Columbia's 33rd serial (made between "Jack Armstrong" and "The Sea Hound") was based on the character that first appeared in "Action Comics" No. 42, who was a radio singing cowboy who ... See full summary »
Columbia's 33rd serial (made between "Jack Armstrong" and "The Sea Hound") was based on the character that first appeared in "Action Comics" No. 42, who was a radio singing cowboy who doubled as a crime-fighting, motorcycle-riding crime-fighter with a pre-teen Chinese boy, Stuff, as his answer to Batman's Robin, although Stuff ran a lot or errands that Robin didn't have to do since the Dynamic Duo had Alfred the Butler (both versions) to do those. In the serial version, Stuff became a white, draft-age sidekick played by George Offerman Jr.(and we are still looking for any film made in the 30's and 40's that this actor was billed as the incorrect George Offerman rather than the correct George Offerman Jr), which fit right in with the costume changes that Columbia tagged The Vigilante character with; a snappy-brim fedora and a Montgomery Ward catalog white Gene Autry- style shirt instead of the large flat-brimmed hat and double-button blue shirt he wore in the comic books. The nose-chin... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is one of my all-time favorite serials...and I think one of the best overall. Sure, I'm a little bit jaded, as the Vigilante was my favorite golden age superhero when I was a kid (still is, actually), but it's a really good serial.
Of course, the identity of the villain will be obvious after the first episode, but that's pretty much the norm for 1940's serials (look at Captain America). But there is a lot of action and thrills throughout all 16 episodes. And Ralph Byrd is great in the title role...one of the few roles that he is believable in besides Dick Tracy (where he is the master, no matter what Warren Beatty may think). Lyle Talbot is fun, as always, as is the rest of the cast.
There's a little bit of everything in this one...and I think it deserves a place next to the originality of such classic chapter plays as The Adventures of Captain Marvel and The Masked Marvel.
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