Corbett‘s first radio broadcast blasted across the airwaves on January
1, 1952 and lasted six months until June 26, 1952. Many of the radio shows
were adapted by the TV series writers, Jack Winstock and Willie Gilbert,
as well as one of the series star actors Frankie Thomas (Tom Corbett).
Tom Corbett 's first radio broadcast blasted across the airwaves on January 1, 1952 and lasted six months until June 26, 1952. The radio and TV cast were one in the same: Frankie Thomas Jr. (Tom Corbett), Al Markim (Astro), Jan Merlin(Roger Manning) and Ed Bryce (Capt Strong). The radio shows differed from the TV shows in their beginning schedules. The TV series began as 15 minute shows three times a week (Monday, Tuesday and Friday) later switching to the half hour format on Monday and Friday. The radio series consisted of two half hour shows on Tuesday and Thursday. Each half hour show was complete in itself but the story line would cover both shows for the week starting on Tuesday and ending on Thursday. This two part system is easy to identify, part I (Tuesday) would close with ..."tune in next Thursday when...(description of the action)..for part II of ...(title of show)". Thursday's show followed the same format "...be sure to be with us next Tuesday when...(description of the action)...in part I of ..(title of show)".
Many of the radio shows were adapted by the TV series writers, Jack Winstock and Willie Gilbert, as well as the series actors, Frankie Thomas Jr. Mr. Gilbert later wrote the long running Broadway musical How to succeed in Business without really trying and Mr. Thomas was involved with many aspects of the TV series. Jack Winstock was also a noted New York physician who would use his medical knowledge in the radio & TV scripts (Astro's Zero A fever in "Giants of Mercury"). Radio plot lines would crossover into the TV script and appears in story lines of the Grosset & Dunlap books.
Willy Ley was the technical advisor on the TV series and was probably the consultant for the radio series as well. Many of the magazine articles from the 1950's indicate he played an important part in keeping the science within reasonable bounds.
Kellogg's PEP sponsored the series and included many giveaways in the promotion of the show, such as Space Cadet goggles and Space Cadet character cutouts on the back of PEP cereal boxes. Many times the actors would step out of the shows action to proclaim the merits of PEP cereals, even using the Space Academy as a backdrop to plug the giveaways associated with the cereal. These plugs were incorporated into the story lines, such as the aforementioned space goggles. The goggles were used by Dr. Dale in the lab, Astro used the goggles while on duty on the power deck and Roger needed the goggles to keep down the glare from the radar deck.
Jackson Beck would open the show with..."Kellogg's PEP invites you to rocket into the future with T-O-M C-O-R-B-E-T-T Space Cadet!!!!" Buzzers would sound and Tom would reply with..."Stand by to raise ship!!! Blastoff minus 5-4-3-2-1 ZERO!!!! Mr. Beck would then exclaim.. "Now, as roaring rockets blast off to distant planets and far flung stars, we take you to the AGE OF THE CONQUEST OF SPACE with TOM CORBETT Space Cadet!!! Amid all of the sound effects, very similar to the Dimension X and X Minus One shows, was the organ music playing the Tom Corbett Theme song. The music would lower and dissolve into the PEP cereal commercial. The stage was set and we were ready to blastoff into space with Tom , while chewing on some good "wholesome" PEP cereal.