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Serial Report
    - Chapter Ninety-Seven
    - Chapter Ninety-Six
    - Chapter Ninety-Five
    - Chapter Ninety-Four
    - Chapter Ninety-Three
    - Chapter Ninety-Two
    - Chapter Ninety-One
    - Chapter Ninety
    - Chapter Eighty-Nine
    - Chapter Eighty-Eight
    - Chapter Eighty-Seven
    - Chapter Eighty-Six
    - Chapter Eighty-Five
    - Chapter Eighty-Four
    - Chapter Eighty-Three
    - Chapter Eighty-Two
    - Chapter Eighty-One
    - Chapter Eighty
    - Chapter Seventy-Nine
    - Chapter Seventy-Eight
    - Chapter Seventy-Seven
    - Chapter Seventy-Six
    - Chapter Seventy-Five
    - Chapter Seventy-Four
    - Chapter Seventy-Three
    - Chapter Seventy-Two
    - Chapter Seventy-One
    - Chapter Seventy
    - Chapter Sixty-Nine
    - Chapter Sixty-Eight
    - Chapter Sixty-Seven
    - Chapter Sixty-Six
    - Chapter Sixty-Five
    - Chapter Sixty-Four
    - Chapter Sixty-Three
    - Chapter Sixty-Two
    - Chapter Sixty-One
    - Chapter Sixty
    - Chapter Fifty-Nine
    - Chapter Fifty-Eight
    - Chapter Fifty-Seven
    - Chapter Fifty-Six
    - Chapter Fifty-Five
    - Chapter Fifty-Four
    - Chapter Fifty-Three
    - Chapter Fifty-Two
    - Chapter Fifty-One
    - Chapter Fifty
    - Chapter Forty-Nine
    - Chapter Forty-Eight
    - Chapter Forty-Seven
    - Chapter Forty-Six
    - Chapter Forty-Five
    - Chapter Forty-Four
    - Chapter Forty-Three
    - Chapter Forty-Two
    - Chapter Forty-One
    - Chapter Forty
    - Chapter Thirty-Nine
    - Chapter Thirty-Eight
    - Chapter Thirty-Seven
    - Chapter Thirty-Six
    - Chapter Thirty-Five
    - Chapter Thirty-Four
    - Chapter Thirty-Three
    - Chapter Thirty-Two
    - Chapter Thirty-One
    - Chapter Thirty
    - Chapter Twenty-Nine
    - Chapter Twenty-Eight
    - Chapter Twenty-Seven
    - Chapter Twenty-Six
    - Chapter Twenty-Five
    - Chapter Twenty-Four
    - Chapter Twenty-Three
    - Chapter Twenty-Two
    - Chapter Twenty-One
    - Chapter Twenty
    - Chapter Nineteen
    - Chapter Eighteen
    - Chapter Seventeen
    - Chapter Sixteen
    - Chapter Fifteen
    - Chapter Fourteen
    - Chapter Thirteen
    - Chapter Twelve
    - Chapter Eleven
    - Chapter Ten
    - Chapter Nine
    - Chapter Eight
    - Chapter Seven
    - Chapter Six
    - Chapter Five
    - Chapter Four
    - Chapter Three
    - Chapter Two
    - Chapter One

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Chapter Ninety-Five

Serial Memories

by Boyd Magers

Cinematographer Richard H. Kline: “(As for serials) I did about four of them and one we did in Catalina (‘Pirates of the High Seas’ ‘50). They had two directors (and) they would alternate days. Tommy Carr and Spence Bennet. You shoot out of continuity, and the script girls were unbelievable, they kept everything straight. That was skill. It took about 30 days for each one. They were fun to work on
Sam Katzman. and I enjoyed it. Sam Katzman (right) was just a likable guy. He was a character; he had a stomach on him and he smoked the big cigar but not a pompous guy at all. He came from New York and he started at Monogram before he came to Columbia. He was very nice to me. I liked him a lot. Dead honest. We shot six days a week then, and he’d say, ‘Okay guys.’ (There would be a) football game at the Coliseum; he said, ‘Finish by noon and there’s a bus out there and I got seats on the such-and-such yard line for all of you.’ Sure enough, boom, we would go to the game. He really was for the crew; the crew came first. The actors were of secondary consideration. He would get an actor on the way up or on the way down, and get them for practically nothing.” (Excerpted from Leonard Maltin’s MOVIE CRAZY.)

