CYCLOTRODE ‘X’ (1966)
Article 5035 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Fred C. Brannon and William Witney
Featuring Charles Quigley, Linda Stirling, Clayton Moore
What it is: Feature version of serial THE CRIMSON GHOST
An evil villain known as the Crimson Ghost tries to get his hands on a super-weapon known as the cyclotrode.
Here’s another one I’ve finally rescued from my “ones that got away” list; though I’d seen many of the feature versions of serials over the years, this one remained very elusive. I also found them rather frustrating to write about; I found myself repeatedly going on and on about how what was designed to be seen and enjoyed in twenty-minute chunks became dull when edited together into a full-length movie. I haven’t really changed my mind on this belief (and this one does little to belie it), but I find it useful to remind myself that they weren’t designed to be “good movies”; they were designed to take a form of product (the action serial) that wasn’t really salable as such and to convert them into a form that could be sold to TV. In short, they were retooling product. I think the feature versions of serials pretty much disappeared when home video came on the market; the original serials could be sold as such and the feature versions became quaint redundancies. This one popped up on YouTube, and I must admit to being a bit surprised, but I’m glad to have had a chance to see it. Now let’s hope the same thing can happen to a few of those other feature versions that I was never able to find. They may be unnecessary, but for a completist like me, I’ll be happy to see them around.