Sunday, July 9, 2017


Review by Paul Corupe:

After SCTV ended, Dave Thomas helmed this obscure sci-fi serial spoof in which he also stars as a mild-mannered TV repair & video rental store clerk who moonlights as intergalactic hero Rocketboy. He drives his ride through a gas station car wash that transforms it into a rocket ship so he can travel the galaxy under direction from supreme leader Palimon (Canadian TV fixture Gillie Fenwick). With his pal Buddy (Ken James) he battles Hawkhead (character actor Robert Donner), who is stealing Earth's supply of hair to line a nest with eggs containing his offspring. While slight on actual gags (despite a hyperactive laughtrack), it's often quite funny conceptually--there's sidekick Mr. Pim, a fuzzy but incompetent creature that Rocketboy must put up with because "the merchandising possibilities are limitless," and a helmet that gives Rocketboy superpowers but never gets used because when he puts it on an annoying, too-loud voice describes how to use it ad nauseum. Later, when he complains he's too old to be called "Rocketboy," Palimon offers to promote him to Rocketlad, which entails trading in his Rocketboy leather jacket for a foppish, Peter Pan costume. Fellow SCTVers pop up including director John Blanchard, and John Candy and Rick Moranis have cameos. James Hong is also good as Rocketboy's uptight video store boss. The production values are surprisingly decent, with a charming handmade aesthetic reminiscent of later miniature work for MST3K crossed with Canadian 70s cult TV hit THE STARLOST. Made in Canada (Toronto, I think) around 1984 for financially troubled Orion TV and intended for syndication, just five episodes aired and were later edited into this 90-minute TV movie that aired years later. It probably wouldn't have worked as a long-term series, but it's one of the more interesting SCTV alumni works to pop up in the 1980s that, like THE CANADIAN CONSPIRACY, doesn't rely on established characters.


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