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Spy Smasher (1942)

 
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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:40 am    Post subject: Spy Smasher (1942) Reply with quote

Ya know, one of my favorite serials from the 40's has been greatly overlooked.

SPY SMASHER, from Republic was one of the all time best serials from the 40's. It didn't have the supernatural aspects that graced CAPTAIN MARVEL, or the technology of ROCKETMAN, but it had a great, solid story line reminiscent of CASABLANCA!



Spy Smasher is a 12-episode 1942 Republic movie serial based on the Fawcett Comics character Spy Smasher which is now a part of DC Comics. It was the 25th of the 66 serials produced by Republic. The serial was directed by William Witney with Kane Richmond and Marguerite Chapman as the leads

This serial was Chapman's big break into a career in movies and television. Spy Smasher is a very highly regarded serial. In 1966, a television movie was made from the serial footage under the title Spy Smasher Returns.



As far as the writing and just sheer adventure derring-do this was a superior effort!
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Pow
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spy Smasher also appears in a flashback segment from the Justice League Unlimited animated tv series.
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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote





Great legacy character !
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Pow
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's the one, thanks Gord.
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alltare
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a very funny movie called J-MEN FOREVER that uses reworded footage from old Republic serials to create a story about a world war against marijuana and rock-and-roll music.

One of the serials whose footage was appropriated is SPY SMASHER. In J-MEN, he's been renamed as Spy Swatter, or simply "Swattie", as Miss Fluffandfold calls him.


Last edited by alltare on Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Good news! YouTube has several versions of the complete serial. The one below seems to have the best picture.

I wish I could convince a few of All Sci-Fi's members to pick a convenient day and time for us to watch this famous serial in our Kiwirc chat room. The whole serial is over three and a half hours, so watching a chapter or two on each occasion would be best, naturally.

Saturday or Sunday would be nice.. Very Happy
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_____________ Spy Smasher - complete serial


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And YouTube also has J-Men Forever in nine parts. Here's part one.

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__________________________ J-Men Forever


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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Sat Aug 20, 2022 9:33 am; edited 6 times in total
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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone who has resisted watching 40's serials should be encouraged to at least watch the first chapter of SPY SMASHER !

I think it holds up today as the BEST! It's far superior to almost everything else in the genre.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

I just finished downloading all twelve chapters from Youtube, and I'm hoping to watch them with Bulldogtrekker while we chat on Facebook. I think we'll enjoy it. Very Happy

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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really think you will enjoy it.

It's my favorite anyway. Good writing, great cliffhangers, good sets and effects as well as very decent acting.

The first chapter alone is a real grabber!
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 5:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Spy Smasher (1942) Reply with quote

Gord Green wrote:
SPY SMASHER, from Republic was one of the all time best serials from the 40's. It didn't have the supernatural aspects that graced CAPTAIN MARVEL, or the technology of ROCKETMAN, but it had a great, solid story line reminiscent of CASABLANCA!

I tried to watch this one recently, but I couldn't get into it. Maybe I should give it another go. If I still don't like it . . . I'll just watch Casablanca! Very Happy
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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)


Last edited by Bud Brewster on Sat Aug 20, 2022 9:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2022 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wikipedia:

Spy Smasher was really wealthy Virginia sportsman Alan Armstrong. Armstrong was a master detective and inventor, equipped with a number of gadgets. In addition, he created his specialized vehicle the Gyrosub which was a combination of a plane, automobile, and submarine.

Thoughts: I wonder if the 1904 Jules Verne novel, Master of the World (a sequel to his 1886 Robur the Conqueror book), inspired Spy Smasher's Gyrosub? In Master of the World, the brilliant inventor Robur has invented the Terror, which is a vehicle that is a speedboat, submarine, auto, and aircraft.

Perhaps Verne also was the basis for the Gerry & Sylvia Anderson SF marionette TV series Supercar (1961~1962)? As well as The Three Stooges in Orbit (1962) feature film, it had a Professor Danforth ( the hilarious Emil Sitka) as an inventor who created a land, air, sea, sub, vehicle?

WIKI: Spy Smasher was created by Bill Parker (creator of Captain Marvel) and C. C. Beck (co-creator with Jack Kirby of The Fly).

Spy Smasher was first introduced in Whiz Comics issue #2, February of 1940, and became very popular.

The Mask was Spy Smasher's perpetual enemy. He was the mastermind of a deadly spy ring.

With the end of World War Two, Spy Smasher changed his name to Crime Smasher in order to concentrate on battling criminals. The character soon fell out of favor.

Thoughts: An immediately pre-WWII world would have been difficult to continue Spy Smasher's espionage missions. The countries that would in time become bitter foes of the United States, USSR, China, North Korea, were not seen by many Americans as enemies yet. Those who predicted they would become adversaries in time, also realized that each of those nations had been devastated by the war. They would require time to rebuild. The Middle East was in the same ruined state.

WIKI; Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Serenity) would provide the voice as Spy Smasher for the Justice League animated movie.

The Spy Smasher serial was released on April 4, 1942. It had a budget of $156,431. This was a hefty budget for a serial feature, it was Republic Studio's most expensive serial in 1942.

Film historians consider Spy Smasher one of the finest serials in special effects, stunt work, and just in general.

They felt that the script was consistently logical, well constructed with credible dialogue, and good characterization. The cinematography created a marvelous atmosphere and was often artistic.

IMDB: The opening and closing theme music is "Beethoven's Fifth."

The Gyrosub was altered and became 'The Bat Plane' for the serial.

Thoughts: I'm guessing that in spite of Spy Smasher having a more generous than usual budget, the special effects team couldn't realistically pull off all the functions that the Gyrosub could perform in the comic books?

WIKI: DC Comics revived Spy Smasher in January of 2007 as agent Katrina Armstrong who worked for a global multi-agency organization.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2022 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

__________________________________________________

Thanks for the fine post, Mike!

Not only did I enjoy all the interesting facts, it also called my attention to the fact that the YouTube link above needed replacing! Very Happy

My earlier post from 2017 says I tried to watch it but couldn't get into it. I just might try again. Maybe I'll binge watch the whole 3 hour 22 minute serial. Cool

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2022 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know just what you mean, Bruce, about trying to "get into it" watching these old serials.

I tried that a few months ago with the Blackhawks movie serial starring Kirk "Superman" Alyn as Blackhawk. Only was able to watch several chapters before I lost interest.

I've no doubt that these serials were wonderful for young audiences in their heyday. However, that doesn't mean that these films date well over the decades. Again, they did what they could with the modest budgets they had and the ridiculously short shooting schedules they had.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2022 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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I understand that the serial's chapters weren't meant to be watched back-to-back. Each one is a mini-story with a cliff-hanger ending. They can't be edited into a single story.

So, what I tried to do was doomed to failure. Sad

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tmlindsey
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2022 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's funny, I've never had a problem 'getting into' watching the old serials.

In fact, I just finished Junior G-Men of the Air and was surprised to hear some musical cues that sounded a lot like Danny Elfman's music for Batman.

Spy Smasher was good fun but I did roar with laughter at the motorcycle scenes with the dummy strapped on the back bouncing all over the place. Laughing

You probably know this, but the Spy Smasher jacket showed up in the cantina scene in Star Wars.


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