THE SECRET OF TREASURE ISLAND (1938)
Article 2534 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-13-2008
Posting Date: 7-20-2008
Directed by Elmer Clifton
Featuring Don Terry, Gwen Gaze, Walter Miller
A woman learns that she is the heiress to half of a pirate treasure map showing where a fortune is hidden on Treasure Island. Unfortunately, a criminal known as The Shark (who has a fortress on Treasure Island) has the other half of the map, and will stop at nothing to get the missing half.
I like this one, but heck, I like THE LOST CITY. Its 4.7 rating on IMDB does seem to indicate that I’m not in step with other serial fans as far as this one goes, but I find the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach here (which includes a group of underground workers known as Mole Men, a strange professor, a trained crow, a crusty old seaman with a hook for a hand, a room of doors, a suspicious doctor and his nurse, and, finally, the Ghost of the Black Pirate) to be a lot more fun than some of the later serials that seem cut out of the same mold. It’s entertaining as long as it stays on Treasure Island; once the action shifts to the mainland, it gets fairly dull, and I suspect that the serial was expanded to fifteen episodes at the last minute. The cliffhangers are pretty good, but they would have been better had the resolutions not been singularly lame. The story is from L. Ron Hubbard, and there is some science fiction gadgetry to augment the fantastic content beyond that of the ghost (and, if you’re like me, you just know that the latter will be debunked before its all through).