The Flash Gordon Serials, 1936–1940

A Heavily Illustrated Guide

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About the Book

Flash Gordon, Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars and Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, the most expensive and popular movie serials ever made, have been favorites of movie and comic fans for decades. The original 1936 serial, designated a cultural treasure, was selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry in 1996.
Arranged in a chapter-by-chapter format conforming to the structure of the three original serials, the work provides full cast and crew information, plot synopses, and production notes for all 40 episodes. The work also has a wealth of background information and 159 photographs, along with comments from cast members interviewed—Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers, and Carroll Borland. Appendices provide an overview of the serial Buck Rogers (1939), select filmographies for 50 of the most prominent Flash Gordon cast and crew, and a complete list of the serials’ film and television remakes.

About the Author(s)

Roy Kinnard is the author of many books on such topics as Flash Gordon, science fiction serials, Fay Wray, horror, silent films and Willis O’Brien. His essay on the Flash Gordon serials, written at the invitation of the Library of Congress, appears on the website of the National Film Registry. He lives in Chicago.
Commercial artist Tony Crnkovich, co-author (with Kinnard) of The Films of Fay Wray and The Flash Gordon Serials, has produced movie-related artwork and written articles for Classic Images. He lives in Chicago.
The late R.J. Vitone (d. 2009) founded Chicago’s Variety Bookstore in 1975, still in operation today.

Bibliographic Details

Roy Kinnard , Tony Crnkovich and R.J. Vitone
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 214
Bibliographic Info: 159 photos, appendices, index
Copyright Date: 2011 [2008]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6615-3
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5500-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1

A History of the Flash Gordon Serials      5

One: Flash Gordon (1936)      25

Chapter 1: “The Planet of Peril”      26

Chapter 2: “The Tunnel of Terror”      39

Chapter 3: “Captured by Shark Men”      44

Chapter 4: “Battling the Sea Beast”      48

Chapter 5: “The Destroying Ray”      52

Chapter 6: “Flaming Torture”      58

Chapter 7: “Shattering Doom”      60

Chapter 8: “Tournament of Death”      65

Chapter 9: “Fighting the Fire Dragon”      69

Chapter 10: “The Unseen Peril”      72

Chapter 11: “In the Claws of the Tigron”      76

Chapter 12: “Trapped in the Turret”      78

Chapter 13: “Rocketing to Earth”      80

Two: Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars (1938)      86

Chapter 1: “New Worlds to Conquer”      87

Chapter 2: “The Living Dead”      95

Chapter 3: “Queen of Magic”      97

Chapter 4: “Ancient Enemies”      100

Chapter 5: “The Boomerang”      101

Chapter 6: “Tree-Men of Mars”      104

Chapter 7: “The Prisoner of Mongo”      107

Chapter 8: “The Black Sapphire of Kalu”      110

Chapter 9: “Symbol of Death”      113

Chapter 10: “Incense of Forgetfulness”      116

Chapter 11: “Human Bait”      118

Chapter 12: “Ming the Merciless”      120

Chapter 13: “The Miracle of Magic”      123

Chapter 14: “A Beast at Bay”      126

Chapter 15: “An Eye for an Eye”      128

Three: Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940)      133

Chapter 1: “The Purple Death”      134

Chapter 2: “Freezing Torture”      138

Chapter 3: “Walking Bombs”      139

Chapter 4: “The Destroying Ray”      142

Chapter 5: “The Palace of Terror”      144

Chapter 6: “Flaming Death”      146

Chapter 7: “The Land of the Dead”      147

Chapter 8: “The Fiery Abyss”      150

Chapter 9: “The Pool of Peril”      151

Chapter 10: “The Death Mist”      153

Chapter 11: “Stark Treachery”      155

Chapter 12: “Doom of the Dictator”      157

Appendix I: Buck Rogers (1939)      161

Appendix II: Filmographies      172

Appendix III: Flash Gordon Remakes      195

Index      199

Book Reviews & Awards

“entertaining…fascinating…this thoroughly researched book is almost as fun as watching the films. Recommended”—Library Journal; “this book has been a long time coming, but it’s worth the wait…the book Flash fans have been waiting for…superb collection of rare photos…heartiest recommendation…terrific…essential”—Heavy Metal Magazine; “definitive”—National Board of Review; “a lot of fascinating anecdotes”—Little Shoppe of Horrors; “informative”—Western Clippings.