Captain America (1944)

From Mental Block

Captain America is a 1944 movie serial produced by Republic Pictures and (somewhat loosely) based on the Timely (later Marvel) Comics character of the same name. Released in 15 fifteen-minute segments, it starred Dick Purcell, Lorna Gray, Lionel Atwill, and Charles Trowbridge. Tragically, the serial was Dick Purcell's final role; he died of a heart attack soon after completing filming. His death was attributed to the strain of filming the serial's many demanding action sequences.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Although Captain America had already been established by Timely Comics as super-soldier Steve Rogers, Republic Pictures rewrote the character as District Attorney Grant Gardner, a gun-toting costumed crimefighter. In the serial, he investigates the mysterious deaths of several scientists and businessmen. Doctor Maldor, AKA "The Scarab" (Atwill) is using a hypnotic drug to force the men to kill themselves. His initial motive is simply revenge, but when he learns that one of his would-be victims has inadvertently invented a deadly new weapon, his plans shift to world domination. Only Captain America and his friends can save the day.

Mechanical Executioner (Episode 2)[edit | edit source]

The Scarab greets Gardner's secretary/sidekick Gail Richards (Gray) outside of her office, and uses a needle-tipped ring to inject her with his hypnotic drug. In a trance, she reveals information about Professor Dodge (Hugh Sothern), one of his targets. The Scarab programs Gail to phone the policeman guarding Dodge to tell him to expect two detectives from the DA's office; in reality, the two men who show up are The Scarab's goons, who kidnap Dodge and lay a deadly trap for Gardner.