Captain Video and His Video Rangers (Dumont Television Network, 1949-1955) was the first science fiction series to appear on American television. Known for its stilted one-shot acting, juvenile plots, cheesy sets, and frequent use of stock footage, it set a very low standard for low-budget television. Many well-known science fiction writers contributed to the series, including Robert Sheckley, James Blish, Milton Lesser, and Jack Vance. Sadly, most of the over 1500 original broadcasts have been destroyed; nineteen of the twenty-four surviving episodes can only be seen by appointment at the UCLA Film and Television Archive.
The episode below, "Operation Microwave," aired April 21, 1952, and stars Al Hodge as Captain Video. Hodge took over the title role from Richard Coogan in 1951. Also featured is Don Hastings (perhaps best known as Dan Hastings, a long-running character on As the World Turns) as the teenage companion known as The Video Ranger. Helping to round out the cast are Scott Tennyson, Jack Davis, Gordon Mills, Arny Freeman, LeRoi Operti, and a young Jack Weston. The episode was directed by Steve Previn and written by George Lowther.
Enjoy this blast from the past,