DISCOVER--the Republic serials, 1935--1955

by jonabbott56 | created - 17 Jan 2013 | updated - 28 Jan 2016 | Public

Before television, a trip to the cinema might include a cartoon, a newsreel, and a serial along with the main feature/s. The serials--nicknamed cliffhangers, for their tendency to leave the hero in dire straits (such as, say, hanging from a cliff)--ran between twelve to fifteen chapters, and were deliberately designed to lure the audience back to the next show to see the outcome.

There were three major suppliers of serials (or chapter plays, as some like to call them), and these were Universal (best known for Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers), Columbia (the cheapest outfit, offering Superman, Batman, and Jungle Jim), and Republic (briefly known as Mascot), widely regarded as the best of the three.

The following is a chronological checklist of all the Republic serials. Whether westerns, detective dramas, espionage thrillers, or pulp sci-fi, they all basically had the same plot, but ya know what? They were so energetic and full-on, it never got old... There were many returning two-fisted, square-jawed leading men, but the real stars were Howard and Theodore Lydecker, who did the model work and special effects, and the small army of regular recurring stunt-men, who smashed up the sets in fights that seemed to last forever (or at least until the last unbroken stick of furniture).

If you've never seen one, try one drected by John English and William Witney from the late '30s/early '40s when they were at their peak, and then you'll be dipping into this list like a box of chocolates... Mmm--mm.

 Refine See titles to watch instantly, titles you haven't rated, etc
  • Instant Watch Options
  • Genres
  • Movies or TV
  • IMDb Rating
  • In Theaters
  • On TV
  • Release Year
  • Keywords



IMDb user rating (average) to
Number of votes to »




Reset



Reset
Release year or range to »




































































































1. Darkest Africa (1936)

Approved | 269 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

A 15-episode serial in which Beatty goes to darkest Africa to rescue the Goddess of Joba, who is being held by the high priest.

Directors: B. Reeves Eason, Joseph Kane | Stars: Clyde Beatty, Manuel King, Elaine Shepard, Lucien Prival

Votes: 99

2. Undersea Kingdom (1936)

Approved | 226 min | Sci-Fi, Adventure

Crash Corrigan, a recent graduate of Annapolis, and Diana, a go-getting reporter, join Professor Norton for a search for the source of a string of earthquakes, Atlantis. They ride Prof. ... See full summary »

Directors: B. Reeves Eason, Joseph Kane | Stars: Ray Corrigan, Lois Wilde, Monte Blue, William Farnum

Votes: 460

3. The Vigilantes Are Coming (1936)

Approved | 229 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

A masked hero called "The Eagle" leads California ranchers in a struggle against Russian Cossacks who are plotting to take over California and turn it into a Russian colony.

Directors: Ray Taylor, Mack V. Wright | Stars: Robert Livingston, Kay Hughes, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, Raymond Hatton

Votes: 64

Also known as The Vigilantes Are Coming.

4. Robinson Crusoe of Clipper Island (1936)

Approved | 256 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

A 14-episode serial in which Mala, a Polynesian in the employ of U.S. Intelligence investigates sabotage on Clipper Island. A gang of spies causes the eruption of a volcano, for which our ... See full summary »

Directors: Ray Taylor, Mack V. Wright | Stars: Mala, Rex, Buck the Dog, Mamo Clark

Votes: 89

Also known as Robinson Crusoe on Clipper Island.

5. Dick Tracy (1937)

Approved | 290 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

A master criminal called The Spider puts the famous detective's brother under a hypnotic spell and turns him against Dick.

Directors: Alan James, Ray Taylor | Stars: Ralph Byrd, Kay Hughes, Smiley Burnette, Lee Van Atta

Votes: 532

6. The Painted Stallion (1937)

Approved | 212 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

The period is the 1820's and the first wagon train leaves Independence heading west to Santa Fe. In order to maintain his power, the ruthless Official at Santa Fe must not let them arrive ... See full summary »

Directors: Alan James, Ray Taylor, William Witney | Stars: Ray Corrigan, Hoot Gibson, LeRoy Mason, Duncan Renaldo

Votes: 146

7. SOS Coast Guard (1937)

Approved | 224 min | Adventure, Horror, Romance

A mad scientist tries to sell his formula for a dist integrating gas to foreign powers.

