CTVA US - Columbia Cliffhanger Serials (1935-1955)

CTVA - The Classic TV Archive
Movie Archive US Cliffhanger Serials
"Columbia Pictures"
Cliffhanger Serials
 (All Genres)(1937-1956) 
  Columbia Pictures produced 57 Theatrical Serials between 1937 and 1956 (All Genres)

 Columbia Serial #1. Jungle Menace (1937)
(First Columbia serial) (Produced by Weiss Bros. for Columbia))
(15 chapters) Genre: Jungle.
Directed by Harry L. Fraser and George Melford
Starring Frank Buck
It was based on the success of Republic's 1936 serial Darkest Africa.

Jungle Menace (1937)

Columbia Serial #2. The Mysterious Pilot (1937)
(Produced by Weiss Bros. for Columbia)
(15 chapters) Genre: Aviation.
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet Frank Hawks
Adapted from the novel 'The Silver Hawk' by William Byron Mowery.

Columbia Serial #3 The Secret of Treasure Island (1938)
(Last serial produced by Weiss Bros. for Columbia)
(15 chapters) Jungle
Directed by Elmer Clifton Don Terry, Walter Miller

Columbia Serial #4 The Great Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok (1938)
(15 chapters) Genre: Western
Directed by Mack V. Wright and Sam Nelson

Columbia Serial #5. The Spider's Web (1938)
(15 chapters) Genre: Superhero.
Directed by Ray Taylor and James W. Horne
Starring Warren Hull
Based on the pulp magazine character The Spider. The Spider's Web was the first serial
to be adapted from a pulp magazine.

Columbia Serial #6 Flying G-Men (1939)
(15 chapters) Aviation
Directed by Ray Taylor and James W. Horne
Starring Robert Paige

Columbia Serial #7. Mandrake the Magician (1939)
(12 chapters) Genre: Mystery/ Action & Fantasy.
Directed by Sam Nelson and Norman Deming
Starring Warren Hull

Columbia Serial #8. Overland with Kit Carson (1939)
(15 chapters) Genre: Western.
Directed by Sam Nelson and Norman Deming

Columbia Serial #9 The Shadow (1940)
(15 chapters) Genre: Crime
Directed by James W. Horne
Starring Victor Jory

THE SHADOW

Columbia Serial #10. Terry and the Pirates (1940)
(15 chapters) Genre: Maritime / Jungle
Directed by James W. Horne William Tracy, Granville Owen
Based on the comic strip 'Terry and the Pirates' created by Milton Caniff.

Columbia Serial #11. Deadwood Dick (1940)
(15 chapters) Genre: Western
Directed by James W. Horne Don Douglas

Columbia Serial #12. The Green Archer (1940)
(15 chapters) Genre: Crime / Mystery
Directed by James W. Horne
Starring Victor Jory
Based on Edgar Wallace's 1923 novel 'The Green Archer'.

The Green Archer - Serial Trailer

THE GREEN ARCHER (1940) Chapter 4

GREEN ARCHER (1940) Cliffhanger

Columbia Serial #13 White Eagle (1941)
(15 chapters) Genre: Western
Directed by James W. Horne
Starring Buck Jones

Columbia Serial #14. The Spider Returns (1941)
(15 chapters) Genre: Superhero / Crime
Directed by James W. Horne
Starring Warren Hull
Sequel to the 1938 serial The Spider's Web.

Columbia Serial #15 The Iron Claw (1941)
(15 chapters)  Genre: Mystery
Directed by James W. Horne Charles Quigley

Columbia Serial #16. Holt of the Secret Service (1941)
(15 chapters) Genre: Crime.
Directed by James W. Horne Jack Holt, Evelyn Brent

Columbia Serial #17. Captain Midnight (1942)
(15 episodes) Genre: Aviation.
Directed by James W. Horne
Starring Dave O'Brien
Based upon the radio adventure serial of the same name broadcast from 1938 to 1949.

Columbia Serial #18. Perils of the Royal Mounted (1942)
(15 chapters) Genre: Northern - Canadian Mounties
Directed by James W. Horne
Starring Robert Kellard

Columbia Serial #19. The Secret Code (1942)
(15 chapters) Genre: Spy /Crime
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Paul Kelly
Inspired by Republic Pictures' successful Spy Smasher serial of the same year. Columbia's adverts
for The Secret Code included the phrases "Smash spies with the Secret Service" and "Thrill again
to spy smashers' biggest chase!"

