Grauman's Egyptian Theater in Hollywood was the site last Tuesday of the long-awaited reunion of the cast and crew of cult TV hit Buck Rogers. In celebration of the DVD release of the complete Gil Gerard-starring classic, both fans and press were treated to a screening of the little seen 1979 film, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, as well as a lively question-and-answer session with the show's creators.
"This is a very exciting night," Erin Gray enthused. The still sexy as ever co-star of Buck Rogers was only missing show namesake Gil Gerard by her side. But Gray was flanked by legendary TV producer Glen A. Larson, the show's creator, in cool yellow sunglasses and ponytail. "It's great to see everyone again," Larson said of the cast and crew on hand for the party. "We had a lot of fun together and now we finally have something that the fans have been asking for."
What the fans have been asking for is the DVD release of the complete series, all 31 episodes, plus the 1979 feature film that started out as an NBC pilot and was good enough to be released theatrically -- Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Now it will all be available in one package starting November 16 from Universal Home Video. The five disc package includes the episodes of the two seasons of the show, with fan favorites such as "The Guardian" and "The Hawk" in which Gil Gerard as Lt. Buck Rogers gives one of best turns as the 20th Century NASA astronaut who gets lost in space and returns five centuries later. The series also has a surprising array of guest stars including Gary Coleman, Jamie Lee Curtis and an appearance by Star 80 inspiration, and Playmate, Dorothy Stratton. The series also features Henry Silva, Tim O'Connor and, in the first season of show, Wilfred Hyde-White.
The highlight of the evening was the running of the film to the cheers of delight from fans that truly appreciated the nostalgic trip back into the 1970s. Though laced with campy action set pieces and the occasional Disco reference, the film sets up the series and Buck's relationship with Erin Gray's Colonel Wilma Deering. It also featured Pamela Hensley. But the crowd seemed most pleased with R2D2 clone, Twiki (voiced by the late Mel Blanc,) who was cheered by diehard fans of the double entendre-spouting droid.
Following the film, Mark Altman hosted a panel of the show's cast. Questions about the future of the Buck Rogers series were mixed in with appreciation for what has become a classic. Thom Christopher noted that no matter what incarnation of the Buck Rogers franchise comes next, he would always be grateful for his experience on the show. "We were the Young Turks once," he smiled. "Now it will be someone else's turn, but we'll always have this experience."
"We owe a great debt to those who came before us, the first Buck Rogers, Buster Crabbe," said Erin Grey referring to the movie serial and comic strip that started it all.
"Buck is a timeless character, "Glen A. Larson added. "And I know there will be more great incarnations to come."
Dont't forget to also check out: Buck Rogers In the 25th Century: The Complete Epic Series