The Adventures of Captain Africa

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The Adventures of Captain Africa
CptAfrica.JPG
Original poster for the first chapter of this serial
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Produced by Sam Katzman
Written by George H. Plympton
Starring John Hart
Rick Vallin
Ben Welden
June Howard
Bud Osborne
Paul Marion
Music by Mischa Bakaleinikoff
Cinematography Ira H. Morgan
Edited by Earl Turner
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates US June 9, 1955
Running time 15 chapters
Country United States
Language English

The Adventures of Captain Africa (1955) is a Columbia serial starring John Hart. It was the third to last serial to be produced by Columbia.

Plot[edit]

Trapper Nat Coleman and government agent Ted Arnold come upon a plot to take over an African nation. Its leader, Caliph Abdul el Hamid, has been exiled from his country and replaced by a look-alike usurper allied with an unnamed foreign power. The Caliph intends to return but enemy agents Boris and Greg are out to stop him. Captain Africa a masked jungle lord, appears occasionally to aid Nat and Ted.

The main villain does not actually make an appearance anywhere in the entire serial.

Cast[edit]

  • John Hart as Captain Africa, masked government agent
  • Rick Vallin as Ted Arnold, government agent (and principal hero of the serial despite the title)
  • Ben Welden as Omar, the Caliph's servant and Nat Coleman's assistant (since rescuing him in the jungle)
  • June Howard as Princess Rhoda, the Caliph's daughter
  • Bud Osborne as Nat Coleman, an animal trapper involved in the plot through his assistant Omar
  • Paul Marion as Abdul el Hamid, exiled but legitimate Caliph
  • Lee Roberts as Boris, agent of a foreign power attempting to take over the Caliph's nation
  • Terry Frost as Greg, agent of a foreign power attempting to take over the Caliph's nation
  • Edward Coch as Balu, native ally of Captain Africa
  • Michael Fox as Prime Minister

Production[edit]

It was conceived and filmed as a sequel to The Phantom (starring Tom Tyler).[1][2] Well into production, Columbia found that its film rights to the comic strip had expired. King Features wanted more money than Katzman was willing to spend and negotiations broke down.[3]

Hurried retakes and major re-editing followed, with John Hart now wearing an amended costume that only used part of the original Phantom outfit, with the addition of a leather aviator's cap and riding britches.[3]

The new story featured a new hero, Captain Africa, who still bears a strong resemblance to The Phantom in both appearance and behavior.

The serial features heavy use of stock footage from earlier serials Jungle Menace (1937), The Desert Hawk (1944) and The Phantom (1943) itself. Footage from The Phantom was reduced when this stopped being a sequel. Only a few minutes of new material were included per chapter.[3]

The serial was produced by legendary Hollywood cheapskate Sam Katzman. Serial producers often economized by including a "cheater" chapter, in which flashbacks to earlier chapters are shown instead of new scenes. The Adventures of Captain Africa audaciously uses four cheaters within its 15-chapter length. The frequent recaps were possibly necessitated by the hasty rewrites during production.

Adventures of Captain Africa was Columbia's last Jungle serial.[4]

Release[edit]

Home media[edit]

The serial is today available on VHS, but has so far not experienced a DVD release.

Critical reception[edit]

Serial historian William C. Cline writes that The Adventures of Captain Africa is "an obvious remake of The Phantom, it contained many stock shots from the earlier release and at times seemed almost like a repeat run."[4]

Chapter titles[edit]

  1. Mystery Man of the Jungle!
  2. Captain Africa to the Rescue!
  3. Midnight Attack!
  4. Into the Crocodile Pit!
  5. Jungle War Drums!
  6. Slave Traders!
  7. Saved by Captain Africa!
  8. The Bridge in the Sky! -- Re-Cap Chapter
  9. Blasted by Captain Africa! -- Re-Cap Chapter
  10. The Vanishing Princess!
  11. The Tunnel of Terror! -- Re-Cap Chapter
  12. Fangs of the Beast!
  13. Renegades at Bay! -- Re-Cap Chapter
  14. Captain Africa and the Wolf Dog!
  15. Captain Africa's Final Move!

Source:[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Review at New York Times
  2. ^ Photos of Hart as the Phantom
  3. ^ a b c Harmon, Jim; Donald F. Glut. "10. The Long-Underwear Boys "You've Met Me, Now Meet My Fist!"". The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. Routledge. pp. 270–271. ISBN 978-0-7130-0097-9. 
  4. ^ a b Cline, William C. "3. The Six Faces of Adventure". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 36. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X. 
  5. ^ Cline, William C. "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 257. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X. 

External links[edit]