I may have tracked down yet another film that inspired not only Jack Kirby, but Bill Finger as well. It's Republic's "DAREDEVILS OF THE RED CIRCLE". A trio of circus-style daredevils are nearly killed when a criminal madman burns down an amusement pier. The younger brother (about 8 years old) winds up DEAD, and the 3 men decide to devote all their energies to tracking down those responsible.
Year back, I figured when Kirby did "STUNTMAN" he may have been doing a variation on "Robin The Boy Wonder" from DETECTIVE COMICS #38 (Apr'40 cover date, which means it probably came out in January 1940). In that one, "The Flying Graysons" are murdered while their young 8-year-old son Dick watches, and vows revenge.
In STUNTMAN #1 (Apr'46, 6 years later), a similar scenario takes place, except the hero who arises from it is an adult, not a kid.
But "DAREDEVILS..." was released in June 1939, 6 months BEFORE Robin's debut. Robin's origin has been recounted endlessly in the comics, and by now, probably on TV and films as well. But I've NEVER once seen anyone mention or even suggest that it was a plot swiped from an earlier movie serial. It should have been obvious.
The cast includes Bruce Bennett (the 1st "authentic" Tarzan), Carole Landis (who I just found out had a tragic career and life that ended far too young), and Charles Middleton, managing to be even more despicable and evil than he was when he played Ming The Merciless.
Hands down, one of the very best serials, profh0011.
When I first saw this it reminded me of the Challengers of the Unknown, and for that matter of all of those DC adventure teams.
Bennett was known by his original name, Herman Brix, when he played Tarzan. Quite an athlete. He played for the University of Washington football team, appeared in the Rose Bowl, and was a star track and field athlete as well, including winning the silver as a shot-putter at the '28 Olympics.
I knew him first as one of the American tank crew in "Sahara," Mildred's stalwart husband Bert in "Mildred Pierce" and as a prospector in "Treasure of the Sierra Madre." Lived to be at least 100.
"The rarer action is In virtue than in vengeance." -- The Tempest, 5.1
Post by codystarbuck on Mar 4, 2021 23:48:57 GMT -5
Stuntman I can see, but there are a ton of circus-related films, stories and circuses, themselves, from that era that could have just as easily inspired Finger. You also had stuff like Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy, on the radio, Tarzan's son, Korak, Terry Lee of Terry and the Pirates, Peter Pan and some others you could make a case for. I can see Finger lifting plot elements from it, for the origin, though.
One thing is for certain, a lot of movies ripped off some of the stunts and cliffhangers from that one.
Herman Brix/Bruce Bennett is also in one of my favorites, Fighting Devil Dogs, whose villain, The Lightning, inspired the look of Darth Vader. The Devil Dogs heroes also appeared in Tim Truman and John K Snyder's The Revenge of the Prowler, which I am reviewing as part of Truman's 4 Winds production group, in the late 80s. The Prowler character, himself, is tied into the Poverty Row studios, particularly some of Lugosi's stuff.