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Mandrake, the Magician (1939)

Approved | | Action, Adventure | 6 May 1939 (USA)
Columbia's 7th serial (between Flying G-Men and Overland With Kit Carson)was based on the King Features newspaper comic strip created by Lee Falk and Phil Davis, Mandrake the Magician, the ... See full summary »


(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rex Downing ...
Tommy Houston
Dr. Andre Bennett
Professor Houston
James Webster
Frank Raymond
Dick Curtis ...
Dorgan - Thug (Chs. 6-8)
Dirk, lead thug
Stanley Brown ...
Green, thug [Chs. 1, 2, 4]
Beatrice Curtis ...
Rest Home Nurse [Chs. 3,10]
George Regan, hypnotist [Chs. 3-5]
Gray, gas station thug [Chs. 8-9]


Columbia's 7th serial (between Flying G-Men and Overland With Kit Carson)was based on the King Features newspaper comic strip created by Lee Falk and Phil Davis, Mandrake the Magician, the world's foremost exponent of mind over matter, although most of us who read the strip over the years were never really certain whether Mandrake was really a magician, or just had even more ability to cloud men's minds than the Shadow. The serial does allow Mandrake to discard his tie and tails when he isn't performing professionally, but out of his top hat and cloak, he is mainly a fist-slugging detective in this serial. Mandrake and Luthor are working the cruise lines and meet Professor Hudson who has developed a radium energy machine, which is much coveted by "The Wasp", who sends his hordes of henchmen in waves to steal the invention, and they blow up a radio station, a power plant and a dam pdq just to show they mean business. Mandrake, after 11 chapters, finally catches up to "The Wasp" in ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


BLACK MAGIC Conjures Up A Holocaust Of Thrills!


Action | Adventure


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

6 May 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mandrake el mago  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(12 episodes)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The airplane in which Mandrake takes off from the airport in chapter 6 is Civil Aviation registration #NC15044, a Fairchild 24C-8D, The Fairchild Model 24 is a four-seat, single-engine monoplane light transport aircraft designed by the Fairchild Aviation Corporation in the 1930s. See more »


Referenced in Yellow Submarine (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

Naive Adventure Based on the Newspaper Comic Strip
18 August 2013 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

"Mandrake" is a cinema series in twelve chapters released on DVD:

Chapter 1 – Shadow on the Wall: Mandrake (Warren Hull) is traveling on board of the S.S. Mohawk to meet his friend and associate Professor Houston (Forbes Murray), who has developed a powerful radium machine. Mandrake is bringing the material Platonite that is essential for its operation. However Prof. Houston is abducted by the gangsters of the kingpin Wasp when he is preparing to demonstrate the machine to his colleagues.

Chapter 2 – Trap of the Wasp: Mandrake fight against a gangster that is robbing the machine and the criminal explodes an oxygen vessel to escape. Mandrake follows a lead with his assistant Lothar (Al Kikume) expecting to find Prof. Houston, but it is a trap of the Wasp; however Mandrake gets away from the house. The Wasp needs Platonite to make the machine works and Mandrake plots a scheme to find Prof. Houston pretending that he has the material. The gangsters abduct Mandrake.

Chapter 3 – A City of Terror: The plan does not work and Mandrake captures the gangster Brown to interrogate him, but his house is bugged and the criminals kill Brown. Meanwhile Prof. Houston is prisoner in the Wasp headquarter at the Green Valley Rest Home. The Wasp sends a fake Prof. Fred Leland named Reagan to hypnotize Mandrake, but the magician foresees his intentions. Betty is kidnapped by the gangsters of the Wasp in a radio broadcasting station.

Chapter 4 – The Secret Passage: The Wasp uses the machine to destroy the radio station but Mandrake and Lothar rescue Betty from the debris. Mandrake seeks out Reagan and Tommy discovers where he is. But the gangsters listen to Tommy through the microphone and head to the Mill River Inn to protect the hypnotist.

Chapter 5 - The Devil's Playmate: Mandrake uses a radio detector to find the microphone hidden at his home. He lures the gangsters telling that the formula of Platonite is hidden in his bank and captures the criminal Blair. Mandrake discovers that the Wasp wants to destroy the Interstate Power House. He heads with Lothar to the place but they are overcome by the gang of the Wasp.

Chapter 6 – The Fatal Crash: Mandrake and Lothar manage to escape from the power house and the Wasp punishes the gangster that tied Mandrake. Prof. Houston contacts Mandrake but he does not know where he is trapped but he gives a clue. Mandrake takes his plane to travel faster to the spot where he believes his friend is but he is shot and his plane crashes.

Chapter 7 - Gamble for Life: Mandrake escapes from the death using the parachute and rescues Prof. Houston. Now Houston intends to build a new machine while Mandrake goes with Lothar and Webster to bring Platonite. But they discover the gang of the Wasp destroying the property and they try to stop them.

Chapter 8 – Across the Deadline: Two criminals come to Mandrake's house telling that they will repair the telephone line and Betty lets them in. They actually want to steal Platonite, but when Mandrake arrives, the guys flee. Then the Wasp blows up the dam and Mandrake and Lothar are surprised by the water when they are getting Plantonite in the canyon.

Chapter 9 – Terror Rides the Rails: Mandrake asks for a clue about the Wasp in a gas station and when he is ready to receive information, the gangsters blow up the place. Mandrake, Lothar and Webster escape from the criminals and the magician and his assistant take the train. However the Wasp uses the machine against the train causing an accident.

Chapter 10 – The Unseen Monster: Mandrake is taken unconscious by men of the Wasp and brought in an ambulance to his headquarter in the Green Valley Rest Home. Webster is also captured by the criminals. Meanwhile his friends are seeking Mandrake out and they reach the Green Valley. Betty is abducted but Mandrake escapes and meets her. But the Wasp explodes the wing to where they are running to escape.

Chapter 11 – At the Stroke of Eight: Mandrake and Betty meets their friends outside the sanatorium. Mandrake and Webster find a secret passage that ends in a garage. The Wasp tries to destroy Mandrake house with his friends inside.

Chapter 12 – The Reward of Treachery: The house collapses but everybody survives. Prof. Houston and Mandrake suspect that one of their friends is the Wasp. Who might be the Wasp?

"Mandrake, the Magician" is a naive adventure based on the newspaper comic strip created by Lee Falk, who is also the author of The Phantom. However Mandrake and Lothar of this movie are very different from the cartoons. There is no Narda, the costumes are not like in the strip and Mandrake spends most of the time in car races or coming to blows with criminals instead of using his hypnotic technique to fight. The music score annoys after 215 minutes running time. In times of home theaters, it is impressive to think that the audiences had to go to the movie theaters to follows the chapters of the movie. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Mandrake, o Mágico" ("Mandrake, the Magician")

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