Secret Code - Serial Trailer

THE SECRET CODE 1942 SERIAL TRAILER PAUL KELLY

Columbia Serial #20. The Valley of Vanishing Men (1942)
(15 chapters) Genre: Western.
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring William Elliott

Columbia Serial #21. Batman (1943)
(15 chapters) Genre: Superhero.
Directed by Lambert Hillyer
Starring Lewis Wilson
The film is notable for being the first filmed appearance of Batman and for providing two core elements
of the Batman mythos. The film introduced 'The Bat's Cave' and the Grandfather clock entrance.
Also William Austin, the actor who played Alfed the Butler, had a trim physique and a thin mustache.
The contemporary comic Alfred was overweight and clean-shaven prior to this serial's release. The comics
version of Alfred was altered to match that of Austin's and this is the way he is usually portrayed now.

Columbia Serial #22. The Phantom (1943)
(15 chapters) Genre: Jungle Superhero.
Directed by B. Reeves Eason
Starring Tom Tyler

The Phantom Tribute 1943

Columbia Serial #23. The Desert Hawk (1944)
(15 chapters) Genre:  Adventure
Directed by B. Reeves Eason
Starring Gilbert Roland

Columbia Serial #24. Black Arrow (1944)
(15 chapters)  Genre: Western.
Directed by B. Reeves Eason and Lew Landers
Starring Robert Scott

Columbia Serial #25. Brenda Starr, Reporter (1945)
(13 chapters) Genre: Crime.
Directed by Wallace Fox
Starring Joan Woodbury
Inspired by Brenda Starr, a popular comic strip created by Dale Messick.

Columbia Serial #26. The Monster and the Ape (1945)
(15 chapters) Genre: Science Fiction.
Directed by Howard Bretherton
Starring Robert Lowery

Monster and the Ape - Serial Trailer

Columbia Serial #27. Jungle Raiders (1945)
(15 chapters) Genre: Jungle
Directed by Lesley Selander
Starring Kane Richmond

Columbia Serial #28. Who's Guilty? (1945)
(15 chapters) Genre: Crime & Mystery.
Directed by Howard Bretherton and Wallace Grissell

Columbia Serial #29. Hop Harrigan (1946)
(15 chapters) Genre: Aviation
Directed by Derwin Abrahams
Starring William Bakewell

Columbia Serial #30. Chick Carter, Detective (1946)
(15 chapters) Genre: Crime.
Directed by Derwin Abrahams
Starring Lyle Talbot

Columbia Serial #31. Son of the Guardsman (1946)
(15 chapters) Genre: Medieval
Directed by Derwin Abrahams

Columbia Serial #32. Jack Armstrong (1947)
(15 chapters) Genre: Science Fiction.
Directed by Wallace Fox
Starring John Hart. Charles Middleton

Columbia Serial #33. The Vigilante: Fighting Hero of the West (1947)
(15 chapters) Genre: Superhero & Western.
Directed by Wallace Fox
Starring Ralph Byrd
It was based on the comic book cowboy, The Vigilante of Action Comics a forerunner of DC Comics.
This serial makes the Vigilante one of the first live action adaptations of a DC Comics character,
beating Superman by one year although Batman had already made an appearance with his own serial in
1943 (also from Columbia).

The Vigilante - Serial Trailer

Columbia Serial #34. The Sea Hound (1947)
(15 chapters) Genre: Maritime / War
Directed by Walter B. Eason and Mack V. Wright
Starring Buster Crabbe

Columbia Serial #35. Brick Bradford (1947)
(15 chapters) Genre: Science Fiction.
Based on the comic strip Brick Bradford.
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Kane Richmond

Columbia Serial #36 Tex Granger (1948)
(15 chapters) Genre: Western
Directed by Derwin Abrahams

Columbia Serial #37. Superman (1948)
(15 chapters) Genre: Superhero.
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Kirk Alyn, Noel Neill
The first live-action appearance of Superman on film.

