Classic Movie Serialsby CG | created - 15 Sep 2013 | updated - 07 Aug 2016 | Public
Serials, more specifically known as Movie serials, Film serials or Chapter plays, are short subjects originally shown in theaters in conjunction with a feature film.
They were related to pulp magazine serialized fiction.
Also known as "chapter plays", they were extended motion pictures broken into a number of segments called "chapters" or "episodes". Each chapter was screened at the same theater for one week and ended with a cliffhanger in which the hero and heroine found themselves in a perilous situation with little apparent chance of escape.
Viewers had to return each week to see the cliffhangers resolved and to follow the continuing story.
Serials were especially popular with children and for many youths in the first half of the 20th century a typical Saturday at the movies included a chapter of at least one serial along with animated cartoons, newsreels, and two feature films.
(Info taken from wikipedia)
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1. The Shadow (1940)
Approved | 285 min | Action, Crime, Drama
The Shadow battles a villain known as The Black Tiger, who has the power to make himself invisible and is trying to take over the world with his death ray.
2. Drums of Fu Manchu (1940)
Approved | 269 min | Action, Adventure
The nefarious Dr. Fu Manchu searches for the keys to the tomb of Genghis Khan, in order to fulfill a prophecy that will enable him to conquer the world. His nemesis, Dr. Nayland Smith, and ... See full summary »
3. Daredevils of the Red Circle (1939)
Approved | 211 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
Using a diabolical disguise, Harry Crowel embarks on a vengeful career of destruction...opposed by three heroic daredevils.
4. The Spider's Web (1938)
Passed | 300 min | Crime, Action, Drama
A crime fighter known as The Spider battles a villain called The Octopus, who is out to sabotage America and install his own government.
6. The Return of Chandu (I) (1934)
208 min | Horror, Adventure, Fantasy
The Black Magic cult of Ubasti, based on the isle of Lemuria, believes that Nadji, a princess of Egypt, is a reincarnation of their long-dead goddess, Ossana, and intend to sacrifice Nadji ... See full summary »
7. The Three Musketeers (1933)
Approved | 210 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Tom Wayne rescues Clancy, Renard and Schmidt in the Arabian desert and they join him in going after El Shaitan, a bad guy who is never seen as he tries to wipe out the Foreign Legion.
9. Robinson Crusoe of Clipper Island (1936)
Approved | 256 min | Adventure, Romance
A 14-episode serial in which Mala, a Polynesian in the employ of U.S. Intelligence investigates sabotage on Clipper Island. A gang of spies causes the eruption of a volcano, for which our ... See full summary »
10. The Fighting Marines (1935)
Approved | 216 min | Action, Adventure
Corporal Larry Grant and Sergeant "Mac" McGowan, of the United States Marine Corps, are rival for the love of Frances Schiller, but team up to hunt down "The Tiger Shark," a mad, scientific... See full summary »
11. Young Eagles (1934)
Approved | 228 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Two Boy Scouts win an around-the-world trip with a crack aviator, and find themselves crash-landed in the South American jungles after the ace forgets to refuel in Ecuador.
12. The Shadow of the Eagle (1932)
Passed | 218 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
The Eagle uses sky writing to make threats against a corporation. Nathan Gregory owns a traveling fairground and is thought to be the Eagle. Craig McCoy is a pilot who goes looking for the Eagle when Gregory turns up missing.
13. The Hurricane Express (1932)
Passed | 227 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
When his father is killed in a train wreck, Larry Baker vows to unmask a mysterious criminal called "The Wrecker," who has targeted the L&M Railroad for deadly" accidents."
14. Jungle Jim (1937)
Approved | 232 min | Adventure
Two safaris enter the African jungle intent on finding a white girl who is the heiress to a fortune. One safari, led by Jungle Jim, wants to make sure she gets the news that she is now a ... See full summary »
15. The Galloping Ghost (1931)
Passed | 226 min | Adventure, Crime, Sport
A gambling ring run out of the Mogul Taxi company is intent on fixing college football games. Football star Harold "Red" Grange is a target for the gamblers, whose thugs try to eliminate ... See full summary »
16. Hawk of the Wilderness (1938)
Approved | 213 min | Adventure
An expedition arrives on an uncharted jungle island to rescue the local natives, led by a jungle boy, from a volcano that is about to erupt.
