Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe – Part One (1940)

A big thanks to the awesome Thrilling Wonder Stories blog for uploading this classic Universal Pictures Serial that hit theatres on April 9th, 1940.

The beginning of this third and last of the Flash Gordon Universal Pictures serials starring Larry “Buster” Crabbe (Flash), Carol Hughes (Dale), Frank Shannon (Zarkov), and of course Charles B. Middleton (Ming) deals with a deadly plague that is affecting the Earth, random citizens of the world are falling to the ground dead. A purple spot appearing on their foreheads. Now if you lived in the Flash Gordon universe…you would obviously assume that Ming the Merciless is up to no good again, so Flash Gordon and Doctor Zarkov with Dale Arden by their side are sent to Mongo to investigate the cause and to see if there is by chance a cure!

Now you can imagine back in High-School when these serials were being widely released on VHS I didn’t have the time to watch them because of my busy social schedule…yeah, right. I watched these video tapes over and over and over again every weekend, generally just before Star Trek: The Next Generation and Friday the 13th: The Series. Just training I reckon to become a writer for this site, eh?

Kind of makes me wonder if we shouldn’t start a Serial Sunday?


Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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4 thoughts on “Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe – Part One (1940)

  1. “Serial Sunday” would be awesome! I myself am still working through the second of the Flash Gordon serials, but the comedy relief they through in the serial is killing me. I can’t wait to start watching this one!

  2. My father is a huge serial fan. Growing up, he showed me the Adventures of Captain Marvel, Spy Spasher, Daredevils of the Red Circle, The Mysterius Doctor Satan and so on. The episodes, which were about 10 to 15 minutes long, sometimes 25, would be shown before a feature film. Every week a new episode. Back in those days, you could afford to watch a movie every weekend. I wish that could be done today. Unfortunately, with movie tickets prices the way they are (let’s not forget the astronomical price of soda & popcorn), we will probably never see serials return. If they could chop the price of movie tickets & concessions in half for films with a serial, perhaps it could work. Just a thought.

  3. Bob S says:

    Great site. I’ve been a big fan of Buster Crabbe and all 3 of the Flash Gordon serials including Buck Rogers and more. B.C. was an underrated star! He had a great personality, filled with charisma & charm. I couldn’t imagine anyone viewing him and not liking him. I too have most of his movies (mainly Westerns & serials) and view them when I get a little down. Good stuff! Jean Rogers was magnificent, but did anyone notice Muriel Goodspeed in Chapter 2 & 3??

  4. @Retro Justin Man, I love the Spy Smasher serials…they are awesome! My Father and I watched the Flash Gordon serials as well.

    @Bob S You are so right about Buster Crabbe. Even in my youth I got so excited when he guest starred on that episode of Buck Rogers as Brigadier Gordon. I did not notice Muriel Godspeed…a quick check on IMDB shows she will appear in chapter 4 though. :)

    Thanks for the kind words, friends! Tune in next Sunday for the next chapter…because you know that Flash maybe didn’t survive that fall. ;)

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