...A VOICE FROM THE VOID!!!
Richard J. Oravitz | 08/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mascot made such wonderful serials; surreal, dream-like, yet having an almost documentary feel to them, as though you're right there, mixed into the bizarre goings-on. When the mysterious VOICE is unmasked in the final chapter it just can't be that person because he was present several times in the presence of others when the voice would broadcast over shortwave!!! An error in plotting? Nah, it's just Mascot being Mascot and such things are of no matter in the Mascot universe of things.
Harry Carey plays Happy Cardigan, oil rigger trying to bring in a well and battling both The Voice and The Vanishing Legion at the same time while helping Jimmy Williams clear his father Jed Williams of a murder charge. Edward Hearn plays Jed, sexy Garbo-ish Edwina Booth is heroine Caroline Hall, the best child actor of the time Frankie Darro is young Jimmy, former silent Western star William Desmond is the sheriff, and Rex, King of the Wild Horses is, of course Rex. The usual posse rounds out the cast of henchmen and others: Bob Kortman as The Voice's right hand man, Joe Bonomo, Yak Canutt, Dick Dickinson as The Vanishing Legion. Old timer Lafe McKee plays Hornbeck, an attorney and Olive Fuller Golden (Harry Carey's wife) plays Miss Lewis a suspicious nurse.
The Alpha dvd is watchable, dark in spots, soft and fuzzy in others, poor sound in general, quality varying from chapter to chapter. Serial Squadron (you have to go to their web site to order) put out an excellent re-mastered version, the picture image being generally clear and sharp. The audio is also light years better than Alpha's however sprocket noise is unavoidable. My problem with Serial Squadron is that their menu is difficult to access and their discs don't always read. I had to keep trying to get things going. Also the image froze a couple times but then played fine when I reversed play then went forward again.
All in all I'd recommend buying the Serial Squadron version. The problems were minor and the difference in quality is astounding!
A previous reviewer listed some VANISHING LEGION trivia...I'd like to add some more:
1)According to his wife Olive Carey, Harry Carey could not drive a car and never did learn. All his driving scenes were faked. She used to drive him to work every day, hence her casting in VANISHING LEGION.
2)Edward Hearn who plays Frankie Darro's father Jed, the accused murderer on the run, was a known homosexual. His constant hugging and kissing of young Darro must have raised some eyebrows at the time.
3)Silent Western star William Desmond wore the same clothes as he did in his two silent classics THE RIDDLE RIDER (Universal 1924) and THE RETURN OF THE RIDDLE RIDER (Universal 1927). Desmond also starred in THE VANISHING RIDER (Universal 1928).
4)When Voice henchman Bob Kortman (he's the real ugly guy) is seen in a pin stripe suit Olive Carey tells the story, "...Bob Kortman needed a buiness suit. He'd forgotten to bring one with him. The scene had to be shot. Nat (Levine, the producer) jumped into a rain barrel, took off his own pin stripe, and gave it to Kortman."
All the above info is in Jon Tuska's wonderful book on Mascot Pictures, THE VANISHING LEGION!
If you like this serial you may want to try Mascot's THE PHANTOM OF THE WEST (1930) starring Tom Tyler. The Alpha dvd of this one is EXCELLENT! And it also has mystery riders in it!
...the Voice has spoken!"