Movie Serial Saturday!
Hey! We’re finally at the end of the road for “Captain America”! It’s been an interesting ride to be sure, and it’s been fun sharing it with all of you. That being said, if you enjoyed watching the serial in, well, serialized form let your voice be heard! I have enough serials to keep this column going for at least a few years! Let me know what you’d like to see! We could share the various adventures of a downright violent Captain Marvel, find out the origins of the Misfits skull logo with The Crimson Ghost, or witness the trouncing of gangland by Dick Tracy! The serials are full of fun and history, and I want to share as much as I’m able! Until then though, let’s watch how Cap’s adventure comes to a close with Chapter 15: The Toll of Doom!
For our final supplement, I have a Return of Captain America lobby card for this chapter. It’s nothing spectacular, I know, but it is better than a glorified screenshot. Stay tuned for when Movie Serial Saturday returns with… something. I haven’t made my mind yet. Anyway, enjoy!
I was talking to a friend recently, about Captain America and his role in the movies. Can you believe with the new flick by Marvel Studios, the star-spangled avenger has had a total of five live action movies? Sure, they are all critically panned, but it really speaks to the enduring nature of the concept that so many attempts have been made over the years. Early word is that the new Chris Evans film is excellent, but of course this film here is where it all began. I am proud to be able to share it with all of you! So, let’s all gear up for the penultimate chapter of Captain America: The Scarab Strikes!
I don’t have any supplemental stuff for Chapter 14, but I do have one last higher res screenshot, so it’s better than nothing, right? In any case, get out there and watch the new Captain America, in theaters now. I can practically guarantee that the adaptation will be better than this one!
Lucky Chapter 13 at last. Well, maybe not so lucky for District Attorney Grant Gardner! OK, OK, we all know the man who in this reality is really Captain America will survive, so instead I want to point out something that I noticed about this whole sequence. You’ve got your exciting car chase, right? Turns and swerves everywhere, the bad guys are firing on Grant, but still able to focus on the road. Grant returns fire, but the way he does it is just kind of screams badass. All he does is use the door frame as an armrest, and just casually fires back. It’s like he knows he’s got the upper hand, cliffhanger or not, cause he is (ersatz) Captain America, dammit! Anyway, on that note, let’s watch Chapter 13: Skyscraper Plunge!
I took a different tack with the supplement this week. I had a super-small image of a Captain America poster I’ve never seen anywhere else, but with the size of it, the quality was laughable at best. So this week, I did a vector recreation of said poster. It’s missing some fine details, but I am generally satisfied with how it turned out, and I hope you are too. Until next week, bust up some Ratzis with war bonds and stamps!
I wasn’t kidding last week about “The Republic Scream”! It appears again in this chapter accompanying a rather gruesome death. More important that the cliffhanger this week is the tried and true serial plot device of a scientist’s revolutionary machine falling into the hands of villainy. Now, when I first saw that it was a resurrection machine, I was a bit off put by how absurd that is, but then I reminded myself that this isn’t exactly Oscar material. Not to mention there are much stranger devices in other serials, such as the electric chair that somehow gives the wheelchair-bound the ability to walk again. Not to get off topic, but this was in a Batman serial, and I gotta wonder if that is how Barbara Gordon is going to get her mobility back. Nevertheless, enjoy chapter 12: Horror on the Highway! Let me tell you though, I live in the DFW metroplex, you haven’t seen horror on the highway until you travel to Dallas during rush hour!
This week’s supplement is the re-release lobby card for this chapter. it has a bit of damage sue to age, but it’s still in very good condition. Enjoy, and as always I’ll be back next week with a new chapter. Until then, head to your local Dunkin’ Donuts and have a Cherry Coolata, and tell ‘em Josh sent you! Actually don’t, cause no one will know who the heck I am!
Ah, the old run down shack. Always a go-to for serial cliffhangers. Of course Captain America is no exception. If you really think they’d let anyone, let alone an innocent “girl” get blown up in one of these though… Anyway, one thing I like to note in the chapter, is the noise that the thug makes when he falls to his doom. It’s actually a little evocative of the “Wilhelm Scream”, even though it pre-dates it by about a decade or so. I do have to wonder what films would be like if they all had the “Republic Scream” instead. Also, apologies on how murky this chapter is in parts. That’s what you get with a cheaply produced VHS copy, I guess. Even so, don’t let it sully your enjoyment of Chapter 11 of Captain America: The Dead Man Returns!
This week’s supplement is lacking again, I’m afraid. It’s just another high-res screenshot, but at least this one has Cap punching a dude out! You could even Photoshop his mustache a little, and he’s a dead ringer for Hitler! And there’s nothing more patriotic than the living embodiment of America socking a Nazi in the jaw! Happy 4th of July everyone!
I think the premise of the cliffhanger leading into this week’s chapter is a bit silly. I mean sure, it makes sense for Matson to try and hide the identity of the scarab in context of the story, but we’ve known his identity since the first chapter! Also, I deduct a point for having 2 “Gail in Peril” cliffhangers in a row. Let’s just call a spade a spade and enjoy chapter 10! It’s interesting to note that on my copy of this film, chapter 10 has the title for Return of Captain America, the re-release. I’m not sure why this is. The original title card could have been lost, or the people who made the VHS this comes from didn’t care about consistency. At any rate, it’s an interesting bit of trivia!
