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FLASH GORDON SERIALS

Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938)

Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars is a 1938 Universal Pictures 15–chapter movie serial, based on the syndicated newspaper comic strip Flash Gordon. It is the second of the three Flash Gordon serials made by Universal between 1936 and 1940. The main cast from the first serial reprise their roles: Buster Crabbe as Flash Gordon, Jean Rogers as Dale Arden, Frank Shannon as Dr. Alexis Zarkov, Charles B. Middleton as Ming the Merciless, and Richard Alexander as Prince Barin. Also in the principal cast are Beatrice Roberts as Queen Azura, Donald Kerr as Happy Hapgood, Montague Shaw as the Clay King, and Wheeler Oakman as Ming's chief henchman. The serial was followed by Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe in 1940.

When a mysterious beam of light starts disrupting and destroying the Earth's atmosphere, Flash Gordon, Dr. Zarkov, and Dale Arden - accidentally accompanied by wisecracking reporter Happy Hapgood - swing into action in Zarkov's rocketship, believing that it could be coming from the planet Mongo. Once in space, however, they discover that the ray is originating from Mars.

Journeying to the fourth planet, they discover that their old enemy from Mongo, Ming the Merciless (Charles B. Middleton), whom they had believed dead, is still alive, and has formed an alliance with Azura (Beatrice Roberts), the Witch Queen of Mars. From Azura's planet, and under her protection, he is operating a gigantic Nitron ray that is destroying Earth's atmosphere. Azura's powers include the ability to transmute people into figures of living clay, condemned to live in darkened caves, and she is hated and feared by most of the population. Conversely, the Clay People, led by their King (C. Montague Shaw), know the secret of how to eliminate Azura's power, but lack the means of escaping the caves to which their ruined bodies restrict them, in order to battle her.

Gordon and his party would seem to hold the answer to their problem, except that the Clay People don't trust them at first, and end up holding Dale Arden hostage. Ultimately the Earth visitors and the Clay People become allies in the tandem quest to defeat Azura and stop Ming from destroying the Earth. Flash, Dale, Zarkov, and Hapgood do battle against Azura's magic and her Martian space-force, Ming's super-scientific weaponry, the treacherous Forest People, and other dangers on the Red Planet. Finally, they win by the classic strategy of divide-and-conquer, showing Azura that Ming has been plotting behind her back to take power from her.

Azura's alliance with Ming is broken, at the cost of the Queen's own life, but the Clay People are freed from their curse. And the evil emperor of Mongo, his Nitron ray destroyed and his escape cut off on all sides by the now hostile Martian forces, is finally destroyed by the accidental result of his own machinations and treachery.

Universal Pictures had already prepared an edited to feature-length version of this serial, which was already in print and ready for release in October 1938 when Orson Welles astounded the country with his Mercury Theatre on the Air radio production of H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds. Universal then quickly had the feature's title changed to Mars Attacks the World, and a week after the Welles broadcast, opened it at a Broadway theater as a major premiere event.

The original title for this feature had been Rocket Ship, which was subsequently used for reissues of the first Flash Gordon serial's feature version, which had been originally released under its source serial's title in 1936 in the United Kingdom. The film was a box office success and Time magazine in 1938 declared the serial to be "a Grade A cinemedition of the famed King Features strip.". Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars had a smaller budget than the first Flash Gordon serial.

This serial, the first sequel to Flash Gordon, was based on the 1936 "Big Little Book" adaptation of the strip "Flash Gordon and the Witch Queen of Mongo".

Although the comic strip version had never visited Mars, it was to be once again used for some source material, primarily for the character of Queen Azura. The character had appeared in the Sunday strip as a Witch Queen of Mongo, who had taken a fancy to Flash and drugged him with Lethium to erase his memory in order to control him. In the new serial, Azura, whilst not actually being called a witch, is a "Queen of Magic" and ruler of the planet Mars.

Azura would undoubtedly have made a credible enough threat to carry a 15-chapter serial on her own but the producers were acutely aware of the popularity of Ming the Merciless. Although Ming had been killed off, he was considered too good a draw to remain dead and so was resurrected to do battle with Flash Gordon once again.

Like the first serial the Earth is suddenly faced with imminent destruction from a nearby planet, which leads to Flash, Dale and Zarkov traveling to the alien world in a rocket ship in order to save mankind. The script this time around is much tighter than that for the original serial. In the first serial, the threat of Earth's destruction has practically been banished by the conclusion of the opening chapter, and the rest of the serial sees Flash virtually being pushed into one perilous situation after another. In Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars, the threat to Earth remains throughout the serial, giving Flash a clear objective and underpinning the urgency for his struggle against Ming and Azura to be successful. This is later joined by a secondary quest, to free the friendly Clay People from the curse bestowed upon them by Queen Azura.

The characters of Flash and Dale have undergone slight adjustments. In the first serial Flash was an athletic hero short on dialogue. In Mars, Flash is a much more eloquent, intelligent, and proactive champion, and Buster Crabbe rises to the challenge admirably with a magnificent performance. Dale is no longer prone to screaming or fainting at the slightest sign of danger (with one or two exceptions), nor does she spend half of the serial moping about her beloved Flash. She is shown to be more intelligent and resourceful this time around, a reflection of the development the comic strip version of Dale was going through.

