Ace Drummond (serial)

Ace Drummond is a Universal Pictures 1936 film serial based on the comic strip "Ace Drummond" written by Captain Eddie Rickenbacker and drawn by Clayton Knight. The serial's cast features John King, Jean Rogers, Noah Beery, Jr. and Jackie Morrow, with Lon Chaney, Jr. in a supporting role.

Ace Drummond
Film poster for Chapter 8
Directed byFord Beebe
Clifford Smith
StarringJohn 'Dusty' King
Jean Rogers
Noah Beery, Jr.
Lon Chaney, Jr.
CinematographyRichard Fryer
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • October 19, 1936 (1936-10-19)
Running time
13 chapters (258 min)
CountryUnited States


A mysterious villain who calls himself The Dragon is attempting to prevent International Airways from beginning service in Mongolia, in order to protect the secret of the mountain of jade for himself. It features a dungeon in the nearby monastery, the kidnapping of an archeologist who stumbles onto the secret, his daughter's attempts to rescue him with Ace's help, a death ray The Dragon uses on the airline pilots, a radio system by which The Dragon communicates with his henchmen via the rotation of Buddhist prayer wheels (each transmission concluding "The Dragon commands!"), and a squadron of his own fighter planes.


together with: Sam Ash as LePage; Hooper Atchley as Caldoni; Louis Vincenot as Lo Tan; Eddie Parker as Dmitri; Tom Steele and George De Normand as Other Henchman; Russell Wade as Pilot; House Peters, Jr. as Co-Pilot; Diana Gibson as Stewardess; and Ed Piel, Sr. as Passenger.


Ace Drummond was based on a comic strip by Captain Eddie Rickenbacker.[1]

Ace Drummond gained good publicity following a set visit by Amelia Earhart. The famous aviator had driven out to the San Fernando Valley, after hearing that the serial was being shot there on location, where she watched the filming of the chapter two cliffhanger.[2]

In the traditional foreword at the beginning of each chapter, Ace Drummond used comic strips to summarise the story so far. This worked well, and Universal who had been trying to get away from using written text in its forewords, used "similar gimmicks" in their succeeding serials.[2][3]


Ace also regularly performs his theme song, "Give Me a Ship and a Song".

Critical reception

In the words of Cline, Ace Drummond "exuded the futuristic aura of Flash Gordon combined with the eerie mystery of Baron Frankenstein's castle laboratory."[4]

Chapter titles

  • Chapter 1 - Where East Meets West
  • Chapter 2 - The Invisible Enemy
  • Chapter 3 - The Doorway of Doom
  • Chapter 4 - The Radio Riddle
  • Chapter 5 - Bullets of Sand
  • Chapter 6 - Evil Spirits
  • Chapter 7 - The Trackless Trail
  • Chapter 8 - The Sign in the Sky
  • Chapter 9 - Secret Service
  • Chapter 10 - The Mountain of Jade
  • Chapter 11 - The Dragon Commands
  • Chapter 12 - The Squadron of Death
  • Chapter 13 - The World's Akin

Source for titles:[5]

See also


  1. Cline, William C. (1984). "2. The Perils of Success". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 17. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
  2. Harmon, Jim; Donald F. Glut (1973). "7. The Aviators "Land That Plane at Once, You Crazy Fool"". The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. Routledge. pp. 149, 151. ISBN 978-0-7130-0097-9.
  3. Stedman, Raymond William (1971). "5. Shazam and Good-by". Serials: Suspense and Drama By Installment. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 138. ISBN 978-0-8061-0927-5.
  4. Cline, William C. (1984). "3. The Six Faces of Adventure". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 32. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
  5. Cline, William C. (1984). "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 215–216. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
Preceded by
The Phantom Rider (1936)
Universal Serial
Ace Drummond (1936)
Succeeded by
Jungle Jim (1936)
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