Lois Hall worked several times with director Tommy Carr, including Columbia’s “Pirates of the High Seas” serial, filmed off Catalina. “Tommy was extremely patient with me. He had a great sense of humor, a great deal of compassion and…patience. I remember we’d see dailies and I would have goofed something. He’d say, ‘Listen to yourself—whenever you goof, you can hear yourself saying I’m sorry Tommy. You don’t act apologetically! You just go for it.’ I thought, what a sweet thing to say. He had a great deal of humanity, knew how to work with actors…seemed to like actors. If there were technical problems getting a scene, which there were constantly on ‘Pirates’, he would be very apologetic to the actors and try and let them go relax while he worked out the technical stuff rather than making us hang around. Being a very low budget serial, we had trouble getting clean wardrobe. Tommy said, ‘Just take a dive into the ocean or fall off the ship and we’ll see that you get clean wardrobe.’ (Laughs) He never cared whether you were star or lowest of the crew, he was kind to everybody.”

Lois Nall warns off Terry Frost and Marshall Reed in Columbia's "Pirates of the High Seas" ('50).

Tommy Farrell was also directed by Carr in “Pirates of the High Seas” serial with Buster Crabbe. “Tommy was second unit director, Spence Bennet was first. Spencer had no sense of humor—I mean zero. (Laughs) But Tommy was funny as hell. He said, ‘This is your first serial, right? Well, there’s nothing to be worried about, it’s really very simple. In this scene you and Buster come up out of the hold, the pirates see you, you get into a big fight and one of the pirates hits you over the head and you fall overboard. There’s a dear.’ I said, ‘There’s a dear?’ He said, “There’s really nothing to it.’ I said, ‘For you maybe.’ He said, ‘Now the next one—you’re looking for Buster and you can’t find him and all of a sudden these three guys show up, chase you and you fall over the cliff. There’s a dear.’ Every time somethin’ terrible happened to me he said, ‘There’s a dear.’ (Laughs)”

Buster Crabbe, Tommy Farrell and Tris Coffin are ready to ward off the "Pirates of the High Seas" ('50 Columbia).

Tom and Jim Goldrup interviewed Joe Haworth. In 1944 Joe appeared in his first Western and first serial, “Raiders of Ghost City”, at Universal. This was the first of three serials, the other two being “The Royal Mounted Rides Again” and “The Mysterious Mr. M”. When Joe first saw a script for the serial that looked as thick as a telephone book, he exclaimed, “What are you talking about?” When talking about Dennis Moore, his co-star, from the last named serial, Joe said, Denny Moore was a very good athlete—you had to be. But he forgot his dialogue all of the time. We did all 13 chapters at one time and that’s where we got mixed up. Sometimes it got pretty confusing and you didn’t even know what chapter you were in.” Joe illustrated this point by explaining, for instance, in “The Royal Mounted Rides Again” where he would
Joe Haworth and Milburn Stone at the beginning of a chapter of "The Royal Mounted Rides Again" ('45 Universal). come into Milburn Stone’s office to report to him what had just transpired or to receive orders on what mischief to do next. There are a number of times that this happens throughout the serial, and they would shoot all these sequences at one time. “We just shot one sequence after another. Milburn was wonderful and very good with dialogue, and I was too at that time. We had to keep picking up new sequences and learning them, but I could learn them if I read them once. So after doing one scene the director would say, ‘Cut,’ and then we’d do another scene from a completely different chapter. And we just kept doing it and doing it and doing it, but all from different sequences in the serial. After a few scenes it got a little crazy trying to keep them all straight in your head,” Joe smiled.

