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Flash Gordon (serial)

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Flash1936serial
1936titlecard

Overview

Flash Gordon is the first movie serial adapting Alex Raymond's original comic strip. Each chapter is approximately 20 minutes long.

In 1934, Universal Pictures licensed several King Features Syndicates comic strips to adapt as serials, including Flash Gordon, Secret Agent X-9, Ace Drummond and another Raymond created strip, Jungle Jim. Flash Gordon's appeal as a science-fiction adventure inspired Universal to splurge on a much larger budget than usual -- reportedly, Flash was budgeted at $350,000; which was more than three times the average budget for a serial at the time. Still, the production worked on a very tight schedule; the entire four-hour production was shot in six weeks.

The serial was very successful, especially for a serial; it was Universal's second biggest-grossing film of 1936, beaten only by Three Smart Girls. The serial was so popular that it was shown in evening performances -- serials were usually only shown at matinees.

Chapters

Trivia

  • The theme tune is an excerpt from Franz Liszt's Les Preludes.
  • The music for the opening and closing of each chapter, as well as the theme under the recap at the beginning of each chapter, was composed for the serial by Clifford Vaughan. The remainder of the musical score is recycled from classical compositions, or the scores of other Universal films, including The Invisible Man, The Black Cat, and Werewolf of London.

Cast

Credits

  • Producer: Henry MacRae
  • Directors: Frederick Stephani, Ray Taylor (uncredited)
  • Screenplay: Frederick Stephani, George Plympton, Basil Dickey, Ella O'Neill
  • Original music: Clifford Vaughan, David Claxton
  • Art Director: Ralph Berger

Sources

  • Roy Kinnard, Science Fiction Serials. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 1998.

See also

External links

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