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The best serial


doctorxx
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My choice would be The Lone Ranger. Interestingly the actor playing the role was the only Hollywood actor to die in active service in WW2- Lee Powell. I am sure most fans would choose Flash Gordon. The female lead, Jean Rogers,made many a young boys eyes pop!

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> {quote:title=ziggyelman wrote:}{quote}Clearly no one here has seen Daredevils of the Red Circle! ;)

I have, and while it is a great serial, I have a fondness for The Masked Marvel. Though he is given no credit, stuntman Tom Steele was behind the mask whenever The Masked Marvel was seen onscreen, plus he played a crook role in a chapter (and thanks to the magic of film editing, chased himself up a staircase).

 

6830765543_cc40d0a403.jpg

 

P.S. -- Did you all know that the stars in serials at Republic were hired if they resembled the studio's stuntmen, not the other way around?

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Have to agree with cody on this one. But following closely is "The Adventures of Captain Marvel" and "The Phantom". Both starring the great Tom Tyler.

"Captain Marvel" was the first comic book hero to hit the big screen and it's a dilly. Tyler is fine as the Captain.. It was a fun piece of film making. One scene that blew my mind was the Captain is fighting the baddies and he jumps into their machine gun nest and they start running away. Does he run after then? NO. He picks up the machine gun and shoots then in the back as they are taking off..

Not as good as "Captain Marvel" is "The Phantom" again with Tom Tyler. These two along with Flash and Dale are considered the best of the movie serials and I agree...

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> {quote:title=fredbaetz wrote:}{quote}Have to agree with cody on this one. But following closely is "The Adventures of Captain Marvel" and "The Phantom". Both starring the great Tom Tyler.

> "Captain Marvel" was the first comic book hero to hit the big screen and it's a dilly. Tyler is fine as the Captain.. It was a fun piece of film making. One scene that blew my mind was the Captain is fighting the baddies and he jumps into their machine gun nest and they start running away. Does he run after then? NO. He picks up the machine gun and shoots then in the back as they are taking off..

> Not as good as "Captain Marvel" is "The Phantom" again with Tom Tyler. These two along with Flash and Dale are considered the best of the movie serials and I agree...

Fred, I believe you are corrct that "The Adventures of Captain Marvel" was the first serial based on a comic book character, but they were preceded by many a comic strip character. Flash Gordon being one, obviously, but also there were Radio Patrol, Tailspin Tommy, Adventures of Red Ryder, Tim Tyler's Luck, Ace Drummond, Mandrake the Magician, Dick Tracy, Secret Agent X-9, Terry and the Pirates, and Tarzan in several incarnations.

 

While I can agree that Captain Marvel is one of the best, I have to ask for your source that "The Phantom" is considered the same. Your post is the first I have ever read in my decades of loving serials where anyone has ever ranked it among the best. I would have to rank Spy Smasher, Zorro's Fighting Legion, Drums of Fu Manchu, Mysterious Dr. Satan, Daredevils of the Red Circle, Secret Service in Darkest Africa, Manhuunt of Mystery Island, The Masked Marvel, and The Crimson Ghost way above The Phantom.

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> {quote:title=doctorxx wrote:}{quote}My choice would be The Lone Ranger. Interestingly the actor playing the role was the only Hollywood actor to die in active service in WW2- Lee Powell. I am sure most fans would choose Flash Gordon. The female lead, Jean Rogers,made many a young boys eyes pop!

Unfortunately, you have given away the ending to the serial, since several characters were suspected of being the Ranger in that first LR serial.

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FLASH GORDON was really the first sci-fi attempt to deal with interplanetary adventures. Forget about A TRIP TO THE MOON. It wasn't until 1950, 14 years later, that this kind of movie became a staple in Hollywood. I am referring to ROCKETSHIP-XM, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD,etc.

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Now, I would say that the first Flash Gordon serial, where Jean had the ethereal blonde 'do, is the best. I'd give an honorable mention to Buck Rogers - a mountain that opens up - how cool is that? For nostalgia, I'll mention Commando Cody. I watched those religiously in the 50s.

 

When I was probably 4 or 5, Tim Tyler's Luck was my favorite, along with one I found almost too scary to watch, and don't recall the name of. I do recall that the lead baddie was a spider woman, and she often killed her enemies with a poisonous poke in the back of the neck, from a stinger that would come out of a small hatch in the back of a chair.

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Maybe I overstated the "best", but "The Phantom" was reviewed by Todd Gaunt in his "Serial Experience...."one of the best of Columbia's serials. Everything works,Tom Tyler slips into the character of "The Phantom" as easily as he did with "Captain Marvel"... some are disappointed with the ending. ...I enjoyed the ending for its sense of visual style"

The majority of reviewers on Amazon give it "Thumbs up" as a well done and exciting serial and a lost gem rediscovered..... ;)

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> {quote:title=doctorxx wrote:

> }{quote}My choice would be The Lone Ranger. Interestingly the actor playing the role was the only Hollywood actor to die in active service in WW2- Lee Powell.

