Todd Gault's Movie Serial Experience

Todd Gault's Film Serial Experience: Movie serials, cliffhangers and reviews. A gallery of movie serial stars.
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"The Vanishing Shadow"; Universal, 1934

Famed character actor Onslow Stevens has spent most of his career playing the same type of character, a good but weak willed man who goes in either one of two directions; he will pull himself together and become a better person, like in “Life Returns” (1935), or he can succumb to his baser instincts that lead to tragedy as in “House of Dracula” (1945).

When he started out Stevens played small roles in Universal films like “Secrets of the Blue Room” (1933). During his tenure at the studio that was famous for it’s monsters Stevens starred in two slam bang serials. “Heroes of the West” (1932) had Stevens playing the side kick of Noah Berry, Jr. who was trying to build a railroad through hostile Indian territory in Wyoming. His next and last serial, “The Vanishing Shadow” (1934), had Stevens front and center as a man trying to clear himself from a murder charge by utilizing an invisibility belt.

After leaving Universal, Stevens began playing villains in such films as “The Creeper” (1948), “Bomba, the Jungle Boy” (1940), and the Jungle Jim adventure “Mark of the Gorilla” (1950). During the fifties he starred in his own TV show “This Is the Life”.

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