The Thunder Child Televison SourcebookA Photo Tribute to Ed Kemmer by Jean-Noel Bassior
Ed Kemmer (Buzz Corry) and Jean-Noel Bassior
Jean-Noel Bassior spent 20 years researching Space Patrol: Missions of Daring in the Name of Early Television, and in that time not only interviewed practically everyone connected with the program but became great friends with Ed Kemmer, aka Buzz Corry.
Here, Jean-Noel provides never before seen photos and a personal tribute to Ed Kemmer.
Ed Kemmer at the age of 17.
Ed Kemmer (left) and four of his flying buddies during World War II. This photo hung in the hallway of his Riverside Drive home. The inset (bottom left) is the photo that ran in his hometown paper, The Reading Eagle , when it reported on July 3, 1944, that he was missing in action.
RIGHT. Reading this note from Ed, I realize how obsessive I got about details for the book. He'd taken this photo of Jack McKirgan's model of his P-51 Mustang, which I needed to caption, and for some reason we got into an e-mail exchange about whether the flaps were up or down - something I felt I had to know at the time. (Turns out I didn't use that detail at all.) I recall now that I'd told him there was an airport near L.A. that has a P-51 and that you can actually go for a ride. I said that someday I'll do that, which prompted that last line (which you know makes me smile).
Where exactly at ABC Television Center did they shoot Space Patrol? That was the problem. A big problem, because I got a different answer from every person I asked. No one could remember if it was Studio A or B (or C or D). I went to ABC, which had changed the names of the studios a zillion times since the '50s and remodeled the area, too - trying to find the exact spot. Ed Kemmer tried to help by drawing a rough sketch of the studios as he'd last seen them in the 60s.
Saturday Evening Post, October 18, 1952
Extremely rare photo of the Space Patrol cast in color at a drive-in restaurant, with Hap cracking everyone up (as usual).
Ed Kemmer, Ken Mayer and Lyn Osborn.
Shortly before his death, Ed Kemmer started going through his photos and surprised his family and me (who was constantly hounding him for stuff for the book) with some we?d never seen. I received this one of him, Ken Mayer and Lyn Osborn relaxing offstage a few weeks after the book had gone to press.
Publicity shot from Sierra Stranger, in which Ed Kemmer starred with Howard Duff.
Yes, it's true. The Commander was pretty good at the sewing machine when he had time on his hands and nothing that needed upholstering. He made these cushions for daughter Kim.
Nice frame, right? Well, it wasn't when Ed's wife Fran bought this painting at a garage sale. She says that half the frame was missing. Ed restored it, matching the intricate design exactly in papier mache - you can't tell the original from his reconstruction. It's pretty amazing work.
I'd been in the Kemmers' apartment many times before I realized that Ed had done most of the artwork on the walls. How did he learn to paint? He didn't. He just knew how to do it, somehow.
Another one of Ed's clown paintings (oil).
Ed painted this Modigliani-style portrait of Fran Kemmer shortly after they met in the mid-sixties. She remembers that he worked non-stop on it for about 8 hours until it was finished.
Ed did charcoals too, usually copying photographs. It's hard to believe that he didn't go to art school or have any training.
Display cabinet Ed made for Fran, with "Tasha," her dog, in the foreground. To the right is Ed's easy chair, just as he left it.
It seems that Ed created artwork non-stop, including many knick-knacks and figurines.
Ed was constantly building things. He made this TV console - without power tools.
Left: This chair was pretty beat up - until Ed gave it a total upholstery makeover. Where did he learn to do this professional-looking work? Fran Kemmer says that he watched a guy they'd hired to do another upholstery job, and the next time he just did it himself.
Ed Kemmer in 2003, taken by his son, Jonathan. It's one of Fran Kemmer's favorite photos, and was used at his memorial service.