Adventures of Captain Africa [Serial] (1955)

Genres - Adventure  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Adventure  |   Run Time - 15 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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A long-awaited sequel to Columbia Pictures' popular The Phantom (1943), this film was produced by legendary Hollywood cheapskate Sam Katzman. Katzman refused to pay the owners of the character, King Features, their royalty demands, thus the name change to "Captain Africa." The 1943 Phantom still appeared in this latter-day serial, however, via a vast amount of stock footage. One could actually argue that Tom Tyler, who had starred as the original "Phantom," also starred in the sequel and not John Hart, credited with the role of "Captain Africa." Hart did not resemble Tyler at all but that was of little consequence to Katzman, a producer who never met a corner he wouldn't cut. Captain Africa comes to the aid of an Arabian potentate (Paul Marion) whose prime minister has been kidnapped. There is a beautiful princess (June Howard), a young sidekick (Rick Vallin), a dastardly villain (Bud Osborne), and a great deal of ferocious wildlife fauna, much of which is rather more indigenous to Asia than Africa, where the action ostensibly takes place. In many ways, the carelessness of chapterplays like Adventures of Captain Africa only hastened the demise of the action serial. John Hart is perhaps best known for replacing Clayton Moore for one season as television's The Lone Ranger. Appearing as the kidnapped Prime Minister in Adventures of Captain Africa is Michael Fox, the veteran character actor whose long-time membership of Screen Actors Guild forced the later leading man of the same name to add the middle initial "J" to his billing.