SEA RAIDERS (1941)
Article #893 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-25-2003
Posting Date: 1-22-2004
Directed by Ford Beebe, John Rawlins
Featuring Billy Halop, Huntz Hall, Bernard Punsley
A gang of wharf rats find themselves wanted by the police and chased by a gang of saboteurs known as the Sea Raiders.
The tape package says they’re the East Side Kids; the credits in the serial call them the “Dead End” Kids and the Little Tough Guys. I get around this confusing dilemma by thinking of them in all their various combinations as the Bowery Boys. Whichever name is the correct one, what it comes down to is that though it features Billy Halop and Huntz Hall, there is no Leo Gorcey (for some reason, he didn’t appear in any of the serials). This was before the group settled into comedy, so the boys play it more or less straight. Actually, having them star in a serial wasn’t a bad idea as far as I’m concerned; they were somewhat more interesting than the usual bland hero that serves as the focus for most serials. Otherwise, it’s business as usual, with one really good and unusual cliffhanger involving whaling, a smidgen of science fiction involving a torpedo boat and new types of torpedos, and lots of stock music. As for the latter, I wish they hadn’t chosen a piece as familiar as ‘The Barber of Seville’ for the soundtrack; I can’t hear it without thinking of Bugs Bunny giving Elmer Fudd a haircut. Otherwise, a standard selection of serial thrills.