Flash Gordon was a short-lived television adaptation which ran for 39 episodes from October 1, 1954 to July 15, 1955. The program was filmed in West Germany, combining a handful of American principal actors with a largely German production crew and guest roster. It was distributed in syndication.
In this series, which bore only a passing resemblance to the source material, Flash Gordon, Dale Arden, and Dr. Hans Zarkov work for the Galaxy Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Commander Paul Richards. They travel through galaxies on the Skyflash and later the Skyflash II, Flash's rocket ships.
The Earth of the future
The original Flash Gordon comic strip and most of the subsequent versions of the story take place in the present day, more or less; the science-fiction element is added to the story when Flash, Dale and Zarkov leave Earth and travel to Mongo. This series is the exception; it takes place in the 3200s.
A time-travel episode, "Deadline at Noon", provides some clues about the series' setting. Flash, Dale and Zarkov travel to the 1950s, and Flash remarks, "There it is, Dale! The Earth as it looked one thousand, two hundred and fifty years before we were born!" The Skyflash flies over Washington, D.C., which Dale recognizes as "some kind of city". Zarkov says, "I'm trying to check it in this book of ancient maps. From this description, that must be a place called Washington, the capitol of an ancient nation called the United States." They also fly over New York, a name that Dale finds peculiar.
In the 3200s, humankind has spread to colonize many worlds, using machines to terraform other planets and create an Earth-like environment. Neptune and Pluto both have thriving colonies.
The Galaxy Bureau of Investigation seems to exercise authoritarian control over the inhabited planets. According to "The Race Against Time", the GBI keeps the secrets of the galaxy, to protect the other planets from gaining access to advanced weaponry and scientific knowledge. Flash, Dale, Zarkov and Richards feel strongly that keeping a tight control over these secrets is essential to keeping peace in the galaxy. When a representative from Pluto makes a public call for greater openness, Flash shrugs and says that people must not want peace.
- While most scientific terms used in the series are used with the same meanings as is usual, the writers tended to use the word "galaxy" in a manner more consistent with the standard definition of "solar system" than the normal definition of "galaxy". Thus the GBI is actually the police force of the Sol system, and not the entire Milky Way galaxy.
- Flash Gordon: Steve Holland
- Dale Arden: Irene Champlin
- Dr. Hans Zarkov: Joe Nash
- Commander Paul Richards: Henry Beckman
- "The Planet of Death" (10/1/1954)
- "Escape into Time" (10/8/1954)
- "The Electro Man" (10/15/1954)
- "The Vengeance of Rabeed" (10/22/1954)
- "Akim the Terrible" (11/5/1954)
- "The Claim Jumpers" (11/12/1954)
- "The Dancing Death" (11/19/1954)
- "The Breath of Death" (11/26/1954)
- "The Great Secret" (12/3/1954)
- "Return of the Androids" (12/10/1954)
- "The Frightened King" (12/17/1954)
- "The Deadly Deception" (12/24/1954)
- "Duel Against Darkness" (12/31/1954)
- "The Sound Gun" (1/14/1955)
- "The Weapon That Walked" (1/31/1955)
- "Mission to Masca" (2/4/1955)
- "The Lure of Light" (2/11/1955)
- "The Rains of Death" (2/18/1955)
- "The Race Against Time" (2/25/1955): There's unrest on the other planets against the central control of the GBI. Flash, Dale, Zarkov and Richards know that keeping the GBI's secrets is essential to promoting peace and security among the planets. Earth is the deciding vote at the Galaxy Meeting on Mars, and Flash, Dale and Richards are selected to carry the vote to the meeting. Hoping to derail the decision and gain access to the GBI's weapons secrets, villains sabotage the Skyflash, stranding them on the planetoid Epsilon 30.
- "The Witch of Neptune" (3/4/1955)
- "The Brain Machine" (3/11/1955)
- "Struggle to the End" (3/18/1955)
- "The Water World Menace" (3/25/1955)
- "Saboteurs from Space" (4/1/1955)
- "The Forbidden Experiment" (4/8/1955)
- "Heat Wave" (4/15/1955)
- "The Hunger Invasion" (4/22/1955)
- "Encounter with Evil" (4/29/1955)
- "The Matter Duplicator" (5/6/1955)
- "The Micro-man Menace" (5/13/1955)
- "The Space Smugglers" (5/20/1955)
- "The Mystery of Phobos" (5/27/1955)
- "The Shadowy Death" (6/3/1955)
- "Death in the Negative" (6/10/1955)
- "The Earth's Core" (6/17/1955)
- "Deadline at Noon" (6/24/1955): In a far-off galaxy filled with dead worlds, five planets mysteriously explode. A Callosan agent, who has sworn eternal vengeance against the Earth, is picked up the GBI. He has planted a powerful bomb that will destroy Earth in one hour -- and he planted it over 1200 years ago, using a time machine based on the principle of Zarkov's machine. Flash, Dale and Zarkov project themselves back to Berlin in the 1950s in order to find the bomb. (They still only have an hour, even though they're using a time machine.) The Skyflash is spotted landing, and the travelers are pursued by the police. They deactivate the bomb just in time.
- "The Law of Velorum" (7/1/1955)
- "The Skyjackers" (7/8/1955)
- "The Subworld Revenge" (7/15/1955)
- Produced by Wenzel Lüdecke and Edward Gruskin
- Directed by Wallace Worsley, Jr., Gunther von Fritsch and Joseph Zigman
- Writers: Bruce Elliot, Earl Markham, Edward Gruskin
- Original music by Kurt Heuser and Roger-Roger
- Art direction by Raymond Gabutti
- An Intercontinental Television Films Co. and La Telediffusion Production