Buck Rogers in the 25th Century is a sci-fi series produces by Universal in two season between 1979 and 1981 on NBC. The pilot of the series releases as a full-length film and receives warmly by audiences who loves for campy charm. After it’s own series, however, the show struggled to find a dedicated viewer base.
NBC canceled the series abruptly at the end of the 11th episode of the already brief second season. The show affects by 1981 Writers Guild of American strike, but the It’s ratings drop significantly after the season premiered. Plus, there was the matter of the show’s increasingly problematic co-star Erin Gray, who played Colonel Deering. We’ll touch on that a little bit more later.
The series revolves around the adventures of Captain Buck. It’s a 20th-century astronaut that emerges out of 500 years of suspension of animation to become Earth’s most epic hero. Buck Rogers is a character who described as somewhat of a hybrid between Han Solo and James Bond. And even he pales in comparison to either of those two iconic heroes, he still manages to set himself apart.
While it only ran for a couple of seasons, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century left it’s mark on culture. Audiences treat to 37 hour-long specials featuring Buck and his pals – and it’s look back on its fans. Granted, not everyone shares this same nostalgic fondness for the series. A quick look at the series Rotten Tomatoes page is quite telling. 18% is a pretty dismal rating.
Loving it, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century is a pretty cast leads By Gil Gerard as Captain Buck Rogers. Supports by talent such as Erin Gray, Tim O’Connor, and Thom Christopher. Join us as we take a look back at the cast of this classic sci-fi series and see the updates.
Gil Gerard – Captain Buck Rogers
Before he was defending the world from alien foes, Captain Buck was a US Air Force pilot and astronaut. After a freak accident during a deep space flight mission, he found himself waking up in the year 2491 – some five hundred after leaving Earth. Can you imagine waking up from a deep sleep only to discover that everything you know and love is long gone?
While Buck Rogers is the series that many people remember Gerard best for, he receives his big break in 1973 when he is cast as Dr. Alan Stewart in the daytime soap The Doctors. In 1977, he played Frank Powers in Airport ’77.
After starring in the brief yet memorable sci-fi hit series, Gerard headlined several TV movies before playing the lead in another short-lived series in 1986 called Sidekicks. After that run, the roles started getting elusive for Gerard. This is made especially evident by his 1990 series E.A.R.T.H. Force, which is quickly axed by CBS after airing just three episodes.
In 2005, Gerad is the subject of a documentary film written and produces by Adrienne Crow, his then long-term companion. The film detailed his gastric bypass surgery.
Gerard battled with his weight, which many attribute this struggle to his addictive personality. When he was younger, he had drug and alcohol problems, but this eventually evolved into compulsive eating. His bad habits inevitably led him to experience dire health problems, including obesity and type 2 diabetes. After having the gastric bypass procedure done, he lost a total of 145 pounds.
After shedding all of that weight, he reunited with his Buck Rogers co-star Erin Gray for the 2007 TV film Nuclear Hurricane. Most recently, he has appeared in the 2016 film The Nice Guys. At 78 years old, it seems like Gerard has pretty much retired from acting, but who knows – we just might see him again if the right role comes his way.
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Erin Gray – Colonel Deering
As a romantic interest for Buck, and eye candy for all of the young men and boys who watched Buck Rogers back in the late 70s, Colonel Deering took charge as one of buck rogers cast. Her character was a loyal and courageous defender of Earth and was inspirational to everyone watching.
Gray started off as a model. She had dropped out of UCLA and relocated to the Big Apple to pursue that career choice, and her efforts paid off. By the mid-70s, she was one of the most celebrated models in the nation, netting just about a hundred grand a year. In her first acting role, she naturally played a model as well. That was back in a 1976 episode of the sitcom Maude.
Her time on Buck Rogers is still what she is best known for, however, especially by those who couldn’t help but crush on her. Gray had undeniable sex appeal, and she owned it quite well. But although it was arguably one of her best assets, her sex appeal also proved to be somewhat problematic. Her costume is so tight that she literally saw into it, and throughout the series, she wore progressively skimpier outfits. This led the network execs to become increasingly nervous as the censors were beginning to complain. Even though this is the late 70s, Buck Rogers still a show intended for a younger audience.
