PART II- plot summary and crossover plot links.
Another clue to the authorship of the G & D books was forwarded to the Academy by Michael Cassutt, who was working at CBS children's division in the early to the mid 1980's. The following is part of his e-mail response:
"....Here's the story: back in 1983 or so I was working at CBS television in children's programming. There was some discussion about doing a "space cadet" TV series for Saturday mornings, and I immediately thought of simply reviving TOM CORBETT. So I got in touch with the publisher of the books -- Grosset & Dunlap, by then a division of Ace -- and was told that the entity controlling the rights to the series was some radio or TV production company (this was the information I was looking for, which I have since misplaced, or I'd mention it here....)[??? Rockhill Radio Productions or Wade Williams Productions????..Cadet Ed]
What was interesting was the further, unsolicited information was that the copyright on the books had been (or was going to be) renewed in the name of Richard Jessup, the author of THE CINCINNATI KID, as well as several radio scripts back in the 1950s.
It was literally about a week later that I picked up VARIETY and saw an obit for Jessup, so I was never able to ask him. I did subsequently write to his widow and ask her, but never received a reply.
(I may have the dates slightly wrong. I was a program exec in kid's tv from Aug. 1983 to June 1985, but have a vague memory of this information dating to 1982. I was working in another department at CBS at the time, and interacted with the programming folks, so I might have checked it out for them)...." A tip of the Solar Vision Helmet to Hank Heyman for the lead.
Jeff Carver reports that :"Re: the G&D authors, I don't know Richard Jessup, but my editor Jim Frenkel used to work with Joe Green at G&D, and he swears that Joe Green was Cary Rockwell. " It seems a strong case for Joe Green with possible assists or alternate stories by other author's The research continues in an effort to find the author or authors. E-mail the Academy with any leads.
The Grosset & Dunlap Tom Corbett books are the most often remembered reference to the Tom Corbett character by fans. This may be due to the availability of the books after the radio, television and newspaper strip were gone. Grosset & Dunlap issued their series books (Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew etc) in large print editions. The Tom Corbett series may have been published into the late 1950's and early 1960's resulting in more exposure to the character. Therefore, the books would be the most easily obtained and remembered aspect of Tom Corbett.
The term CROSSOVER is used to identify storylines, characters and plot elements that appear in different media such as similar plot elements appearing in the radio shows and in the G & D books , or TV script elements appearing in the radio shows. The objective is to find these threads that flow through the Tom Corbett universe and link it to a common source, if there is one. This Crossover Information will continue to be added to the Crossover sections on the Space Opera website as new information is obtained. Join the fun and report any crossover storylines or plot elements to the Academy and enjoy the fun of searching for the "Easter eggs". You may have the single clue that will help tie all of this together.
Roger's attitude and actions get Astro into trouble at the beginning of the book when he tricks Astro into breaking Academy regulations. The cadet's are not roommates at first and Roger is added after Tom and Astro's roommate washes out of the Academy. The friction between the cadets is tremendous and a "perfect"unit is about to be washed out.
Capt. Strong has faith in the unit and as the cadets work together through a number of challenges, the unit becomes a team. Highlights of the novel include the Academy's Mercury ball championship game where the Polaris Unit must work together as a team to a crash landing on Mars. The crash landing reveals why Roger is so bitter about Academy tradition (Page 180) and makes the character a little more understandable.
CROSSOVER:In the Newspaper strip ( 9-12-51 - 9-15-51), Roger tricked Tom & Astro into taking a joy ride in Commander Arkwrights jet boat. In the radio show Trial in Space Astro is suffering from Space Fever and saves the crew after crashing on Mars.
The cadets are testing new communication equipment outside of the solar system. As the story opens, the cadets have just finished space maneuvers by wrapping up the mock attack in short order. Feeling pleased with themselves, the Polaris unit is soon brought back to earth with the news that major "Blastoff" Connell will be in charge of the unit while they are testing the new deep space communications unit in the Alpha Centur system. Meanwhile two "Space Rats", Al Mason and Bill Loring have been grounded by Connell for disobeying orders while surveying Tara, the newly discovered planet within the Centur System. Unknown to anyone, Loring has around that the moon of Tara is 3/4 copper, a very rare element in 2350.
