SPY SMASHER (1942)
Article #1170 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-28-2004
Posting Date: 10-25-2004
Directed by William Witney
Featuring Kane Richmond, Marguerite Chapman, Sam Flint
A espionage fighter known as Spy Smasher pits himself against an enemy agent known as The Mask.
The opening music in this serial is from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony; I figured that any serial that would use this melodramatically pompous theme had better be good enough to live up to it. The surprising thing is that it does. This is even taking into account that the costumes of the hero and the villain are both singularly lame; Spy Smasher wears a flying helmet and goggles, whereas the Mask wears a hanky with two eye holes in it. However, the fight scenes are exquisitely done, it manages to come up with a good variety of cliffhangers, and the fact that the hero is given a twin brother results in some rather entertaining scenarios.
Another thing I noticed was that the first episode seemed rather familiar. At one point, the Firesign Theatre had put out a videodisc called “Hot Shorts”, in which the soundtracks of several serial episodes were redubbed for comic purposes. SPY SMASHER became BUTT BUSTER, a hero who dedicated himself to stamping out smoking. It’s nice to see the original serial for this one after all these years.