Brick Bradford (1947)

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Synopsis by Hans J. Wollstein

Based on a popular comic strip, this 15 episode Columbia chapterplay produced by legendary cheapskate Sam Katzman (aka "Jungle Sam") heralded the beginning of the end of the American movie serial. Starring the otherwise watchable Kane Richmond in the title role, Brick Bradford had pretensions of becoming the next Flash Gordon, but Katzman's notorious reluctance to part with a dollar bill sealed its fate. Perhaps the cheapest producer releasing through a major company (Columbia) in the '40s, Katzman employed a generous dose of carelessly inserted stock footage in his serials, thus earning the epitaph as the typical cigar-chomping hack producer who is in the movie business merely to make a fast buck (actor Mike Starr eminently portrayed the prototype in Ed Wood, 1995). A Secret Service agent employed by the United States government to protect the Interceptor Ray, a newly invented missile, Brick Bradford gets involved with a mysterious scientist, whose "crystal door" transports him to the moon and back, to 18th century Central America, etc. All of this demanded inspiring sets and special effects and not Jungle Sam's tired potted plants and moth-eaten stock footage fauna. Comic strip hero Brick Bradford deserved better and so did his portrayer, Kane Richmond.