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Spencer Gordon Bennet,
Professor Campbell's expedition into the hills of Libya obtains a papyrus which might reveal the hiding place of the Golden Tablets of Hippocrates, containing lost medical secrets. Also in the region is intrepid Nyoka Gordon, still seeking her father, lost on a previous expedition. She alone can translate the papyrus, which directs our heroes through deadly perils (including the Tunnel of Bubbling Death) into the land of the Tuaregs. Opposing them are Vultura, Queen of the Desert, and her Arab ally Cassib, both greedy for the treasure...Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
It has been suggested that a camel is a horse that was designed by a committee. I hasten to add that the only camels in this serial, supposedly set in Arabia, are in the same brief shot at the beginning of each serial episode. And as for Arabia, it looks suspiciously like the Iverson Ranch in California, shooting site of countless movie features and serials, so many that I have come to know those great boulders by name.
Add to this is William "Billy" Benedict, the nice, white-haired boy from the East Side Kids series; Clayton Moore, better known as the Lone Ranger; and the most dastardly villain of them all, Charles Middleton, best known for playing Ming the Merciless in three Flash Gordon serials, to say nothing of his many other nasty roles. And lest I forget, the absolute cheesiest man in a gorilla suit ever. EVER seen on film, plus a German shepherd that is actually smarter than most of the humans--and the shepherd is not a man in a dog suit. So--we have an Arabia without sand or camels, an ersatz ape, a dog, and a cast put together, one might think, by drawing straws from a list of those who were out of work. And we haven't even gotten to the plot, the acting, and the dialog.
Action consists of the usual haymaker fistfights without anyone so much as getting a fat lip, a bloody nose, a black eye, or a skinned knuckle. Even the two women get into some real donnybrooks. This might be said of all serials--except for the shapely legs as the two women rassle and pull hair. There are also lots of chases on foot and on horseback, among the boulders of the Iverson Ranch, through caves (where did that light come from?), etc. The stunt work is really find, especially for Nyoka herself. The dialog is pretty much recited right off the cue cards.
The plot is the usual serial silliness. A group of good guys, led by Nyoka compete with a group of bad guys, led by the beauteous Vultura, to find an ancient text that will revolutionize medicine, cure cancer, and make whoever locates it a great humanitarian or fabulously rich. Guess which group fits with these choices.
Did I like it? You betcha. It's just the thing to make one forget for a time one's otherwise drab and wretched life. I recommend it for that purpose.
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