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It Began with Station XSW1!

13 Oct

Are you a fan of science fiction?  Do you like the ones, especially tv or movie format?  What about the early ones in the 50s?  Even if you answer no, I expect you will enjoy today’s post; if you said yes, you are in for a treat.

Space Command was a CBC original Canadian children’s science fiction television adventure series.  It aired beween 1953 and 1954, making it the first time the network aired its own dramatic series in Canada. The program presented a depiaction of life on the fictional space station XSW1 operated by the worldwide Space Command, featuring the activities of Frank Anderson (Bob Barclay).

Another character on the show,  Phil Mitchell, was portrayed by James Doohan (born on March 3, 1920, in Vancouver, British Columbia, who gained international attention as a regular on the 1960s television series Star Trek as Chief Engineer Scotty. He died on July 20, 2005 at the age of 85).

William Shatner (born on March 22, 1931, in Côte Saint-Luc, Montreal, Quebec) the leading actor on Star Trek as Captain James Kirk, also appeared on episodes of Space Command.

Early Photo of William Shatner

Promotional photo for the aborted 1959 CBS television series Nero Wolfe
Source
Self scan of CBS promotional photo appearing in the January 1968 issue of Movie Life magazine (Vol. 31, No. 1), page 35

Another cast member was Austin Willis. He was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1917, and died on April 4, 2004. An interesting note is that he achieved attention for his appearance as Simmons, the man whom Auric Goldfinger beats at cards in the opening scenes of the James Bond film, Goldfinger. Originally he was to have played Felix Leiter but at the last-minute, fellow Canadian Cec Linder switched roles with him.

Yet another cast member you might know, especially if you are a sci-fi enthusiast, is Barry Morse who went on to be a part of the TV series The Fugitive and Space: 1999.

The series taught about topics such as asteroids, space medicine, meteorites and evolution.

Unfortunately, we can’t see the episodes online.  Nova Scotia media historian Ernest Dick lamented the loss of recordings of nearly all the series episodes, despite the production of kinescopes for distribution to CBC stations across Canada. The only known extant recording is that of one November 1953 episode. You can read his thoughts with the .pdf: Vanishing Media: Space Command

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One response to “It Began with Station XSW1!

  1. cat

    October 17, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Hello, fellow Canadian 🙂 … I trust you heard of http://www.ckua.com … ???

     

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