Many American kids of the 1950s and 60s were absolutely obsessed with all things space. They were particularly enamored with the space action heroes that they saw on TV — in shows like Captain Video, Space Patrol, and Commando Cody.
One can't help but think that kids like Elroy Jetson (a mid-21st century stand-in for space-obsessed kids of the mid-20th) might be a little disappointed if they ever saw a photo like the one above. So much for movie magic.
That's George Wallace (aka Commando Cody, star of screens both silver and small) jumping ever so briefly to appear like he was using a jetpack. But that spotter is clearly just about to catch a man who's jumped maybe 18 inches into the air.
From the Associated Press in 1951:
Commando Cody, the Sky Marshal of the Universe," aka, George Wallace, appears to defy the laws of gravity, for a moment at least, as he lands in the arms of a prop man during production of the film " Radar Men from the Moon," at Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert, 80 miles northeast of Hollywood, Calif., Dec. 12, 1951. Gravity may be defied in some the new movie serials based on the fantasies science fiction, but what goes up still comes down, even if the film won't let you see it.
Poor Elroy. At least when he got to star in a TV show he was actually flying.
Image: Associated Press December 12, 1951