Columbia's 33rd serial (made between "Jack Armstrong" and "The Sea Hound") was based on the character that first appeared in "Action Comics" No. 42, who was a radio singing cowboy who doubled as a crime-fighting, motorcycle-riding crime-fighter with a pre-teen Chinese boy, Stuff, as his answer to Batman's Robin, although Stuff ran a lot or errands that Robin didn't have to do since the Dynamic Duo had Alfred the Butler (both versions) to do those. In the serial version, Stuff became a white, draft-age sidekick played by George Offerman Jr.(and we are still looking for any film made in the 30's and 40's that this actor was billed as the incorrect George Offerman rather than the correct George Offerman Jr), which fit right in with the costume changes that Columbia tagged The Vigilante character with; a snappy-brim fedora and a Montgomery Ward catalog white Gene Autry- style shirt instead of the large flat-brimmed hat and double-button blue shirt he wore in the comic books. The nose-chin covering bandana is about all that survived the comic book to screen transfer. They also changed Greg Sanders, the Vigilante's alter-ego from a radio troubador to a western film actor and miscast Ralph Byrd in the role (they could have held John Hart over from the previous serial who would have fit the role better) as a government agent known as the Vigilante investigating the case of the "100 Tears of Blood", which are rubies sought by a gang led by the unknown (ha!)X-1 and the mysterious Prince Amil Hassan (Robert Barron.) While not the worst of the Katzman-produced serials, the best thing about it remains Ramsay Ames, coming toward or going away from the camera.
- Written by
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