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The Crimson Ghost
Cyclotrode X

USA 1946
produced by
directed by Fred C. Brannon, William Witney
starring Charles Quigley, Linda Stirling, Clayton Moore, I. Stanford Jolley, Kenne Duncan, Forrest Taylor, Emmett Vogan, Sam Flint, Joseph Forte, Stanley Price, Wheaton Chambers, Tom Steele, Dale Van Sickel, Rex Lease, Fred Graham, Bud Wolfe
written by Albert Demond, Basil Dickey, Jesse Duffy, Sol Shor, music by Mort Glickman, special effects by Howard Lydecker, Theodore Lydecker


review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Professor Chambers (Kenne Duncan) has made a groundbreaking invention: The cyclotrode, a device that can repel any kind of atomic explosion. Thing is, there is a skull-masked baddie only known as the Crimson Ghost who desperately wants to get his hands on it, to remodel it as an offensive weapon. Problem is, nobody knows who the Crimson Ghost is, but it is known he's to be found within the professor's scientific cycle. When the Ghost and his men try to steal the cyclotrode by force, the professor smashes the device, so the Ghost has the professor kidnapped, then he equips him with a mind-controlling device and has him fetch the only duplicate from the gouvernment-controlled storage.

Both the professor and the cyclotrode gone alerts his closest confidant Duncan (Charles Quigley), and also his lab assistant Diana (Linda Stirling), who soon team up to track down the professor.

The Ghost wants the professor to build a larger version of the cyclotrode, and to that end, the professor tries to trick the ghost into getting him some radioactive material easy to spot by a radioactivity detecion device he has developed with Duncan - but unintetnionally, the professor lures Duncan into a trap that almost costs him his life. And ultimately, he gives his own life saving Duncan.

From now on, the Crimson Ghost tries to build a larger scale model of the cyclotrode on his own, but he runs into problem after problem because he needs all sorts of equipment under lock and key by the gouvernment and makes up insane plan after insane plan to steal it, usually sending his henchman Ashe (Clayton Moore) to do the job, but at one instant, he also brainwashes Diana into obedience via a mind-controlling device (something Duncan can counteract of course). While the Ghost's attempts usually fail, Duncan gets closer and closer to find out who the Ghost actually is, finally also finds the device the Ghost uses to listen in on his conversations in his office, and thus he leads the Ghost into a trap where the Ghost thinks Duncan has a device to render the cyclotrode useless, so he has it stolen ... but it was only a ploy for Duncan to finally get a clue to the Ghost's hide-out - where Duncan can finally destroy the cyclotrode for good, and unmask the Ghost ... beind a very inconspicuous member of the scientific cycle of course ...


The Crimson Ghost is one of the better serials from the mid-40's, basically because it moves at a steady pace and blends fast-moving action with pulp mainstays quite well, does feature a handful of new ideas with each episodes, it's got an enjoyably strong female lead in Republic's go-to action girl Linda Stirling, and it manages to uphold tension throughout by moving the story, as repetitive as it migh be, forward with each episode. Not a classic most certainly, but one of the better serials of its era.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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directed by
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written by
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