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The Phantom Empire (1935)

Approved | | Musical, Sci-Fi, Western | 23 February 1935 (USA)
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 »


, (as Breezy Easton)


(story), (story) | 3 more credits »

On Disc

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Complete credited cast:
Betsy Baxter
Dorothy Christy ...
Lord Argo
Warner Richmond ...
Prof. Beetson (as Frank Glendon)
Oscar (as Lester 'Smiley' Burnett)
Peter Potter ...
Pete (as William Moore)
Cooper (as Edward Piel Sr.)
Jack Carlyle ...


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 beneath his own Radio Ranch. The Muranians have developed technology and weaponry such as television and ray guns. Their rich supply of radium draws unscrupulous speculators from the surface. The peaceful civilization of the Muranians is corrupted by the greed from above, and it becomes Autry's task to prevent all-out war, ideally without disrupting his regular radio show. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Nation 20,000 Feet Underground


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 February 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gene Autry and the Phantom Empire  »

Box Office


$70,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(12 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


There is an alternate, rarely seen, version of this film in which Gene Autry is absent from the last part of the film. The plot reaches the same conclusion. Reportedly, Autry was not available at first, due to other commitments. The scenes in question were later re-shot when he was available. See more »


Queen Tika: Gene Autry! How do you like our world?
Gene Autry: I think the dampness and dead air of your land is more suited for rats and moles.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening Credit: Featuring the Scientific City of Murania. See more »


Featured in Action Heroes of the Cliffhanger Serials (1992) See more »


Stealthy Footsteps
Music by Charles Dunworth
[heard under chapter synopses]
See more »

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User Reviews

Childhood's Empire
11 August 2003 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

For somebody who wasn't about six when he first saw this serial, it's really pretty clunky and corny. For somebody who was (they reshowed it once on early TV, on one of those shows that had a local Uncle Bob type playing old westerns and cartoons, and promoting the station's shows in between. Even now, when I think of the juxtaposition of the aboveground world of the singing cowboy, the "Thunder Riders" and their bizarre, futuristic city under the mountain, I get goosebumps. The best occasion I had to see this was one summer, when I went to the local Y every Saturday morning to see a bunch of old movies with 3-400 other kids my age; the title would roll up, and the kids would scream.

Also, I think I could prove that Freud was right about infantile sexuality when I think of the way I felt about the underground queen, clad in silvery, clinging clothes.

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