147 thoughts on “Home

  1. Curiously Jerry, do you want us to try to list your Halloween mask challenge or just do it on our own? If I type in the ones I think I know, I might ruin it for others coming after me.

    • Good point; I should have thought of that when I posted it. I think it’d be OK if you posted your answers here, since the comments on this thread are so far down from the home page that people won’t be able to refer to both it and the image.

  2. Okay Jerry–first row, The Scorpian, The Black Ace, The Ghost, Atom Man
    Second row–don’t know who two and four are. One is The Masked Marvel, and three The Green Hornet
    Third Row–again don’t know who two and four are. One is The Phantom Rider and three The Crimson Ghost.
    Fourth Row–The Skull, The Copperhead, The Octopus, Pegleg.

    So I think I know 12 out of the 16. Was I right?
    Be interested when other posters tell me who the others are, and anyone I misidentified.

  3. The missing ones were, in the first row, the Black Falcon from FLYING G-MEN,
    second row, The Gargoyle from THE SPIDER RETURNS and The Phantom Ruler from THE INVISIBLE MONSTER,
    Third row The Lame One AKA The Spider from DICK TRACY and THE IRON CLAW. (For you fans of the old Get Smart TV show, there was a Japanese villain with a claw like hand and would pronounce it ‘Craw. “Not Craw, CRAW!”

  4. Okay. The Black Falcon? Despite seeing the serial, I blew that one, but no hero should look that villainous. The only one from a serial I have not seen is The Gargoyle. Just a shaky memory.

  5. Interestingly enough, someone else decided that the Black Falcon’s outfit would look good on a villain; “Prince Bacarratti” (Bela Kovacs), a recurring villain on the early sci-fi TV show Space Patrol, regularly wore the Falcon’s old jacket (dug up somewhere in one of the back rooms of Western Costume).

  6. Hi Jerry!
    I’m enjoying the new bios that you’ve been adding for the last couple of months. I find it both entertaining and enlightening to read about an actor’s own history and follow the evolution (or de-evolution, as the case may be) in roles and characteristics that cross through actors’ work over their serial history. Also, I get to see new examples of your writing (“and general blackguardism”).
    I hope you don’t run out of actors too soon.

    • Thanks, Mike; never fear, it’ll be a long time before I run out of actors to cover. Right now, I’m planning Bill Elliott, Cecilia Parker, Leonard Penn, Rick Vallin, George Lynn, and Pierre Watkin as the next batch of additions.

  7. Old Serial Fan, if you haven’t seen THE SPIDER RETURNS with the Gargoyle as the villain, you should check it out. It is by far Horne’s most insane serial, with the infamous party scene from chapter six. BTW, Jerry you haven’t done any silent serials, but if you want something that goes way beyond anything Horne dreamt up, you have to check out OFFICER 444 (1926) with Ben Wilson and Neva Gerber. Don’t even think of attempting to make any sense of it, it is just totally off the wall. You would have a real ball reviewing it.

  8. Hi — and thanks for the Frances Robinson bio! I started reading it without recognizing her name, but when I came to the Red Barry reference, I certainly recognized her as “Mississippi” and want to second your comment that she turned in a “memorably lively performance”. In my opinion, she had more complexity and depth in that role than other serial heroines I’ve seen, including some who had a larger role. If only Buster Crabbe had Mississippi on the rocket ship in place of Dale Arden …

    I check the website at the beginning of the week to see who will show up, and I’m never disappointed as you recap their pre-serial, serial, and post-serial life. Most of the time, I haven’t seen their serial work in sequence, so this is really helpful.

    I hope you don’t run out of actors for a while!!


  9. Jerry, any chance of having a running list on the top of the actors you do bios of? If I don’t check in for a bit, I might lose track of some people. I still dare you to review OFFICER 444. Thanks, Jerry.

