Jack Armstrong and his friends attempt to rescue a renowned scientist, the inventor of a revolutionary atomic engine, from the clutches an arch-villain bent on world-dominion by means of a death ray place on board a aircraft capable of flying into the ionosphere. Their quest takes the adventurers to a remote island where they must not only contend with the criminal mastermind's henchmen, but a fierce tribe who have their own reasons for thwarting our heroes. Written by
Chapter Titles: 1. Mystery of the Cosmic Ray 2. The Far World 3. Island of Deception 4. Into the Chasm 5. The Space Ship 6. Tunnels of Treachery 7. Cavern of Chance 8. The Secret Room 9. Human Targets 10. Battle of the Warriors 11. Cosmic Anihilator 12. The Grotto of Greed 13. Wheels of Fate 14. Journey Into Space 15. Retribution See more »
As with a few other film serials, this was adapted from the "Jack Armstrong -- The All-American Boy" radio show. Unlike many serials, this one was more in tune with the radio serial's progress.
Spoilers probably present in the following.
The radio show involved Jack Armstrong, a high-school student who was nearly perfect: smart, a champion athlete, and good looking. His high-school buddies were Billy and Betty Fairfield. The Fairfields had an uncle, James Farfield ("Uncle Jim"), the owner of an aircraft company, whose duties took him to the far corners of the world. Uncle Jim would usually take Billy, Betty, and Jack Armstrong along with him, exposing them to exciting adventures. The radio show was presented in a 15-minute serial format.
The movie serial retains most of this formula, and all of the "good guy" characters, including Vic Hardy. Hardy had been recently introduced in the radio series, and appeared in the film while his character was still fresh to listeners.
Naturally, the serial story is different from the radio program. The radio show was rather educational, with various characters either asking about or relating facts about the out-of-the-way places they were visiting. By contrast, the film threw most of that aside for action. Columbia serials were all a bit that way.
John Hart looks a little old for a high-school student. However, the story isn't horrible, just not like the radio program.
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