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 Post subject: Re: Buck Rogers 1939-The Roots of Star Trek and Star Wars
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 6:35 am 
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skagon wrote:
So, back to the movie... I just think it was mostly ignorance that introduced all these errors in the movie. The German aircraft you're referring to is the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet, but that only flew its first prototype test flight in 1941, so it's a safe bet that in 1938 (when the movie would have been made) nobody even knew of such things, how powerful but also how uncontrollable they really were, and maybe even that you can't land a rocket-powered vehicle by slamming it onto the ground. Well, at least not if you're expecting to find the passengers in any state other than pulp. :P


I still wonder about that. Don't you find it odd at best that that's exactly what Germany did with the test flight? I have a feeling they saw the movie and tried it out to see the feasibility of it before putting all of the man hours and resources into engineering the landing gear plus using resources (rubber, metal etc.) which were highly treasured and had to be used frugally.

skagon wrote:
Your theory about them -- and by 'them' I assume you mean the "hidden city" people, since Kane looked quite militarised -- having been stratiotic wimps... well... it *might* be true, but then, how do you justify them keeping up a resistance to Kane? Had they been 'wimps', I doubt they would have fled into a hidden retreat and kept on the opposition.


They kept the resistance up because they knew if they didn't their whole civilization would be lost. Even wimps can sometimes defend themselves to a point when backed into a corner.

skagon wrote:
On the other hand, it just dawned to me that, maybe, Kane was an exaggerated construct of what they feared Hitler could one day become. If they thought that Hitler and the Germans could overrun Europe and from there, the rest of the world, it does fit the -- rather isolationistic -- self-image that the pre-WW2 US had. Perhaps they projected the US as the "hidden city", as being away from conflicts and wars that, invariably, began in Europe and exaggerated that view in order to create the "hidden city". Who knows. Maybe it was even Saturn that they identified themselves with, whereby the "hidden city" could be England -- again, rather isolated and asking for help to overthrow the local dictator.
Hm... that last scenario does fit the bill a bit better.
Don't you think? ;)


Ah, by golly, you've got it! It makes sense. Yes I think the last scenario you put forward better fits as England being the hidden city, Killer Kane being Hitler and the U.S.A. being Saturn. And guess who some of the other loosely-based players could be?

Buck Rogers = Winston Churchill

Dr. Huer = Neville Chamberlain


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 Post subject: Re: Buck Rogers 1939-The Roots of Star Trek and Star Wars
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 10:22 pm 
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Actually, since I happen to know a bit about that aircraft of Germany's, they didn't "crash-land" it. It had a retractable landing skid and they actually had selected long fields of tall grass (no spilled wine there), in order for -- at least -- the prototypes to soft-land. The reason was actually a combination of reasons: the main one was that the aircraft was at its heaviest during take-off, while lightest when landing; in fact, it was not only completely empty but also *unpowered*, practically a glider! Then, they did not have room nor could they spare the weight for retractable landing gear, since the propellant was their only source of thrust, so they were trying to maximise it. Finally, the aircraft's speed was so much, that fixed landing gear would have produced too much drag and destroyed its incredible aerodynamics. Not to mention that they didn't want to waste fuel on pushing... protruding wheels.

But I seriously doubt they got any idea from watching movies. The rocket research in Germany was very advanced anyway. Their rocket designs and research in hypergolic compounds were well advanced, even before that movie was shot. I suppose we're all lucky that the Germans didn't wait a bit more before starting the war, otherwise we'd have been faced with jet-engined aircrafts, perhaps rocket-engined as well, remote-guided rockets, guided bombs and maybe even nuclear bombs. Germany's research was going full-speed ahead, when our (allies) research programmes were stagnating.

Anyway... about the "parallels" and the US being Saturn and all... who knows. I mean, it makes sense, but don't bake your noodle trying to draw parallels for *everyone*. After all, it had to be a "hero" movie. However, if Saturn is the US, then who are the "zuggs" and to what should we parallelise their coaxed rebellion and subsequent return to being docile? ^^

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 Post subject: Re: Buck Rogers 1939-The Roots of Star Trek and Star Wars
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 11:32 pm 
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skagon wrote:
Actually, since I happen to know a bit about that aircraft of Germany's, they didn't "crash-land" it. It had a retractable landing skid and they actually had selected long fields of tall grass..."


