The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu

The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu is a syndicated American television series that aired in 1956. The show was produced by Hollywood Television Service, a subsidiary of Republic Pictures.[1]

The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu
Also known asThe Adventures of Fu Manchu
Directed byFranklin Adreon
William Witney
StarringGlen Gordon
Lester Matthews
Clark Howat
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Hollywood Television Service
Original networkNBC
Picture formatBlack and white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 3 
November 26, 1956


Early in the 1950s, an NBC pilot starring Cedric Hardwicke was made, but the sponsors were disappointed in the scripts, and the TV series never materialized.[2][3]

In 1955, Republic Pictures paid US$4 million to Sax Rohmer and announced they would film 78 episodes, but only 13 were made following a protracted court battle over the rights between Rohmer and the producers.[4]


Each episode would start off with Fu Manchu and Nayland Smith playing a game of chess with the narrator telling us, "Black and white. Life and death. Good and evil. Two sides of a chess game. Two forces of the universe, one magnificent, the other sinister. It is said the Devil plays for men's souls. So does Dr. Fu Manchu, Satan himself, evil incarnate." At the end of each episode, after Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie had foiled Fu Manchu's latest fiendish scheme, Fu Manchu would be seen breaking a black chess piece as the closing credits rolled.

The series was directed by noted serial director Franklin Adreon as well as William Witney. Unlike the Holmes/Watson type relationship of the films, the series featured Smith as a law enforcement official and Petrie as a staff member of the Surgeon General.

The series was similar in some ways to a serial but each episode ended in a resolution rather than a cliffhanger. Republic sent out a film crew to Hong Kong to shoot background footage and supplied stock footage from its library of films.

Episode list

Title Original air date
1"The Prisoner of Dr. Fu Manchu"September 3, 1956 (1956-09-03)
2"The Golden God of Dr. Fu Manchu"September 10, 1956 (1956-09-10)
3"The Secret of Fu Manchu"September 17, 1956 (1956-09-17)
4"The Vengeance of Dr. Fu Manchu"September 24, 1956 (1956-09-24)
5"Dr. Fu Manchu, Incorporated"October 1, 1956 (1956-10-01)
6"The Plague of Dr. Fu Manchu"October 8, 1956 (1956-10-08)
7"The Slave of Dr. Fu Manchu"October 15, 1956 (1956-10-15)
8"Dr. Fu Manchu's Raid"October 22, 1956 (1956-10-22)
9"The Death Ships of Dr. Fu Manchu"October 29, 1956 (1956-10-29)
10"The Counterfeiters of Dr. Fu Manchu"November 5, 1956 (1956-11-05)
11"The Master Plan of Dr. Fu Manchu"November 12, 1956 (1956-11-12)
12"The Satellites of Dr. Fu Manchu"November 19, 1956 (1956-11-19)
13"The Assassins of Dr. Fu Manchu"November 26, 1956 (1956-11-26)

Feature films

Several of the episodes were put together into feature films that were released in Germany.[5]

Cast and characters


  1. Hardy, Phil The BFI Companion to Crime University of California Press 1998
  2. Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (9th ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
  3. Terrace, Vincent (1976). The Complete Encyclopedia of Television Programs 1947-1976 (Vol. 1). South Brunswick and New York: A.S. Barnes and Company. ISBN 0-498-01561-0.
  4. Mank, Gregory William. Hollywood Cauldron: Thirteen Horror Films From The Genre's Golden Age. McFarland & Co, 2001. p. 84
  5. p.78 Bergfelder, Tim International Adventures: German Popular Cinema and European Co-productions in the 1960s Berghahn Books, 1 Jan 2005
  6. Aaker, Everett (2006). Encyclopedia of Early Television Crime Fighters. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6409-8. Pp. 26-27.
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