buck's co-pilot, Wilma Dearing, and Edgar Stehli portrayed scientist-inventor Dr. Huer.
: 1939's 12-part Buck Rogers serial film thrust Buster Crabbe into the title role. Universal Pictures mined the comic strip for inspiration, but changed Buck's origin story.
In the movie version, Buck and George "Buddy" Wade crash a dirigible over the North Pole, but survive thanks to experimental "Nirvano Gas," which keeps them alive for 500 years after an avalanche.
: Buck Rogers and his fellow space adventurers inspired toy ray guns
in seemingly endless variety.
: Jackie Moran
, left, played George "Buddy" Wade in the 1939 serial film Buck Rogers. Former Flash Gordon star Buster Crabbe
played the title role.
: In the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century television show, Buck was a NASA pilot frozen for five centuries after a malfunction by his space shuttle's life-support system. Again, he is miraculously revived in the 25th century.
The TV show borrowed from producer Glen A. Larson's previous show, Battlestar Galactica, and attempted to cash in on the success of Star Wars. The show ran from 1979 to 1981 on NBC.
: Actor Gilbert "Gil" Gerard
played the space hero in the 1979-81 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century television series.
: Actress Erin Gray
played Col. Wilma Deering in the 1979-81 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century TV show.
: In the 1979-81 television series, Buck Rogers got a robotic sidekick named Twiki
: A radio-controlled Twiki toy surely frightened a child or two in the early '80s.
: Like other sci-fi shows of the era, the Buck Rogers TV series spawned action figures.
: Sega brought Buck into the arcades with 1982's space-shooter videogame Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom
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