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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"Government Agents vs. Phantom Legion"; Republic, 1951.

People always talk about Bela Lugosi being an actor who never turned down a role. The same could be said for George Meeker. Like Lugosi, he came to prominance on the stage before film, debuting on Broadway in 1924 with Judy Drops In. His Hollywood debut was John Ford's Four Sons (1928). An expert polo player, Meeker was just as much in demand for his skills on the polo field as he was in films, having featured parts in Fireman Save My Child (1932) and Night of Terror (1933).

Sometime in the mid thirties he began losing popularity as a character actor, making small appearances in such A pictures as Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), Stella Dallas (1937), Casablanca (1942) and The Ox Bow Incident (1943); all uncredited. But if the big studios didn't want to use him Meeker kept busy on poverty row appearing in I Accuse My Parents (1945), Mr. Muggs Goes to Town (1945) and Murder is My Business (1946) to name a very few films that used his sinister good looks to full advantage.

Is it little wonder that the serials would not also use Meeker in their productions. Columbia started the ball rolling in this corner casting him as suave gangsters in Brenda Starr, Reporter (1945), Chick Carter, Detective (1946) and Superman (1948). Moving over to Republic, Meeker started the new decade with his most sympathetic part, playing a foreign scientist forced to help the title villain in The Invisible Monster (1950). But such complex roles were short lived as he played one of several truck company owers suspected of being a foreign spy in Government Agents vs. Phantom Legion (1951). Meeker retired from acting soon after.

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