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Tailspin Tommy (1934)

Approved | | Action, Drama, Crime | 29 October 1934 (USA)
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.


(as Louis Friedlander)


(adapted from the newspaper strip), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »

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Certificate: Passed Adventure | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

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.

Director: Ray Taylor
Stars: Clark Williams, Jean Rogers, Noah Beery Jr.
Mystery Plane (1939)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

A pilot invents a revolutionary new bomb-targeting system. However, just before he is to deliver it to the Air Force, he is kidnapped by a criminal gang who want to give the system to a ... See full summary »

Director: George Waggner
Stars: John Trent, Marjorie Reynolds, Milburn Stone
Sky Patrol (1939)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

"Tailspin Tommy" Tompkins and "Skeeter" Milligan are training young U. S. Army fliers for the newly-formed 'Sky Patrol,'a branch of the Army Reserves which operates along the borders and ... See full summary »

Director: Howard Bretherton
Stars: John Trent, Marjorie Reynolds, Milburn Stone
Certificate: Passed Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

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 »

Directors: Colbert Clark, Armand Schaefer
Stars: Johnny Mack Brown, Betsy King Ross, Noah Beery
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

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.

Directors: Colbert Clark, Armand Schaefer
Stars: Jack Mulhall, Raymond Hatton, Francis X. Bushman Jr.
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Efforts to build a transcontinental railroad are resisted by crooks and Indians on the warpath.

Director: Ray Taylor
Stars: Noah Beery Jr., Julie Bishop, Onslow Stevens


Cast overview, first billed only:
Maurice Murphy ...
Bruce Hoyt
Milt Howe
Paul Smith
Mr. Grant - Film Director of 'Midnight Patrol', Chs. 10-12
Belle Daube ...
Mrs. Martha Tompkins, Tommy's Mother - Chs. 1, 12
Wade 'Tiger' Taggart
Harrison Greene ...
Air Circus Announcer [Ch. 2]
Sloane - Taggart's Office Henchman, Chs. 4, 7, 10-11
Lew Kelly ...
Victor Martin - Three Point Airport Dispatcher
Eric Peabody [Chs. 3-5]
Deacon Grimes [Chs. 1,12]
Bart Dirk, Henchman


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. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Hal Forrest's great cartoon heroes on the screen in a screaming serial of the skyways!...Breathless excitement awaits you. Come! TWELVE TERRIFIC EPISODES!


Action | Drama | Crime






Release Date:

29 October 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tommy, o anemostrovilos  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(12 episodes)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The first of two Universal Pictures serials and four Monogram Pictures feature films based on Hal Forrest's syndicated comic strip. See more »


Chapter nine: During the earthquake sequence when Tommy, Skeeter and Betty are escaping from the hotel, Betty is in the forefront with a hat on, but when Tommy and Skeeter reach her, she has no hat. See more »


Referenced in The Waltons: The Quilting (1976) See more »

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User Reviews

The Universal serial most faithful to the original source.

Universal's 24th sound-era serial was the first of their two serials featuring Hal Forrest's "Tailspin Tommy" ,and was, in style, retention of most of the strip's primary (and secondary) characters and story line, basically a live-action rendition of the early days of the comic strip. It was also the company's first serial based on a comic strip and, while they would make 16 serials based on comic strip-originated characters (Tailspin Tommy{2}, Flash Gordon {3}, Ace Drummond, Jungle Jim, Secret Agent X-9 {2}, Radio Patrol, Tim Tyler, Red Barry, Buck Rogers, Don Winslow {2} and Smilin' Jack), this one was the most faithful to its origin, followed closely by "Red Barry" and the "Flash Gordon" offerings. Yes, "Tarzan", "The Green Hornet" and "Gang Busters" also had comic strips in their history but they were first and foremost literary or radio originated.

It was also the most episodic of all their serials, with some plot lines being resolved within the usual overall chapter 1-12 formatting. The six screenplay writers---Ray Cannon, Ella O'Neill, Robert Hershon, Basil Dickey, George Plympton and Vin Moore---appear to have taken the stories straight from day one of the comic strip's continuity... "adapted from the newspaper comic feature by Hal Forrest"... and tinkered very little while doing so, and retained the small-town Americana and wind-sock airport flavor of the strip.

Serials, just as all other genres and films, should only be rated and judged against "their own", based on when (the era) and for whom (the market) they were made for and the restrictions they were made under..and an understanding of such by the judge. Which is why we don't participate in the very-subjective exercise of rating films.

But, among serials, we consider "Tailspin Tommy" one of the top-keepers.

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