CTVA US SciFi - Columbia Sci-Fi / Super-Hero serials (1938-55)

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Movie Archive US Cliffhanger Serials
"Columbia Pictures"
Sci-Fi / Super-Hero Cliffhanger Serials

(1938-55)
Episode Guide  compiled by The Classic TV Archive
with contributions by:
references:
Library of Congress (telnet://locis.loc.gov)
Internet Movie Database (http://www.us.imdb.com)

 
Columbia Pictures produced 57 Theatrical Serials between 1937 and 1956 (All Genres)

 
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 #14. The Spider Returns (1941)
1(15 chapters) Genre: Superhero / Crime
Directed by James W. Horne
Starring Warren Hull
Sequel to the 1938 serial The Spider's Web.

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

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).

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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #51. The Lost Planet (1953)
(15 chapters) Genre: Science Fiction.
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring Judd Holdren
The last interplanetary-themed sound serial ever made.
 
Columbia Serial #57. 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  
(Last Columbia serial; last major-studio serial)

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