(1935, Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette)
Singer Gene Autry discovers a race of advanced humanoid aliens living beneath the Earth.
Created to compete with the successful Buck Rogers franchise, this was unique because they had a singing cowboy, horses and a more conventional “old West” setting. This is a feature length version of the 12-part serial “The Phantom Empire.”
Directed by Otto Brower & B. Reeves Eason.
And . . .
(1936, Tim McCoy, sci-fi, death ray)
A Professor creates a death ray that will cause airplanes to crash and is forced by baddie Dawson to use it on those carrying money. When nattily attired government agent, Tim McCoy arrives to investigate, he is mistaken for a noted outlaw so assumes that identity so Dawson will make him a partner. Inevitably at the wrong moment, Tim’s true identity is revealed. Directed by Sam Newfield
(1932, Ken Maynard, horror)
One man’s (western legend Ken Maynard) search for his unknown identity and the ranch war instigated by “The Phantom Killer” he encounters on his quest. Consistently entertaining with non-stop action. Directed by Alan James.
And . . .
Riders of the Whistling Skull
(1937, Ray “Crash” Corrigan of the 3 Mesquiteers, Yakima Canutt, horror)
Stony, Tucson and Lullaby, the 3 Mesquiteers go in search of a missing archeologist who vanished while searching for the Lost City of Lukachukai. Their search takes them to a huge rock formation known as the Whistling Skull. There they find the missing professor who’s been kidnapped by a sinister Indian cult, along with a number of mummies. Considered to be one of the best “B” westerns of the 1930’s. Directed by Mack V. Wright
(1940, James Newell, Kenne Duncan, sci-fi, death ray)
Sgt. Renfrew and Constable Kelly go aloft to search for a plane missing with a shipment of gold from the Yukon Mine Company after professor Lewis’ power ray disrupts its electrical system causes it to crash. Outlaw Morgan and his gang chide the professor to increase his ray’s range, misleading him into believing he’s assisting the government. Will Morgan and his gang be able to make professor Lewis use the power ray to bring down the very plane carrying Sgt. Renfrew and Constable Kelly? Directed by Ralph Staub
And . . .
(1938, Jack Randall and Rusty the Wonder Horse, sci-fi)
Our hero finds himself investigating stage robberies where the stolen gold mysteriously disappears. Apparently, a senile ex-con has a secret that allows gold to disappear. Assuming a false identity, he learns the professor’s secret, but as usual, his true identity is revealed. One of the first films to utilize an African-American sidekick for the lead actor. Directed by Wallace Fox.
Saddle Mountain Roundup
(1941, Ray “Crash” Corrigan, Ranger Busters, horror)
The crusty old rancher was right when he said people wanted to kill him for his money. An interesting mass-up of money, singing cowboys, a character who talks to his dummy, trap doors and secret passages in a dark old house. Directed by S. Roy Luby
And . . .
Vanishing Riders (1935, Bill Cody Sr. & Jr., horror)
Sheriff Bill Jones (Cody) enters an allegedly haunted and supposedly deserted silver boomtown which has a single occupant Hiram. A ranch owner hires Wolf Larsen’s gang as ranch hands, who plan to steal the cattle but Cody’s adopted son comes up with a plan to foil the thievery. How? He uses ghostly make-up and skeleton sheets for the riders and their horses, to chase the superstitious rustlers. Directed by Robert F. Hill.