Directors: Alan James, William Witney | Stars: Ralph Byrd, Bela Lugosi, Maxine Doyle, Richard Alexander

Votes: 175

8. Zorro Rides Again (1937)

Approved | 212 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

The California-Yucatan Railroad, being built for the good of Mexico, is under siege by a gang of terrorists hoping to force its sale; no one can prove their connection to profiteer Marsden.... See full summary »

Directors: John English, William Witney | Stars: John Carroll, Noah Beery, Richard Alexander, Reed Howes

Votes: 245

9. The Lone Ranger (1938)

Approved | 264 min | Western

CHAP. 1, HI YO SILVER: An outlaw leader planning to take control of Texas after the Civil War kills Colonel Jeffries, a man empowered to levy taxes, and assumes his identity. His men then ... See full summary »

Directors: John English, William Witney | Stars: Silver Chief, Chief Thundercloud, Lynne Roberts, Stanley Andrews

Votes: 177

10. The Fighting Devil Dogs (1938)

Approved | 204 min | Adventure

The US marine corps must battle a would-be world conqueror who uses electricity as a weapon.

Directors: John English, William Witney | Stars: Lee Powell, Bruce Bennett, Eleanor Stewart, Montagu Love

Votes: 95

11. Dick Tracy Returns (1938)

Approved | 260 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

Dick Tracy battles spies and saboteurs in his efforts to bring to justice the Stark gang, a criminal family led by the vicious Pa Stark.

Directors: John English, William Witney | Stars: Ralph Byrd, Lynne Roberts, Charles Middleton, Jerry Tucker

Votes: 359

12. Hawk of the Wilderness (1938)

Approved | 213 min | Adventure

An expedition arrives on an uncharted jungle island to rescue the local natives, led by a jungle boy, from a volcano that is about to erupt.

Directors: John English, William Witney | Stars: Bruce Bennett, Mala, Monte Blue, Harley Wood

Votes: 63

13. The Lone Ranger Rides Again (1939)

Approved | 263 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Homesteaders are moving into the valley settled many years ago by rancher Craig Dolan. He wants to keep them out by legal means but his nephew Bart brings in outlaws to drive them out. The ... See full summary »

Directors: John English, William Witney | Stars: Robert Livingston, Chief Thundercloud, Silver Chief, Duncan Renaldo

Votes: 97

14. Daredevils of the Red Circle (1939)

Approved | 211 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

Using a diabolical disguise, Harry Crowel embarks on a vengeful career of destruction...opposed by three heroic daredevils.

Directors: John English, William Witney | Stars: Charles Quigley, Bruce Bennett, David Sharpe, Carole Landis

Votes: 182

15. Dick Tracy's G-Men (1939)

Passed | 302 min | Action, Mystery, Crime

A mad doctor named Zanoff uses a drug to bring himself back from the dead after his execution in prison. Dick Tracy sets out to capture Zanoff before he can put his criminal gang back together again.

Directors: John English, William Witney | Stars: Ralph Byrd, Irving Pichel, Ted Pearson, Jennifer Jones

Votes: 291

16. Zorro's Fighting Legion (1939)

Passed | 212 min | Action, Adventure, History

The masked hero leads a fighting force to fight a villian who plots the conquest of The Republic of Mexico.

Directors: John English, William Witney | Stars: Reed Hadley, Sheila Darcy, William Corson, Leander De Cordova

Votes: 362

17. Drums of Fu Manchu (1940)

Passed | 269 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

The nefarious Dr. Fu Manchu searches for the keys to the tomb of Genghis Khan, in order to fulfill a prophecy that will enable him to conquer the world. His nemesis, Dr. Nayland Smith, and ... See full summary »

Directors: John English, William Witney | Stars: Henry Brandon, William Royle, Robert Kellard, Gloria Franklin

Votes: 256

18. Adventures of Red Ryder (1940)

Approved | 205 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Mesquite banker Calvin Drake plans to profit from the Santa Fe Railroad's acquisition of right-of-way by gaining control of the land in the territory. In the ensuing war of intimidation ... See full summary »

Directors: John English, William Witney | Stars: Don 'Red' Barry, Noah Beery, Tommy Cook, Maude Allen

Votes: 110

19. King of the Royal Mounted (1940)

Approved | 211 min | Action, Adventure

Canadian Tom Merritt has discovered a substance, Compound X, that will cure infantile paralysis, which he extracts from a mine at Caribou, Canada. A country at war with Canada (unnamed ... See full summary »

Directors: John English, William Witney | Stars: Allan Lane, Robert Strange, Robert Kellard, Lita Conway

Votes: 81

20. Mysterious Doctor Satan (1940)

Passed | 267 min | Adventure, Action, Crime

A mad scientist plots the domination of America and only the masked hero, The Copperhead, can stop him.

