Before Captain Kirk, Han Solo or Buzz Lightyear, there was Buck Rogers in the 25th century with his fluted, flamboyant U-235
When you work in a room with over 10,000 firearms and weapons every day, people will inevitably ask, "Which is your favorite gun?" It's hard to pick out a single favorite when there are so many to choose from -- the answer might depend on a project I've been working on, a book I've been reading, a movie I've recently seen or even music I've been listening to.
But I can say with certainty that one of the coolest guns we have in the museum's collection was designed in 1935 but won't be issued for another 400 years. It may have appeared on the cover of the Foo Fighters' debut album in 1995, but it won't really exist until the year 2419.
That's right -- before Captain Kirk, Han Solo or Buzz Lightyear, there was Buck Rogers in the 25th century. His weapon -- prettier than the Phaser, more refined than the E-11 Blaster, cooler than whatever Buzz Lightyear uses -- was the U-235 Atomic Pistol. The gun has a fluted barrel, flamboyant fins and a gold finish; sparks light up the red "Fission Control Chamber."
Buck Rogers first appeared in 1928 in the science fiction magazine Amazing Stories. The next year, he debuted in the first science fiction newspaper comic strip, which was published until 1967. Buck's influence was widespread: he spawned his own radio show from 1932 to 1947, a short film screened at the 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair, and even a 12-part movie serial produced in 1939.