Sky Raiders

Sky Raiders is a 12-episode 1941 Universal film serial. The serial was directed by Ford Beebe and Ray Taylor. Sky Raiders stars Donald Woods, Billy Halop, Robert Armstrong and Eduardo Ciannelli.[1] Sky Raiders has little in common with Universal’s other early-1940s espionage outings like Sea Raiders or Junior G-Men, although the serial is often lumped in together as if it is part of a series.[2]

Sky Raiders
Directed byFord Beebe
Ray Taylor
Produced byHenry MacRae
Written byEliot Gibbons
Clarence Upson Young
Paul Huston
StarringDonald Woods
Billy Halop
Robert Armstrong
Eduardo Ciannelli
Kathryn Adams
Music byCharles Previn
CinematographyJerome Ash
William A. Sickner
Edited bySaul A. Goodkind (supervisor)
Joseph Gluck
Louis Sackin
Alvin Todd
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • April 8, 1941 (1941-04-08)
Running time
12 chapters (227 minutes)
CountryUnited States


Former World War I ace pilot Captain Bob Dayton, (Donald Woods) is the owner of Sky Raiders, Inc., an aircraft company. Dayton has designed a bombsight and a new high speed fighter aircraft, the "Sky Raider". Dayton recruits young Tim Bryant (Billy Halop), a member of Air Youth of America, to help him.

Nazi agent Felix Lynx (Eduardo Ciannelli) attempts to steal these designs for his own country. Lynx is determined to seize this valuable new aircraft, with the help of his female accomplice Innis Clair (Jacqueline Dalya) and of a criminal named John KAne who happens to be a perfect double for Dayton. All attempts, however, to steal the fighter aircraft prototype, fail.

Dayton's new bombsight is being tested in Hawaii, and Lynx intercepts a Sikorsky S-45 flying boat on the way to Honolulu. After it is shot down, Dayton and his secretary Mary Blake (Kathryn Adams) who were on board, were rescued by a government cutter.

Lieutenant Carry (Robert Armstrong) and Tim meet the survivors but find that Lynx has sent his henchmen to finish the job. The foreign agents are killed when they hit an oncoming truck. Mary announces that she has become Mrs. Dayton.

Chapter titles

  1. Wings of Disaster!
  2. Death Rides the Storm
  3. The Toll of Treachery
  4. Battle in the Clouds
  5. The Fatal Blast
  6. Stark Terror!
  7. Flaming Doom
  8. The Plunge of Peril
  9. Torturing Trials
  10. Flash of Fate
  11. Terror of the Storm
  12. Winning Warriors!



  • Donald Woods as Captain Bob Dayton / John Kane, World War I ace and co-owner of Sky Raiders, Inc.
  • Billy Halop as Tim Bryant, member of the Air Youth of America
  • Robert Armstrong as Lieutenant Ed Carey, co-owner of Sky Raiders, Inc.
  • Eduardo Ciannelli as Felix Lynx, Nazi agent
  • Kathryn Adams as Mary Blake, Sky Raiders, Inc.'s secretary
  • Jacqueline Dalya as Innis Clair
  • Jean Fenwick as The Countess Irene
  • Reed Hadley as Caddens, one of Lynx's henchmen
  • Irving Mitchell as R.S. Hinchfield
  • Edgar Edwards as Teal, one of Lynx's henchmen
  • John Holland as Hess, one of Lynx's henchmen
  • Roy Gordon as Major General Fletcher
  • Alex Callam as Captain Long
  • Phil Warren as Bakeman, the crackpot with gun
  • Bill Cody, Jr. as Jack Hurd, a young boy


Many exterior shots for Sky Raiders were made at the Grand Central Air Terminal, Glendale, California. A rare Phillips 1-B Aeroneer appears in the serial.[4] Bob Dayton's personal aircraft is a Fairchild 24W-9 (c/n W-101, NC18688).[5]

Aerial photography was a mixture of "fairly effective combinations of process-screen shots, (obvious) model work, stock footage and actual flying work by stunt pilot Jerry Jerome."[6]

The aircraft used in Sky Raiders are:



Reviewer Hans J. Wollstein, wrote in his review of Sky Raiders for Allmovie, "Universal catered to the young fans of aviation with this airborne serial, which featured a plucky kid –'Bowery Boy' Billy Halop – and plenty of 'sky riders'. Famous aviator Bob Dayton (Donald Woods) hires a bright member of the Air Youth of America, Tim (Halop), to help him finalize a hush-hush project: a new type of fighter plane and bombsight. This being 1941, plenty of enemy agents are after the invention, including the nefarious Felix Lynx (Eduardo Cianelli). It takes Dayton, Tim, and the co-owner of Sky Raiders, Inc., Lieutenant Ed Carey (Robert Armstrong) 12 breathless chapters before they are able to defeat the enemy. The final installment was quite appropriately entitled 'Winning Warriors'."[8]

See also



  1. Stock footage of the Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro, piloted by Amelia Earhart in 1931, was shown.[7]


  1. Weiss and Goodgold 1973, p. 191.
  2. Rainey 2010, p. 120.
  3. Cline 1984 p. 229.
  4. Farmer 1984, p. 327.
  5. Santoir, Christian. "Review: 'Sky Raiders'." aeromovies, October 16, 2010. Retrieved: July 11, 2019.
  6. Blake, Jerry. "Review: 'Sky Raiders'." The Files of Jerry Blake, January 17, 2014. Retrieved: July 11, 2019.
  7. Lovell 1989, pp. 168–172.
  8. Wollstein, Hans J. "Review: 'Sky Raiders'.", 2019. Retrieved: July 11, 2019.


  • Cline, William C. "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 1984. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
  • Farmer, James H. Celluloid Wings: The Impact of Movies on Aviation (1st ed.). Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania: TAB Books 1984. ISBN 978-0-83062-374-7.
  • Lovell, Mary S. The Sound of Wings: The Life of Amelia Earhart. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989. ISBN 978-1-4668-6648-5.
  • Rainey, Buck. Serials and Series: A World Filmography, 1912–1956. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2010. ISBN 978-1-47660-448-0.
  • Weiss, Ken and Ed Goodgold. To be Continued ...: A Complete Guide to Motion Picture Serials. New York: Bonanza Books, 1973. ISBN 0-517-166259.
Preceded by
The Green Hornet Strikes Again! (1941)
Universal Serial
Sky Raiders (1941)
Succeeded by
Riders of Death Valley (1941)
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