    • That’s not a bad idea, Pa; I’ll try to figure out some way of keeping multiple weeks’ worth of updates listed on the home page. As for Officer 444, I just don’t have enough experience of silent films at present to do an intelligent review of that one, or of other serials from the pre-Indians Are Coming era.

  10. Jerry, if you ever screen OFFICER 444, you will realize you can’t write an intelligent review. Think James Horne stoned. Extremely stoned.

    • Good to see you post again, Old Serial Fan. I believe the answer is Stuart Hamblen, the villain from King of the Forest Rangers. He ran for president on the Prohibition Party ticket in, I think, 1950.

  11. That’s right. I was surprised when looking at the 1952 election results to see his name, and wondered if anyone else knew he ran for president. He finished fourth, not that bad I guess.

  12. Jerry, congratulations on being accepted to law school, I hope you do well. Remember in one Marx Brothers movie Groucho was a lawyer.
    “You are awful shy to be a lawyer.”

    “That’s because i’m a shyster lawyer.”

  13. Jerry, congratulations on being accepted to law school, I wish you well.
    Remember in one Marx Brothers film, Groucho is a lawyer.
    “You are awfully shy to be a lawyer.”
    “That is because i’m a shyster lawyer.”

  14. Congratulations on entering law school. I am a longtime fan of your reviews and your comments on the Serial Squadron board and In the Balcony.

  15. Thank you all very much for the good wishes, gentlemen. I miss writing for the site already, but I have to say I’m finding law school very interesting indeed–challenging, but rewarding. I hope to get a few site additions done during the holiday breaks this winter (I have a week at Thanksgiving and three weeks at Christmas), but I can’t guarantee it.

  16. Jerry, don’t forget that the silent serial, THE MYSTERIOUS PILOT is now available. It is missing the first reel of chapter nine, but I have seen film grabs, and it looks like it is from a beautiful print, a 35MM print from Louis Weiss’s own vault.

      • Whoops, yes, I meant THE MYSTERIOUS AIRMAN. How is law school going? Remember, Jerry, it is 99% of all lawyers that give the rest of the lawyers a bad name. LOL

      • If you keep talking like that about the legal profession, Pa, you won’t be able to retain anyone to represent you and your reprehensible family the next time you’re busted by the G-Men (if any Starks survive long enough to get to trial, that is; Dick Tracy rarely seems to take prisoners). LOL

  17. I only discovered this site last night as I’m getting interested in serials. It’s well-designed and very interesting. Glad there’s so much to read here!

  18. Hi Jerry and Greetings from Canada.
    I know you’re busy in your legal work (did you know that 2/3 of all the lawyers in the world are in the United States). Nuff said on that. I enjoy your blog tremendously. It’s really well done and I suppose a great diversion for you from your legal work. Cheers and please keep it going.

    • Jerry, remember, it is 99% of all lawyers that give the rest of the lawyers bad name. LOL Doe this mean you won’t represent us the next time me and my sons get arrested?

  19. Jerry, I don’t know if this is going in the right spot — please forgive if it has been mis-placed.

    I’ve just finished watching a 1943 Pine-Thomas Productions feature called SUBMARINE ALERT starring Richard Arlen, released by Paramount. At about 30 minutes in, this slightly better than average programmer suddenly turned into what I’d swear was a serial — if not in form, at least in format and spirit, even to the point of being punctuated about every 10-12 minutes by cliffhangers.. Does anybody know if this was the original intent, perhaps being an edited-down serial script?

  20. My Lord! You know more about my Grandfather’s film history than most of us in the family (that’s left, that is). Wade Boteler was my Dad’s father with whom I never met. My mother never met him either as my Mom and Dad didn’t meet until 1945. I has been fun, however, to be able to see him walk and talk in all of the movies he’s been in. I do have an newspaper clipping about him, with no date or name of paper unfortunately, but it speaks him “currently ” filming “Don Winslow in the Navy” which was released in 1942. The clipping said he was in over 1,000 films, but IMDB has him at 448, which is still quite a few!! Weird how his last film was titled “The Last Ride”.