17. Darkest Africa (1936)
Approved | 269 min | Action, Adventure, Romance
A 15-episode serial in which Beatty goes to darkest Africa to rescue the Goddess of Joba, who is being held by the high priest.
19. Perils of Pauline (1933)
Approved | 231 min | Adventure
A famous scientist and his beautiful daughter travel to Indochina to find an ivory disc that has the formula for a deadly gas engraved on it. An evil doctor and his gang are also looking for it.
20. The Last of the Mohicans (1932)
231 min | Action, Adventure
Natty Bumppo, known as Hawk-Eye, is a frontiersman in the American wilderness. Together with his Indian friends Chingachgook and Uncas, he fights battles against nefarious white soldiers as... See full summary »
22. Zorro Rides Again (1937)
Approved | 212 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
The California-Yucatan Railroad, being built for the good of Mexico, is under siege by a gang of terrorists hoping to force its sale; no one can prove their connection to profiteer Marsden.... See full summary »
23. Tailspin Tommy in The Great Air Mystery (1935)
Passed | 236 min | Adventure, Action
A 12-episode serial in which Tailspin Tommy evades volcanoes, anti-aircraft shells, and time bombs as he foils a plan by corrupt profiteers to steal an island's oil reserves.
25. The Adventures of Frank Merriwell (1936)
Approved | 219 min | Adventure
A 12-episode serial in which scholastic sports star Frank Merriwell leaves school to search for his missing father. His adventures involve a mysterious inscription on a ring, buried ... See full summary »
26. Ace Drummond (1936)
Approved | 255 min | Adventure, Action
This 13 chapter serial is based on the comic strip character Ace Drummond created by Eddie Rickenbacker. Ace is a 'G-Man of the sky' working out of Washington D.C. He is sent to Mongolia to... See full summary »
27. The Adventures of Rex and Rinty (1935)
Approved | 229 min | Action, Adventure
A 12 episode serial starring Rex, the King of the Wild Horses and Rin-Tin-Tin, Jr. Rex is brought from the island of Sujan, where he is worshiped as a God-Horse, to the U.S. to be trained ... See full summary »
28. Dick Tracy's G-Men (1939)
Passed | 302 min | Action, Mystery, Crime
A mad doctor named Zanoff uses a drug to bring himself back from the dead after his execution in prison. Dick Tracy sets out to capture Zanoff before he can put his criminal gang back together again.
29. The Phantom (1943)
Passed | 299 min | Action, Adventure
Professor Davidson and his niece Diana Palmer search Africa for the Lost City of Zoloz, reputed to be the source of a large hidden treasure. Also searching is a local crook, Singapore Smith... See full summary »
30. Dick Tracy Returns (1938)
Approved | 260 min | Action, Romance
Dick Tracy battles spies and saboteurs in his efforts to bring to justice the Stark gang, a criminal family led by the vicious Pa Stark.
31. Burn 'Em Up Barnes (I) (1934)
Passed | 210 min | Action, Adventure
Marjorie Temple, owner of a bus line and an apparently worthless plot of land, is set upon by rich oil speculators who know her land actually is worth millions. When they try to put her out... See full summary »
33. The Lost Jungle (I) (1934)
243 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi
Animal trainer Clyde Beatty heads a rescue party in search of his girl, Ruth, and her father who get lost looking for an uncharted island. His dirigible crashes into the jungles of the ... See full summary »
35. The Phantom Empire (1935)
Approved | 245 min | Musical, Sci-Fi, Western
When the ancient continent of Mu sank beneath the ocean, some of its inhabitant survived in caverns beneath the sea. Cowboy singer Gene Autry stumbles upon the civilization, now buried ... See full summary »
37. Buck Rogers (1939)
Approved | 237 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy
A 20th Century pilot named Buck Rogers and his young friend Buddy Wade awake from 500 years in suspended animation to find that the world has been taken over by the outlaw army of Killer Kane.
38. Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938)
Approved | 299 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
When a deadly Nitron ray strikes Earth, Flash Gordon and his friends travel to Mars to battle Ming the Merciless and his new ally Queen Azura.
39. The Lone Ranger Rides Again (1939)
Approved | 263 min | Western
Homesteaders are moving into the valley settled many years ago by rancher Craig Dolan. He wants to keep them out by legal means but his nephew Bart brings in outlaws to drive them out. The ... See full summary »
40. The Vigilantes Are Coming (1936)
Approved | 229 min | Action, Adventure, Romance
A masked hero called "The Eagle" leads California ranchers in a struggle against Russian Cossacks who are plotting to take over California and turn it into a Russian colony.
41. The Painted Stallion (1937)
Approved | 212 min | Western
The period is the 1820's and the first wagon train leaves Independence heading west to Santa Fe. In order to maintain his power, the ruthless Official at Santa Fe must not let them arrive ... See full summary »
42. The Oregon Trail (1939)
Passed | 320 min | Action, Adventure, Western
Wagon trains are not making it to Oregon and Jeff Scott has been sent to investigate. Morgan, the representitive of an eastern syndicate, controls the fur trade and does not want the area ... See full summary »
43. Law of the Wild (1934)
Passed | 225 min | Action, Adventure, Western
Rex, a wild stallion, and Rinty, a police dog, are pals. Their master , John Sheldon, is framed for murder, and Alice Ingram plans to race Rex for money to pay for John's legal defense. ... See full summary »
45. The Lightning Warrior (1931)
Passed | 250 min | Adventure, Western
A Rin-Tin-Tin serial presented in 12 episodes. The mysterious Wolf Man is terrorizing settlers in a western town. With the help of Rinty, young Jimmy Carter unmasks the Wolf Man and foils ... See full summary »
46. The Lone Defender (1930)
217 min | Western, Action, Adventure
A prospector is murdered by The Cactus Kid and his gang, who hope to find the murdered man's goldmine. The miner's dog, Rin-Tin-Tin, recognizes the killers, who thereafter seek to use the ... See full summary »
47. Custer's Last Stand (I) (1936)
Approved | 328 min | Adventure, History, Romance
When some men are attacked by Indians, a survivor obtains an Indian medicine arrow. An Indian tells Blade he has found gold but will not tell him where until he has that arrow. So Blade ... See full summary »
48. Mystery Mountain (1934)
Approved | 223 min | Adventure, Western
Ken Williams is determined to discover the identity of the mysterious Rattler, who preys upon railroads and transportation companies like that owned by Jane Corwin. The Rattler is ... See full summary »
49. Fighting with Kit Carson (1933)
Passed | 250 min | Western
A pack train led by Kit Carson is attacked by Kraft and his Mystery Riders, who want a government shipment of gold carried by the wagons. Matt Fargo manages to hide the gold, but Carson ... See full summary »
50. The Vanishing Legion (1931)
220 min | Action, Western, Adventure
A mysterious master criminal known as The Voice plots with his gang to sabotage the Milesburg Oil Company, but the rightful heir has a secret army of her own to protect her rights.
51. The Phantom of the West (1931)
Passed | 172 min | Romance, Western
A young man's father is murdered and the man convicted of the crime escapes prison, leaving a note intimating that seven local men know the real killer's true identity. The murdered man's ... See full summary »
53. Flaming Frontiers (1938)
Approved | 298 min | Action, Western
Tom Grant has found a rich gold vein and Bart Eaton is after it. Tom's sister Mary heads for the gold fields and Eaton and his men follow. Eaton teams up with Ace Daggett who plans to ... See full summary »
54. The Lone Ranger (1938)
Approved | 264 min | Western
CHAP. 1, HI YO SILVER: An outlaw leader planning to take control of Texas after the Civil War kills Colonel Jeffries, a man empowered to levy taxes, and assumes his identity. His men then ... See full summary »
55. Battling with Buffalo Bill (1931)
Passed | 217 min | Romance, Western
A western adventure serial in 12 episodes. Buffalo Bill battles gambler Jim Rodney who is trying to scare off the townspeople so he can gain possession of a gold strike discovered in the ... See full summary »
56. Gang Busters (1942)
251 min | Crime
Detective Lt.Bill Bannister has the assignment to run down an unknown gang of terrorists spreading a net of crime over the city. Aiding him is Detective Tim Nolan, news photographer Vicki ... See full summary »
57. The Adventures of Smilin' Jack (1943)
Approved | 265 min | Action, Adventure, War
Just before World War II, the Chinese and American governments mount a joint operation to prevent the Germans and Japanese from taking over the strategic island of Mandon.
