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Small to Medium Spacecraft

ZX-99 - Spacecraft on the children's sci-fi series CAPTAIN Z-RO/SYN/1951-56.

Captain Z-RO space ship - opening credits

The ZX-99 was owned by scientist/explorer Captain Z-RO (Roy Steffens) who with his assistant, Jet (Bobby Trumbull) flew through outer space at a speed of five miles per second.


"Captain Z-Ro! Research explorer in time and space! Somewhere in a remote uncharted region of a planet called Earth stands the laboratory of Captain Z-RO. In this secret location, known only to a few in the outside world, Captain Z-RO and his associates experiment in time and space to learn from the past - to plan for the future.... [Morse code signals] Contact has been established. We now transmit you direct to the laboratory of Captain Z-RO. Please stand by." -- Announcer's opening proclamation


When the Captain zoomed through time, he used his special time machine which enabled him to visit a variety of historical periods from Biblical days to the American Revolution. The CAPTAIN Z-RO program not only provided good vs. evil plots but educated its young viewers about a variety of historical periods.

Captain Z-ro and Jet, his assistant

During the series run, Captain Z-RO and his sidekick Jet assisted such historical figures as Christopher Columbus, Daniel Boone, Marco Polo, George Washington, Molly Pitcher, Leonardo Da Vinci, King John, William Tell, Hernando Cortez, William the Conqueror, Robin Hood, Atilla the Hun, and Blackbeard the Pirate.

The Captain's time machine featured an Electro Generator, a Trillatron, and the Lectric Chamber with Spector Wave Length which transports the Captain back into any desired period of time.

To protect himself, the Captain used a Pararay Gun that paralyzed victims for 60 seconds at a time.

Before departing on a mission the Captain remarked "Spaceman's Luck." When he was ready to return to his present time, he said "All right, Jet, take me back."

The program ended with the phrase (over Morse code signals): "Be sure to be standing by when we again transmit you to the remote location on planet Earth where Captain Z-RO and his associates will conduct another experiment in time and space..."

The CAPTAIN Z-RO series originally ran three years "live" on San Francisco’s KRON-TV for 15-minutes then expanded to a half-hour "filmed" series that was syndicated nationally in 1955.


Roy Steffens as CAPTAIN Z-RO

"Hi boys and girls. [gives a salute] Greeting fellow Z-men. I want to tell you how you can become a commissioned officer of the Z-RO Explorers in time and space and receive an official space passport and identification card.

This passport entitles you to travel in accredited space ships to any planet in our solar system. It also contains our official signature and photograph as well as regulations for space travel and the procedure for rocket ship blastoffs.

Just send your name and address to me Captain Z-RO in care of this station. Your letter will be forwarded to my laboratory by guided missiles. And I will immediately send you your official space passport and identification card.

So till we meet again fellow Z-men, [salutes] Good luck in time and space."


TRIVIA NOTE: The Captain Z-RO show was a precursor to other  time traveling programs such as:

  • YOU ARE THERE/CBS/1953-57 where reporters from the 20th century delivered on the spot reports and interviews with people and events in the past.

  • DOCTOR WHO/BBC/1963-89 a British sci-fi adventure about a Timelord from the Planet Gallifrey who transcends time and space in his TARDIS time machine.
  • THE HECTOR HEATHCOTE SHOW/NBC/1963-64 the animated misadventures of a time traveling scientist who bumbled about in America's past.

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