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The Adventures of Smilin' Jack (1943)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, War | 5 January 1943 (USA)
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.


(original screenplay) (as Morgan B. Cox), (comic strip)

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Complete credited cast:
Fraulein Von Teufel
Edgar Barrier ...
Gen. Kai Ling
Cyril Delevanti ...
Mah Ling / Han Po
Philip Ahn ...
Wu Tan
David Hoffman ...
John (Johann) O. Blenker [Chs. 9-11]
Rico De Montez ...
Kushimi [Chs. 1-3, 12-13]
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Norma Drury Boleslavsky ...
Frau Bauer, Nazi Agent


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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Your Favorite Adventure-Strip Hero...THUNDRING THROUGH GREATER THRILLS...ON THE SCREEN!(original poster) See more »


Action | Adventure | War


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 January 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jack el aviador  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(13 episodes)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Thompson is an obvious onscreen replacement for Downwind Jaxon, a character in the SMILIN' JACK comic strip who was always facing downwind - that is, away from the reader - because he was supposed to be so handsome that the women he met were always attracted to him. See more »


Though Mandon is supposedly located on the border between China and India, the walls of the high priest's temple are decorated with Egyptian hieroglyphics. (Universal recycled the set from the 1940 film "The Mummy's Hand.") See more »

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User Reviews

5 June 2003 | by (Atlanta) – See all my reviews

There are basically three types of mysteries/adventures:

1. The audience discovers who the villain is at the very end along with the "good guys". 2. Somewhere during the story the villain is found out and the remainder of the story is spent proving his or her guilt. 3. The audience knows who the villain is at the beginning and the entire story is spent watching the "good guys" try to find out who the villain is and then capture him or her.

The third is by far the least entertaining (with the possible exception of Columbo). The Adventures of Smilin' Jack falls into the third category. What is even worse is that the villain is not being chased but accompanies the `good guys' all over the Pacific while leaving behind a string of nefarious deeds.

Before viewing this serial I had visions of Dixie Lee (possibly the most alluring heroine ever to appear in a comic strip), Slickville and everything else that made Smilin' Jack a great comic strip. With Charlie Chan, Number One Son and Danny Thomas' future wife in the cast, my expectations where heightened all the more. Unfortunately, there was no Dixie Lee, no Slickville and very little plot. By the seventh episode I was both feeling extremely sorry for Jack because he was so dumb and bored to boot. Although there was `aerial action', so to speak, it involved planes catching fire and being shot out of the air by a Japanese submarine (if you can believe that). There were none of the aerial stunts and acrobatics that usually accompanies Jack's adventures and made the strip so interesting. Maybe they were not included because of the expense involved.

I am a fan of serials. I really enjoyed the classics like The Masked Marvel, The Phantom, Daredevils of the Red Circle, Captain Marvel, et. al. They were extremely entertaining and usually kept you guessing. Even though you knew who the villain was early in a few of the true classics they managed to hold your interest to the very end. The Adventures of Smilin' Jack can't hold a candle to the classics. It has difficulty holding up to the mediocre serials.

3 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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