Gang Busters
Directed by Noel M. Smith
Ray Taylor
Jacques Jaccard (asst.)
Produced by Ford Beebe
Written by Morgan Cox
Phillips Lord
Al Martin
Victor McLeod
George H. Plympton
Starring Kent Taylor
Irene Hervey
Ralph Morgan
Robert Armstrong
Cinematography John W. Boyle
William A. Sickner
Editing by Irving Birnbaum
Paul Landres
Charles Maynard
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) 1942
Running time 13 chapters (251 min)
Country United States
Language English

Gang Busters (1942) is a Universal movie serial based on the radio series Gang Busters. The city is terrorized by a crime wave masterminded by the elusive, soft-spoken Professor Mortis (Ralph Morgan). Police detective Bill Bannister (Kent Taylor), his partner TIm Nolan (Robert Armstrong), and police chief Martin O'Brien (Joseph Crehan) investigate the activities of Mortis and his gang, and discover that the crimes were all perpetrated by men who had died some time ago. Following the story are reporter Vicki Logan (Irene Hervey) and her photographer Happy Haskins (Richard Davies).



Gang Busters is one of Universal's most elaborate serials, with many chase and thrill scenes expertly staged in outdoor locations. The directors were Ray Taylor, veteran director responsible for many hit serials, and Noel M. Smith, former silent-screen director who specialized in fast action (Smith directed many of Larry Semon's action-filled comedies of the 1920s).

This is mostly a crime film but contains a small science fiction element. The villains, The League of Murdered Men, are all dead criminals killed and revived by Professor Mortis using his own mysterious poison.[1]

Critical receptionEdit

The film was very successful in its original release, and was re-released in 1949. Authors Jim Harmon and Donald F. Glut describe Gang Busters as a "well made and interesting serial."[1]

Cline writes that the serial is one of Universal's best[2] and that Professor Mortis is one of the best characters ever created for a serial.[3]

Chapter titlesEdit

  1. The League of Murdered Men
  2. The Death Plunge
  3. Murder Blockade
  4. Hangman's Noose
  5. Man Undercover
  6. Under Crumbling Walls
  7. The Water Trap
  8. Murder by Proxy
  9. Gang Bait
  10. Mob Vengeance
  11. Wanted at Headquarters
  12. The Long Chance
  13. Law and Order


See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 Harmon, Jim; Donald F. Glut (1973). "8. The Detectives "Gangbusters!"". The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. Routledge. pp. 194. ISBN 978-0-7130-0097-9. 
  2. Cline, William C. (1984). "5. A Cheer for the Champions (The Heroes and Heroines)". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc.. pp. 89. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X. 
  3. Cline, William C. (1984). "7. Masters of Menace (The Villains)". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc.. pp. 108. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X. 
  4. Cline, William C. (1984). "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc.. pp. 232. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X. 

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Don Winslow of the Navy (1942)
Universal Serial
Gang Busters (1942)
Succeeded by
Junior G-Men of the Air (1942)
Th UniversalMonsters This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Gang Busters (serial).
The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Universal Monsters Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.