Welcome back! It’s Saturday morning again which means it’s Saturday Breakfast Serial Time! This week, it’s Chapter Three of Dick Tracy vs Crime Inc. (You can find Chapter One here and Chapter Two here.)
Last week, we looked at King of the Kongo, the first partially talking serial, which was produced by Mascot Pictures. Today I thought we’d begin a look at some of the different studios that produced serials during the so-called Golden Age with a look at Mascot itself.
Mascot was formed in 1927 by producer Nat Levine, who had already independently produced his own serial, The Silent Flyer, in 1926. At first the studio simply rented its working space and equipment, but by 1933 its serials had become so popular and profitable that they were able to rent, and subsequently purchase Sennet Studios after its founder, Mack Sennet went bankrupt.
Unfortunately, by 1935, Mascot (along with a number of other studios) was so in debt to their film developer, Consolidated Film Industries, that they were forced by that company’s owner, Herbert Yates, to consolidate with CFI, Monogram Pictures, Liberty Pictures, Chesterfield Pictures and Invincible Pictures to form Republic Pictures. At that point, Mascot was reduced to being the serial and B-Western arm of the company.
Mascot was responsible for discovering a number of actors who went on to have extensive careers in film, including Smiley Burnett, Gene Autry, and John Wayne. The company was also responsible for popularizing the concept of the “singing cowboy”, which, while virtually unknown (except probably to film aficionados) today was once a very popular genre. They produced a number of quite well known and extremely popular serials, including The Shadow of the Eagle, The Hurricane Express, The Three Musketeers, The Lost Jungle, The Phantom Empire, The Adventures of Rex and Rinty, and The Fighting Marines.
Okay, let’s move on with the next chapter of Dick Tracy vs Crime Inc.
Next time: Chapter 4: Dead Man’s Trap, and more serial history.
- Saturday Breakfast Serial 013 – Dick Tracy vs Crime Inc. (1941) Chapter 1: The Invisible Trail (durnmoosemovies.wordpress.com)