Mandrake the Magician (1939 movie serial)

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Country: Mini usa.gif USA / English

Mandrake the Magician is a classic Columbia Pictures cliffhanger serial from 1939, starring Warren Hull in the title role. The serial is based on Lee Falk's comic strip "Mandrake the Magician".


Mandrake and Lothar help Professor Houston (and his lovely daughter Betty) protect his radium energy machine from the head of an underworld gang, a sinister criminal genius known as "The Wasp".

The Wasp will stop at nothing to steal the scientists invention. His evil machinations to obtain the device include blowing up a radio station, a power plant, and a dam. Fortunately, his dastardly deeds cause only minimal damage because of the timely intervention of the quick-witted Mandrake, who has vowed to stop The Wasp.

Cast & Crew

Writing credits (screenplay)

  • Joseph F. Poland
  • Basil Dickey
  • Ned Dandy


  • Sam Nelson and
  • Norman Deming


  • Jack Fier


  • Dick Fantl


  • Lee Zahler


  • Benjamin Kline


  • Warren Hull as Mandrake
  • Al Kikume as Lothar
  • Doris Weston as Betty Houston
  • Rex Downing as Tommy Houston
  • Edward Earle as Dr. Andre Bennett
  • Forbes Murray as Professor Houston
  • Kenneth MacDonald as James Webster
  • Don Beddoe as Frank Raymond
  • Dick Curtis as Dorgan, Thug (Chs. 6, 7, 8)
  • John Tyrrell as Dirk, lead thug
  • Stanley Brown as Green, thug (Chs. 1, 2, 4)
  • Beatrice Curtis as Rest Home Nurse (Chs. 3,10)
  • Robert Sterling as Henchman
  • Sam Ash as George Regan, hypnotist (Chs. 3, 4, 5)
  • Lester Dorr as Gray, gas station thug [Chs. 8, 9]
  • Ernie Adams as Henchman Brown (Chs. 2, 3)
  • Eddie Fetherston as Rest Home, Henchman (Chs. 10, 11)
  • Eddie Foster as Ed Blowdart, Henchman (Chs. 1, 2, 3)

Chapter titles

  1. Shadow On The Wall
  2. Trap Of The Wasp
  3. City Of Terror
  4. The Secret Passage
  5. The Devil’s Playmate
  6. The Fatal Crash
  7. Gamble For Life
  8. Across The Deadline
  9. Terror Rides The Rails
  10. The Unseen Monster
  11. At The Stroke Of Eight
  12. The Reward Of Treachery


Like most serials, the film had a relatively low budget.

Behind the scenes

Storyboard drawings in watercolor by Glenn Cravath.

Preliminary movie poster banner in watercolor by Glenn Cravath.

Promotional material

Various Views

Lee Falk personal appreciation

 I was in the army. But I saw them, and they were embarrassing. "The Phantom" wasn't bad, "Mandrake the Magician" was terrible. The whole thing looked like itwas shot in a phone booth. 


The serial was released on a double-disc DVD by VCI Video in 2003.


Originally released on VHS.

External links

  • [1] YouTube, full serial (3 hours 35)
  • [2] YouTube, colorized version (2 hours 56).