After Buck Rogers came to an end, Gray co-starred in another hit television series, Silver Spoons. And while she has never been able to recreate the same kind of magic that she had as one of the Buck Rogers cast or Silvers Spoons, she is still working.
In 2006, she starred in the 2006 musical comedy Siren. And more recently, she appeared in the 2018 Lifetime Holiday film, My Christmas Inn.
Twiki – Felix Silla and Mel Blank
Twiki is a small robot character design to work in space mines. Felix Silla calls in to provide Twiki’s physical appearance while Mel Blank gave him a voice.
Silla was born in Italy and trained in the circus before moving to the US in 1955. Once in the states, he joined The Ringling Brothers Circus, and in 1963, he started his acting career. In 1965, he portrayed Cousin It on The Addams Family, which led him to land a handful of other guest and supporting roles throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
Some of his most notable roles include playing the Polka Dotte Horse in HR PufnStuf and an Ewok in Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi. His last role was playing the Emperor Penguin in Batman Returns. Sadly, he passed away in 2021 from pancreatic cancer at the age of 84.
Mel Blanc, the voice of Twiki, was an incredibly prolific voice actor who earned himself the apt nickname ‘The Man of a Thousand Voices’. Throughout his career, he provided the voices for such characters as Bugs Bunny, Barney Rubble, and Mr. Spacely. Blanc died in 1989 at 81.
Tim O’Connor – Dr. Huer
O’Connor’s character as one of the Buck Rogers cast led up the Defense Directorate. He played a friendly and ever-so-helpful statesman-like figure who gave Buck a helping hand when he needed it the most. While Buck was clearly the star of the show, Dr. Huer was a crucial addition from the get-go. As a wise, mentor-esque addition to the cast, O’Conner gave a bit of much-needed stability to the out-of-this-world series.
Tim got his start in show business in the mid-50s, but he is arguably best known for playing Elliott Carson on Peyton Place. He appeared in over 400 episodes of that soap opera between 1964 and 1968. O’Connor also had roles on series such as Barnaby Jones and Dynasty, and also appeared in the second installment of the Naked Gun films.
After retiring from acting in 1997, O’Connor spent his twilight years sailing in the waters off Mexico in his 32-foot Pearson Vanguard sailboat. He briefly came out of retirement in 2011 to appear in the drama film Dreams Awake alongside Erin Gray, but sadly he passed away in 2018 from colon cancer at the age of 90.
Eric Server – Dr. Theopolis
This character, also known as Theo for short, was a hyper-intelligent computer that somewhat resembled an old-school jukebox. His role was assimilating as one of the Buck Rogers cast after he awoke from his 500 years of suspended animation.
Server began his acting career in the early 1970s and made many appearances in guest and bit roles on television shows. A few of his most notable credits were for Streets of San Francisco, BJ and the Bear, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
After entering into retirement, he briefly reemerged in 2014, appearing in Moms’ Night Out.
Nowadays, the 77-year-old lives in Burbank, California, with his wife and two kids. He doesn’t do much acting anymore, but he does work as a licensed tax consultant at his son’s accounting firm Server & Associates.
Thom Christopher – Hawk
Half-man, Half Bird, Hawk appeared in the second season of the trailblazing series. Just where exactly his wings went, we do not know. But despite his lack of feathered appendages, his bird-like spacecraft was quite impressive.
Thom Christopher, who’s now 81, might be best known for his work on Buck Rogers, but you might have also seen him in two episodes of Kojak or in his 24-episode run in the soap One Life To Live as the character Carlo Hesser.
While he isn’t acts much in recent years, he features in the 2017 television film ADDicted,
Sure, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century wasn’t perfect. It was no Battlestar Galactica or Star Wars, but it had it’s own unique charm. And if history tells us anything, we can assume that someday it will be given the reboot treatment just like everything else.
If there ever is a Buck Rogers remake, who do you would best play Captain Buck and Colonel Deering? Let us know in the comments down below. And if you consider yourself a fan of the original series, feel free to share some of your favorite moments and episodes that stand out in your memory.
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