    I just wanted to thank you for writing the wonderful expose’ on his work. I was fascinated reading it. I shared the page with my family members.

    Again, thank you.


    Patti Boteler

  21. Great news, Jerry. Too bad they didn’t include the lost Universals from the early 30’s such as DANGER ISLAND, SPELL OF THE CIRCUS, HEROES OF THE FLAMES, AIRMAIL MYSTERY, and the last six chapters of CLANCY OF THE MOUNTED, etc.

  22. Jerry. Wikipedia has found and printed the Quigley Polls of the top ten movie box office money making stars going back to 1912. I went through the list and found those who made serials in the talkie era. There were also quite a few who only did so in the silent era. Here are the ones I found who were in talkie serials and at one point or another a top ten box office attraction:

    Francis X Bushman
    William Farnum
    Tom Mix
    Clara Kimball Young
    Hoot Gibson
    Reginald Denny
    Ken Maynard
    Mickey Rooney
    Gene Autry
    Alan Ladd
    John Wayne

    Hope this is of some interest.

    • It is definitely of interest; thanks for sharing it. I find it particularly interesting to take note of which of the names on that list actually played a key part in their serials, which were simply hired for name value but given little screen time, and which were simply underutilized because they weren’t names yet. Wayne, Mix, Maynard, Autry, and Rin-Tin-Tin fall into the first category–they’re the undeniable stars of their serials. Gibson wasn’t the star of his serial, but played a major supporting role; Farnum and Clara Kimball Young usually got bigger billing than their serial parts warranted, but did play actual character roles of some importance to the plot. Bushman was, I think the most underutilized; he had next to nothing to do in his serial appearance as Clive Anderson in Dick Tracy; in fact, his role was so out of proportion to his billing that when I first saw the serial as a kid, I thought he’d turn out to be the mystery villain, since without knowledge of his past fame I couldn’t think of any other reason why he would place so high in the credits. Reginald Denny was more or less wasted in Jungle Menace, too, being written out early on, although he had a little more to do before exiting than Bushman did for the entirety of Tracy. Ladd and Rooney only had small roles in their serials, since they weren’t yet big names, but both of them at least got a chance to show some individuality in those parts.

  23. I didn’t see the option for leaving a comment on your “Serial Video Directory” page, so I thought that I’d post it here. The compilation is a terrific resource and the time and effort that you spent in putting it together is very much appreciated. I don’t have the resources to purchase DVD’s of all of the serials that I might like, so knowing that there are also online versions to (in a sense) “preview” is really helpful in deciding what to buy. As you mentioned, many of the copies available through to view via Youtube are pretty poor quality, but in the short term, something is better than nothing. I’ve also found that the websites Dailymotion and Archive.org have quite a few videos as well, with the quality about the same generally as Youtube.

    Again, thanks for all the great work in creating and maintaining this site.

  24. I noticed that some serials and feature versions are now available to stream on Amazon Prime. Some are free (well you have had to pay for the membership so not really) and some not. Lost City of the Jungle for example – looks very pristine I think it may be VCIs updated reissue. Republic’s Red Ryder, feature versions of Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Ace Drummond are some others I’ve found. There are also lots of B westerns and programmers. Serial Squadron has some you can purchase. I’m sure there are others, might be worth doing some searching. I personally prefer the digital versions because of the ease of ordering and instant gratification, so I hope more films will become available in this form.

  25. Great work on the new Don Harvey biography. It’s a terrific overview of his life and career, especially the coverage of his early years in acting. I think that he managed to do more with the roles he was given that most actors might have, and it was always a pleasure to see him in the cast listings. It was a real shame that he died so young. The writeup is certainly a welcome addition to your collection of articles.

    (I posted this note here, as I didn’t see the “leave a comment option” on his page.)

