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Gang Busters (1942)

Gang Busters


Crime / Serial

Directed by Noel M. Smith and Ray Taylor


Kent Taylor as Detective Lt. Bill Bannister
Irene Hervey as Vicki Logan
Ralph Morgan as Professor Mortis
Robert Armstrong as Detective Tim Nolan
Richard Davies as Happy Haskins
Joseph Crehan as Police Chief Martin O’Brien
George Watts as Mayor Hansen
Ralf Harolde as Halliger
John Gallaudet as Wilkinson
William Haade as Mike Taboni

Judged by some to be one of Universal Picture’s best, Gang Busters was produced as a thirteen chapter serial in 1942.

When the city is terrorized by a crime wave masterminded by the elusive Professor Mortis (described as one of the best characters ever created for a serial) Detective Lt. Bill Bannister’s assignment is to find and capture the unknown gang of terrorists.  Helping him are Tim Nolan, his partner, and chief of police Martin O’Brien as they investigate the activities of Mortis and his henchmen.  Reporter Vicki Logan and her photographer Happy Haskins are also involved as they follow the case.

They discover that the crimes were all carried out by men listed in the police records as dead and known as The League of Murdered Men.  Each has become a member of Mortis’ League after seemingly committing suicide by hanging while on death row in prison.  The criminals have all been revived by Dr. Mortis using his own mysterious potion.  It seems that the villain’s goal isn’t to take over the world or to acquire wealth, but rather to have vengeance on those who have treated him unjustly.

As the story unfolds, the hero survives explosions, a plane crash, and other dangerous situations and eventually tracks the gang to two hideouts; a subterranean chamber beneath the city’s subways and a secret house in the city’s suburbs.

Gang Busters has exciting cliffhangers and contains some unexpected twists.  The plot takes more than a few extraordinary turns, and the ending is exceptional.  This is one of Universal’s most complex serials, with many chases and thrilling scenes skillfully staged in outside locations.

Gang Busters serial trailer

Chapter titles:

Chapter 01 - The League of Murdered Men

Chapter 02 - The Death Plunge

Chapter 03 - Murder Blockade

Chapter 04 - Hangman's Noose

Chapter 05 - Man Under Cover

Chapter 06 - Under Crumbling Walls

Chapter 07 - The Water Trap

Chapter 08 - Murder by Proxy

Chapter 09 - Gang Bait

Chapter 10 - Mob Vengeance

Chapter 11 - Wanted at Headquarters

Chapter 12 - The Long Chance

Chapter 13 - Law and Order 

Actors: Robert Armstrong, Ralph Morgan, Kent Taylor
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Matinee Classics - Gang Busters starring Kent Taylor, Irene Hervey, Ralph Morgan, Robert Armstrong, Richard Davies, Joseph Crehan, George Watts, Ralf Harolde, John Gallaudet and William Haade
Matinee Classics - Gang Busters
Matinee Classics - Gang Busters
Matinee Classics - Gang Busters

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