The Vigilante

The Vigilante

name = The Vigilante

caption = Movie Poster
director = Wallace Fox
producer = Sam Katzman
writer = Lewis Clay
Arthur Hoerl
George H. Plympton
starring = Ralph Byrd
Ramsay Ames
Lyle Talbot
George Offerman Jr.
music = Mischa Bakaleinikoff "musical director"
Sidney Cutner
cinematography = Ira H. Morgan
editing = Earl Turner
distributor = Columbia Pictures
released = 1947
runtime = 15 chapters (285 min)
country = USA
language = English
budget =
gross =
preceded_by = "Jack Armstrong"
followed_by = "The Sea Hound"
website =
amg_id = 1:136960
imdb_id = 0039957

"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", and was starred by Ralph Byrd, well known for his central role in the Dick Tracy serials. It was his last ever serial appearance.

This serial makes the Vigilante one of the first live action adaptations of a DC Comics character, beating Superman by one year although Batman had already made an appearance with his own serial in 1943 (also from Columbia).


"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 (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 the Prince Hamil arrives to 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 learn that a prince'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, as his answer to Batman's Robin, although Stuff ran a lot more errands than Robin, since they did not have a butler like Alfred.

In the serial version, Stuff became a white, draft-age sidekick played by George Offerman Jr., which fit with the costume changes that Columbia tagged "The Vigilante" character with a snappy-brim fedora and a Montgomery Ward catalog, white Gene Autry-style shirt, instead of the large flat-brimmed hat and double-button blue shirt he wore in the comic books. The nose-chin covering bandana is about all that survived the comic book to screen transfer. They also changed Greg Sanders, the Vigilante's alter-ego, from a radio troubador to a western film actor and miscast Ralph Byrd in the role as the masked government agent.


* Actor Robert Barron was wrongly listed on-screen as Prince Hassan but referred to as Hamil.
* Director Wallace Fox makes a cameo appearance as the director filming Greg Sanders' movie at George Pierce's ranch.

Chapter titles

#The Vigilante Rides Again
#Mystery of the White Horses
#Double Peril!
#Desperate Flight
#In the Gorilla's Cage
#Battling the Unknown
#Midnight Rendezvous
#Blasted to Eternity
#The Fatal Flood
#Danger Ahead
#X-1 Closes In
#Danger Rides the Rails
#The Trap That Failed
#Closing In
#The Secret of the Skyroom

Other versions

The Vigilante also appeared in several episodes of the animated series "Justice League Unlimited" (2004-2006) voiced by Nathan Fillion. This version was truer to the original comic than the serial version, although both were motorcycle riding cowboys.

ee also

*List of film serials by year
*List of film serials by studio

External links

*imdb title|id=0039957|title=The Vigilante
* [ The Vigilante article at Todd Gault's Movie Serial Experience]
* [ Comic Book Profiles: The Vigilante - the 1947 Movie Serial]

###@@@KEY@@@###succession box
title=Columbia Serial
before="Jack Armstrong" (1947)
years="The Vigilante" (1947)
after="The Sea Hound" (1947)

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