When I was a young boy I thought that Buster Crabbe was just about the most daring hero of early TV and the movie screen. I watched a lot of Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon reruns, I was not even thought of yet when they first came out, and I thought the stories were simply brilliant. Those were the thoughts of a young boy who liked space operas.
So how would the space opera of Xenu stack up against Buck Rogers and the evil emperor Ying?? Was Hubbard’s “Wall of Fire” and “OT III” as good or even better, than Phillip Nolan’s Buck Rogers? This hero appeared in Amazing Stories first in 1929, a decade later L. Ron Hubbard’s stories would appear in the same magazine.
Flash Gordon got a later start than Buck Rogers. Here is Flash in a 1936 issue of Strange Adventure Magazine.
By today’s standards these stories would be outstanding ears in a field of corn so it is hard to say which was better, or worse, written. Xenu’s tale is a bare outline. Hubbard wrote just enough to come up with something to sell to his demented followers. After all, for him the scant text was just a ploy to sell more auditing.
Would Xenu have gotten away with the mass murder if Buck had been there to save the day? Would he have survived the fight with Flash Gordon? I don’t think so, Buster Crabbe never lost a fight in his long career. He would have hit Xenu with a left-cross to the chin followed by a roundhouse right that would have sent him down for the alien count.
Here is a sample from the bygone era. Enjoy.
This issue featured Beyond All Weapons by L. Ron Hubbard. I was less than a year old when this hit the magazine racks. Both of us are old and cracked with time! Soon afterwards Hubbard hit the Jackpot with Dianetics. After that there was no more writing for a penny a word.
The woman on the cover of this issue is shooting lightning from her fingertips. Was she a future OT??
Gads, I was two months old when this hit the newsstands. Astounding Science Fiction, was the best magazine of science fiction pulps at the time. The artwork (from some of the top artists of the day) relied more on the story for their inspiration than sex appeal. Other magazines like Planet Stories relied more on pointy-breasted, scantily clad women featured on their lurid covers for sales rather than good authors, although they did have a few of the better writers. Magazines back then were usually sold in drugstores in racks near the soda fountain. Young men and teen boys bought most of the magazines so that sex appeal was a real factor in sales.
Stories of that era, including Hubbard’s (especially Hubbard’s) didn’t wear very well over the years. Writers back then didn’t spend much time on technology explanations since there was darn little technology around. The language, the plots and the ludicrous ignorance of basic science make these stories hopelessly dated.
I admit that I am addicted to the artwork of these old pulp space operas. Lots of action with fleets of ships, evil rulers and sexy women.
I have read some very erudite explanations as to the possible origins of Hubbard’s OT III tale. Since the big thetan is dead now we can only speculate as to where he got that peculiar tale from. Perhaps a look over our shoulder to his history, science fiction stories, would tell us more. As far as I am concerned Xenu (All Hail Xenu) is just part and parcel of the kind of stories written in the pulp era of the 1930-1960.
In this issue Beyond the Black Nebula by L. Ron Hubbard, (as by Rene Lafayete). The covers of these old pulps have some wonderful art, full of corn of course. Hubbard got tired of, as he said, “writing for a penny a word.” He invented Scientology which paid a lot more, it was still writing fiction though. Later he would write the great space opera, “OT III” which made him even richer. He died a hermit, but a damned rich one worth over 200 million.
Unknown magazine, July, 1939, Slaves of Sleep, by L. Ron Hubbard. If you want to find the origin of the upper level courses in Scientology, especially OT III and the Wall of Fire, you need look no further than the science fiction had fantasy stories that he wrote. All of Xenu, (All Hail Xenu) was rooted in the rock-’em, sock-’em space operas that Hubbard wrote. Later he tired of “writing for a penny a word,” and started a fake religion.
He still wrote fiction, the only difference was that deluded underlings thought it was for real and piled mountains of cash on his head.