Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


WHAT THIS IS:  An edited version of the first six chapters of the 1940 Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe serial, then shipped off for television syndication.

WHO'S IN IT:  The usual suspects, including Flash Gordon (Buster Crabbe), Dale Arden (Carol Hughes), Dr. Zarkov (Frank Shannon), and Ming the Merciless (Charles Middleton).  Abetted by Don Rowan, Victor Zimmerman (as the embarrassingly named Lt. Thong), Lee Powell, Donald Curtis, Edgar Edwards, and Roland Drew.  If you squint real hard you might also catch Roy Barcroft, Anne Gwynne, William Royal, and other familiar faces in very minor roles.

WHO'S RESPONSIBLE:  Basil Dickey, George H. Plympton, and Barry Shipman wrote the original 1940 screenplay.  Ford Beebe and Ray Taylor were the original directors and Henry McRae produced the serial for Universal Pictures.  The man who edited the film for the 1966 release is unknown, but for the sake of convenience let's call him "Turkey McClipclip."  Hearst Entertainment Productions and Universal Television combined their respective corporate might to bring about Purple Death from Outer Space.

IS THERE A PLOT?:  Well. sure.  Ming the Merciless, living up to his sobriquet,  is spreading dust across Earth that results in death and a purple splotch on the victims' foreheads.  Flash, Dale, and Zarkov are dispatched to save the day, cliffhanger by cliffhanger.

IS THERE A CONCLUSION?:  Well, the film ends.  Did you miss the part where this movie is cobbled from the first six chapters of the serial.


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