Not very interesting show about Col.Ed McCauley. He heads up the U.S. space program. When not behind a desk figuring out how to cut the budget, he’s in outer space fighting off the bad guys.
A number of character actors who popped up in just about everything stopped by for an episode. They include:Marshall Thompson, John Zaremba and Joe Flynn (“McHale’s Navy”). Even James Coburn appeared in the episode,”Contraband.”
Some noted SF writers were involved. Among them Jerome Bixby and David Duncan. The second episode,”Moon Landing” was written by “Shogun” author James Clavell.
Opening episode: September 30,1959 – “Moon Probe” w/Paul Richards, Paul Burke, Angie Dickinson and Stacy Harris. – Time to test an orbital flight around the Moon. The three man crew should be back in two days. An Air Force Officer (Paul Richards) holds a briefing for the press.Looking on are Lt.McCauley’s son Pete and wife Mary (Angie Dickinson). A reporter (Stacy Harris) has a number of questions.
McCauley tries to provide answers and then it’s off to the Moon. A large screen is provided the press so they can see the launch. The first stage is fine but then the second booster won’t detach. The ship can’t maneuver and McCauley will have to go outside and get the booster off manually. Mary and Pete hang in there.
McCauley’s almost done when the booster detaches and knocks him into space. He’s told to keep repeating his name so they don’t lose him. Tracking stations around the world keep listening for him. Of course Mary and Pete continue to hang in there. Major Billy Williams (Paul Burke) and Major Joe Hale keep the ship going after McCauley.
Despite the series downward slide this was an excellent opener. Although the space effects were beyond crude that really was all they had to work with then. The control room scenes were done very well as they tried to make it look authentic. There’s a bit of corn at the very end but the episode is worth seeing as the show made a big effort to keep the opener interesting and suspenseful.
Paul Burke played Detective Adam Flint in “Naked City” (1960-63) and Paul Richards played psychiatrist Dr.McKinley Thompson on “Breaking Point” (1963-64).