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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William Bakewell

William Bakewell had a typical journey thorugh the trenches of Hollywood. He started out as a popular juvenile lead in films like The Last Edition (1925) and West Point (1928). With the coming of sound and obvious maturity Bakewell moved over to supporting roles through out the thirties in All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), Spirit of Notre Dame (1931) and Gone with the Wind (1939). This trend was continued in his serial career. Columbia cast him as a secondary lead behind real life big game hunter Frank Buck in The Jungle Menace (1937), as a rubber plantation owner in need of Buck's skill to stop a gang of crooks from trying to take his property away from him.

As he progressed through the forties, Bakewell moved from supporting player in films like Dr. Kildare's Victory (1941) to bit parts in The Farmer's Daughter (1947) and The Capture (1950). It seemed like his serial career would take the same route when he appeared as a minor character in Republic's King of the Mounties (1942), but then something strange happened, Columbia cast him as the lead in their adaptation of the popular comic book aviator Hop Harrigan (1946), where battles not only a mystery villain, but also a mad scientist.

The fifties found Bakewell enjoying some succeess on the new medium of TV with recurring roles on Disney's Davy Crockett and the prime time version of The Pinky Lee Show. He also made his last serial at this time, playing George Wallace's assistant trying to prevent an alien invasion in Republic's Radar Men From the Moon (1952).

Bakewell then became a dependable guest star on TV making appearances on The Beverly Hillbillies, Bonanza, and Green Acres. Finally in the late sixties, Bakewell gave up acting and turned his talents toward becoming a sucessful realtor.

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