In Reply to: Space Cadet posted by Smokey Stover on July 13, 2008 at 15:40:
: : : : Space Cadet: Term used by Jackie Gleason on the Honeymooners show. The episode is called 'TV or not to TV'. Original air date was October 1st, 1955.
: : : That's interesting. I wouldn't have thought the expression was that old.
: : "Tom Corbett - Space Cadet" started as a live action serial in 1950. There were also books, comics, and a radio show all pre-1955.
: The Oxford English Dictionary gives both meanings of "space cadet." The first, applicable to Tom Corbett, is "space cadet, a trainee spaceman; also transf., esp. a (young) enthusiast for space travel."
: The use I have heard most often, which I imagine corresponds with Jackie Gleason's meaning, is (again from the OED): "space cadet n. slang a person regarded as out of touch with reality, esp. (as if) as a result of taking drugs; a person prone to flights of fancy or irrational or strange behaviour."
According to Wikkipedia, Joseph Greene had originally submitted a radio script for "Tom Ranger and the Space Cadets" on January 16, 1946. This remained unperformed when Robert Heinlein published the novel Space Cadet in 1948 - the space cadet in question being Matt Dodson. Greene then developed the Tom Corbett, Space Cadet comic books & strip, television series, radio show, and novels that were popular in the early 1950s. Oddly, Heinlein's novel is described as the inspiration for Greene's space cadet, so perhaps he changed his original content after reading the novel. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Cadet Pamela