ROD ROCKET was an educational and entertaining serialized space adventure presented in five minute chapters. It told of the exploits of Rod Rocket, his sidekick Joey, Rod's friend Professor Argus, and the Professor's granddaughter, Cassie. Rod and Joey were sent on exciting missions in space by the Professor in their spaceship, the Little Argo. It appeared in syndication in 1963 and was the first fully animated program from the newly formed Filmation studio. Voices were done by Hal Smith (Professor Argus), Sam Edwards (Rod Rocket and Joey) and Pat Blake (Cassie). The five five-minute cliffhangers comprising a complete adventure could be programmed individually by stations or strung together as twenty six half-hour shows.
Rod Rocket was originally produced by True Line, a small Los Angeles animation studio formed by Lou Scheimer and Hal Sutherland in the early 1960's. Scheimer and Sutherland had met while working at Larry Harmon Productions on the made-for-TV Bozo and Popeye cartoons. Eventually Larry Harmon ran out of work and had to close the studio. SIB Productions, a Japanese firm with U.S. offices in Chicago, approached Scheimer and Sutherland about producing a cartoon entitled Rod Rocket. The two agreed to take on the work and also took on a project for Family Films, owned by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. The Japanese firm was having money problems due to some bad investment decisions and the work for the Lutheran Church, ten short animated films based on the life of Christ, was what enabled Scheimer and Sutherland to finance True Line.
Watch one of Filmation's first
Rod Rocket didn't generate much income for Scheimer and Sutherland's True Line studio until Paramount stepped in. Paramount made a deal with the cash-strapped Japanese firm and purchased SIB Productions. This new influx of money enabled True Line to expand it's staff. One of the people they hired was a former radio disc jockey named Norm Prescott, fresh from a stint as co-producer of the animated film Pinocchio in Outer Space. Prescott, who brought along a project entitled Journey Back to Oz, became a partner in the firm. True Line changed it's name to Filmation Associates around the time Rod Rocket entered syndication in 1963. Filmation Associates received screen credit as the production designers. The producers were Mark Lipsky and Walter N. Bien. The cartoons were directed by Lou Scheimer and Hal Sutherland and the episodes were written by Dick Robbins. The series was a SIB Production and was distributed by Paramount Television.
Watch an episode of Rod Rocket that I posted on YouTube
Click on this link to hear Rod Rocket theme, in RealAudio
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