Directors: John English, William Witney | Stars: Eduardo Ciannelli, Robert Wilcox, William Newell, C. Montague Shaw

Votes: 192

21. Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941)

Passed | 216 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

To protect a magic talisman from being used for evil, a teenage boy named Billy Batson is given the power to become an adult superhero, Captain Marvel, with a single magic word: "Shazam!"

Directors: John English, William Witney | Stars: Tom Tyler, Frank Coghlan Jr., William 'Billy' Benedict, Louise Currie

Votes: 1,048

22. Jungle Girl (1941)

Passed | 267 min | Adventure

Dr. John Meredith has been driven from civilization by the criminal activities of his twin brother Bradley Meredith. With his infant daughter, he settles in the African jungle, where his ... See full summary »

Directors: John English, William Witney | Stars: Frances Gifford, Tom Neal, Trevor Bardette, Gerald Mohr

Votes: 173

24. Dick Tracy vs. Crime, Inc. (1941)

Passed | 263 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Dick Tracy goes up against a villain known as The Ghost, who can turn himself invisible.

Directors: John English, William Witney | Stars: Ralph Byrd, Michael Owen, Jan Wiley, John Davidson

Votes: 264

25. Spy Smasher (1942)

Passed | 215 min | Action, Adventure

Alan Armstrong, aka Spy Smasher, battles a Nazi villain known as The Mask, who heads a gang of saboteurs determined to spread destruction across America.

Director: William Witney | Stars: Kane Richmond, Marguerite Chapman, Sam Flint, Hans Schumm

Votes: 232

26. Perils of Nyoka (1942)

Approved | 261 min | Action

It's intrepid Nyoka and her friends versus Vultura, Queen of the Desert, on a quest for the Golden Tablets of Hippocrates.

Director: William Witney | Stars: Kay Aldridge, Clayton Moore, William 'Billy' Benedict, Lorna Gray

Votes: 129

27. King of the Mounties (1942)

Approved | 196 min | Action, Adventure, Western

The chapter-crunched version of this 196 minutes, 12-episode serial from Republic finds Canada being bombed mercilessly by a mysterious-enemy plane (shaped like a boomerang) called the ... See full summary »

Director: William Witney | Stars: Allan Lane, Gilbert Emery, Russell Hicks, Peggy Drake

Votes: 34

28. G-Men vs. The Black Dragon (1943)

Passed | 243 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

American, British and Chinese secret agents battle the Japanese Black Dragon Society, a secretive ring that smuggles enemy agents into the U.S. disguised as mummies.

Directors: Spencer Gordon Bennet, William Witney | Stars: Rod Cameron, Roland Got, Constance Worth, Nino Pipitone

Votes: 106

29. Daredevils of the West (1943)

Passed | 196 min | Action, Adventure, Western

Foster (Charles Miller (IV)', owner of the local stagecoach line in Canyon City in the 1880s, has received a Federal Franchise Commission grant and is rushing to complete a new road through... See full summary »

Director: John English | Stars: Allan Lane, Kay Aldridge, Eddie Acuff, William Haade

Votes: 41

30. Secret Service in Darkest Africa (1943)

Approved | 243 min | Action, Adventure, War

An American secret agent travels to Africa to infiltrate a Nazi spy ring.

Director: Spencer Gordon Bennet | Stars: Rod Cameron, Joan Marsh, Duncan Renaldo, Lionel Royce

Votes: 74

31. The Masked Marvel (1943)

Passed | 197 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A mysterious detective called The Masked Marvel battles Japanese saboteurs intent on blowing up America.

Director: Spencer Gordon Bennet | Stars: William Forrest, Louise Currie, Johnny Arthur, Rod Bacon

Votes: 145

32. Captain America (1944)

Approved | 244 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Superhero Captain America battles the evil forces of the archvillain called The Scarab, who poisons his enemies and steals a secret device capable of destroying buildings by sound vibrations.

Directors: Elmer Clifton, John English | Stars: Dick Purcell, Lorna Gray, Lionel Atwill, Charles Trowbridge

Votes: 749

33. The Tiger Woman (1944)

Approved | 196 min | Adventure, Thriller

Greedy oil speculators, led by Morgan, are trying to force Tiger Woman and her band of warriors from their jungle home. Allen Saunders of Inter-Ocean Oil wants to develop the oil, too, but fights with Tiger Woman to stop the bad guys.