He was?

Here's another:

 

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0279961/bio#trivia

 

And regarding Lee Powell, check out what it says in his biography & trivia here:

 

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0694205/bio

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DRUMS OF FU MANCHU and DAREDEVILS OF THE RED CIRCLE are probably the top two, although my personal favorite may be G-MEN VS THE BLACK DRAGON.

 

In any case, the Republics were given top drawer production and support from the studio. The Universals were relegated to second unit status.

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{font:Arial}Just about every movie fan has his or her favorite movie serial. In selecting what might be considered the best of the era, can at times become a matter of popularity, based around a particular character or the studio. In the case of the studio, the highest ranking among the fans goes (hands down!) to Republic Pictures. The reasons are easily enough to contemplate or come to the simple conclusion that Republic gave their serials the best production values, when basically compared to other studios and this obviously includes the major studios. Now, don’t get me wrong, if I were to pick another studio other than Republic, I’d have to say that Universal and {font}{font:Arial}Columbia{font}{font:Arial} did their fair share of competing, especially along these lines concerning a few special effects and selected characters. In this department of effects and created characters, Republic had a slight edge, along with the sort of subject matter the studio managed to cover and represent. Of all the {font}{font:Arial}serials{font}{font:Arial} {font}{font:Arial}Republic{font}{font:Arial} produced, most fans and historians seem to agree that the 1941, “The Adventures of Captain Marvel” was the finest ever devised. Masterfully directed by serial veteran filmmakers William Witney and John English, this “Captain Marvel” serial technically and artistically up lifted the whole genre to be taken seriously and appreciated by the film industry as a whole. There is also a cleverly means of mixing fantasy with a bit of Sci-Fi that expanded upon what the original comic book series had created. The now famous phrase “Shazam!” as shouted out by the young character “Billy Batson” to transform himself into “Captain Marvel” has become part of pop culture.{font}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{font:Arial}Next (on my list) would be the 1948, highly successful “Superman.” This was the very first “live- action” appearance of the “man of steel” on film. Produced by Columbia Pictures, it has an interesting mixture of animation and live-action special effects. Several situations surrounding this serial have become something of a movie legend. First, in the role of “{font}{font:Arial}Louis Lane{font}{font:Arial}” was lovely Noel Neil, who in a few years would repeat her role as the woman newspaper reporter for the later to come, beloved television series. Second, and this was rather strange, actor Kirk Alyn, who played the “man of steel” never received billing on film for the serial. His name only appeared on theater posters and advertisements! Third, and this is where it really gets creepy, one of the co-directors, Thomas Carr, would go on to direct episodes of the television series! It would be Carr, using his experience from directing the serial that set down the pattern for the television series and perhaps how the “man of steel” would be always generally perceived. Forth, many elements or scenes from the serial were incorporated into the 1978 major motion picture. I also feel, actor Kirk Alyn, bares a striking resemblance to Christopher Reeve! The original serial was such a hit at the box office, {font}{font:Arial}Columbia{font}{font:Arial} brought everybody back for a sequel in 1950, “Atom Man vs. Superman,” introducing for the first time, the villainous “Lex Luthor.” The budget for both serials wasn’t exactly as good as what Republic could have done, but acceptable enough to be entertaining and at times exciting. By the 1950’s, only Republic and {font}{font:Arial}Columbia{font}{font:Arial} were the last studios producing serials, until everything gave way to television.{font}

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Roy,

 

I have to go with *Buck Rogers*. I like Buck plenty but young Buddy does all the heavy lifting in that serial and for some reason, that just makes me smile.

 

Plus, Wilma isn't your typical damsel in distress female lead. She's an early prototype to Lois Lane (from the *Superman* serial) in my book.

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Dale,

 

I still remember the first serial I ever saw on TV. It was 1950, we had just moved back to N.Y. from Tenn. and it was "Tim Tylers Luck" followed by "Don Winslow of the Navy". Boy was I hooked. We ran the Flash Gordon serials when I worked at Ch. 52 in the early 70's and we got lots of mail from youngsters who had never seen them.

 

 

I only have two in my collection. "Holt of the Secret Service" and Johnny Mack Brown in "Rustlers of Red Dog". Rustlers is a slam bang western with lots of action and moves fast.. I'm going to pick up some more with all this talk of movie serials..

I like Wilma in "Buck Rogers", but Jane Rogers made my M&M's melt, I couldn't blame Ming.... :x

 

 

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KUDOs to you and keep up the good work. It's great that there are places for fans of the serials to go and see them on the big screen or any film genre. I'm glad to see so many of the old serials available on DVD today from Amazon or Oldies.Com, just to name a few. While the quality may not be there on a lot of them at least you have the opportunity watch them again or introduce others to them...

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