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Flash! Ah-aah. He'll save every one of us on First Friday

RALEIGH — Discover the reason for all the recent extraordinary intergalactical upsets when “Flash Gordon” shows at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences on Friday, August 6 at 7 pm. In this campy update of the 1930s comic strip, Flash is a quarterback for the New York Jets who is skyjacked aboard Dr. Zarkov’s rocketship along with beautiful travel agent Dale Arden, only to land on the art-deco planet Mongo. The trio forms alliances with the planet’s warring princes in order to save the Earth from destruction at the hands of Mongo’s malevolent master, Ming the Merciless.

“Flash” (1980) owes much of its magic to a screenplay conceived by Lorenzo Semple Jr, main writer for the late-60s television series “Batman,” and an original soundtrack composed and performed by the seminal rock band Queen. After that, well …

Flash is played with an unerringly straight and handsome face by Sam J Jones, who turned an unsuccessful venture as a potential suitor on The Dating Game into the part of a lifetime, and a well-earned Razzie Award nomination for Worst Actor. Dale is portrayed by former Rigid Tools poster girl Melody Anderson, who received her first national exposure as a “sweathog” in an episode of “Welcome Back, Kotter” in 1977. ‘Nuff said.

The stronger supporting cast includes voluminous British actor Brian Blessed, whose character Prince Vultan says "Who wants to live forever?" during the battle between the Hawkmen and Ming’s Imperial Fleet. This line later became the title of a Queen song on the soundtrack for “Highlander” (1986). Vultan’s foil, Prince Barin, is played by steely eyed Timothy Dalton, who was lucky enough to play James Bond twice — in “The Living Daylights” (1987) and “Licence to Kill” (1989) — before resigning (not retiring) and opening the door for Pierce Brosnan. Chaim Topol, best known for his performance as the milkman Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof,” both on stage and in the 1971 film, gives life to the rocketeer Dr. Zarkov. The distinctive and distinguished Max von Sydow cut his teeth in several early Ingmar Bergman films before sinking them into the character of Ming.

Before the movie, discover what puts the “flash” in flashlight fish by visiting GLOW: Living Lights, a new special exhibit that explores the phenomenon of bioluminescence — an organism’s ability to produce its own light. All tickets $4 after 5 pm; last ticket sold at 7 pm.

The Museum stays open from 5 to 9 pm on the First Friday of every month, inviting visitors to wander through eye-catching exhibits, enjoy snacks and beverages from the Acro Café, and groove to live music from Hercules Mulligan beginning at 6pm. Additionally, the Museum Store offers after-hours shopping and an opening reception (6:30-8:30 pm) for painter Dawn Rozzo, whose show “Wing, Leaf, Petal” will be on display August 6–29 in the Nature Art Gallery. All exhibited art is for sale.

First Friday August 6, 2010