The two criminals hijack a freighter from Venus, Annie Jones, and blastoff for Tara only to crash into the Venus Space Station. Roger had altered the radar communication set to call his girl on earth and Loring claim Roger was at fault for the crash. Roger is placed on restriction but is tricked into jumping ship with Loring. Roger and the two "Space Rats" recondition the Space Devil in the Venusian jungle and blast off for Tara.
After a Solar Guard investigation, it becomes clear that Roger is not at fault for the crash and with the help of Mr. Shinny, another partner of Loring, capture Loring.
Loring escapes and maroons the Polaris Unit on the satellite which has been turned into a rocket blasting back to Earth. Tom comes to their rescue and saves his teammates and locks Loring back up.
CROSSOVER: The radio episodes , Danger in Deep Space, involve the crash of the freighter into the Venus station, misconduct by Roger with the communication equipment and Loring whose space papers have been lifted. The radio episodes differ from the books in that Major Connel is in charge of the Polaris unit ON the Annie Jones instead of the Annie Jones crashing into the station. In the G & D book crewmen Thruston and Lewis hijack the Annie Jones and the story lines are the same, even to Mr. Shinny helping the cadets out.
The cadets exhibit the Polaris at the Venus Interplanetary Solar Exposition while Capt. Strong delivers a speech at the time capsule. After duty the cadets follow three girls onto a rocket ride operated by Gus Wallace and Luther Simms. Astro notices that the ship handles differently on the return trip to earth. The cadets discover that Wallace and Simms are tunneling into the Time Capsule to steal the Energy Lock Formula. The dirt from the tunneling is dumped into space from the Space Ride to cover their crime. The cadets discover the plot but are too late to stop them from stealing the formula.
The Energy Lock Formula allows the two space pirates to rob ships in space at will and the Polaris crew is sent underground to find the stolen formula. A lead sends them to the prison asteroid to meet with Bull Coxine. Coxine, a former Solar Guardsman, lead a mutiny in space only to be stopped by the then young Capt. (Lt.) Strong. Coxine is really the mastermind behind the thief of the lock and escapes from the asteroid with most of the asteroid's criminals.
Tom joins the pirate crew and makes a name for himself as a gunner. He is forced to flee into space when Wallace and Simms ID him as a cadet. Tom sends a general broadcast in hopes the Solar Guard will trace the signal and find the pirate strong hold. Adrift for several days and almost dead the Polaris crew (Roger & Astro) finds Tom and round up the pirates.
CROSSOVER : The Solar Exposition, where the lock was stolen, was developed in the radio show Pursuit of Danger. In the radio show the Polaris tricks the pirate crew, Morgan and Rice through the use of a fake radio message. In the radio show Revolt On Prison Rock Bull Carson escapes with a crew of two and the trio of pirates steal the Polaris and raid the space ways.
The Polaris unit, along with Capt. Strong, screens the first star colony applicants for a trip into deep space. The colony is to be established by Christopher Hardy, a pioneer colonist who started Ganymede colonies and the commanded the first deep space expedition to the new homestead site. It soon becomes evident that Hardy has a new, 2d in command, Paul Vidac, replacing Capt. Strong as the Solar Alliance screening force and Lt. Governor. At first the change appears normal but the cadets notice that certain types of people are being selected for sensitive jobs. The cadets object to the selections but are ignored.
Problems arise on the trip out to the new colony, 13 light years away, when Vidac tries to get rid of the cadets through a number of minor incidents. The cadet's reports are not sent, the cadets are sent on an almost suicidal mission and the colonist are subjected to some severe harassment by Vidac. The colony is almost ready to revolt in space but Tom talks the leader, Hyram Logan, into waiting until the cadets can get better evidence and to wait until they land at the new colony site before taking any action.
