THE MYSTERY TROOPER Starring Robert Frazer and Blanche Mehaffey Syndicate Pictures 1931 / 10 Chapters Hero: Jack Logan (Robert Frazer) Leading Lady: Helen Holt (Blanche Mehaffey) Their Pal: Billy Holt (Buzz Barton) Mystery Character: The Mystery Trooper Villain: Jean Gregg (Al Ferguson) Head Troublemaker: Mack (Charles King) Chief Red Eagle (William Bertram) Mystery Horse: White Cloud MacGuffin: The map of a lost mine
Directed by: Stuart Paton
Plot: Jack Logan comes to the Northwest with a map to try and locate a mine that belonged to his uncle and is besieged by crooks wanting to steal the map (and the mine) from him. He there helps to rescue pretty Helen Holt and her brother Billy from the crooks and return them to their foster father Red Eagle, with the assistance of the phantom "Mystery Trooper," who lives in Ghost City and finds respite in playing melancholy melodies on a dusty pump organ. When Logan and Helen compare notes, they realize the Mystery Trooper, who threw a bag of gold nuggets threw a window to Helen and Billy, must know more about the mine than he is saying, and so may White Cloud, a beguiling wild white horse. It is said that he who discovers White Cloud's secret home shall also discover great riches. Is this true? The many mysteries to be solved and all-original action in this serial keep it interesting and fun throughout.
Notes: THE MYSTERY TROOPER was a very early sound serial, perhaps the fifth ever filmed, and contains no background music because overdubbing was not possible yet at this stage of filmmaking and all its sound was recorded live with every take. The actors were clearly instructed to speak clearly so they'd be understood and so the pace of their delivery in dialogue scenes is sometimes very deliberate. Having the Mystery Trooper play the organ in the serial allowed the makers to include some music in the serial as part of the story. This serial was short, only 10 chapters long and is a small-scale affair but still includes appealing characters and situations and non-repetitive action. Robert Frazer, some years later, played the land-grabbing villain in the Republic serial DAREDEVILS OF THE WEST.
The new digital transfer of the serial presented here was done at the USC Cinema Archive from a 16mm print and restored and stabilized by Eric Stedman.
Review: “This early independent serial (made by the same company that produced the hit silent serial The Chinatown Mystery) is surprisingly entertaining. The cast is generally competent (though you could scarcely accuse Al Ferguson of underplaying), and Robert Frazer is surprisingly good in an atypical action hero role. The mystery character is in the deus ex machina mode of the silent serial mystery characters -- he shows up to get the heroes out of a tight spot, but doesn’t dominate the action.” -- Green Hornet
Chapter Titles: 1: The Trap of Terror 2: Paths of Peril 3: Fighting Fate 4: The Cave of Horror 5: The House of Hate 6: The Day of Doom 7: The Death Trail 8: The Killer Dogs 9: The Ghost City 10: The Lost Treasure Black and white with restored picture and audio
Original MYSTERY TROOPER titles, not the re-release TRAIL OF THE ROYAL MOUNTED.
This DVD is complete and began shipping June 24, 2016