Hawk of the Wilderness

Hawk of the Wilderness (1938) is a Republic Movie serial based on the Kioga novel of the same name by pulp writer William L. Chester.

Hawk of the Wilderness
Original poster for the 4th chapter of the serial
Directed byWilliam Witney
John English
Produced byRobert M. Beche
Written byBarry Shipman
Rex Taylor
Norman S. Hall
Ridgeway Callow
Sol Shor
William L. Chester (novel)
StarringHerman Brix
Ray Mala
Monte Blue
Jill Martin
Noble Johnson
William Royle
Tom Chatterton
Music byWilliam Lava
CinematographyWilliam Nobles
Edgar Lyons
Edited byEdward Todd
Helene Turner
Distributed byRepublic Pictures
Release date
  • December 3, 1938 (1938-12-03) (serial)[1]
  • 1950 (1950) (TV series)[1]
  • 1966 (1966) (film)[1]
Running time
12 chapters (213 minutes) (serial)[1]
6 26½-minute episodes (TV series)[1]
100 minutes (TV film)[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$117,987 (negative cost: $121,168)[1]

Kioga is very similar to the character of Tarzan, whom Herman Brix had also played on film in the 1935 Edgar Rice Burroughs-produced serial The New Adventures of Tarzan.


Dr Lincoln Rand Sr, leading an expedition to an uncharted island in the Arctic circle that may be the ancestral home of all Native Americans, is shipwrecked. The only survivors are Lincoln Rand Jr, Dr Rand's son and his servant Mokuyi.

Years later, a message from the sinking ship is found and an expedition sets out to find the island again. Part of the crew, led by smuggler Solerno, mutinies when they reach the island, abandoning Dr Munro and his expedition. Dr Munro and company are rescued by Lincoln Rand Jr, alias Kioga, the adult son of Dr Rand, who has been raised on the island by Mokuyi.


  • Herman Brix as Lincoln Rand Jr/Kioga ("Hawk of the Wilderness"), son of Dr Lincoln Rand Sr, a survivor of the initial shipwreck and raised by Mokuyi on the island
  • Ray Mala as Kias, Kioga's servant
  • Monte Blue as Yellow Weasel, villainous shaman opposed to Kioga, the Munros and the Smugglers
  • Noble Johnson as Mokuyi, the former servant of Kioga's late father. Rescued Kioga and, as the only other survivor of the shipwreck, raised him on the island
  • William Royle as Manuel Solerno, smuggler searching for wealth on the uncharted island
  • Tom Chatterton as Dr Edward Munro, a scientist who leads an expedition to discover the fate of his old friend Dr Rand
  • George Eldredge as Allen Kendall, a member of Dr Munro's expedition
  • Patrick J. Kelly as William 'Bill-Bill' Williams, another member of Dr Munro's expedition
  • Dick Wessel as Dirk
  • Fred Toones as George, Dr Munro's servant
  • Tuffie the dog as Tawnee
  • James Dime as Dark Cloud[2]


Hawk of the Wilderness was filmed between 18 September and 13 October 1938, with location filming in Mammoth Lakes, California. The serial was budgeted for $117,987 but the final negative cost rose slightly to $121,168.[1]

Tuffie was cast when his trainer, during the interview, said "Tuffie, it's dark in here. Turn on the light." Tuffie did so by finding the switch, pulling a chair across to reach it and flipping the switch with his paw.[3]

Silent parts of the serial were filmed with a one-inch lens. Cameraman Edgar Lyons had initially been filming more of the clouds in the sky than the actors, with the effect of partially cutting them out of the shot. The studio complained. Director William Witney compromised with the use of the wider lens, which would take in both cloudscape and actors. Only silent scenes were shot in this manner because the camera would be both closer to the actors and take in more of the surroundings, preventing the microphone from getting close enough to work properly.[3]

Special Effects

The special effects in this serial were created by the Lydecker brothers.


  • Ted Mapes as Kioga (doubling Herman Brix)
  • James Dime
  • George Montgomery
  • Henry Wills



Hawk of the Wilderness' official release date is 3 December 1938, although this is actually the date the sixth chapter was made available to film exchanges.[1]


In the early 1950s, Hawk of the Wilderness was one of fourteen Republic serials edited into a television series. It was broadcast in six 26½-minute episodes.[1]

It was also one of twenty-six Republic serials re-released as a film on television in 1966. The title of the film was changed to Lost Island of Kioga. This version was cut down to 100 minutes in length.[1]

Critical reception

The burial of Kias in the final chapter is regarded by Cline as one of the "very few successful attempts at drama in serials."[4]

Chapter titles

  1. Mysterious Island (28min 59s)
  2. Flaming Death (16min 40s)
  3. Tiger Trap (16min 46s)
  4. Queen's Ransom (16min 50s)
  5. Pendulum of Doom (16min 35s)
  6. The Dead Fall (16min 40s)
  7. White Man's Magic (16min 41s)
  8. Ambushed (16min 41s)
  9. Marooned (16min 41s) - a re-cap chapter
  10. Camp of Horror/Caves of Horror (16min 39s)[5]
  11. Valley of Skulls (16min 41s)
  12. Trail's End (16min 40s)


This was one of the two 12-chapter serials released by Republic in 1938, the other was The Fighting Devil Dogs. This year began the studio's standard release pattern of two 12-chapter and two 15-chapter serials in every year. This pattern remained until 1944 with the exception of 1942, which had only one 15-chapter serial released instead of two.


  1. Mathis, Jack (1995). Valley of the Cliffhangers Supplement. Jack Mathis Advertising. pp. 3, 10, 34–35. ISBN 0-9632878-1-8.
  2. Freese, Gene Scott (April 10, 2014). Hollywood Stunt Performers, 1910s-1970s: A Biographical Dictionary (2nd ed.). McFarland & Company. p. 75. ISBN 9780786476435.
  3. Witney, William (2005). In a Door, Into a Fight, Out a Door, Into a Chase: Moviemaking Remembered by the Guy at the Door. McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-2258-6
  4. Cline, William C. (1984). "3. The Six Faces of Adventure". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 37. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
  5. "Camp of Horror" is recorded as the title of the tenth chapter in William C. Cline’s In the Nick of Time while "Caves of Horror" is recorded as the title in Jack Mathis’ Valley of the Cliffhangers Supplement.
  6. Cline, William C. (1984). "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 223. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
Preceded by
Dick Tracy Returns (1938)
Republic Serial
Hawk of the Wilderness (1939)
Succeeded by
The Lone Ranger Rides Again (1939)
Preceded by
Dick Tracy Returns (1938)
Witney-English Serial
Hawk of the Wilderness (1939)
Succeeded by
The Lone Ranger Rides Again (1939)
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