Directors: Spencer Gordon Bennet, Wallace Grissell | Stars: Allan Lane, Linda Stirling, Duncan Renaldo, George J. Lewis

Votes: 107

34. Haunted Harbor (1944)

Approved | 243 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

A sea captain about to be hanged for a murder he didn't commit is rescued from the gallows by two of his crewmen. They head for the island of Pulinan, where they believe the real murderer--... See full summary »

Directors: Spencer Gordon Bennet, Wallace Grissell | Stars: Kane Richmond, Kay Aldridge, Roy Barcroft, Clancy Cooper

Votes: 57

35. Zorro's Black Whip (1944)

Approved | 211 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

Hammond, owner of the town's stagecoach line and a leading citizen, is opposed to Idaho becoming a state, and kills Randolph Meredith, owner of the town's newspaper, for endorsing it. ... See full summary »

Directors: Spencer Gordon Bennet, Wallace Grissell | Stars: George J. Lewis, Linda Stirling, Lucien Littlefield, Francis McDonald

Votes: 186

36. Manhunt of Mystery Island (1945)

Not Rated | 219 min | Action, Sci-Fi

A young couple journeys to Mystery Island to rescue the girl's father, who is being held prisoner by the evil Captain Mephisto, a pirate from 200 years ago who uses his Transformation ... See full summary »

Directors: Spencer Gordon Bennet, Yakima Canutt, Wallace Grissell | Stars: Richard Bailey, Linda Stirling, Roy Barcroft, Kenne Duncan

Votes: 107

37. Federal Operator 99 (1945)

Passed | 169 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

Crime lord Jim Belmont escapes FBI custody and begins a reign of thievery that is thwarted at every turn by Jerry Blake, the FBI's Operator 99.

Directors: Spencer Gordon Bennet, Yakima Canutt, Wallace Grissell | Stars: Marten Lamont, Helen Talbot, George J. Lewis, Lorna Gray

Votes: 44

38. The Purple Monster Strikes (1945)

Approved | 201 min | Action, Sci-Fi

A Martian spacecraft crash-lands near the observatory of Cyrus Layton, designer of Earth's first spaceship. The survivor, forerunner of an invasion, can assume the form of any earthman. ... See full summary »

Directors: Spencer Gordon Bennet, Fred C. Brannon | Stars: Dennis Moore, Linda Stirling, Roy Barcroft, James Craven

Votes: 145

39. The Phantom Rider (1946)

Approved | 167 min | Action, Adventure, Western

A reservation's new doctor masquerades as the legendary Indian god, "the Phantom Rider", to catch gang looting the reservation, unaware the leader is a phony Indian Agent.

Directors: Spencer Gordon Bennet, Fred C. Brannon | Stars: Robert Kent, Peggy Stewart, LeRoy Mason, George J. Lewis

Votes: 30

41. Daughter of Don Q (1946)

Approved | 167 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

When the unscrupulous Carlos Manning discovers that an old Spanish land grant recently unearthed will leave a huge section of California real estate to the heirs of Don Quantero, he employs... See full summary »

Directors: Spencer Gordon Bennet, Fred C. Brannon | Stars: Lorna Gray, Kirk Alyn, LeRoy Mason, Roy Barcroft

Votes: 54

42. The Crimson Ghost (1946)

Approved | 167 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

A criminal mastermind known as the Crimson Ghost is out to steal a device called the Cyclotrode, which can short-circuit all electrical currents on the planet.

Directors: Fred C. Brannon, William Witney | Stars: Charles Quigley, Linda Stirling, Clayton Moore, I. Stanford Jolley

Votes: 350

This is the guy who adorns all those biker t-shirts...

43. Son of Zorro (1947)

Approved | 100 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

Young cavalry officer Jeff Stewart returns to his home in the west after the Civil War to find that a ring of crooked politicians has taken over the county, bleeding the citizens with 50% ... See full summary »

Directors: Spencer Gordon Bennet, Fred C. Brannon | Stars: George Turner, Peggy Stewart, Roy Barcroft, Ed Cassidy

Votes: 91

44. Jesse James Rides Again (1947)

Approved | 180 min | Action, Adventure, History

Outlaw Jesse James and his friend, on the run from Missouri, ride into a town where a gang is trying to drive area ranchers off their land because there's oil underneath it. They take ... See full summary »

Directors: Fred C. Brannon, Thomas Carr | Stars: Clayton Moore, Linda Stirling, Roy Barcroft, John Compton

Votes: 124

45. The Black Widow (1947)

Approved | 180 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

The Daily Clarion hires detective story writer Steve Colt to investigate the deaths of a group of scientists working on an atomic rocket development project. Behind the killings is fortune ... See full summary »

Directors: Spencer Gordon Bennet, Fred C. Brannon | Stars: Bruce Edwards, Virginia Lee, Carol Forman, Anthony Warde

Votes: 320

46. G-Men Never Forget (1948)

Passed | 167 min | Action, Adventure, Crime