The landing on the new colony, named Wolf 359, is disastrous with half the ships crashing due to a powerful force affecting the instruments. Prof Sykes investigates the area and finds it rich in deposits of pure uranium. Vidac keeps the report quiet and hides the Prof in order to keep him from reporting to the cadets. Vidac plans to blame the cadets for the bad landings and wants to place them under arrest for murder.
Meanwhile, the Solar Guard has sent Capt. Strong to investigate. Upon landing he learns that the cadets are under arrest and rejects the idea of murder and help the cadets escape.
The restored Polaris team of Capt. Strong and the cadets subdue Vidac and his aids and inform the colony of their plan to take over the colony for the uranium deposits.
CROSSOVER: The Dell comic # 421 "Colonist of Io" has a similar story line.
The Polaris unit is set for the summer break at the academy. Astro has talked his unit mates into hunting Tyrannosaurus Rex in the Venus Jungles. As a boy, Astro had hunted the giant creatures for the meat, which he sold to fancy restaurants.
Stories of a Venus Nationalist Movement prompted Commander Walters to send Major Connel to investigate. The cadets hitch a ride only to barely miss being killed in a bomb blast on the Polaris. The cadets are briefed about the nationalist movement and placed on standby duty.
Once on Venus the cadets head for the jungles making a plantation owned by Rex Sinclair as their base camp for the hunt. The cadets start their vacation and jungle hunt for 4 days while Connel looks into the trouble. He soon finds it when he goes by the Sinclair place and surprises a group of Venus Nationalist burning down several buildings. Connel and Sinclair are saved when the cadets burst from the jungle with a Tyrano right behind them.
A series of events lead the cadets into the stronghold of the Venus Nationalist where all wear frosted helmets, speak in the native language, use only one name and are unknown to each another. The stronghold is well hidden within the jungles and it takes all of the resources of the cadets and the Guard to wreak it. The leader is revealed and the revolt is put down. This is one of the better books in the series and produces a lot of action in the 200+ pages.
CROSSOVER: The closest connection to a radio show would be Atmosphere of Death where rebel forces attack the Atmosphere booster stations. A similar nationalist revolt occurs in the first year of the Tom Corbett Newspaper strip, only Mars was the rebellious planet.
The Polaris unit is giving a new earthworm unit the "works" when Major Connel interrupts the three for a new assignment. A race for Titan crystal freight contracts will be held and the cadets will inspect all of the ships entering the race.
Brett Charley, owner of a ship, and his pilot, Quent Miles, sabotage several of the ships, killing one of the pilots and wreaking other ships. Kit Barnard, a former Solar Guardsman, has developed a break through in atomic engines which would give a standard engine equipped ship near hyper space speed with low fuel consumption. In the speed trials Quent places contaminated fuel in Kit's engine, but fails to stop the ex-guardsman who is one of the three finalist along with Quent and Wild Bill Sticoon.
On Titan the force shield is failing allowing methane to seep into the colony. Capt Strong is ordered to investigate while each cadet rides in three of the finalist ship's. Strange events occur during the race. First Roger doesn't report in, Miles refuses to stop and refuel on Mars, and Sticoon's ship blows up when leaving Mars.
Tom is found barely alive and Miles is almost on Titan before Kit's new engine catches him. Upon landing on Titan, Miles states that Roger jumped ship on Ganymede, the second fueling station, and headed for deep space. Investigation by Tom and Astro discover that Charlie and Miles needed the contract to smuggle Uranium into the Alliance disguised as crystal. During the mining operation, oxygen was drawn from the colony which weakens the force field. The cadets are reunited and spoil the crime when Quent's twin was revealed as the pilot of the winning ship.
CROSSOVER: Radio show Vultures of Death. A space race for rich mineral rights on a new planet, Object Delport, result in sabotage, crash landings and claim jumping.
Final exams are in full swing and Roger is out after lights out trying to obtain a study spool that was difficult to find. As usual Roger has an angle and gets the spools by tricking an earthworm cadet into giving him the spools rather than their arch-rivals, the Capella Unit (The Capella unit is the same as the Arcturus unit renamed when they transferred to a new Ship).
