Wild Bill Hickok (1938)

Genres - Western  |   Sub-Genres - Traditional Western  |   Countries - United States  |  
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Synopsis by Hans J. Wollstein

Co-directed by former supporting player Mack V. Wright and Sam Nelson, The Great Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok is considered by connoisseurs of the genre the best serial Columbia Pictures ever made. The star, former supporting actor Gordon Elliott (born Nance) changed his first name to Bill for the occasion and emerged a full-fledged star. He later went all the way and became known as William "Wild Bill" Elliott, hero of first-rate Republic Westerns and for years a top sagebrush moneymaker. Robert J. Fiske played Wild Bill's adversary, Morrell, a nasty character who leads his Phantom Raiders in attacks on both the old Chisholm Trail and the encroaching railroad. Wild Bill Hickok is appointed U.S. marshal and assigned to ensure safe passage for both cattle and the railroad. Columbia screenwriters George Rosener, Charles A. Powell, G.A. Durlam, Tom Gibson, and Dallas Fitzgerald made sure that there was something for everyone in this serial, including a shapely heroine (Carole Wayne) to please the adults in the audience and no less than three juvenile actors -- Frankie Darro, Sammy McKim, and Dickie Jones -- for the small fry to root for. Roscoe Ates, he of the bobbing Adam's apple, and veteran slapstick comic Monte Collins provided laughs, and producer Jack Fier rounded up a fine supporting cast that included such veterans as Monte Blue, Kermit Maynard, Chief Thundercloud, George Cheseboro, Edmund Cobb, Hal Taliaferro, Art Mix, Tom London, and Lew Meehan.