58. Congo Bill (1948)
Approved | 270 min | Adventure, Action
A girl is about to inherit a fortune, but she is missing in Africa. Only then, family charges Congo Bill, an adventurer, to find her, and bring her back to civilization. He follows a legend about some White Queen, but his path is full of difficulties, by an inhospitable jungle, and the man who will lose the fortune if the girl is found alive.
62. Junior G-Men (1940)
Approved | 240 min | Crime, Drama
A gang of street kids work with the FBI in their attempt to find and rescue their leader's father, a scientist who has been kidnapped by a terrorist group.
65. Mysterious Doctor Satan (1940)
Approved | 267 min | Adventure, Action, Crime
A mad scientist plots the domination of America and only the masked hero, The Copperhead, can stop him.
66. The Crimson Ghost (1946)
Approved | 167 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
A criminal mastermind known as the Crimson Ghost is out to steal a device called the Cyclotrode, which can short-circuit all electrical currents on the planet.
68. Radar Patrol vs. Spy King (1949)
Approved | 167 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
The war lords of a potential enemy of the US has the spy ring, led by John Baroda, the Spy King and his aide Nitra, sabotaging the plans for a vast defense system of radar stations along ... See full summary »
69. The Secret Code (1942)
Approved | 275 min | Action, Drama
A superhero known as The Black Commando battles Nazi agents who use explosive gases and artificial lightning to sabotage the war effort.
70. Spy Smasher (1942)
Passed | 215 min | Action, Adventure
Alan Armstrong, aka Spy Smasher, battles a Nazi villain known as The Mask, who heads a gang of saboteurs determined to spread destruction across America.
71. The Spider Returns (1941)
Approved | 300 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
The evil and masked "Gargoyle" is sabotaging all of America's industrial plants. It is up to the Spider to save the country.
73. The Tiger Woman (1944)
Approved | 196 min | Adventure, Thriller
Greedy oil speculators, led by Morgan, are trying to force Tiger Woman and her band of warriors from their jungle home. Allen Saunders of Inter-Ocean Oil wants to develop the oil, too, but fights with Tiger Woman to stop the bad guys.
74. Captain America (1944)
Approved | 244 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Superhero Captain America battles the evil forces of the archvillain called The Scarab, who poisons his enemies and steals a secret device capable of destroying buildings by sound vibrations.
75. The Monster and the Ape (1945)
Passed | 295 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller
At the Bainbridge Research Foundation, Professor Franklin Arnold, displays his creation, the Metalogen Man, a robot, to Professor Ernst and three other colleagues. Shortly afterward, the ... See full summary »
76. Batman (1943)
Approved | 260 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
Japanese spymaster Prince Daka operates a covert espionage organization located in Gotham City's now-deserted Little Tokyo which turns American scientists into pliable zombies.
78. The Green Hornet (1940)
Approved | 258 min | Adventure, Crime, Drama
A newspaper publisher and his Korean servant fight crime as vigilantes who pose as a notorious masked gangster and his aide.
79. Zorro's Black Whip (1944)
Approved | 211 min | Western
Hammond, owner of the town's stagecoach line and a leading citizen, is opposed to Idaho becoming a state, and kills Randolph Meredith, owner of the town's newspaper, for endorsing it. ... See full summary »
80. Winners of the West (1940)
Approved | 247 min | Western
One of the writers of this serial, George H. Plympton, dusted the story off and re-sold it to Sam Katzman for a Columbia 1951 serial called "Roar of the Iron Horse". "Winners of the West" ... See full summary »
82. The Green Archer (1940)
Approved | 285 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
The struggle over the Bellamy estate ends with Michael Bellamy accused of murder and killed on the way to prison, while his brother, Abel Bellamy, takes control of the estate for his own nefarious plans.
