I am finally getting around to doing a couple posts about one of my favorite little pieces of mid-century sci-fi, Space Angel. Airing from 1962-1964, Space Angel is a limited animation (and I do mean limited) cartoon following the adventures of Scott McLeod, the “Space Angel”, as he enforces galactic law and defends the Solar System for the Interplanetary Space Council.
While squarely aimed at children, Space Angel has a couple things to recommend to adults of the nerdy persuasion. The first is Alex Toth. The legendary comic book artist and cartoon designer worked on Space Angel, and lends the production some really cool and beautiful designs.
The second great thing about Space Angel is the setting. As with Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, this series primarily takes place in the Solar System, with maybe a few forays into the wider galaxy. Also like Rocky Jones, Space Angel plays it very loose with science fact, and like so many productions of the period, the writers did not have a firm grasp on the definitions of galaxies, star systems, planets, moons, etc. If you’re going to set a game in the Space Angel setting, you’ll need to use some interpretation to make it realistic enough for your players to understand.
Scott McLeod lives and works in the Solar System in the 21st century. The time is confirmed in one episode when Crystal proclaims, upon visiting twin worlds, one enslaved by the other, that it’s hard to believe slavery still exists in the 21st century. I couldn’t agree more.
In Scott’s time, humanity has spread out from Earth, populating the other planets and their moons, and perhaps some planetoids in the asteroid belt and the Kuiper Belt.
The other inhabited planets appear to be politically independent, but they belong to the United Planets. The United Planets is governed in some fashion by the Interplantary Space Council (ISC). The ISC meets on Jupiter (or perhaps a moon of Jupiter) in never-ending session. In some episodes, we get to see shots of the city in which the ISC meets, as well as the building, and we get to see the different peoples of the Solar System. All of them look generally human, but it’s possible some are meant to be aliens, or perhaps people who have changed somewhat since their ancestors left Earth.
The Space Council has an Executive Committee, and at one point we hear of a World Court that will try an extra-solar emperor for his planet’s attack on Diamond Harbor on Earth. Diamond Harbor – get it – like Pearl Harbor.
In one episode several planets are maneuvered into declaring war on one another by a hostile extra-Solar power (more on them later). The living situation seen on the planets suggests that major terraforming projects were done to make them habitable. Proximity to the Sun and a body’s mass do not appear to get in the way of humans living on them. Mars may be more recently terraformed than other planets, as one episode features a land rush, like the races that used to occur in the American West, to claim portions of the planet’s southern hemisphere.
Under the ISC is the Space Force or Space Corps. The Space Force consists of numerous planet-based squadrons (which are called upon by their home planets during the near interplanetary war) of space vehicles, as well as Space Intelligence, for whom Scott McLeod works. The Space Force and Space Intelligence are commanded by a Chief of Space Force, whose aid is a major. The chief’s rank is unknown.
Space Intelligence is also referred to as Earth Intelligence, Earth Spatial Intelligence and Interplanetary Space Intelligence. Scott McLeod, in the guise of Space Angel, is their top agent. The “secret identity” angle never makes much sense. McLeod keeps his visor down when acting as Space Angel, but he wears the same suit with the angel emblem, and both he and Space Angel fly the Starduster with the same two additional crew members. Honestly, Scott does a worse job of hiding his true identity than Superman.
Scott’s crew are Taurus, a big (as in tall and fat) red-headed Scotsman who acts as engineer and weapons officer, and Crystal Mace, who is in change of communication and navigation. Crystal’s father, Professor Mace, is in charge of the space station Evening Star. Professor Mace does not appear to be a member of Space Force, but rather a civilian. We also see a large space station orbiting Pluto, called Complex Core, and an orbiting fuel station orbiting Jupiter.
In one episode, we catch a glimpse of Space Force Complex 1 (or Defense Complex 1), under the command of Commander Selkirk. This craft looks like a space vessel that appeared in some old science magazine. While SFC-1 at first seems to be a space station equipped with a space squadron of its own, it later appears to be mobile, which would make it something like an interplanetary aircraft carrier.
In Grit & Vigor, you could portray Scott, Taurus and Crystal as members of the Spaceman class. Crystal seems to be the youngest of the three, and therefore probably the lowest in level. Taurus and Scott are the veterans of Space Force. I would suggest they are 5th level and Crystal is 3rd or 4th. All are highly competent and very professional. They are equipped with firearms when necessary, and Scott wears a ring in early episodes that permits him to hypnotize people. This was a concept that seems to have disappeared in later episodes.
Other members of the Space Force appear to mostly wear white or very light grey uniforms. Technicians wear white or light grey or light blue jumpsuits, though some of the techs on Evening Star seem to wear khaki jumpsuits. Scott McLeod wears a white spacesuit, while Taurus and Crystal wear grey. Under their spacesuits they wear grey turtle-neck sweaters and trousers. Due to the quality of the surviving episodes, it is very difficult to tell what color things are supposed to be. Most make Taurus and Crystal’s spacesuits look blue, rather than grey.
In one episode we see cadets from the Space Force Academy, who wear different style spacesuits marked with their planet of origin. One has his spacesuit marked with Texas, rather than Earth. Other space squadrons wear different spacesuits as well. Spaceships from the differen planets are marked with that planet’s zodiac symbol. During the series we see Jupiter Squadron, Pluto Squadron and Neptune Squadron.
In future parts of this series I will discuss the spaceships and their technology (what little of it I could figure out), aliens in the series, the other planets and moons and the villains who challenge …
SCOTT MCLEOD – SPACE ANGEL