JUNIOR G-MEN OF THE AIR (1942)
Article 1925 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-22-2006
Posting Date: 11-19-2006
Directed by Lewis D. Collins and Ray Taylor
Featuring Billy Halop, Gene Reynolds, Lionel Atwill
A group of street kids find themselves facing off with an organization of Japanese saboteurs called the Black Dragon.
This, the last of the three Dead End Kids / Little Tough Guys serials, must have gone into production shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It’s very heavy on the propaganda, with stirring pronouncements made over the opening credits about the bravery of these boys in dealing with the horrible Japanese threat. Oddly, it takes place before Pearl Harbor; the acts of sabotage are meant to coincide with the attack. Once again, I find a bit of novelty value in that the main characters here are a bunch of street kids rather than the usual serial hero, and there’s also some fun in having familiar faces Lionel Atwill and Turhan Bey as the main baddie and one of his henchmen. The science fiction elements are sporadic, though the development of a muffler for an airplane is the most prominent. It starts out well, gets rather dull in the middle sections, but then picks up again in the final episodes, where an army-load of stock footage comes into play. Keep your eyes pealed for a cameo of Billy Benedict, once again playing a character named Whitey; he first used the name in THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MARVEL , and it would remain his character name during his stint with the Bowery Boys. Not bad, but I always find myself wishing that Leo Gorcey had been in the mix somewhere.