83. Jungle Girl (1941)
Passed | 267 min | Adventure
Dr. John Meredith has been driven from civilization by the criminal activities of his twin brother Bradley Meredith. With his infant daughter, he settles in the African jungle, where his ... See full summary »
85. Raiders of Ghost City (1944)
Approved | 225 min | Action, Adventure, History
During the latter stages of the Civil War, a gang of supposed Confederates, headed by Alex Morel (Lionel Atwill), raid all gold shipments destined for Washington from Oro Grande, California... See full summary »
86. Dangers of the Canadian Mounted (1948)
Approved | 156 min | Action, Adventure
Crooks discover a Genghis Khan treasure ship on the Canada-Alaska border but the treasure is hidden somewhere on land. In their efforts to find the hidden treasure they resort to murder and... See full summary »
87. King of the Royal Mounted (1940)
Approved | 211 min | Action, Adventure
Canadian Tom Merritt has discovered a substance, Compound X, that will cure infantile paralysis, which he extracts from a mine at Caribou, Canada. A country at war with Canada (unnamed ... See full summary »
88. King of the Mounties (1942)
Approved | 196 min | Action, Adventure, Western
The chapter-crunched version of this 196 minutes, 12-episode serial from Republic finds Canada being bombed mercilessly by a mysterious-enemy plane (shaped like a boomerang) called the ... See full summary »
89. Brenda Starr, Reporter (1945)
Approved | 243 min | Crime, Action, Drama
Chapter 1 finds Daily Flash newspaper reporter Brenda Starr (Joan Woodbury), and her photographer, Chuck Allen (Syd Saylor), assigned to cover a fire in an old house where they discover the... See full summary »
90. Ghost of Zorro (1949)
Approved | 167 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
It's 1865 and the telegraph is heading west. George Crane, wanting to keep law and order out of his territory, is out to stop the construction. The engineer on the job is Ken Mason and he ... See full summary »
91. Hop Harrigan America's Ace of the Airways (1946)
Approved | Action, Adventure, Drama
Hop Harrigan (William Bakewell) and his pal "Tank" Tinker (Sumner Getchell) operate a small airport and flying service, and are hired by J. Westly Arnold (Emmett Vogan) to fly an eccentric ... See full summary »
92. The Iron Claw (1941)
Approved | 289 min | Crime
Miserly old Anton Benson once recovered a treasure in gold from a sunken Spanish galleon, and in his greed murdered anyone who got in his way of keeping it. Now his family is gathered at ... See full summary »
93. Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940)
Approved | 220 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure
Flash Gordon, Dale Arden and Dr. Zarkov return to the planet Mongo for an antidote to the Purple Death, which wreaking destruction on Earth. However, Ming the Merciless has other plans for them.
95. Jack Armstrong (1947)
Not Rated | 279 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy, battles the evil Dr. Grood, who has placed a death ray aboard his spaceship orbiting Earth.
97. Tex Granger: Midnight Rider of the Plains (1948)
Approved | 270 min | Action, Western
When Tex Granger rides into Three Buttes, Helen Kent persuades him to buy the local newspaper. However, loan shark Rance Carson appoints the bandit Blaze Talbot as town marshal to act as ... See full summary »
98. Brick Bradford (1947)
Approved | 257 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
An adventurer travels to the moon to stop a madman from getting hold of the Interceptor Ray, a weapon that could destroy Earth.
99. Tailspin Tommy (1934)
Approved | 248 min | Action, Drama, Crime
A young mechanic gets a job with a small airline, which he helps win a mail contract. A rival airline plots to destroy it in order to get the contracts for itself.
100. Adventures of the Flying Cadets (1943)
Approved | 242 min | Adventure
A group of flying cadets have to clear themselves of a murder charge, while trying to stop a traitorous scientist from selling secrets to the Nazis.