The Serial Squadron Cinema Cliffhanger Archive


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Featuring Lee Powell, Herman Brix and The Lightning
Directed by William Witney

A group of heroic marines sent to Lingchuria battle a helmeted super-villain and murderer called The Lightning, who soars through the sky in a flying wing, controls "the power of electricity" and wants to use it to rule the world. The soldiers must use a combination of force and detective work to discover the Lightning's identity before he wreaks havoc upon the entire planet from his secret island headquarters.

This serial may have been planned for Doc Savage but the title characters cast as Marines instead when the license fee for the character turned out to be too high for Republic to be able to afford. So if that was the case, that is why the Doc Savage-type world-conquering villain Republic made up still remains in the serial. The Lightning was to become the cinematic prototype for the character Darth Vader in
Star Wars, so fans of those films should check it out. And, of course, this is also an opportunity to see Lee Powell, the screen's first Lone Ranger, in another leading role.

Picture and audio have been restored and while the original print, which was not "perfect," was sometimes variable where exposure was concerned, which created some occasional high-contrast scenes after adjustment, most of the footage has been adjusted to proper exposure and the transfer is clear, stable, and remarkably sharp throughout.

This title was only ever released by Republic Home Video 30 or so years ago as a VHS tape and all existing on or off-line versions are copies of that tape, in which contrast may be more even than in this edition but which is not sharp. The Squadron edition is a new transfer from film which has three times that resolution and is the sharpest video version of this serial in existence, appropriate for large-screen TV viewing.

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Featuring Robert Paige and Adrian Booth with Sammy McKim

BY POPULAR DEMAND: The lively and rare serial featuring mystery character The Black Falcon, who, with his G-man friends, fight on land and in the air to try to destroy a spy ring in pre-WWII America. Who is behind the mask? We don't always know for sure but if one of the G-men in the Black Falcon guise perishes, another will take his place. Adrian Booth's first serial and the obvious inspiration for the comic book character

Lo-res analog transfer; not super-sharp but stable, clean and scratch-free; reel change markers removed, end titles restored/reconstructed, opening titles fully visible (they say FLYING G-MEN, not LYING G-ME), fully restored audio. This is not a new digital transfer but a clean copy of a serial you may not have which should hold you until we do a full-quality new restoration someday. Sounds and looks good on phones, tablets, computers and small to medium size TV screens.

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Bruce Gentry, Daredevil of the Skies
Featuring Tom Neal, Tristram Coffin and Judy Clark

An aviator takes on a gang of crooks led by a foreign agent called "The Recorder" who use high-tech "flying discs" to enforce their campaign of destruction. Directed by Spencer Bennet in Republic serial-style, featuring stunt men Tom Steele and Dale VanSickel in stunt fight after stunt fight. Restored pretty well from a rough print with some scratches and damage but complete, sharp and watchable. with good sound and non-splicy openings and closings. Not perfect but a vast improvement over existing copies in circulation.


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as the famous Fawcett Comics Hero
and HANS SCHUMM as The Mask

The fan-favorite serial in a new HD transfer by Dino Everett at the USC Hefner Moving Image Archive and restored by Eric Stedman of the Squadron, for the first time on 1440 x 1080 Blu-Ray. Really.

The Blu-ray and DVD include the complete 12-episode serial, re-release trailer and .cbz files of all the original Spy Smasher comic books which can be read on your computer.

You can use the PICTURE, ZOOM, or ASPECT button on your TV remote to watch the serial in either widescreen or normal 4:3 mode.

This is not the end-all greatest digital video version of SPY SMASHER which could ever possibly exist, what it is, though, is a new HD digital transfer from the Squadron's 16mm print,with improved sharpness, stabilization, motion and audio in comparison to the old 1990s VHS version.

SPY SMASHER remains, however, one of the most exciting and masterfully directed and produced sound cliffhanger serials ever made and an action-adventure masterpiece--the second comic book hero movie ever made, and still, possibly, the best--and this version will be sharper, clearer and more stable than any version on video you have seen before.

This transfer is complete, splice-free and very good quality and suitable for viewing on large-screen TVs. This is not a quick knockoff copy of anything else but the product of 6 months of transfer and restoration work. The entire serial has been painstakingly stabilized shot by shot and is rock-solid, and the sound also has been thoroughly restored. The final restoration even contains fixes of some errors which were present in all past video versions & apparently in the 1942 Republic original. There is a little dust in some of the early chapter openings but larger artifacts and damage have all been removed and there are no lines or scratches in the image at all; even reel change markers have been eliminated. Picture quality is very good to excellent throughout, reflecting the quality of the print from which it was transferred.

