Junior G-Men Of The Air

1796. JUNIOR G-MEN OFTHE AIR (1942-USA). 12 Episode Universal Serial with BILLY HALOP, GENE REYNOLDS, LIONEL ATWILL, FRANK ALBERTSON, RICHARD LANE, HUNTZ HALL, GABRIEL DELL, BERNARD PUNSLEY, FRANKIE DARRO, DAVID CORCEY, TURH AN BEY. The “Dead End Kids,” who came to Hollywood via Broadway (and later became known as the “Bowery Boys”), were rough-and- tumble products of New York City’s Lower East Side slums. Among the original “Kids” were Billy Halop, Gabriel Dell, Huntz Hall and Bernard Punsley; by the late 1930s, they had become so popular that they found themselves cast in feature films opposite the likes of fames Cagney, Humphrey Bogart and John Garfield (actors whose screen personas could easily have been adult versions of the “Kids”). Originally, the “Dead End Kids” were depicted as hardened victims of urban blight; as the years passed, and the “Kids” became the “Boys” in a popular, long-running screen series, their characters were more comical, and more innocent. However, during World War II, they (along with the “Little Tough Guys,” who can be best described as junior “Dead End Kids”) were enlisted to do their part in battling the enemies of America. This mile-a-minute all-star-cast serial is set just prior to Pearl Harbor, and the “Kids” Start out as their usual brawling, surly, scrappy selves. They mistrust all cops and federal agents, and such Junior G-Men as Jerry Markham. Almost immediately, they find themselves victimized during a bank theft, the culprits of which are a carefully organized mob that is but one link in a nefarious scheme to conquer America. It’s being hatched by His Excellency, the devifish ÒBaronÓ (Lionel Atwill, at his wickedest), head honcho of a ruthless Japanese spy ring. The chief ÒDead End Kid” is “Ace” Holden, who’s been learning to fly an airplane; as the story unfolds, he and his cronies and loved ones will be in dire danger as they find themselves in planes that are about to crash, speeding cars that are at the mercy of villains tossing bombs out of planes, and too many other precarious situations. This serial was released during the early months of the war, and the “Kids” and ‘Tough Guys” learn a lesson that was then being instilled in the minds of all Americans: ‘To win the war, we’ve got a job ahead of us,” and (on a more propagandists level) “the word ‘subversive’ is spelled J-A-P.” 281 minutes. Serial