Tom and Astro point out the error of Roger's way and set out to return the spools to the Capella unit. The Polaris and Capella unit cross paths with each other on the Academy grounds which results in a fight between the two units. The fight places the two rival units in danger of expulsion.
A cadet trial is held and the two units are placed on a difficult guard duty assignment at the new Top Secret Projectile Project. This new system would eliminate the need for large crews and landing areas on the ground.
Problems plague the project. Prof Hemmingwell's work is sabotaged, Tom is kidnaped on Mars while Astro and Roger are tricked into leaving their post resulting in the unit being charged with being AWOL.
Investigation proves that Dave Barret, Prof Hemmingwell's assistant, and Carter Devers, head of Jilolo Spaceways are behind the cadets troubles as well as the sabotage of the Projectile. Devers would lose a great deal of money since his company would be put out of business.
NOTES: New characters are introduced: Chief Warrant officer "Firehouse" Timothy Rush, a more violent edition of Chief Mike McKenny, but with a very pronounced dislike for cadets. Cadet Benjy Edward is the defense lawyer for the Capella unit during the trials and Edward has no love for Tom since Tom rescued an earthworm cadet from Edwards harassment making Edwards look bad.
The cadets are celebrating Capt Strong's 15 years at the Academy when a new cadet from Mars Academy is introduced. T.J. Thistle. He is Roger's equal on the radar deck as well as in the wisecrack department. Thistle is along to observe the unit and they plot the orbits of the Asteroids. Roger puts on a show for Thistle only having his antics backfire, leaving Tom and Astro in danger. The group pulls together and Thistle is accepted as an equal.
When the unit returns, Capt Strong informs the unit that Roger will be transferred to Mars Academy and Thistle is to take his place. Astro doesn't accept him And Tom is back to his role as a referee, just like the early days of the unit. In hopes that the unit will shakedown, the unit is sent to investigate and retrieve a special robot rocket sent to the Sirius Star System. The rocket was fired from Titan and placed in orbit around Thor to investigate strange readings noted from the planetoid.
Alex Monroe, a physics cadet, joins the group to retrieve the data and promptly alienates everyone when informs them to mind their own business. Astro and Thistle join forces against Monroe and soon forget their problems and begin to work as unit mates.
Back at the Academy, Jack Wilson, Sykes and Dr Dale's assistant, has discovered Thor is 99% Uranium and plots with Hank Lister and Boris Willard to hijack the information for their own gain. The cadets crash on Thor, Astro and Thistle are lost,Willard and Lister hijack the Polaris and the cadets must save the robot rocket before it falls into Sirius's sun. As always the Polaris unit comes up on top and law and order reigns in the solar system again.
By this time the radio shows had been off for more than 4 years and the T.V. series had ended. This was the farewell to the Polaris unit from the Grosset & Dunlap books with Roger at Mars Academy and the unit changed. New adventures were starting, but no further documentation of the cadets adventures were recorded.
An English edition was published by Venture Library of two of the Tom Corbett books along with other G & D books. The books were red bound paper type similar to the Doubleday book club editions with the same inside drawings of Saturn and a rocketship blasting off from Titan. The print is smaller and the page count is only 184 instead of 216 in the American editions of STAND BY FOR MARS. The following information is on the inside pages:
Publicity Products Limited London
Copyright 1952 Rockhill Radio
Published by arrangement with Grosset & Dunlap,inc New York City
Made and printed in Great Britain by Purnell and Sons Ltd. Paulton(Somerset) and London.
I have not seen an English DJ,but they may be the same as the American Editions.
Grosset also published a WONDER BOOK OF SPACE book under the Wonder Book label. I have seen two versions-one with a 29 cent price on the upper right corner of the book and one without a price. Other than the difference of price the two are the same.
Tom Corbett:A Trip to the Moon -# 713
Written by Marcia Markin
Art by Frank Vaughn
Wonder Books-Divison of Grosset & Dunlap books
Tested and approved by the Oak Lane Day Care School
The story line is very simple. Johnny & Jamie are looking at the moon and wishing to pay it a visit when Tom lands in the back yard and take the kids for a closer look. EVERY CADETS WISH!!!