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Columbia's 14th serial (between "White Eagle" and "The Iron Claw") and the second serial based upon the character in the pulp magazine from Street and Smith "The Spider Magazine." Some sources, evidently based on their knowledge that L. Ron Hubbard and Norvell Page wrote stories for that magazine, have incorrectly credited them as being writers of this serial. The only serial that L. Ron Hubbard wrote was 1938's "The Secret of Treasure Island" filmed by Columbia, and the only connection Page has is that he wrote stories about the character in the magazine. Chapter One, "The Stolen Plans", has a gang of saboteurs, led by The Gargoyle, a mysterious and powerful agent for an unnamed country, playing havoc with National Defense projects. Socialite Richard Wentworth (Warren Hull), alias the Spider, returns to continue his crusade against the underworld. Wentworth calls a meeting of the nation's biggest business men, but the Gargoyle's men disrupt it with a tear-gas bomb. Chasing after them, Wentworth is taken prisoner and placed aboard an airplane. The pilot sets it afire and bails out, with Wentworth unconscious in the plunging-to-earth airplane as the first episode ends. Knox Manning asking if this is the end is easily answered by those who knew this was a 15 chapter serial, and that neither The Spider (in chapter two) nor Blinky McQuade (in chapter four) had yet made an entrance. The quest by Wentworth/Spider/McQuade to learn the identity of the Gargoyle isn't helped any by the fact that he is one of the businessnmen in attendance at every meeting Wentworth calls to discuss his future plans. Based on pure fun, this is one of the, to use a relative term, best of the James W. Horne-directed serials, but the absence of James Craven foaming at the mouth and screaming at the henchmen - "Idiots! Idiots! I'm surrounded by idiots!" - is sorely missed.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:|
|Release Date:||1941||Production Date:|
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Columbia Pictures .....Theatrical Distributor, Columbia Pictures .....Studio|