Researcher and world renown inventor, Commando Cody (George Wallace), is also a superhero who flies around on his sonic-powered rocket pack and stylish leather jacket. He comes with a rocket ship that can make it to the moon in record time! The perfect hero for a mission for the U.S. government when it comes under attack by an unknown force that can utterly destroy its military bases and industrial complexes. Commando Cody, being awesome, correctly assumes that the Earth is under attack from the moon and thus starts his adventure to save the Earth from invasion!
Republic Pictures released Radar Men from the Moon as a 12 chapter serial. This would be George Wallaces’s first appearance as Commando Cody and Aline Towne would join him as his plucky sidekick. The villain Retik would be played by Roy Barcroft a veteran on the serial scene. The film was directed by Fred C. Brannon and written by Ronald Davidson. The Lydecker Brothers would bring us the special effects however, budget constraints would cause Republic to recycle the flying sequences from their earlier serial King of the Rocket Men. In 1966, Republic Pictures would release this serial as Retik the Moon Menace.
“Commando Cody” some believe earned his name as an attempt by Republic to capitalize on younger viewers by tricking them into believing they were watching Commander Corry, another popular hero of the pulp radio and TV age, Space Patrol. However, this is probably just a myth.
Radar Men from the Moon had a larger budget than most big screen movies of the time and it actually went over budget. It would be the most expensive serial that Republic released in 1952. Its original title was Planet Men from Mars.
Being over budget already, Republic could not always use a stunt double for George Wallace. This would lead to his nose being broken in a fight scene with co-star Clayton Moore. Wallace would also have to perform his own flying sequences for his rocket suit which was shot in front of a front of a rear projection screen. He would also do his own jumps and takeoffs using a springboard which would literally launch him high up over the camera rig. *tips hat* Wallace had balls!
Republic pictures would reuse a lot of their old props from earlier serials. Such as the Juggernaut from Undersea Kingdom which they simply repainted and used for Retiks lunar tank. However, with all the reused rocket effects and props they would film new spaceship footage which would show Commander Cody and his retinue walking around on the Moon with normal earth gravity and no space suits. Cody’s lab is actually just an office in Republic Pictures office with a sign placed up simply saying “Cody Laboratories”.