King of the Congo

King of the Congo is a 1952 American black-and-white 15 chapter movie serial, the 48th released by Columbia Pictures. It was produced by Sam Katzman, directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet and Wallace Grissell, and stars Buster Crabbe. The serial also co-stars Gloria Dea, Leonard Penn, Jack Ingram, Rick Vallin, Nick Stuart, William Fawcett, and Rusty Wescoatt. King of the Congo was based on the comic book character "Thun'da", created by Frank Frazetta, and published by Magazine Enterprises.

King of the Congo
Directed bySpencer Gordon Bennet
Wallace Grissell
Produced bySam Katzman
Written byRoyal K. Cole
Arthur Hoerl
George H. Plympton
StarringBuster Crabbe
Gloria Dea
Leonard Penn
Jack Ingram
Rick Vallin
Nick Stuart
William Fawcett
Rusty Wescoatt
Music byMischa Bakaleinikoff
CinematographyWilliam Whitley
Edited byEarl Turner
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
May 1, 1952 (1952-05-01)
Running time
252 minutes
CountryUnited States

A complicated serial that has more twists and turns than a maze, King of the Congo centers around a U.S. Air Force captain and his quest to find missing microfilm containing information vital to the United States government. His journey takes him across the Atlantic all the way to a jungle in Africa.


Captain Roger Drum (Buster Crabbe} shoots down an enemy plane carrying microfilm while on its way to deliver it to Africa. Intent on revealing the subversive group for whom the microfilm's message is intended, Drum assumes the pilot's identity. He flies his twin-engine aircraft across the Atlantic, where he crashes his aircraft in a remote African jungle. Drum is rescued by the primitive Rock People, led by Princess Pha (Gloria Dea). He is renamed Thunda, King of the Congo, after he repeatedly rings a temple gong with a large stone mallet to sound an alarm. With the subversives believing Thunda is their missing pilot, and under constant attack by another primitive tribe called the Cave Men, Captain Drum plots to bring down the subversive group, who are searching for a new metal more radioactive and powerful than uranium. At the serial's conclusion, Thunda (Drum) clears the jungle of the villains and reunites the Rock People and Cave Men.


Buster Crabbe as Thunda/Capt. Roger Drum
Gloria Dea as Princess Pha
Leonard Penn as Boris
Jack Ingram as Clark
Rick Vallin as Andreov
Nick Stuart as Degar
William Fawcett as High Priest
Rusty Wescoatt as Kor
Alex Montoya as Lipah
Frank Ellis as Ivan
Lee Roberts as Lt. Blake
Neyle Morrow as Nahee

Chapter titles

  1. Mission of Menace
  2. Red Shadows in the Jungle
  3. Into the Valley of Mist
  4. Thunda Meets His Match
  5. Thunda Turns the Tables
  6. Thunda's Desperate Charge
  7. Thunda Trapped
  8. Mission of Evil
  9. Menace of the Magnetic Rocks
  10. Lair of the Leopard
  11. An Ally from the Sky
  12. Riding Wild
  13. Red Raiders
  14. Savage Vengeance
  15. Judgment of the Jungle



King of the Congo was both the last Tarzan-style serial made and last serial to star Buster Crabbe.[2] Crabbe starred in nine serials between 1933 and 1952:

Filming locations

See also


  1. Cline, William C. (1984). "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 253. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
  2. Harmon, Jim; Donald F. Glut (1973). "6. Jungle "Look Out The Elephants Are Coming!"". The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. Routledge. p. 138. ISBN 978-0-7130-0097-9.
Preceded by
Captain Video: Master of the Stratosphere (1951)
Columbia Serial
King of the Congo (1952)
Succeeded by
Blackhawk (1952)
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