Brick Bradford is the worst of the three Columbia serials produced by “Jungle” Sam Katzman that I’ve seen so far, and that’s saying something.
The previous couple of Katzman-produced serials I watched — Jack Armstrong and The Sea Hound (both made in 1947) — suffered from a similar lack of focus across their 15 weekly chapters, but Brick Bradford takes it to a new level by setting up a tantalizingly trashy science-fiction scenario and then abandoning it halfway through.
Brick Bradford was directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr and based on the daily newspaper strip created by writer William Ritt and artist Clarence Gray that began in 1933.
Brick Bradford was a square-jawed, spacefaring, time-traveling adventurer in the mold of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. He’s played by serial superstar Kane Richmond, who also starred in Spy Smasher (1942), one of my favorite serials, and as Lamont Cranston, a.k.a. The Shadow, in The Shadow Returns, Behind the Mask, and The Missing Lady (all 1946), as well as innumerable other B movies and chapterplays over the course of his career. When he appeared in Brick Bradford he was pushing 41, and he would only appear in one more film before retiring from acting — William Nigh’s Stage Struck (1948).
Richmond is definitely not the problem with Brick Bradford. He still looks great and can carry himself in a fistfight. The problem is that it leaves so many plot threads hanging at the end.
Chrome-domed, bespectacled scientist Dr. Gregor Tymak (John Merton) invents an “interceptor ray” that could be used to shoot down atomic weapons, but that could also be easily tinkered with and made into a terrifying weapon. Definitely not something that should fall into the wrong hands.
Tymak has also invented a “crystal door” that can be used to move through space and time, or through what Tymak calls “the fifth dimension.” He uses it to travel to the far side of the moon, which no one has ever seen before. Despite what you may have heard, the dark side of the moon is as bright as high noon in California, has a breathable atmosphere, and is the perfect place to mine “lunarium.” It also has plenty of moonhabitants, who are mostly overweight middle-aged men with capes and Centurion helmets.
Unsurprisingly, producer Katzman’s vision of life on the moon isn’t too far removed from his vision of life in the jungle, but I felt like there was some cheesy good fun to be had on the moon with the evil dictator Zuntar (Robert Barron) and his queen Khana (Carol Forman), and their war against the “exiles,” a group of scientists from the earth who were able to reach the moon and form a utopian civilization. For the first half of Brick Bradford, Brick and his sidekick Sandy (Rick Vallin) travel back and forth to the moon through the crystal door, battling the evil super spy Laydron (Charles Quigley, the hero of the 1946 Republic serial The Crimson Ghost) on terra firma and Zuntar and Khana in orbit.
In chapter 8 of the serial, however, Brick and Sandy use Tymak’s experimental “Time Top” to travel from 1948 America to 1748 Brazil and team up with pirates to find some secret plans Tymak hid in the past among some buried treasure. This diversion is mercifully brief, but when it’s over there is literally not one more mention of the moon or anything that happened on it.
There’s some fun stuff with Tymak’s “Z-ray machine,” which is worn around the neck like a tourist’s camera (Tymak explains that the Z-ray “creates the illusion of invisibility, just as the mirror reflects the illusion of form”), but aside from that the last five chapters of the serial are a boring collection of fistfights and cliffhangers in and around Tymak’s farmhouse in the California countryside. It’s standard serial stuff, and I probably wouldn’t have found it so frustrating if I hadn’t spent every minute wondering what was going on up on the moon. Imagine if a Flash Gordon serial introduced Ming the Merciless in the first several chapters and then completely forgot about him for the climax!
missing in the internet of brick bradford are chapters 8 and the final chapter 15
are they anywhere.
I haven’t personally uploaded any Brick Bradford chapters anywhere.
Which website are you looking at? If you respond with the URL maybe I can help you.
HI THANK YOU FOR GETTING BACK. FIRST WHAT I DID I ENTERED BRICK BRADFORD MOVIE SERIAL CHAPTER BY CHAPTER. THE SITE I USUALLY WOULD GET IS:
BLIP.TV COMIC WEB SERIAL-CLIFF HANGER-THEATRE/BRICK BRADFORD MOVIE-SERIAL
THEN I PUT THE CHAPTER LIKE CHAPTER ONE OR CHAPTER 2. SOME OF THESE SERIALS HAVE MISSING CHAPTERS. SAW THE FIRST 3 CHAPTERS OF ROBERT LIVINGSTON THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN BUT COULD NOT GET THE REST.