I think what I remember more vividly was footage of "crash landings"/belly landings where the skid malfunctioned and stayed retracted. On top of that, the skid was not easily noticeable from the footage I remember seeing which would give the appearance of a belly landing.

skagon wrote:
But I seriously doubt they got any idea from watching movies. The rocket research in Germany was very advanced anyway. Their rocket designs and research in hypergolic compounds were well advanced, even before that movie was shot.


Yes they were very advanced with rocket technology, however, they still had major problems with development of take-off and landing gear for that aircraft and for several reasons still wonder if they saw the movie and thought, hey, maybe that's feasible, at least with the skid.

Even today many of our inventions were derived from movies e.g. Star Trek. The flip cell phone for example, which was obviously patterned after the communicator from the original series.

Oh, I just remembered. In fact, there was a show that came out some years ago entitled How William Shatner Changed the World which focused on inventions and their inventors that were avid Star Trek viewers and got their ideas from it.

skagon wrote:
I suppose we're all lucky that the Germans didn't wait a bit more before starting the war, otherwise we'd have been faced with jet-engined aircrafts, perhaps rocket-engined as well, remote-guided rockets, guided bombs and maybe even nuclear bombs. Germany's research was going full-speed ahead, when our (allies) research programmes were stagnating.


Very true.

skagon wrote:
if Saturn is the US, then who are the "zuggs" and to what should we parallelise their coaxed rebellion and subsequent return to being docile? ^^


Could be just something that had no parallel meaning and simply part of the script that added substance to the plot.


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 Post subject: Re: Buck Rogers 1939-The Roots of Star Trek and Star Wars
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 2:18 pm 
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Agreed... even though I still don't think the Germans needed any movie to 'steal' ideas. Some of the things that these dudes had come up with were truly out there! After WW1, the Germans pushed science 100 years ahead, within a decade.
I really hate Nazis and their regime, but as a physicist I cannot help but be in awe at what they accomplished, scientifically speaking, of course!

Now, the Star Trek chapter... heh... that'll be a different post, 'cause there's so much to tell...

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 Post subject: Re: Buck Rogers 1939-The Roots of Star Trek and Star Wars
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 3:18 pm 
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Oh, for some more trivia about Buck Rogers 1939 and how many of the things in it were co-opted by Star Trek and Star Wars...did you know that Star Wars has Zuggs?

In Star Wars they are officers in the Imperial Starfleet.

skagon wrote:
I really hate Nazis and their regime, but as a physicist I cannot help but be in awe at what they accomplished, scientifically speaking, of course!


I too am impressed by their ingenious designs and accomplishments. It's a good thing that Hitler was a nutcase and made some serious errors or else we would have been toast! One of our (U.S.A.) greatest gifts after the war from the Nazis was "Father of Rocket Science" Werher von Braun and the other scientists, engineers etc. that were part of Operation Paperclip.


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 Post subject: Re: Buck Rogers 1939-The Roots of Star Trek and Star Wars
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 4:12 pm 
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Well, I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I have always (well, not **aaaalways** but you know what I mean) wondered about how truly 'nutcase' Hitler was, and what's just "the winner writing history".
As far as I'm concerned, we won the war simply because Germany could not sustain a prolonged war. They did not have the resources and, from the moment the war was not won within the first year, it was just a matter of time. If Hitler had managed to capture England and the middle east within that time frame, it would all be over. He already had access to the coal and metal of eastern Europe, the farmland of France and western Europe and the only two things missing were oil and... well... security from the British isles being too near. If he had secured those things... we'd have been toast.
The allied strategy was all based on wearing the German war 'machine' down, by prolonging the war, rather than head-on battles, because they knew that, in the first years of the war, we would have lost big-time. So the first years of the war were concentrated on cutting off supply chains and helping resistance fighter groups within occupied territories, so that they inflict damage (as it happened in Greece).
Thankfully, the German 'plan' wasn't as straightforward. In fact, there was no set plan; they believed that the war would be over in a couple of years, in their arrogance, so they never planned for anything different, and they paid for it. Thankfully.

It's interesting to see, however, how an actual Nazi war criminal was transmogrified into a hero-scientist, when the US realised that the Soviets were ahead in their space programme.

