The Secret of Treasure Island

The Secret of Treasure Island

Infobox Film
name = The Secret of Treasure Island

image_size =
caption = Title card shown at the beginning of Chapter 10 of the serial
director = Elmer Clifton
producer = George M. Merrick
Jack Fier
Louis Weiss
writer = Elmer Clifton
L. Ron Hubbard
George M. Merrick
George Rosener
narrator =
starring = Don Terry
Gwen Gaze
Walter Miller
Grant Withers
George Rosener
Hobart Bosworth
music = Abe Meyer
cinematography = Edward Linden
Herman Schopp
editing = Earl Turner
distributor = Columbia Pictures
released = March 2, 1938
runtime =
country = USA
language = English
budget =
preceded_by = "The Mysterious Pilot"
followed_by = "The Great Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok"
website =
amg_id = 1:143068
imdb_id = 0030725

"The Secret of Treasure Island" (1938) is a Columbia movie serial based on Robert Louis Stevenson's novel "Treasure Island".cite book | last =Harmon | first =Jim | coauthors =Donald F. Glut | title =The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury | publisher =Routledge | date =1973 | pages =Page 329 | isbn = 071300097X] The serial is broken into fifteen chapters. Reporter Larry Kent travels to an island in the Caribbean to investigate the disappearance of his colleague, and discovers that the island contains a lost treasure trove of gold. Kent meets Toni Morrell, the daughter of a shipmate whose partner knew the location of the treasure, who helps him in his investigation and they search for the treasure together. During their investigation they are opposed by a villain named Collins and Dr. X., who attempts to kill Kent. Kent defeats Dr. X. in the final installment of the serial.

The story was written by L. Ron Hubbard, at the time a pulp science fiction writer who went on to found Scientology. [cite book | last =Malko | first =George | title = | publisher =Delacorte Press | date =1970 | pages =Page 38|isbn=1112963731] Associate producer Louis Weiss hired Elmer Clifton to direct, and Yakima Canutt worked on the action sequences. The serial was well received by fans, and William C. Cline wrote positively of the action sequences in his book "In the Nick of Time: Motion Picture Sound Serials". The serial received a one and a half star rating from "Allmovie".


The serial is set on a remote island in the Caribbean, where reporter Larry Kent (Don Terry) and his enemies search for a lost treasure trove of gold. Kent arrives on the island in search of another reporter who had gone missing. Kent discovers that valuable lost treasure is buried on the island, and finds half of a map which holds a clue to its location. Toni Morrell (Gwen Gaze), the daughter of a shipmate whose murdered partner knew where the treasure was buried, agrees to help Kent investigate his friend's disappearance and locate the treasure. Morrell and Kent are opposed by a villain named Collins (Walter Miller) who uses his henchmen and supply of weapons and land mines in an attempt to stop them. Kent's enemy in the film is Dr. X. (Hobart Bosworth) who wears a skull mask and pirate clothing, and is in the process of developing a powerful explosive. Due to the actions of Dr. X., Kent is nearly buried alive, killed with dynamite and slashed in a sword battle. He defeats Dr. X. in the last installment of the serial titled "Justice". [cite book | last =Weiss | first =Ken | coauthors =Ed Goodgold | title =To Be Continued... A Complete Guide to Motion Picture Serials | publisher =Bonanza Books | date =1972 | location =New York | page = 135| isbn = 0-517-503409]


Columbia announced plans to produce the serial in a June 29, 1937 press release describing their 1937-38 program. [cite news | last =Staff | title =Columbia to Make 62 Feature Films: Company's 1937-38 Program Includes 126 Shorts and Four Serial Pictures | work =The New York Times | publisher =The New York Times Company | date =June 30, 1937] It was the third serial by Columbia, and the first of five costume chapterplays.cite book | last =Cline | first =William C. | title =In the Nick of Time: Motion Picture Sound Serials | publisher =McFarland | date =1997 | pages =Pages 29, 164, 169, 182, 221 | isbn = 078640471X] According to Columbia, the story was updated from "Treasure Island", and adapted to fit the time period; L. Ron Hubbard, however, would claim that he had adapted the screenplay from his novel "Murder at Pirate Castle". [cite book | last =Pendle | first =George | title =Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons | publisher =Harcourt | date =2005 | pages =Page 254 | isbn = 015100997X] An advertisement in the "Motion Picture Herald" described Hubbard as a "famous action writer, stunt pilot and world adventurer", and stated that he had written an "excitement-jammed yarn with one of the best box office titles in years". [cite book | last =Miller | first =Russell | authorlink =Russell Miller | title = | publisher =Michael Joseph books | date =1987 | pages =Chapter 4: Blood and Thunder | isbn = 0-7181-2764-1] After his work on "The Secret of Treasure Island", L. Ron Hubbard also helped with the script for the 1941 Columbia movie serial, "The Spider Returns". [cite news | last =Harvey | first =Dennis | title =Battlefield Earth Review | work =Variety | publisher =Reed Business Information | date =May 12, 2000 | url = | accessdate = 2008-03-06]