I SAW WHERE THESE ARE LOST CHAPTERS AFTER THREE.
ADAM IN CASE YOU DO NOT GET ANY RESULTS THANK YOU FOR TRYING.
HAVE A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR IN 2013. A SAFE ONE AS WELL.
CANNOT BELIEVE ALL THE NUTS RUNNING LOSE THAT HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO
THEN HARM OTHERS. I AM 72 YEARS OLD. A RETIRED ACCOUNTANT AND YEARS AGO NEVER HEARD AS MUCH VIOLENCE AS NOW BY THE PUBLIC.
Hi Morton. I think I’ve found the solution for your problem. I also watched Brick Bradford on blip.tv, but their search function is garbage, and it didn’t return any results, even though all the episodes are uploaded on there somewhere.
Go here: http://www.comicweb.com/movies/brick_bradford.htm#episodelist
That URL has links to each individual episode that you can click on, including #8 and #15, which you said were looking for.
Thank you for the well wishes. I hope you have a happy and healthy 2013 as well!
YES ADAM IT WORKED . YOU ARE GREAT. AS YOU SAID ITS NOT THE BEST OF THE SERIALS BUT STILL ENJOYED IT. I LIKE THE OLD STARS OF THE PAST AND THE MOVIES THAT WERE MADE BACK THEN. I REMEMBER GOING TO THE SHOW SEEING 2 MOVIES
AS WELL AS SHORTS,CARTOONS,SERIALS AS WELL AS TRAVEL LOGS ALL FOR 35 CENTS WHEN I WAS A KID IN THE FOURTIE’S AND EARLY FIFTIES. I FOUND A SITE “THE OLD CORRAL” GIVING YOU THE HISTORY OF THE B WESTERNS AND THE STARS OF THAT PERIOD INTO THE FIFTIES. LOT OF PICTURES WITH SCENES.
HOW DO I GET THE URL FOR OTHER SERIALS SUCH AS CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT WITH DAVE O BRIAN WHO WAS ALSO A WRITER FOR RED SKELTON SHOW. I HAVE 3 CHAPTERS I
HAVE MISSING THERE. I’M GLAD I HIT ONTO YOUR SITE.
LOIS AND I ARE HERE IN SKOKIE , ILLINOIS. HAD SOME SNOW HERE TODAY. MIGHT HAVE SOME TOMORROW. IF I DO NOT HEAR FROM YOU BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR MAY YOU AND YOUR FAMILY HAVE A HAPPY,HEALTHY AS WELL AS A SAFE NEW YEAR IN 2013. MORT.
AFTER I LEFT MY LAST COMMENT YOU GAVE ME THE SITE I SAW WITH ALL THE CHAPTERS OF CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT. AS I SAID THANKS AGAIN. ITS 1 AM HERE NOW SO I’M HEADING TO SLEEP. THINK I TOLD YOU I AM A RETIRED ACCOUNTANT ALSO INVOLVED IN THE STOCK MARKET. SAFETY IS IN FUNDS AND ANNUITIES. DO NOT KNOW YOUR AGE BUT IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FEEL FREE TO ASK AND IF I KNOW THE ANSWER ALWAYS GLAD TO HELP YOU.
Ah, glad you found it. When I read your comment about the missing Captain Midnight chapters I was going to give you this URL, since it has the whole list of the serials they’ve uploaded: http://comicweb.com/serialcliffhangertheater.htm
I’m a little jealous that you grew up during the days of the 35-cent double feature. I am 38 years old, so it was before my time, but I grew up listening to radio shows and watching old movies, so I feel emotionally tied to that era. That’s one reason I started this blog!
In high school I loved old movies in general, but I especially loved the Republic serials. I loved them so much, in fact, that I have a tattoo of the Crimson Ghost on my right bicep.
The Adventures of Captain Marvel, The Crimson Ghost, and Spy Smasher are my three favorite serials of all time, but I like them all on some level.
I am way behind in my reviews, but I should have a review of the original Superman serial (from 1948) posted before too long. Have you seen that one?
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