Tailspin Tommy in the Great Air Mystery

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Tailspin Tommy in the Great Air Mystery
Tailspin Tommy in the Great Air Mystery.jpg
Directed by Ray Taylor
Produced by Henry MacRae
Written by Raymond Cannon (screenplay)
Ella O'Neill (screenplay)
Basil Dickey
Robert Hershon
George H. Plympton
Hal Forrest (comic strip)
Starring Clark Williams
Jean Rogers
Noah Beery, Jr.
Music by David Klatzkin
Clifford Vaughan
Oliver Wallace
Cinematography Richard Fryer
Leonard Galezio
John Hickson
William A. Sickner
Edited by Albert Akst
Saul A. Goodkind
Alvin Todd
Edward Todd
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • March 5, 1935 (1935-03-05)
Running time
15 chapters (300 min)
Country United States
Language English

Tailspin Tommy in the Great Air Mystery is a 15-episode 1935 Universal movie serial based on the Tailspin Tommy comic strip by Hal Forrest and starring Clark Williams, Jean Rogers and Noah Beery, Jr.. The picture was the 96th of the 137 serials released by the studio (the 28th of which to be made with sound).[1]


"Tailspin" Tommy (Clark Williams) and his fellow pilots prevent a group of corrupt businessmen, Manuel Casmetto (Herbert Heywood) and Horace Raymore (Matthew Betz ) from stealing Nazil Island's oil reserves. They are aided in their efforts by news reporter Milt Howe (Pat J. O'Brien). When Tommy is triumphant, he also finds he has a movie contract.

Chapter titles[edit]

  1. Wreck of the Dirigible
  2. The Roaring Fire God
  3. Hurled from the Skies
  4. A Bolt from the Blue
  5. The Torrent
  6. Flying Death
  7. The Crash in the Clouds
  8. Wings of Disaster
  9. Crossed and Double Crossed
  10. The Dungeon of Doom
  11. Desperate Changes
  12. The Last Stand



  • Clark Williams as "Tailspin" Tommy Tompkins
  • Jean Rogers as Betty Lou Barnes, one of "Tailspin" Tommy's companions
  • Delphine Drew as Inez Casmetto
  • Noah Beery, Jr. as Skeeter Milligan, one of "Tailspin" Tommy's companions
  • Bryant Washburn as Ned Curtis, Betty's uncle and a heroic oil tycoon
  • Pat J. O'Brien as Milt Howe, a masked mystery plot known as The Eagle and El Condor
  • Herbert Heywood as Manuel Casmetto, villainous half-brother of Don Alvarado Casmetto
  • Matthew Betz as Horace Raymore, villainous oil tycoon
  • Paul Ellis as Enrico Garcia, Don Casmetto secretary and Manuel Casmetto's henchman
  • Harry Worth as Don Alvarado Casmetto, Nazil Island's ruler
  • Manuel López as Gomez
  • Charles A. Browne as Paul Smith
  • James P. Burtis as Bill McGuire, a reporter
  • Frank Mayo as the Dirigible Captain
  • Frank Clarke as a flyer, billed as "Air Ace Frank Clark"


Tailspin Tommy in the Great Air Mystery used a number of aircraft including a Fleet biplane, a Stearman C3 and a Fairchild cabin monoplane.[3] A mock-up of a dirigible included an interior section.[4]


  • Frank Clarke, stunt pilot
  • George DeNormand

Critical reception[edit]

Tailspin Tommy in the Great Air Mystery is considered to be an improvement on the previous Tailspin Tommy serial.[5][6]



  1. ^ Weiss and Goodgold 1973, p. 74.
  2. ^ Cline 1984, p. 213.
  3. ^ Wynne 1987, p. 107.
  4. ^ Farmer 1984, p. 330.
  5. ^ "DVD Serial Review." In The Balcony, December 30, 2008. Retrieved: November 1, 2014.
  6. ^ Blake, Jerry. "Serial review." filesofjerryblake.netfirms.com, December 30, 2008. Retrieved: November 1, 2014.


  • Cline, William C. "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 1984. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
  • Farmer, James H. Celluloid Wings: The Impact of Movies on Aviation. Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania: Tab Books Inc., 1984. ISBN 978-0-83062-374-7.
  • Harmon, Jim and Donald F. Glut. The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. London: Routledge, 1973. ISBN 978-0-7130-0097-9.
  • Weiss, Ken and Ed Goodgold. To be Continued ...: A Complete Guide to Motion Picture Serials. New York: Bonanza Books, 1973. ISBN 0-517-166259.
  • Wynne, H. Hugh. The Motion Picture Stunt Pilots and Hollywood's Classic Aviation Movies. Missoula, Montana: Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., 1987. ISBN 0-933126-85-9.

External links[edit]