GREATEST MOVIE SERIALS OF ALL TIME

The mysterious Don Del Oro ("Lord of Gold"), an idol of the Yaqui Indians, has emerged and attacks the gold trade of the Republic of Mexico, planning to take over the land and become Emperor. A man named Francisco is put in charge of a fighting legion to combat the Yaqui tribe and protect the gold, but he is attacked by men working for Don Del Oro. Zorro comes to his rescue, but it is too late for him. Francisco's partner recognizes Zorro as the hidalgo Don Diego Vega. Francisco asks Diego, as Zorro, to take over the fighting legion and defeat Don Del Oro.

The serial featured an adaptation of the Fawcett Comics superhero, placed within an original story in which he fights a mysterious masked criminal mastermind, called The Scorpion, who is determined to gain total control of a magical gold scorpion figurine. It is actually a disguised optical weapon of incredible power (including, but not limited to, melting rock via a projected death ray). Billy Batson is an assistant radio operator with the Malcolm archaeological expedition to "the Valley of the Tombs" in Siam. The expedition is attacked by natives but Tal Chotali parleys with Rahman Bar. A sacred legend states no desecration will occur until the volcano, Scorpio, is active again. At the tombs, Billy refuses to enter the inner tomb as it would desecrate the religious beliefs of others. Instead he goes to pack pottery in another tunnel. In the inner tomb, Tal Chotali, Prof Malcolm, Prof Luthor Bentley, Dwight Fisher, and Dr Stephen Lang, find the Golden Scorpion. A ray from the Scorpion collapses the entrance to the tombs and opens a hidden passage between Billy and the ancient wizard Shazam. Shazam grants him the ability to change into Captain Marvel in order to prevent the Golden Scorpion from falling into the wrong hands. It is his "duty to see that the curse of the Scorpion is not visited on innocent people." The lenses from the Golden Scorpion are divided among the five scientists. Scorpio then erupts which triggers a native attack. However, the masked mystery villain the Scorpion is orchestrating it, stealing one of the lenses during the hostilities. The expedition is rescued by cavalry from Fort Mooltan. Captain Marvel then flies to a group of natives with a machine gun, knocks them out by throwing one at the other, and takes over the gun. Marvel then throws aside the gun and attacks with his bare fists. Marvel learns he is invulnerable as bullets bounce off his chest. The expedition then returns to the United States, where the Scorpion attempts to acquire all of the lenses and the Scorpion device for his own power. Several expedition members are killed in his quest despite Captain Marvel's continual efforts to thwart the villain. Billy Batson soon decides that the man behind the Scorpion's mask is one of the team. Eventually a second expedition sets out because it has been learned that Long had actually hidden his lens in the tomb. The Scorpion witnesses Billy's change during this and captures him - tying him up and gagging him. The Scorpion interrogates Billy for the secret. When Billy agrees to tell him, The Scorpion removes the gag and Billy says "Shazam", which transforms him into Captain Marvel. The Scorpion is then revealed to be Bentley. He is killed by the disillusioned native chief, Rahman Bar, who uses the Scorpion in death ray mode. Captain Marvel then tosses the scorpion statue into the molten lava to prevent mankind from using it for evil in the future. Once it is destroyed,Captain Marvel is transformed back into Billy Batson instantly as there is no need for a protector for the scorpion anymore.

Professor Davidson plans an expedition to find the Lost City of Zoloz. The location of the city is contained on seven pieces of ivory, three of which Davidson already possesses. Doctor Bremmer, however, intends to find the lost city and use it as a secret airbase for his unnamed country. To remove him as an obstacle, he kills The Phantom, only for his recently returned son, Geoffrey Prescott, to inherit the family identity and take over the mantle of The Phantom. Three of the remaining ivory pieces are owned by Singapore Smith, who initially steals Davidson's pieces. The seventh, and most important, piece is missing at first but turns up in the possession of Tartar (which The Phantom acquires by wrestling Tartar's pet gorilla).

American leading woman, a popular action star of serials in the 1940s. She studied music, dance, and drama as a child and received a scholarship to a Hollywood acting school. But she arrived in Hollywood to discover the school had closed, and she took a job as a showgirl at the Earl Carroll Theatre in Hollywood. She modeled in fashion advertisements and one ad led to a screen test. She was cast as a model in The Powers Girl (1943), but more importantly, she was again spotted in an advertisement, this time by executives of Republic Studios, who were looking for a beautiful but athletic woman to star in their upcoming serial, The Tiger Woman (1944). Despite having no experience in the kind of stunts and athletics that would be required, Stirling was able to convince not only the executives but ace stuntman Yakima Canutt of her capability. She won the role and a contract from Republic, and played hard-riding and -fighting heroines in numerous serials, Westerns like Zorro's Black Whip, and low-budget adventure films over the next three or four years. She married a screenwriter for Republic, Sloan Nibley in 1946 and shortly thereafter retired from movies. She made a few guest appearances on television in the 1950s, but spent most of her later years doing college work (as both student and teacher) and attending to her family life. She was widowed in 1990 and died of cancer in 1997.

Outlaw Jesse James and his friend, on the run from Missouri, ride into a town where a gang is trying to drive area ranchers off their land because there's oil underneath it. They take particular interest in the situation of a pretty young woman and her elderly father, whose ranch is being regularly attacked by the gang

Batman and Robin is a 15-chapter serial released in 1949 by Columbia Pictures. Robert Lowery played Batman, while Johnny Duncan played Robin. Supporting players included Jane Adams as Vicki Vale and veteran character actor Lyle Talbot as Commissioner Gordon. The plot dealt with the Dynamic Duo facing off against the Wizard, a hooded villain with an electrical device which controls cars and a desire to set challenges for the Dynamic Duo, whose identity remains a mystery throughout the serial until the end.