Producer Jack Fier brought in Louis Weiss as associate producer, and hired Elmer Clifton to direct. Yakima Canutt worked on the action sequences in this serial and in "The Mysterious Pilot", which William C. Cline, author of "In the Nick of Time: Motion Picture Sound Serials" referred to as "outstanding" work. Earl Bun and Ken Peach handled special effects for the serial, including work on the appearance of the mysterious pirate villain.


*Don Terry as Larry Kent, a reporter investigating the disappearance of a colleague in the area
*Gwen Gaze as Toni Morrell
*Walter Miller as Carter 'The Shark' Collins, owner of the island
*Grant Withers as Roderick Gridley
*George Rosener as Capt. Samuel Cuttle
*Hobart Bosworth as Dr X.
*Sandra Karina as Nurse Zanya
*Patrick J. Kelly as Professor Gault
*Yakima Canutt as Dreer, Leader of the Mole Men, Collins' slave diggers


The serial was well received by fans, and helped to solidify Columbia's presence in movie serials. Hal Erickson of "Allmovie" gave the serial a rating of one and a half stars.cite news | last =Erickson | first =Hal | title =The Secret of Treasure Island | work =Allmovie | publisher =Macrovision Corporation | url = | accessdate = 2008-03-06 ] In his book "In the Nick of Time: Motion Picture Sound Serials", William C. Cline described the action in the serial as "well paced and lively". Alan G. Barbour's book "Days of Thrills and Adventure: History of the American motion picture serial from 1930-50" called "The Secret of Treasure Island" "one of Columbia's few good serials", and described actor Don Terry's performance as "excellent".cite book| last =Barbour | first =Alan G. | coauthors =William K. Everson, Buster Crabbe | title =Days of Thrills and Adventure: History of the American motion picture serial from 1930-50 | publisher =Collier Books | date =1970 | pages =Pages xx, 99, 129]

The serial was highlighted as part of "Serial Fest 2002" in Pennsylvania, which also included serials "Batman and Robin", "Mysterious Doctor Satan" and "The Adventures of Rex and Rinty". [cite news | last =Mervis | first =Scott | title =Watch Out For Dinosaurs: Super serials | work =Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | page =2 | date =May 10, 2002] [cite news | last =Weiskind| first =Ron | title =New Multiplex to Open in Sarver | work =Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | page =C-8 | date =May 4, 2002] The serial was shown along with the 1922 "Down to the Sea in Ships" at the 2006 Memphis Film Festival, and in an article about the festival John Beifuss of "The Commercial Appeal" called the two serials "Elmer Clifton classics". [cite news | last =Beifuss| first =John | title =Blast from the past -- Memphis Film Festival draws classic characters with plenty of boomer appeal| work =The Commercial Appeal| page =G4-5| date =June 16, 2006]

Chapter titles

# The Isle of Fear
# The Ghost Talks
# The Phantom Duel
# Buried Alive
# The Girl Who Vanished
# Trapped by the Flood
# The Cannon Roars
# The Circle of Death
# The Pirate's Revenge
# The Crash
# Dynamite
# The Bridge of Doom
# The Mad Flight
# The Jaws of Destruction
# Justice

ee also

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


External links

*amg movie|1:143068
*imdb title|id=0030725|title=The Secret of Treasure Island

###@@@KEY@@@###succession box
title=Columbia Serial
before="The Mysterious Pilot" (1937)
years="The Secret of Treasure Island" (1938)
after="The Great Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok" (1938)

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