Based off of the Lee Falk comic strip, The Phantom graced the silver screen in serial form in 1943. Tom Tyler, who also portrayed Captain Marvel in 1941, was cast as “The Ghost Who Walks” by Columbia Pictures. The serial also stars Jeanne Bates as Diana Palmer (The Phantom’s love interest) and Ace the Wonder Dog as “Devil” (which is actually a wolf in the comic version.
The plot deals with Professor Davidson (played by Frank Shannon) and his daughter (Bates) who are searching for the Lost City of Zoloz, which has been rumored to be filled with hidden treasures. Two criminals look to stop the expedition, one being Singapore Smith (played by Joe Devlin), who wants the treasure for himself, and the evil Dr. Max Bremmer (portrayed by Kenneth MacDonald), who wants to turn the land into a secret air base for his unnamed country. The Phantom (who is also Palmer’s fiance, Geoffrey Prescott) dons the mantle of the Phantom and thwarts the evil plans of the two men at every turn.
Amazon sells the DVD here, and if you like serials based off of comic heroes, this is definitely one to watch. The interesting thing about the DVD release is that when they were gathering the movie together, Chapter 11’s audio track was badly damaged. Rather than leaving it as is and having the production quality suffer for it, they hired actors to recreate some of the voices. They did a decent job at replicating the audio tracks and it barely takes away from the actual film.
Below is the first chapter of this fantastic serial, and if you want more, head over to vladsvintagevids YouTube channel for more of The Phantom and other serial movies.
Thanks to vladsvintagevids for the video and Amazon for the poster.