This project is complete
and shipping now

You will receive an email with tracking information when your copy ships.
To help speed up delivery of shipments we are requesting you order this title separately, thanks.

The Blu-Ray version of this title is recommended as it has much smoother motion and twice the sharpness of the DVD edition.


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The Rex Bennett Collection
(Republic, 30 Chapters)
Rod Cameron, Duncan Renaldo, Joan Marsh, Lionel Royce, Nino Pipitone,
D: Spencer Bennet, William Witney

Contains the complete restored editions of both
Secret Service in Darkest Africa and G-Men vs. the Black Dragon featuring Rod Cameron (doubled by stunt man Tom Steele) as WWII US Agent Rex Bennett.

DVD Contents: 2-DL-DVD Set, 2 Complete serials, 30 episodes
Special Features: Trailer for G-Men vs. the Black Dragon, re-release trailer for Secret Service

This title is also available as a Hybrid Blu-Ray

Order Double-Dual-Layer DVD Set
(Two serials complete on 2 disks, full quality)

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Secret Service in Darkest Africa
✦✦✦✦ (Republic, 15 Chapters)

Rod Cameron
as Rex Bennett
Joan Marsh
as Janet Blake
Duncan Renaldo
as Capt. Pierre LaSalle
Lionel Royce
as Baron von Rommler/Sultan Abou Ben Ali
Directed by: Spencer Bennet

In Casablanca, North Africa, US secret agent Rex Bennett is pitted against Nazis who infiltrate Sultan About Ben Ali's palace and replace him with impostor Baron von Rommler. With support from his friends Capt. Pierre la Salle of the French resistance and agent Janet Blake, Bennett takes on what seems like all the Nazis and munitions dumps in Africa to try and defeat the Axis spies and rescue the Sultan. Stunning fight choreography and double-danger-level cliffhangers highlight this thrill-a-minute Republic serial made at the studio's peak, which is jam-packed with blazing, explosive action.

Transfer Quality: Excellent, stabilized; audio also excellent, restored & enhanced. A "like new" restoration with powerful sound, highly recommended
DVD Contents: Complete serial, re-release trailer

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(Entire serial on 1 disk, full quality)

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G-Men vs. the Black Dragon
✦✦✦+ (Republic, 15 Chapters)

Rod Cameron as Rex Bennett
Roland Got as Chang Sing,
Constance Worth as Vivian Marsh
Nino Piptone as Haruchi
Noel Cravat as Ranga, George J. Lewis as Lugo
D: Spencer Bennet, William Witney

Japanese master spy Oyama Haruchi ships himself to the US in an ancient sarcophagus and attempts to destabilize the US from within, by sabotaging planes using flammable paint, and other sinister devices. American secret agent Rex Bennett, chinese agent Chang Sing, and British spy Vivian Marsh attempt to take Haruchi's gang down and near-constant violence ensues. Like Secret Service in Darkest Africa, this serial is also jam-packed with classic Republic-style stunt fights and moves at a lightning pace. Adapted from content prepared as a sequel to Drums of Fu Manchu.

Transfer Quality: Excellent with some graininess in day-for-night scenes; stabilized credits & otherwise where necessary, sound enhanced & strengthened
Special Features: Theatrical Trailer

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Steve Canyon
(1958, 36 Episodes packaged in three 2-DVD sets)

Featuring Dean Fredericks as Steve Canyon
DVD sets produced and restored by
John Ellis

All 36 of the half-hour episodes of the classic 1958 NBC TV series (plus an unaired pilot film), featuring the famed comic strip hero created by Milton Caniff

network promos and commercials are preserved and appear in each episode. Commentary tracks on over 30 episodes by various guest stars and a PDF of an unproduced script are also included.

EXTERNAL LINK: Click here to order Volumes 1-3

"The quality of the DVDs of this show are nothing short of outstanding. They have been meticulously restored to their original glory, as well as the original commercials and promos that were of the time. A real trip back to the late 1950's." -- Amazon reviewer Mark Costa

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King of the Texas Rangers
✦✦✦+ (Republic, 12 Chapters)

Sammy Baugh
as Ranger Tom King
Duncan Renaldo
as Sgt. Pedro Garcia
Neil "Commissioner Gordon" Hamilton

When mysterious foreigners using a zeppelin as a command post kill quarterback Tom King's father, he teams with Sgt. Pedro Garcia of the Mexican police to avenge the murder and put a stop to the "fifth columnist's" plans for sabotage and destruction. An action-packed classic serial originally conceived as a vehicle for Roy Rogers.