Republic's "Daredevils of the West" is a 1943 twelve chapter serial once considered lost. This action-filled cliffhanger starred Allan Lane and Kay Aldridge. It's only been publicly screened in the U.S. three times in recent years. Through special arrangement with Brigham Young University, Paramount Pictures, and Swank Films it was first shown at SerialFest in Newtown, PA, in the Spring of 2008. In October 2009 it was run a second time at the Lone Pine Film Festival in Lone Pine, CA. It was also lensed at the Memphis Film Festival in Olive Branch, Mississippi June 3-5 of 2010. The serial was introduced and personally projected by BYU archivist James D'Arc.

Flash Gordon is a 1936 science fiction film serial. Told in 13 installments, it was the first screen adventure for the comic-strip character Flash Gordon, and tells the story of his first visit to the planet Mongo and his encounter with the evil Emperor Ming the Merciless. Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers, Charles B. Middleton, Priscilla Lawson and Frank Shannon played the central roles. In 1996, Flash Gordon was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Unavailable for decades, this 15-chapter serial from Republic Pictures was finally re-released on video tape in the late 1990s. Based on a story by Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jungle Girl featured former Paramount starlet Frances Gifford as Nyoka, a white girl raised by her father, Dr. Meredith (Trevor Bardette), among the savages of Darkest Africa. But the good doctor is mercilessly bumped off by his identical twin (also Bardette), who along with American gangster Slick Latimer (Gerald Mohr is searching for the famous Nakros diamonds. Along come Yankee fly-boys Jack Stanton (Tom Neal) and Curly Rogers (Eddie Acuff) who, again and again, are forced to rescue either Nyoka or each other from the evil machinations of both the girl's uncle and nasty witch doctor Shamba (Frank Lackteen). Miss Gifford, suffice it to say, is attractive if not much of an actress this early in her career, while Neal, who is best remembered today as the unfortunate protagonist in the noir classic Detour (1946), appears customarily dashing. Comic relief is provided by Acuff, who is never too tiresome, and Frank Lackteen adds his patented exotic villainy. All in all, if the viewer can get past the natives' fright wigs a la Harpo Marx, an overly cute child actor (Tommy Cook) who speaks pidgin-English and the build-in repetitiveness typical for action serials, there is much to enjoy, including eye-popping acrobatic stunts performed by the likes of Yakima Canutt, David Sharpe, Tom Steele and Carol Thurston, the latter doubling for Gifford. Jungle Girl was successful enough to warrant a sequel but by the time Perils of Nyoka was ready to go before the cameras, Frances Gifford had become unavailable and was replaced by former Powers model Kay Aldridge. In typical serial fashion, footage from both chapterplays ended up in Panther Girl of the Kongo (1955), starring Phyllis Coates in a skimpy yet tasteful outfit identical to those worn by her predecessors. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Superman (1948) is a 15-part black-and-white Columbia film serial based on the comic book character Superman. It stars an uncredited Kirk Alyn (billed only by his character name, Superman; but credited on the promotional posters) and Noel Neill as Lois Lane. It is notable as the first live-action appearance of Superman on film and for the longevity of its distribution. The serial was directed by Thomas Carr, who later directed many early episodes of the Superman television show, and Spencer Gordon Bennet, produced by Sam Katzman and shot in and around Los Angeles, California. It was originally screened at movie matinées and after the first three scene-setting chapters, every episode ends in a cliffhanger. The Superman-in-flight scenes are animations, in part due to the small production budget.

Dick Tracy's foe for this serial is the crime boss and Masked Mystery Villain The Spider/The Lame One (both names are used) and his Spider Ring. In the process of various crimes, including using his Flying wing and sound weapon to destroy the Bay Bridge in San Francisco and stealing an experimental "Speed Plane", the Spider captures Dick Tracy's brother, Gordon. The Spider's minion, Dr. Moloch, performs a brain operation on Gordon Tracy to turn him evil, making him secretly part of the Spider Ring and so turning brother against brother.

In 1942, Republic Pictures created a series of Spy Smasher serial episodes that were previewed in movie houses from week to week before the start of the feature films. Twelve episodes were created, each one running approximately eighteen minutes in length, the first of which was released on April 4th of 1942. The series was directed by William Witney with writing credits attributed to Ronald Davidson and Norman S. Hall. Actor Kane Richmond played the part of Spy Smasher, and his alter ego Alan Armstrong. Margueritte Chapman played the role of Eve Corby, Alan's fiancée who usually found herself the target victim of the hero's arch-nemesis, the Mask (played by Hans Schumm). Spy Smasher and Eve Corby's adventures typically revolved around confounding the Mask's villainous efforts in France, during the height of Nazi occupation

The first chapter, “The Tunnel of Terror,” came from the radio broadcast of October 12, 1937, which involved Reid’s efforts to shut down Henry Adsit of Liberty Construction, who managed to underbid everyone for city construction jobs — but at the cost of a tunnel collapse because of inferior lumber and materials. In further chapters, The Green Hornet and his Korean valet Kato stop and expose several seemingly separate crimes. This leads them into continued conflict with the Leader, the criminal mastermind behind the Syndicate and the individual crimes