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Flash Gordon

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Performer:
Eric Johnson (Sci Fi Channel)
Buster Crabbe (serials)
Sam J. Jones (movie)

This page is about the character Flash Gordon. For other uses, see Flash Gordon (disambiguation).

Overview

Flash Gordon is the title character in the "Flash Gordon" series, who is thrust by circumstance into a science fiction adventure.

1980 Flash Gordon Movie

Flash Gordon is first seen in the 1980 movie sitting in his rental car at the Green Mountain Airways executive airport. He is reading a newspaper when the hot hail briefly catches his attention. Soon after, the courtesy van from the Dark Harbor Inn arrives, bearing Dale Arden. Before boarding the plane that arrives for them, the two exchange glances. On board the flight, as they experience turbulence, Flash asks the pilots if there is any problem. One of the pilots asks for an autograph for his son, which Flash agrees to. He suggests they fly higher up, but Dale admonishes him, being scared with the turbulence. She apologizes and asks if Flash will talk to her to get her mind off the flight problems. Flash tells her he noticed her at the hotel and wondered why she was alone. He attempts to reassure her that things are okay, but the sky reddens and clouds block out the sun.

Soon after, the pilots are torn from the controls by the power of Ming and Flash tries to land the plane with Dale. They crash land into the laboratory of Dr. Hans Zarkov and are tricked into the rocket ship by the scientist. After a struggle, Flash knocks Zarkov into the controls and the rocket launches. They journey through space and crash land on the planet of Mongo, near the Imperial Palace. Flash exits the rocket and attempts to greet Ming’s guards, but he is assaulted and flipped to the ground. He, Dale, and Zarkov are taken to the palace where they are met by an insidious floating robot. It leads the trio into the Grand Audience Chamber, where they watch the people of Mongo during a tribute ceremony to Ming the Merciless.

After Ming kills Prince Thun, Flash comments that Ming is a psycho and the floating robot broadcasts this loudly to everyone. The trio are brought before Ming and they introduce themselves, Flash telling Ming that he is the quarterback for the New York Jets. After Ming takes a liking to Dale, Flash rebels and defends her, which results in a battle with Ming’s brutes. He is at first beaten badly, but Zarkov throws him an item resembling a football and Flash engages them in a heated battle, which entertains the people of Mongo, who watch in amusement. His efforts attract the amorous attentions of Princess Aura, who wants Flash for herself, but Ming refuses. Flash is scheduled to be publicly executed that night.

In the dungeons, he is allowed a few last moments by Klytus to talk to Dale before the sands of a reverse hourglass run out. He is then led to the gas chamber, defiant until the end and apparently dies when the chamber is filled with a noxious green gas. Later, he is revived by Aura and the Imperial Surgeon, one of her many lovers. Flash is stunned to be alive and asks where Dale and Zarkov are, but Aura diverts his attentions to herself and the two of them flee the palace. He sees Zarkov strapped to the Mind Wipe Machine, but Aura pulls him away. The two of them flee to Arboria, where Prince Barin is shocked and displeased to see him ‘back from the grave.’ After Aura demands Barin protect Flash, Barin has Flash thrown in the swamp and schemes up a way to have him killed and retain Aura’s love.

Flash and Barin engage in the Wood Beast ritual and Flash tricks Barin into thinking he is poisoned. He flees the temple is almost devoured by a monster in the swamps but is saved by Barin, who wants to kill him himself. The two of them are apprehended by Hawk men and taken to Sky City. En route, they are spotted by Klytus’ pilots. When Flash and Barin arrive at Sky City, Flash is challenged to a battle by Barin according to Ming’s Law, Article 17. Flash and Dale are briefly reunited before the battle begins. During the fight, which consists of a rotating, spiked platform and whips above a vortex below, Flash and Barin whip each other and struggle. Barin is almost killed, but Flash saves him. Klytus arrives afterward and is killed by Flash. This angers Prince Vultan, who escapes with his Hawkmen to leave Flash, Barin, Dale, and Zarkov to die in Sky City. The other three of his companions are taken away by Ming, and Flash is left to talk to Ming.

Ming offers him a kingdom of Mongo, Earth, because he is a hero. However, after Ming devastates the Earth with natural disasters, the people will be easier for Flash to rule. Flash refuses and is left to die, but escapes on a rocket cycle while Ming destroys the city. He contacts Prince Vultan and arranges a rendezvous where he meets up with the Hawkmen army. They battle Ming’s forces and succeed in getting control of the Rocket Ajax. Flash flies to Mingo City to stop the wedding of Ming and Dale and crashes the ship into the wedding chamber, impaling Ming. He threatens to kill Ming, but can only watch as Ming turns his power ring on himself and vanishes. The evil hovering robot arrives and congratulates Flash on saving the Earth.

In the finale, Flash is thanked by the people of Mongo for helping them be free of Ming’s tyranny.

Sci Fi Channel Series

The star of the new "Flash Gordon (Sci Fi Channel)" series, Steven Gordon got the nickname "Flash" from his father, because he's always been fast on his feet. Flash is a marathon winner, who just won his third Tri-City Marathon.

Flash lives in his hometown of Kendal, Maryland. Flash's scientist father died in a fire when he was 13; his mother is traveling abroad.

Flash's girlfriend in high school was Dale Arden. She's been close to Flash for a long time, at least since Flash was 13. ("Episode 104: Assassin)

Dale and Flash broke up when Dale went off to Yale, while Flash stayed home with his grieving mother, Norah Gordon. Now in his early 20s, Flash works with his friend Nick Gilmore, rebuilding classic cars.

Actor Eric Johnson says that he appreciates the "regular guy" aspect of Flash's character:

Quote1
What I really like about Flash is he's such a unique comic hero in that he has no superpowers. He's a guy caught in extraordinary circumstances. That's what I really responded to in this. He doesn't have a trump card he can fall back on. Through sheer willpower and determination, he has to try and succeed. He becomes like the sports hero -- the quarterback on the football field. You want that guy out there.
Quote2

Johnson also says that the Flash of 2007 is smarter than his previous incarnations:

Quote1
That's a big change; even going back to the original serials he used his brawn to win battles. I think that now, the foes are so capable, and he has to talk his way out of as many situations as fight his way out. That's really refreshing too, because he's not a simpleton. His father was an incredible scientist. He may be an average guy, but he knows that the best way out of a fight sometimes is to talk your way out instead of fight your way out.
Quote2

Flash drives a 1967 convertible Firebird, which Johnson called "the Flashmobile".

Flash through the years

First words

  • Comic strip: "What's the idea? Put up that gun! We're friends."
  • Radio serial: "Don't be frightened, Dale. The plane has crashed, but we're safe."
  • 1936 serial: "Proximity of the wild planet, disturbing the atmosphere."
  • 1979 cartoon: "Hang on! We're going to crash!"
  • Movie: "Any problem, fellas?"
  • Sci Fi Channel: "Thanks for being here with me today, guys. It's a perfect day!"

External Links

Gallery

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