The Airmail Mystery
Airmail Mystery.jpeg
Film poster
Directed by Ray Taylor
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) March 28, 1932 (1932-03-28)
Running time 12 chapters (225 min)
Country United States
Language English

The Airmail Mystery (1932) is a Universal Pre-Code movie serial. It is considered to be lost.


Airmail pilot Bob Lee (James Flavin), owner of a gold mine, faces off against "The Black Hawk" who has kidnapped Jimmy Ross (Al Wilson), Bob's best friend. The Black Hawk carries out a series of attacks on Bob's ore shipments by air. He uses an unusual catapult that launches aircraft into the sky to intercept Bob's aircraft. With Mary Ross (Lucile Browne), his sweetheart, Bob constantly battles against his enemy, and eventually is able to defeat him.

Chapter titlesEdit

  1. Pirates of the Air
  2. Hovering Death
  3. A Leap for Life
  4. A Fatal Crash
  5. The Hawk Strikes
  6. The Bridge of Destruction
  7. The Hawk's Treachery
  8. The Aerial Third Degree
  9. The Attack on the Mine
  10. The Hawk's Lair
  11. The Law Strikes
  12. The Mail Must Go Through




The Airmail Mystery was Universal's first aviation serial and it set the pattern for the serials and feature films to follow.[2]

Al Wilson worked together with stuntmen like Frank Clarke and Wally Timm and also for movie companies, including Universal Pictures. After numerous appearances in stunt roles, he started his actor career in 1923, with the serial,The Eagle's Talons.[3] He produced his own movies until 1927, when he went back to work with Universal. Wilson was also one of the pilots in Hell's Angels (1930) and during filming, he was involved in an accident where the mechanic Phil Jones died. This episode marked the end of his career as stunt pilot in movies, although he continued to work as an actor. [4]

Wilson's last role was in The Airmail Mystery. After production was complete, during the National Air Races in Cleveland in 1932, Wilson's aircraft crashed and he died a few days later in hospital due to the injuries he suffered. The accident is documented in the film Pylon Dusters: 1932 and 1938 Air Races, an historic film about the 1932 Cleveland Air Race.[5]

See alsoEdit



  1. Cline 1984, p. 205.
  2. Cline 1984, p. 30.
  3. Wynne 1987, pp. 5–17.
  4. "Stunt Pilots." Silents are Golden. Retrieved: January 16, 2011.
  5. "The Albert P. "Al" Wilson." Davis-Monthan Airfield Register Website. Retrieved: January 16, 2011.


  • Cline, William C. "3. The Six Faces of Adventure". In the Nick of Time. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 1984. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
  • Cline, William C. "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 1984. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
  • Harmon, Jim and Donald F. Glut. The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. London: Routledge, 1973. ISBN 978-0-7130-0097-9.
  • Weiss, Ken and Ed Goodgold. To be Continued ...: A Complete Guide to Motion Picture Serials. New York: Bonanza Books, 1973. ISBN 0-517-166259.
  • Wynne, H. Hugh. The Motion Picture Stunt Pilots and Hollywood's Classic Aviation Movies. Missoula, Montana: Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., 1987. ISBN 0-933126-85-9.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Detective Lloyd (1932)
Universal Serial
The Airmail Mystery (1932)
Succeeded by
Heroes of the West (1932)