Serial Film Stars: A Biographical Dictionary, 1912-1956

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About the Book Pearl White, William Duncan, William Desmond, Ben Wilson, Walter Miller, Francis Ford, Charles Hutchinson, Jack Dougherty, and Eddie Polo are just a few of the ... stars to start up a whirlwind of enthusiasm among serial devotees. They took the movies by storm offering a thrills-a-minute world of ridiculous plots, weird disguises, hair-raising escapes, hidden treasures, diabolic scientific devices, wild animals, depraved men, runaway trains, and endless procession of knock-down, drag-out fights. Who could resist? This comprehensive reference work highlights 446 serial performers who thrilled generations. Each entry includes the performer’s birth and death dates, details of life before and after the movies, as well as covering the major films. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Pearl White, William Duncan, William Desmond, Ben Wilson, Walter Miller, Francis Ford, Charles Hutchinson, Jack Dougherty, and Eddie Polo are just a few of the stars to start up a whirlwind of enthusiasm among serial devotees. They offered a thrill-a-minute world of ridiculous plots, weird disguises, hair-raising escapes, hidden treasures, diabolic scientific devices, wild animals, depraved men, runaway trains, and an endless procession of knock-down, drag-out fights. Who could resist?

This reference work highlights 446 serial performers who thrilled generations. Each entry includes the performer's birth and death dates, serial credits, major films and details of life before and after the movies.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

ARBA
fascinating
Wrangler's Roost
most impressive...valuable...informative and enjoyable...a worthy addition
Classic Images
excellent and indispensable
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786420100
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/17/2005
  • Pages: 863
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 2.10 (d)

Meet the Author

The late Buck Rainey wrote scores of articles for Western and serial fanzines and several books. He lived in Tishomingo, Oklahoma.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2006

    OUTSTANDING REFERENCE BOOK

    The movie serial is a lost art form, extinct now for some 50 years although its spirit lives on in television with such episodic shows as 'Lost', '24', and others. The last of the serials was many years before my time but I developed a fondness for them many years ago. While Hollywood perhaps looked down on serials and serial stars as even less than B-feature players, serials nevertheless entertained millions of movie goers for over 40 years, beginning in the silent era and running through the mid-1950's. The genres that serials covered such as sci-fi, adventure, crime, westerns, and mysteries worked well in serialized format. And we have the serials to thank for the first silver screen appearances of Superman, Batman, Captain America, The Shadow, and Captain Marvel. Comic book and pulp characters were tailor made for Saturday afternoon escapism. Serial Film Stars from McFarland books is simply the most comprehensive book on those actors who starred in these sometimes wonderful and sometimes horrid celluloid classics. At nearly 900 pages, the book spotlights over 400 serial film stars. Sorted alphabetically the book provides biographical information on each star and a list of the serials they starred in. The serial information includes the complete cast, director, number of chapters, and year of release. Inside you'll meet actors who spent their entire careers in the serials and those who used them as a stepping stone to bigger stardom. Kirk Alyn was the screen's first Superman, donning the tights and cape twice in 'Superman' in 1948 and 'Atom Man Vs. Superman' in 1950. Clayton Moore of course is best known as the star of the Lone Ranger, but Moore made a dozen serials in his career including one of my favorites The Crimson Ghost where he played the chief henchman of that notorious criminal. Roy Barcroft's name isn't well known but the fine character actor was one of the true kings of serials, appearing in 28 of them from 1936 to 1954. Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill and Lon Chaney Jr., are all remembered for their many famous roles in horror films throughout the 30's and 40's. But all of these men also starred in serials including Atwill's turn as the villainous 'Scarab' in Captain America. Sports stars Red Grange, Sammy Baugh, and Jack Dempsey also starred in movie serials. Perhaps the most famous serial star was none other than John Wayne, who did three serial westerns before he would become one of Hollywood's all-time leading box office kings. No book could hope to be 100% comprehensive on serial film stars, especially when information from the silent era is so sketchy, but Buck Rainey's book comes about as close as we can possibly hope for. Rainey covers these star's lives in as much detail as possible, from birth to death. What a pleasure it was to see that a number of these stars are still alive today. As massive book that is massively entertaining and an outstanding reference book for anyone who loves the serials. Reviewed by Tim Janson

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2009

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