|Directed by||Wallace Fox|
|Produced by||Sam Katzman|
|Written by||Lewis Clay
George H. Plympton
George Offerman Jr.
|Music by||Mischa Bakaleinikoff musical director
|Cinematography||Ira H. Morgan|
|Edited by||Earl Turner|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|15 chapters (285 min)|
The Vigilante (1947) was the 33rd serial released by Columbia Pictures. It was based on the comic book cowboy, The Vigilante, who first appeared in Action Comics, published by DC Comics, and starred Ralph Byrd, well known for his central role in the Dick Tracy serials. It was his last serial appearance.
The Vigilante, a masked government agent, is assigned to investigate the case of the "100 Tears of Blood", a cursed string of rare blood red pearls sought by a gang led by the unknown X-1 that may have been smuggled into the country.
Greg Sanders (Sanders at that time, later changed to Saunders in the comics), in his civilian guise as an actor, is filming a western on George Pierce's ranch. Pierce is a wealthy rancher and nightclub owner. When Prince Hamil arrives at the ranch, he gives a horse each to Saunders, Pierce, Captain Reilly, Tex Collier and Betty Winslow. But an outlaw gang soon attacks, attempting to steal all five horses. It turns out that each horse has twenty of the pearls hidden in their shoes (five in each) in secret compartments. Edging closer, Sanders learns that Prince Hamil's servant stole the diamonds from his master and smuggled them in on the horses with the intention of passing them on to X-1.
The Vigilante was originally a comic book character whose first appearance was in Action Comics (Issue #42, November 1941). He was a singing-cowboy radio performer who doubled as a motorcycle-riding crime-fighter along with a pre-teen Chinese boy, Stuff the Chinatown Kid.
In the serial version, Stuff became a white, draft-age sidekick played by George Offerman Jr. Ralph Byrd was cast as the Vigilante. Director Wallace Fox makes a cameo appearance as the director filming Greg Sanders' movie at George Pierce's ranch.
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