The Carter Case (1919)

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Synopsis by Hans J. Wollstein

Pulp fiction novelist Arthur B. Reeve's "scientific" detective Craig Kennedy first appeared in a couple of early Pearl White serials, The Exploits of Elaine (1914) and The New Exploits of Elaine (1915). Played by stage veteran Arnold Daly, Kennedy had battled the mysterious "Clutching Hand" in the former and Wu Fang, a ruthless Oriental, in the latter. Essayed by Herbert Rawlinson, the detective earned his own starring serial in 1919's The Carter Case (aka The Craig Kennedy Serial), courtesy of low-budget Oliver Films and directors Donald McKenzie and William F. Haddock. In this 15-chapter offering, the eminent scientist is called in to solve the mysterious death of Shelby Carter (Donald Hall), the owner of a chemical plant whose pretty daughter Anita (Marguerite Marsh, sister of Mae) fears that Avion (Joseph Marba) is out to kill her as well. But who exactly is Avion? Only Craig Kennedy knows. After a well-deserved break, Kennedy returned in The Radio Detective, a ten-chapter Universal serial starring handsome Jack Mower in the role, and again in Unmasked (1929), a primitive talkie feature starring Robert Warwick. The character earned his only sound serial appearance in 1936 when Jack Mulhall solved the case of The Clutching Hand, in 15 chapters, and Donald Woods brought Kennedy into the television age in the short-lived series Craig Kennedy, Criminologist (1952). Meanwhile, the 1941 Republic whodunit The Carter Case (aka Mr. District Attorney in the Carter Case) was based on Phillips H. Lord's long-running radio show and had nothing whatsoever to do with Craig Kennedy.