Now we’re down to my favorite part, the supplemental material. This week, we have the lobby card for The Avenging Corpse. You know, looking at this one, I got the notion that the movie companies should try serializing movies in this day and age. It’d be something “new” and exciting. The studios wouldn’t necessarily have to have limited budgets, either. You could build word of mouth buzz and get people coming back to the theater week after week. Also, filmmakers who want to make 4-hour long epics could conceivably do so. It’s much easier to keep the attention of an audience for a half hour at a time, rather than in one big burst. It’ll probably never happen, but I dare to dream. See you next week!
This is one of my favorite chapters for a couple of reasons, and as usual it boils down to the fighting and the cliffhanger. Last episode, Gail was the one in peril, not Captain America. The time bomb planted in her plane could go off at any time! Can Captain America fight off the Scarab’s goons in time to warn her? Well, probably, but who cares? The brawl has an extra air of urgency to it, and it’s choreographed really well. It’s also a tiny bit slapstick-y, what with the guy getting slammed onto the rolling dolly, but again, who cares? This isn’t the type of movie you watch to painstakingly analyze every moment. You pop it on, maybe turn down the lights and become a kid again for 15 minutes. Let’s do that now, and together let’s watch Chapter 9 of Captain America: Triple Tragedy!
This week’s supplement is yet another chapter poster. I really like these, even though they are all similar aside from the screen inset and the chapter title. I hope you all like them too! Until next week, Keep you flag waving and your spirits high!
So last week’s cliffhanger was one of those slow build ups where the suspense mounts until there’s literally an explosion of excitement. This time it didn’t ring true for me, as we clearly see FauxCap fiddling with the door before the factory goes up in flames. If you didn’t think he’d find his way out, I have some land in Florida I’d like to sell you. Actually, even though Cap gets out of this scrap, what about the bad guys that he just had one of his trademark brawls with? It’s the heat of the moment, Cap is trying to save his own skin, so I don’t think the thugs are going to make it. Normally the heroes take the bad guys to justice, but if this is the way Cap operates, the Scarab better watch out! And on that note, let’s watch this week’s ominous-sounding chapter: Cremation in the Clouds!
This week’s supplement is pretty much nothing more than a glorified screenshot, but it does look rather nice, and has a good resolution to it. I promise next week I’ll have another chapter poster! Until then, Thumbs up, soldier!
Well, the forces of the Scarab certainly want to keep Captain America down! Not only do they get into an all out brawl with the Star-Spangled Avenger, but they make sure he falls down a rocky shaft! Then, just to add insult to injury (serious injury, Cap had to have broken a limb o two in the fall), they drop a humongous weight down the shaft after him to finish the job. Never has a cliffhanger been so thorough and seemingly inescapable! You’ll have to watch chapter 7: Wholesale Destruction to see how Cap gets out of this scrape!
Wasn’t that exciting! Well, wasn’t it? Well at any rate, this is where I usually add the supplemental material for each episode, but I actually don’t have anything for this chapter. What I do have is a bit of history behind the serial itself. I have to give a Shoutout to commenter Bill who pointed out that the supposed reason that Captain America is so out of character in this serial is because it was never meant to be a Cap serial at all! This may have been originally intended as a serial starring the Fawcett Comics character Mr. Scarlet! It makes sense to me, Republic had already made two other serials with Fawcett characters, namely The Adventures of Captain Marvel and Spy Smasher. Also, in his civilian identity, Mr. Scarlet is a District Attorney, much like the serial’s rendition of Captain America. The speculation further goes on to say that Mr. Scarlett had been losing favor with readers and was relegated to back-up features. I can personally confirm this. Mr. Scarlet used to be the cover feature of Wow Comics, but was quickly superseded by Mary Marvel. To my knowledge, he never had his own solo title. While I can’t confirm this story, it’s extremely plausible. For comparison’s sake, here’s a comparison shot of both characters’ first appearances. Until next week, Keep Em’ Flying!
I know in my lead ups, I always tend to talk about the cliffhanger from last week. It’s mainly because those are my favorite parts of the serials. Sometimes they can be incredibly goofy, but when they are done well, they actually still work in a suspenseful way. Take the last cliffhanger for example, Gail is about to be guillotined for failing to reveal Cap’s identity. Sure, it’s a tried and true death trap, but the way they lead up to it in this case gives me a case of white knuckled thrills if ever there was one! Will Cap save Gail, or will she be getting a head in life? Let’s watch Chapter Six: Vault of Vengeance and find out!
And for this week’s supplementary material, I don’t have anything directly related to this chapter, but I do have a giant scan of the poster art I used for the header image. Wheras most movie posters are one sheets, this baby is a three sheet! Apologies for slower load times, but I didn’t want to sacrifice quality. Enjoy!