    • Thanks, James, both for the comments on the Harvey piece and for reminding me of the comments problem on some pages (either you, or another reader, mentioned it before but I didn’t have the time to investigate it then). It used to be that comments were automatically enabled on new pages, but it appears at some point the WordPress settings changed to require me to enable comments on each new page. I wasn’t aware of this till now, so I’ve been publishing my more recent bios without checking the box for enabling comments. I’ve enabled comments on Harvey’s page and, I think, on all the other newer pages that had comments similarly blocked. Please let me know if you run across one I’ve missed.

  26. Nice to see a new posting from you. It’s definitely been awhile. Work always gets in the way, doesn’t it? It’s good to hear that more updates in the offing. In the meantime, have a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

  27. The Milburn Stone entry is another great addition to your collection of biographies. I’ve always enjoyed Stone as an actor but knew him almost exclusively from his Gunsmoke role, at least until I discovered this website and was able to learn about his serial performances. Thanks as always for your efforts in highlighting another talented actor.

    I’m posting this comment here, because when I logged on to read the biography, it appears that the “leave a reply” function is not currently available. WordPress strikes again!

    • Thanks,James–for the feedback, and the reminder about the comments. At some point, WordPress switched from automatically allowing comments on pages to requiring manual selection of the “allow comments” option; I keep forgetting to select that option when I publish new pages. It’s fixed now, and the Stone page is open for comments.

  28. VIC has posted two short clips on their YouTube channel. One was for Wild West Days so we might expect to see that one soon. The other was Gangbusters which I think will be released in January. They both look terrific and the sound seems great too.

  29. You’ve definitely been busy! The Adams and Kendall biographies are both first-rate, and make nice additions to the listings. I was able to post a comment regarding Jane Adams on her page, but the “leave a reply” option doesn’t seem to be activated for the Cy Kendall entry. Regardless, it’s also a terrific write-up. He was one of my favorite villains, and very deserving of a page of his own.

  30. As mentioned before, all of these new entries are extremely worthy additions to your biographical listings. I was wondering if you had ever considered adding a section devoted to the many stunt men (and women) whose work made serials so entertaining and exciting. Obviously, it would be incredibly time consuming to prepare individual entries for each actor, and virtually impossible to catalog all of their innumerable appearances, but I thought perhaps an “overview” type of article would serve to highlight some of the more memorable work of the primary performers, and to give some well deserved credit to their often unsung contributions to the genre.

  31. Dan – I haven’t seen any posts from you for some months now. Hope all is well. I’d hate to think that you’ve had to give up working on the site.

    • James, I haven’t given it up–just hard to find time. Been in the middle of another job transition lately, which cuts into writing time as well. I hope to be able to do at least a minor update (perhaps a few Serial Scrapbook items) before too long.

      • Nice to hear from you, and to know that updates are in the offing. I hope the job transition goes well.

  32. As always, it’s great to have updates on all the newly restored serials. Amazon Prime video is currently showing what appears to be VCI’s restored version of “Pirate Treasure”. It’s free for now, other than the cost of the basic subscription, but that probably won’t last long. “Gang Busters” and “Vanishing Shadow” were initially made available at no extra charge, but now require a supplemental payment.

    • Thanks for the tip James – I bought the Blu-Ray but have been watching it on Prime instead. I don’t know what I’m enjoying more, the serial or the transfer, which is stunning. Plus you get to see a hero in spats, an early 1930’s Harley and lines like “you should change your bootlegger”. The stuntwork is thrilling. Thank you VCI.

  33. All my best wishes for the coming year. I hope that your new job is working out well and that you have nothing but success in 2022. As always, updates and new material for the site are greatly appreciated, but career has to take precedence, so when the time is right, I’m sure we’ll some great new additions to the write-ups.

  34. This isn’t about DVD’s, but I guess this is an okay place to post this. There is a colorized version of all chapters of The Painted Stallion on you tube. I like colorization myself, especially on movies filmed outdoors. Just a heads up if anyone is interested.

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