Anyway... Star Trek and its effects on scientific research is so far-reaching, it's unreal. However, if I were to choose one thing which Star Trek was truly a pioneer and differed greatly from all others, is that the original Star Trek 'universe' takes place within a starship which is a vessel that belongs to Starfleet, a structured organisation, where all members of the crew are trained professionals, having years of training and experience under their belts. Everything they do is not dictated by bravado or 'hunches', but training, experience and intelligence.
Of course, there's still some room for those aforementioned qualities, but we don't get to see people running around doing whatever they want, nor do we see implausible things, like (I've said this before) some child flying a starship or some wiggling and bleeping wise-cracking robot sputtering nonsense. Everyone has their duty, there are ranks and everyone is expected to do their jobs, even when it comes to dealing with death itself, be it the death of a single person or an entire race.

Apart from that, most 'innovations' that Star Trek proposed were products of serious thought and of actual scientists and/or serious sci-fi writers, not something that some 'script-writer' came up with, in order to fill in a gap in the script. Take, for instance, those "memory cards" and the data retrieval system of the original Trek, where "all human knowledge" is stored in the central computer and is accessible through every "monitor-terminal" in the ship. That was 1966, by the way.
The "warp drive" is another example, where the fabric of space-time itself is being warped to allow faster-than-light speeds.
Transporters work through "matter-energy" transformation, not some obscure "atomic energy" or "magic beam".
There are even gesture-controlled computers (check the pilot of the original series)!!! Only these were removed in later episodes because the stupid producers didn't like them and thought people (viewers) wanted to see actual switches being flipped and buttons being pushed!
The main engine of the Enterprise is a "matter-antimatter" reactor (!!!), again, not some obscure "blahblahonium and whateverobalt annihilator", nor a "rocket", not "atomic" or any of those buzz-words of the time.
In fact, it was also the first "universe" where propulsion is achieved by some means *other* than combustion or propellant of some kind. This is so advanced that it was, in fact, one of the three requirements for NASA's "Breakthrough Propulsion Physics" programme.

...to be continued.

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 Post subject: Re: Buck Rogers 1939-The Roots of Star Trek and Star Wars
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 6:17 pm 
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skagon wrote:
Well, I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I have always (well, not **aaaalways** but you know what I mean) wondered about how truly 'nutcase' Hitler was, and what's just "the winner writing history".


Well just to name a few major blunders he made due to being a nutcase is:

1. The obsession he had with taking Stalingrad instead of going straight to the oil fields like just about everyone under him begged him to do.

2. Several military advancements that he cancelled because of some ridiculous prejudice he had e.g. the MbK 42 assault rifle and Me 262.

3. The waste of manpower and resources in the extermination of Jews besides the insanity of exterminating them simply because they're Jews and the methods he allowed to be used.

skagon wrote:
It's interesting to see, however, how an actual Nazi war criminal was transmogrified into a hero-scientist, when the US realised that the Soviets were ahead in their space programme.


Are you referring to Werher von Braun and other rocket scientists? If so, I don't consider them war criminals. As far as I know, they were not actively involved in any of the horrors that were perpetrated by the SS and Hitler.

For example, one of my favorite TV shows Rat Patrol had a character (Capt. Hans Dietrich) in the show that was obviously Erwin Rommel. It would be a stretch to say it was loosely based on him. It was him without using his name! :lol: At the time when I first saw the reruns and was ignorant about Rommel, I used to scratch my head wondering why the hell would the show give respect (which was always made perfectly clear and he was in every episode) to a Nazi and wondered if the show makers were closet Nazis themselves-but something kept nagging me that there must be a reason why they would do this and if there weren't a good reason, the powers that be would never allow it to be broadcast. And assuredly there would have been a barrage of protests for it's cancellation by Jews and others.

Then decades later I learned the reason. Although part of the war effort like many others, Rommel was not a Nazi. In fact, he was thought to be part of the conspiracy to kill Hitler and because of his popularity with the public, Rommel was given the option to take cyanide (which he did) or face other means of execution including his family being also executed. Hitler kept the reason of his death from the public and lied saying it was from an Allied attack. He conveniently used that because Rommel was in fact recovering from an Allied strafing attack on a vehicle he was in.

skagon wrote:
Anyway... Star Trek and its effects on scientific research is so far-reaching, it's unreal.


One of the other inventions that I noticed that came from the original Star Trek is the CD. Do you remember them placing one vertically to access information on the computer?

I also remember where the iPad/Tablets came from. It was used in the Star Trek series from the 80's and 90's.


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