BRICK BRADFORD (1947)
Article #1663 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-3-2005
Posting Date: 3-2-2006
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr
Featuring Kane Richmond, Rick Vallin, Linda Johnson
Brick Bradford tries to help noted scientist Dr. Tymak to protect his Interceptor Ray from theft by a gang of hoodlums.
On the surface, this 15 chapter serial has a lot to offer fans of fantastic cinema. Sure, it has a scientist with a death-ray (don’t most of them?), but the scientist has a lot of other fun inventions up his sleeve, including an invisibility ray, a teleportation machine (that sends our heroes to a surprisingly well lit dark side of the moon) and one of cinema’s earliest time machines. Furthermore, the serial has two of my favorite familiar serial faces in it; John Merton as Dr. Tymak, and Wheeler Oakman as his assistant Walthar. It also has Fred Graham, who I will always remember as the Sheriff from THE GIANT GILA MONSTER. And to top it all off, the comic relief sidekick (Rick Vallin) is actually pretty funny. The serial manages to find a little variety of setting by having a few episodes take place on the moon, and a few others take place back in pirate times. However, once all of Dr. Tymak’s inventions are stolen (they’re being hauled around the countryside in a station wagon that seems entirely too small to contain them all), the serial reverts to pretty standard form, and it’s then you notice that the cliffhangers are singularly lame (many of them are the “booby-traps-that-wouldn’t-work” variety, and most of the resolutions are of the “gosh-we’re-lucky-that-didn’t-kill-us” type) and the villains are fairly dull. Nonetheless, I like this one well enough despite the cheapness, and I do admire the simple but fun special effects used to show time and space travel.