The Mysterious Pilot

The Mysterious Pilot is a 15-episode 1937 Columbia movie serial based on the book by William Byron Mowery and starring the record-breaking aviator Frank Hawks. [N 1]This was the second serial produced by Columbia.[2] In the serial, Hawks plays a flying "mountie".[3]

The Mysterious Pilot
Chapter One poster (Note: The Howl of the Wolf is featured)
Directed bySpencer Gordon Bennet
Produced byLouis Weiss
Written byGeorge M. Merrick
George Rosener (screenplay)
Based in the novel The Silver Hawk, by William Byron Mowery
StarringFrank Hawks
Music byAbe Meyer (musical director/uncredited)
CinematographyEdward Linden
Herman Schopp B&W
Edited byEarl Turner (film editor)
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • December 9, 1937 (1937-12-09)
Running time
15 chapters (300 min)
CountryUnited States


Carter Snowden (Kenneth Harlan) about to marry Jean McNain (Dorothy Sebastian), is accused of murder. When his accuser is killed, Jean flees the train she is on, and heads into the Canadian woods. Snowden sends a bodyguard to find Jean, who appeals to RCMP Captain Jim Down (Frank Hawks) for help. With his friend "Kansas" (Rex Lease) and Indian Luke (Yakima Canutt), Jim hides Jean.

Snowden tracks down Jean and tries to lure her to his aircraft by telling her that Jim is injured and needs her. As soon as they realize what has happened, Jim and Kansas take to the air and force Snowden's aircraft down. Jean is unhurt but Snowden dies in the crash. Trying to get down to Jean, Jim's parachute gets tangled in the trees and Jean ends up rescuing him.

Chapter titles

  1. The Howl of the Wolf
  2. The Web Tangles
  3. Enemies of the Air
  4. In the Hands of the Law
  5. The Crack-up
  6. The Dark Hour
  7. Wings of Destiny
  8. Battle in the Sky{
  9. The Great Flight
  10. Whirlpool of Death
  11. The Haunted Mill
  12. The Lost Trail
  13. The Net Tightens
  14. Vengeance Rides the Airways
  15. Retribution




Mysterious Pilot was adapted from the novel "The Silver Hawk" by William Byron Mowery.[1][5] Frank Hawks was billed in Mysterious Pilot as the "Fastest airman in the world."[1] After each episode, Hawks appeared to deliver a "flying lesson". A Sikorsky S-39 amphibian was featured in the serial.[6]



  1. Frank Hawks had gained fame through public appearances, record-breaking aviation events and tireless promotion of his "brand".[1]


  1. Harmon and Glut 1973, p. 109.
  2. Weiss and Goodgold 1973, pp. 110–111.
  3. Pendo 1985, p. 16.
  4. Cline 1984, p. 213.
  5. Cline 1984, p. 11.
  6. Farmer 1984, p. 321.


  • Cline, William C. "In Search of Ammunition." In the Nick of Time. New York: McFarland & Company, Inc., 1984. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
  • Farmer, James H. Celluloid Wings: The Impact of Movies on Aviation. Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania: Tab Books Inc., 1984. ISBN 978-0-83062-374-7.
  • Harmon, Jim and Donald F. Glut. "Real Life Heroes: Just Strangle the Lion in Your Usual Way". The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. New York: Routledge Publishing, 1973. ISBN 978-0-7130-0097-9.
  • Pendo, Stephen. Aviation in the Cinema. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1985. ISBN 0-8-1081-746-2.
  • Weiss, Ken and Ed Goodgold. To be Continued ...: A Complete Guide to Motion Picture Serials. New York: Bonanza Books, 1973. ISBN 0-517-166259.
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