“Once upon a time, a junk man had a dream; ‘I want to build a ship, fly to the moon, salvage all the NASA stuff up there, bring it back to the earth, and sell it.’”
What with the fuss about “The Martian” Macgyvering his way across Mars, I was reminded of this pretty much forgotten little gem, which embodies a “we can do it!” attitude. Sure thing; build a spaceship in your backyard!
The pilot film was “Salvage” and aired in 1979. It starred Andy Griffith as junk man extraordinaire Harry Broderick, the genius behind the scheme. With some good old fashioned hucksterism, he convinces astronaut and aerospace engineer Skip Carmichael and propulsion engineer Mel Slozar to sign on board. 16 Episodes aired, but apparently 20 were filmed, and a DVD boxed set is available. .
Built in a junkyard from salvaged scrap, including a cement mixer for the crew capsule, the Vulture ain’t pretty, but with a little help from hacked NASA computer, it gets the job done. The science is ... rocky, with a lot of things not explained; handwavium is wonderful stuff! But a lot of fun.
A couple of fan sites are still viewable, but at least one is not being maintained and updated.
After the pilot, episodes chronicled adventures from rescuing a little girl trapped in a collapsed bomb shelter, to finding Cortez’s treasure map, to helping a marooned alien (really).
And as a special treat, here’s the pilot, uploaded by youtuber scifigeneration, and even after about 35 years, there are still some really excellent moments. ETA; its a bit grainy.