This article is about the Buck Rogers villain. For the New York Dolls bassist "Killer" Kane, see Arthur Kane.
Buck Rogers character
The Leader Kane; The Leader
The Leader of the Planet Earth and, briefly, Dictator of the Planet Saturn
Buck Rogers; the Hidden City
Supreme rule over Earth and its people. Command over military, secret police, and air forces. Mastery of Charlie Brown-style insults.
Weapon of Choice:
Raygun; Amnesia Helmet; a stern tongue-lashing
Killer Kane is a fictional character in the 1939 Buck Rogers serial film produced by Universal Studios. Kane is a gangster (or "super-racketeer") who became the supreme dictator of Earth with the help of his criminal army. Although the events of the serial transpire in the year 2440, Kane has apparently ruled the world for some time before that. He was portrayed by actor Anthony Warde.
Although Kane is the main villain in the serial, he comes face-to-face with his rival Buck Rogers only a few times. He rarely leaves his council chambers, preferring to let his underling Captain Laska carry out his commands. Although he is the unquestioned ruler of the planet, Kane's actions show that he is still, at heart, a mere thug; he screams insults at his lieutenants ("You blockheads!" seems to be his favorite) and bullies other subordinates. He even pushes and shoves his councilors out of his chambers at one point.
4 1979 TV series,
In the 20th century, the forces of crime and disorder around the world steadily gained power. Because of the inability of society to control the criminal element, gangsters and racketeers gradually dominated the governments of the world. Some time before the year 2440, a "super-racketeer" known as Kane achieved complete global domination. His cruel, ruthless rule earned him the nickname "Killer Kane".
Supported by a council of lesser gangsters, and backed by an army of raygun-toting crooks, Kane managed to suppress all resistance, save for a valiant few who made their new home in the so-called "Hidden City". These rebels, led by the wise Dr. Huer and his military counterpart, Air Marshal Kragg, hoped to gain the aid of the forces of Saturn. However, knowing that the support of the Saturnians could help the Hidden City overthrow him, Kane posted patrols in the atmosphere to prevent any ship from leaving the planet.
The revival of 20th-century pilot Buck Rogers proved to be the beginning of the end for Kane. In short order, Buck evaded Kane's space patrols; outmaneuvered his chief lieutenant, Captain Laska; thwarted the attempted kidnapping of Prince Tallen, ambassador of Saturn; released political dissidents from Kane's "Robot Battalion"; and finally overthrew and captured Kane and his entire criminal government.
Kane is vain, pompous, and overconfident. He dresses flamboyantly, resides in a luxury penthouse suite, and maintains a finely trimmed mustache. Although the people over whom he rules refer to him as "Killer Kane," he prefers to be addressed (and identifies himself) as "The Leader Kane" (or simply "The Leader") and presents himself to the Saturnians as a benevolent monarch. Although he seems obsessed with finding and destroying the Hidden City, he apparently never considers the possibility that they will mount a serious offensive against him.
As a leader, Kane tolerates no dissent. Through the use of his brainwashing "Amnesia Helmets," Kane reduces his human opponents to mere automatons who labor mindlessly in his prison camps. When dealing with his minions, Kane is easily driven to impatience; while listening to a report, he only allows his henchman to state his name and location before exclaiming, "Never mind all that!"
When Kane actually has the upper hand over Buck Rogers, gaining complete control over him with an Amnesia Helmet, Kane does not finish his enemy off. Instead, he has Buck kneel down and polish his boots while the dictator gloats over him.
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When measured against other serial villains like Ming the Merciless, Killer Kane pales somewhat in comparison. Fans are especially critical of the character, arguing that he acts more like a common crime lord than a global dictator. Others complain that the script gives him little to do other than yell at his henchmen and strut about his council chambers.
1979 TV series:
In the 1979 television series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Kane is reimagined as the supreme commander of the Draconian forces under Princess Ardala's father, Emperor Draco. While the original Killer Kane was the absolute leader, in the TV series, Kane answers to Draco and grudgingly Ardala who acts as Draco's emissary. Ardala Valdemar was one of Kane's subordinates in the original series. In the pilot film, the role was played by Henry Silva while in the follow-up series, he was played by Michael Ansara. The two portrayals are somewhat different. Silva's Kane was much cooler and more calculating and sought to manipulate Ardala. Ansara's Kane was a more honorable, sympathetic man who had a love-hate relationship with Ardala and a grudging respect for Buck Rogers.
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