Columbia Serial #38. Congo Bill (1948)
(15 chapters) Genre: Jungle.
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Don McGuire

Columbia Serial #39. Bruce Gentry (1949)
(15 chapters) Genre: Science Fiction.
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Tom Neal
It is possible that this serial contains the first cinematic appearance of a Flying Saucer.

Columbia Serial #40. Batman and Robin (1949)
(15 chapters) Genre: Superhero.
Sequel to the 1943 serial Batman.
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Robert Lowery

Columbia Serial #41. The Adventures of Sir Galahad (1949)
(15 chapters) Genre: Medieval/ Arthurian
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring George Reeves
Based on Arthurian Legend & was one of the very few serials of the time with a
period setting that was not a western.

Columbia Serial #42. Cody of the Pony Express (1950)
(15 chapters) Genre: Western.
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Jock Mahoney

Columbia Serial #43. Atom Man vs. Superman (1950)
(15 chapters) Genre: Superhero.
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Kirk Alyn, Noel Neill
Atom Man is Lex Luthor.

Columbia Serial #44. Pirates of the High Seas (1950)
(15 chapters) Genre: Maritime & Jungle.
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Buster Crabbe

Columbia Serial #45. Roar of the Iron Horse, Rail-Blazer of the Apache Trail (1951)
(15 chapters) Genre: Western.
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Jock Mahoney

Columbia Serial #46. Mysterious Island (1951)
(15 chapters) Genre: Science Fiction.
An adaptation of the 1874 novel by Jules Verne, The Mysterious Island.
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Richard Crane

Columbia Serial #47. Captain Video, Master of the Stratosphere (1951)
(15 chapters) Genre: Science Fiction.
The first and last film serial ever based on a television program, Captain Video and his Video Rangers.
The same basic plot was used & re-used by Republic pictures for their serials Radar Men from the Moon
& Zombies of the Stratosphere.
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Judd Holdren

Columbia Serial #48. King of the Congo (1952)
(15 chapters) Genre: Jungle.
Based on the comic book character 'Thun'Da, King of the Congo', created by Frank Frazetta.
This was the last Tarzan-style serial.
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Buster Crabbe

King of the Congo - Serial Trailer

KING OF THE CONGO - Trailer

Columbia Serial #49. Blackhawk: Fearless Champion of Freedom (1952)
(15 chapters) Genre: Aviation.
Based on the comic book Blackhawk now owned by DC Comics.
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Kirk Alyn

Blackhawk - Serial Trailer

Columbia Serial #50. Son of Geronimo: Apache Avenger (1952)
(15 chapters) Genre: Western.
It is based on the historical figure of Geronimo, prominent Native American leader
of the Chiricahua Apache people.
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Clayton Moore

Columbia Serial #51. The Lost Planet (1953)
(15 chapters) Genre: Science Fiction.
The last interplanetary-themed sound serial ever made.
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Judd Holdren

Columbia Serial #52. The Great Adventures of Captain Kidd (1953)
(15 chapters) Genre: Maritime.
Based on the historical figure of Captain William Kidd. The plot was based on the
possibility that the real Captain Kidd was misjudged in an unfair trial.
Directed by Derwin Abrahams and Charles S. Gould
Starring Richard Crane

Columbia Serial #53 Gunfighters of the Northwest (1954)
(15 chapters) Genre: Northern - Canadian Mounties
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Clayton Moore

Columbia Serial #54 Riding with Buffalo Bill (1954)
(15 chapters) Genre: Western
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Marshall Reed
Includes footage from Deadwood Dick

Columbia Serial #55. Adventures of Captain Africa, Mighty Jungle ... (1955)
(15 chapters) Genre: Superhero/ Jungle
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring John Hart
Intended as a sequel to The Phantom;
includes footage from The Phantom, Jungle Menace, and The Desert Hawk

Columbia Serial #56. Perils of the Wilderness (1956)
(15 chapters) Genre: Western.
The penultimate serial produced by Columbia who were at this time the only studio
still producing serials.
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Dennis Moore
includes footage from Perils of the Royal Mounted

Columbia Serial #57. Blazing the Overland Trail (1956) (Last Columbia serial; last major-studio serial)
(15 chapters) Genre: Western.
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Dennis Moore, Lee Roberts
Includes footage from White Eagle

############ Columbia Serials ###############
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