100-Year-Old Inventor of the Taser Goes to Space, Makes Movie

The Tom Swift adventure novels have been optioned by former Nickelodeon executive Albie Hecht for a new Web, TV and film franchise. Tom Swift has been zooming around the universe and building retro-gadgets in nearly 100 books for roughly a century. What's taken Hollywood so long to pay attention?

These books have inspired at least three generations. The first Tom Swift book hit the shelves in 1910, and since then more than 20 million books have been sold in the series. Swift started out as a "science hero" and inventor, and later his adventures took him into outer space. Some of the more recent books have titles like Tom Swift and the Mutant Beach or Tom Swift and the Rocket Racers.

Tom Swift books inspired Alan Moore's own Tom Strong character, who is a science hero himself, and the word 'taser' is an acronym for Thomas A. Swift Electric Rifle.

Although Hollywood has produced television versions of many other early twentieth century adventure franchises like The Hardy Boys, we've never seen a Tom Swift series before. Luckily Albie Hecht saw potential in the books. His film Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, which later became a successful animated series, is clearly an homage to the 1910s boy science hero. Will Tom Swift be another Jimmy Neutron? I'd rather see him in live action, so here's hoping that the Cartoon Network's recent hit with the live action Ben 10 movie will let them explore that route. If not, maybe we can wait another hundred years.