Joe told of another bad experience with a horse, but this time it was because the horse was just plain crazy. On the first day of filming “The Royal Mounted Rides Again”, actor Jack Randall was killed in an accident, and Joe was called to replace him in the role of Bunker, the chief henchman for Milburn Stone. Commenting on this incident Joe told us, “On about the third scene Randall was in he was told to leap on this horse and fly through the forest as fast as he could go, but a branch of a tree hit him in the head and killed him. I was on the backlot shooting a picture and somebody came up and said, ‘Joe, they want you up front. You got to go and get wardrobe.’ I said, ‘I got wardrobe,’ and they said, ‘No, this is for another movie.’” The next day they told Joe to put on the wardrobe. “Whose is it?” Gene Coffin, the wardrobe man, answered that it was Jack Randall’s. “I’m a little superstitious,” Joe confided, and even though there would be five weeks work I refused at first, but they talked me into it.” Joe was told they just wanted him to do a run-through of riding so they went to the woods to shoot the scene. Joe was directed to stay a certain distance ahead of the camera car that was following, with added instructions that every once in a while to pull up and go back a little. “I got up on the horse, a beautiful horse named Phantom or Phantom Valley,” Joe stated, “but the minute it saw the camera car he just took off like a bullet and we went right past it and through all the woods. Joe was then told to do the run again. Joe, remembering Randall had been killed riding that horse at the same spot, stated he couldn’t handle the horse and didn’t want to get on it again. “Come on now, you’ve done it once. We’ve shot for two days so you have to do it. We can’t lose two more days.” So Joe got on the horse to do another run-through and it took off like a bullet and went right through the whole scene through the forest. Joe exclaimed, “I don’t want to get on that horse again, It’s crazy!” “No, it’s not crazy,” was the response, “it’s just excited from having that accident. Just get on and do a take.” “All right,” Joe said, “I’ll try it once more and see if I can stop him.” “So I tried it again,” Joe told us, “and the horse tried to run away with me. I thought I was going to be killed, but they got the take.”

The next day Joe was asked to do another scene on
horseback. “You’re going to be in the next shot,” he was told. “I’m sorry,” Joe replied, “but I’m not going to be in the next shot unless you get another horse that looks like him.” “Come on,” was the reply, “That horse has always been a peaceful horse.” “He’s not a peaceful horse anymore,” Joe retorted. “There’s something wrong with that horse.” But they wanted to use the same horse to save footage, and Joe said, “You’re going to save footage but you’re going to kill another actor.” Joe was finally talked into doing the scene, and explained to us what happened next. “So I got on him and felt him quivering beneath me and knew he was going to do it again. We started, and got about 150 feet then he took off and into the woods we went. I had his head pulled back, but he was running full tilt and trying to get away from me. I couldn’t make him stop—I couldn’t make him do anything! I pulled up on him so hard that I had his head next to me on the saddle. Everybody thought ‘Here goes another actor.’ Pretty soon I got him straightened out. He was still going like hell, but we got through the woods. I got off and the horse was still quivering. He was as scared as I was. They said, ‘We’re going to take one more take,’ and I said, ‘No we won’t. That horse is going to kill somebody.’ They said, ‘Come on, Joe, you can do it. You’re a good rider.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’m a good rider, but he’s not a good horse.’ So they took me back to the beginning again and got me back on and away we went.” They found out later that the horse was crazy.

Joe was on another picture and so was the same horse, and when he was told that was the horse he was to ride, he replied, “No, I’m not.” They got a different actor to do it and the horse ran away with him too. Joe asked them later, “What was the matter with that damn horse? I couldn’t stop him.” They answered, “Nobody could stop him. The minute he got his head he was gone. Even the wranglers couldn’t stop him.”

Steve Mitchell was one of the stars in the Republic serial “Jungle Drums of Africa” and said of his experience, “It’s like doing summer stock in an iron lung. You have no time; you learn the lines and get out there and do it. A lot of the time you do your own fighting so you would wind up in those days fighting with the greatest guy in the world, Davey Sharpe.” Steve mentioned that in case you forget something Davey would say to just keep throwing punches and he would ad-lib right along with you. “Don’t worry about hitting me; I’m fast,” Sharpe would say, and Steve would reply, “I’m not worried about that, I’m worried about you hitting me. It’s a lot of fun on the serials, but the name of the game is to do the job and get it done,” he added.

Bossman Henry Rowland gives sinister orders to John Cason, Steve Mitchell and witch doctor Roy Glenn in Republic's "Jungle Drums of Africa" ('52).

 

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