Based on the comic book character "Thun'Da, King of the Congo," a Tarzan imitator, whose only comic of any value is the first one rendered entirely by cult artist Frank Frazetta, this was Columbia's 48th serial and the seventh and last serial starring Buster Crabbe. Crabbe plays U.S.A.F. Captain Roger Drum who shoots down an unidentified plane whose pilot was bound for Africa to deliver a message to a subversive group. Drum takes his place, makes the flight and crashes in the jungle. The rock people, led by Princess Pha, rescue him and take him to their temple. The subversives, led by Boris, appear and Drum rings a temple gong in alarm, and its sound crumbles the walls, burying him in debris at the end of Chapter One, "Mission of Menace." Chapter Two, "Red Shadows in the Jungle" finds Drum being proclaimed Thunda, King of the Congo, by the natives but is still mistrusted by Princess Phi and her assistant Nahee, still miffed that he rang the wrong gong. This goes on for 15 chapters ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is Buster Crabbe's last appearance in a serial. He was playing the part of Thunda, a character owned by Magazine Enterprises. Thunda is the only Tarzan clone to ever feature in a serial; Frank Frazetta did the art for his origin story, a story that appeared in "Thun'da, King Of The Congo #1". Ironically, Thun'Da's comic book run only lasted six issues. See more »
'King of the Congo' is my favorite Columbia serial, I remember it was screened many times over the years in the 1950's, at the Saturday Afternoon Matinees, in my local picture theater here in Bentleigh, Australia, was always received with great applause by the kids,me included. Buster Crabbe, the ultimate serial hero, looked spectacular in the loin cloth, although he was in his forties by then. Like all serials, it was magnificent nonsense, and we loved it. Columbia serials were my favorites, I loved their style, Knox Manning's voice overs at the beginning and end of each chapter were always more exciting than the 'slides' put up to read in other serials. I live in hopes that this serial will someday be released on DVD by Columbia. It has all the elements of a great serial, action in the jungle , the usual confusing plot, villains who can't get anything right, a hero who keeps walking into the same trap, and at least one unexpected surprise when veteran serial 'bad guy' Jack Ingram, turns out to be a good guy after all. Come on Columbia, I know you have just released 'Batman and Robin' another fun serial, on DVD, but this one beats it hands down. In fact, if you can put this one, and Mysterious Island' out on DVD,I can die happy. 'King of the Congo' contains all the elements that go to make up a great serial, all in one terrific package. Until the next smashing Chapter............
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