Transfer Quality: Excellent, stabilized, with restored picture and audio
DVD Contents: Complete serial

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(Entire serial on 1 disk, full quality)

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The Mystery Squadron
✦✦✦ (Mascot, 12 Chapters)
Bob Steele, Guinn Williams, Jack Mulhall
D: Colbert Clark/Howard

Near San Juan, New Mexico, a mysterious aviator known as the Black Ace and his squadron of phantom flame-throwing planes threatens to destroy a dam construction project and it's up to flying aces Fred Cromwell and Bill "Jelly Bean" Cook to track down the Mystery Squadron, infiltrate their mountain hideout and discover the true identity of the Black Ace before it's too late.

View Online Video: Chapter 3

Transfer Quality: Excellent with some occasional graininess, from 16mm, audio noise-reduced

DVD Contents: 2-DVD Set, Complete serial
Special Features: Amazing aviation stunt sequence from silent film

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The Fighting Marines
✦✦✦ (Mascot, 12 Chapters)
Grant Withers, Adrian Morris
D: B. Reeves Eason

The Tiger Shark is the nemesis of the two non-coms of The Fighting Marines, willing even to take on the Navy Dept. for possession of Halfway Island.

View Online Video: Chapter 1

Transfer Quality: Newly remastered on a Rank Cintel from an original print.
DVD Contents: 2 DVD set, black and white, with illustrated menus, chapter selection buttons, and scene markers within chapters.
Special Features: Theatrical trailer
Newsreel from 1938 featuring serial hero Sammy Baugh playing football, and a "real-life" Rocket-man!
"Puddle Pranks," a Flip the Frog cartoon by Ub Iwerks

Order the DL-DVD
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✦✦✦ (Wharton, 15 Chapters)
Irene Castle, Warner Oland, Milton Sills
D: The Whartons, J. Jaccard

Patria Channing, heiress to a fortune and a munitions factory, and Secret Service agent Donald Parr defend New York from invasion by the Japanese, as led by master spy Baron Huroki. (Oland’s first Asian character role) Reshoots and revisions were made to the serial when Woodrow Wilson suggested the invaders be identified as Mexican so as not to antagonize Japan, and in latter episodes the setting was changed to the American West. Milton Sills is the hero of the story, playing a US Secret Service agent. The serial also features Mike Rale, who played the sinister Master of the Black Order in
The Mysteries of Myra, as Huroki’s assistant Kato. Screen action takes place around Cayuga Lake and other recognizable Ithaca, New York locations.

View Online Video: Existing Chapters & Slideshow

Transfer Quality:
Excellent/Good, from 2 different prints
DVD Contents:
Restored episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 10; about 75 minutes; 2-DVD set, color tinted and with new musical score
Special Features: 6 1/2 minute Photo Gallery of ads & over 75 Stills & Behind the Scenes Shots

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Tailspin Tommy in
The Great Air Mystery
✦✦+ (Universal, 12 Chapters)
Clark Williams, Jean Rogers, Noah Beery Jr.
D: Ray Taylor

Tommy and pals fly to Nazil Island in the Pacific to help a group of honest businesspeople protect oil reserves from takeover. They get assistance from an undercover reporter and from a masked mystery pilot called both the Eagle and El Condor.

Transfer Quality: Excellent, digital transfer from excellent quality original 16mm print; audio restored
DVD Contents: Complete serial
Special Features: Serial Trailers

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The Master Key
✦✦✦ (13 Chapters)
Dennis Moore, Milburn Stone D: Ray Taylor

In the pre-World War II United States, a Nazi espionage ring--each member possessing a key to a headquarters control device--takes direction from an unseen leader, The Master Key. The focus of their efforts is Professor Henderson’s Orotron device, which can extract gold from sea water. Federal agent Tom Brant heads a spy-fighting trio that includes police detective Jack Ryan and reporter Janet Lowe. Who is The Master Key? An unknown foe or a false friend in disguise? You’ll have to wait until the final chapter (13) to find out for sure!

Transfer Quality: Very good, from 16mm
DVD Contents: 2-DVD set, black and white, complete serial
Special Features: National Anthem by Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians, World War II Introduction: "The Rise of the Axis" (which sets the stage for the action to follow
Cartoon: “Daffy the Commando”

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World War II On the Air

A great historical collection of over 100 broadcasts from WWII, 1938-1946, including both original recordings of news reports and also audio dramas, including Words at War, presented in order of date broadcast.

VERY useful if you are studying the history of the war. If you were to listen to this straight through you'd get a full picture of both what was happening in the news and the sentiment of the American people as expressed through drama.

Also includes some mockeries of American songs used as propaganda by the Germans.

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