Ed Kemmer - Rotten Tomatoes

Ed Kemmer

Highest Rated:   67% Executive Action (1973)
Lowest Rated:   67% Executive Action (1973)
Birthplace:   Reading, Pennsylvania, USA
For much of the early '50s, Ed Kemmer was one of the most popular leading men on television, at least among younger viewers, as a result of his portrayal of Commander Buzz Corry on the series Space Patrol. Born in Reading, PA, in 1921, Kemmer learned to fly while still in his teens and joined the U.S. Army Air Force when the United States entered World War II. A fighter pilot, he was shot down on his 47th mission, in June of 1944, just a few days after D-Day, and was imprisoned at Stalag Luft 3. He escaped on one occasion in the spring of 1945, was recaptured, and then was liberated a by American troops a few days later, during the final phase of the war. After leaving the service, Kemmer decided to take advantage of the G.I. Bill of Rights by studying at the College of Theater Arts at the Pasadena Playhouse. He finished the program in 18 months instead of the usual two years and began doing stage work, though some of that didn't take him too far from his background as a pilot -- in addition to such plays as John Loves Mary and Arsenic and Old Lace, Kemmer also acted in a production of the drama Command Decision, which dealt with bomber pilots and their commanding officers during World War II. Kemmer later auditioned for and was cast in the role of Commander Buzz Corry on Space Patrol, initially for eight dollars an episode in the 15-minute version of the show, which was broadcast locally in San Francisco. The money went up when the newly-organized ABC network picked up the series and it was expanded to 30 minutes. Space Patrol ran for five seasons, generating many hundreds of episodes, all of them done live and most of the network shows preserved on kinescope. Kemmer developed a serious following among the younger viewers who comprised its audience, even long past 1955, as the shows were re-broadcast under the syndicated title Satellite Police into the early '60s. With his clean-cut good looks, the early thirtyish Kemmer was the quintessential space hero, strong and authoritative, yet young enough to seem a bit more accessible, like an older brother, than the more distant, avuncular figure of Al Hodge in Captain Video. Kemmer was part of the first generation of actors to break through to stardom on the small-screen, but after more than 1,000 live broadcasts in a five-year period, he didn't want to remain in television. He moved into motion pictures in 1956 with Abner Biberman's prison escape drama Behind the High Wall. Over the next few years, Kemmer played leading roles in low-budget pictures such as The Hot Angel (which utilized his experience as a pilot), and Calypso Joe and Sierra Stranger, before he moved up to supporting parts in major studio films such as The Crowded Sky and the Barrymore family biography Too Much, Too Soon, in which he got to meet and work with Errol Flynn. Where Kemmer became an actual star with a following, however, was in the area of science fiction -- he played leading roles in such B-pictures as Giant From the Unknown (billed as Edward Kemmer), directed by Richard Cunha, and Earth vs. the Spider, made by Bert I. Gordon. Both of those movies became hits on the drive-in and neighborhood theater circuits to which they were released, and subsequently became cult favorites on television; indeed, Giant From the Unknown has even been issued on DVD in the 21st century. By the end of the 1950s, Kemmer had also started a second small-screen career, this time in soap operas, beginning with the West Coast drama Clear Horizon and continuing with Edge of Night, and then encompassing dozens of other daytime dramas, including The Doctors, Somerset, As the World Turns, The Guiding Light, and Ryan's Hope. He was also a frequent guest performer on dozens of prime-time series, including Lassie, Perry Mason, The Virginian, Maverick, 77 Sunset Strip, The Rebel, Combat, and Twilight Zone. Kemmer reportedly was still receiving fan mail over Space Patrol in 2001, a half century after the series went on the air.

Highest Rated Movies



67% Executive Action
  • Actor
No Score Yet The Crowded Sky
  • Caesar
No Score Yet Giant from the Unknown
  • Wayne Brooks
No Score Yet Hong Kong Confidential
  • Actor
No Score Yet Earth vs. the Spider
  • Professor Art Kingman
No Score Yet Too Much, Too Soon
  • Robert Wilcox


82% The Twilight Zone
  • Flight Engineer
  • 1963
No Score Yet Perry Mason
  • Leslie Hall Roger Porter
  • 1961
  • 1960
No Score Yet Maverick
  • Clete Overton Sherwood Hampton
  • 1959
  • 1957
No Score Yet Alfred Hitchcock Presents
  • Dan Verber
  • 1955

Quotes from Ed Kemmer's Characters

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