In addition the sexual element, a daring ingredient of both the comic strip and the first serial, was considerably toned down for the sequel. Flash and Dale show a lot less flesh (Flash and Zarkov get pants this time). Ming seems to have completely forgotten his earlier fixation with Dale (perhaps he was only attracted to her blonde hair, she is brunette in this serial, to match her comic strip counterpart), and Azura's interest in Flash is kept low-key.

A new character is added to the mix in the form of Happy Hapgood (right), a probing news reporter who unwittingly finds himself traveling to Mars with Flash and gives a few moments of comic relief.

In the 1950s, the three serials were broadcast on American television. To avoid confusion with a made-for-TV Flash Gordon series airing at the same time, they were retitled, becoming respectively Space Soldiers, Space Soldiers' Trip to Mars, and Space Soldiers Conquer the Universe.

They were shown by PBS U.S. stations, and by the BBC in the United Kingdom (where they aired as Flash Gordon serials, under their original titles), bringing Flash Gordon to a new generation, two years before the films Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind re-ignited interest in science fiction.

Boosted by their having been part of the inspiration behind Star Wars, in the UK the serials continued to enjoy sporadic reruns on the BBC into the mid-1980s, mostly at Christmastime.

CHAPTERS

1. New Worlds to Conquer

March 21, 1938

"Look Doc something has happened to the instruments."

- Flash Gordon

Ming the Merciless, escaping from Mongo, lands on Mars and enlists the aid of Azura, Queen of Magic. By means of a Nitron Lamp, they are drawing the atmosphere from the earth in an effort to destroy it. Doctor Zarkov discovers their plan and sets out with Flash Gordon to save civilization. They are about to destroy the Nitron Lamp, when the Martians open fire with a powerful ray gun.

Dr. Zarkov is called "Alexis Zarkov" in this serial, not Hans Zarkov, as he is in the Flash Gordon comic strip.

BBC broadcasts of this chapter in the UK in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s omitted the sequence where Happy Hapgood calls at Dr Zarkov's residence and speaks to his black butler.

This chapter picks up immediately from the final chapter of the first serial, which ended with Flash, Dale, and Zarkov travelling from Mongo back to Earth. Dale has somehow acquired a new hairstyle during the trip, her hair was long and blonde when she left Mongo, but it's dark and short as she approaches Earth.

2. The Living Dead

March 28, 1938

"Flash Gordon and Doctor Zarkov are on Mars."

- Ming the Merciless

In our last episode...

Ming the Merciless, escaping from Mongo, lands on Mars and enlists the aid of Azura, Queen of Magic.

By means of a Nitron Lamp, they are drawing the atmosphere from the earth in an effort to destroy it.

Doctor Zarkov discovers their plan and sets out with Flash Gordon to save civilization.

They are about to destroy the Nitron Lamp, when the Martians open fire with a powerful ray gun.

Now...

Ming the Merciless, intent on destroying the Earth, enlist the aid of Azura, Queen of Magic. By means of a powerful nitron lamp, they are drawing the atmosphere from the Earth. Flash flies to Mars to save the Earth but is forced down by Azura’s soldiers. The earth people make a forced landing in the Valley of Desolation, pursued by martians.

Ming recognises Zarkov's ship as one stolen from him on Mongo, however this contradicts the events portrayed in the earlier serial. Firstly, Flash and friends returned to Earth from Mongo in Zarkov's own rocketship. Secondly, at the time they flew back home Ming had apparently gone to his death in the lair of the fire dragon, and was in no position to know whether or not a ship had been stolen.

Following the failed attack on the Nitron Lamp, Flash exhibits an unlikely degree of marksmanship. Aiming a normal pistol through the porthole of his stratosled, he is able to hit the pilot of one of the pursuing vessels perfectly even though he is not near any of the windows.

Happy shoots at the Clay People before confirming they are hostile. None of the party from Earth have attempted to engage the Clay People in dialogue or try to make peace with them. When Happy shoots at the Clay People, they all laugh silently. This suggests they are mute, however subsequent chapters show that they can all speak normally.

3. Queen of Magic

April 4, 1938

"They spotted us!"

- Doctor Zarkov

In our last episode...

Ming the Merciless, intent on destroying the earth, enlists the aid of Azura, Queen of Magic.

By means of a powerful nitron lamp, they are drawing the atmosphere from the earth.

Flash flies to Mars to save the earth but is forced down by Azura's soldiers.

The earth people make a forced landing in the Valley of Desolation, pursued by Martians.

Now...

Ming the Merciless and Azura, Queen of Magic, join forces to wage war against the rest of the world. Arriving on Mars to save civilization, Flash, Dale, Zarkov and Happy become prisoners of the clay people. With Dale as hostage, the clay king commands Flash to bring Azura to their underground kingdom. Flash, disguised as a martian pilot, tries to trick Azura into disclosing the secret of her magic power.

Although rather more modest, the Martian costume Dale wears from this chapter onwards shares several design elements with that worn by actress Zita Johann in Universal's earlier film The Mummy (1932). A version of Dale's original costume will be seen on one of the extras in the next Flash Gordon serial, Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe.

There is some sloppy editing during the sequence where Flash speaks with the Clay King. The Clay King remains seated on his throne throughout the scene, yet some brief cutaway close-ups of the King show him standing up.

4. Ancient Enemies

April 11, 1938

"They deserve no mercy at our hands."

- Ming the Merciless

In our last episode...

Ming the Merciless, and Azura, Queen of Magic, join forces to wage war against the rest of the world.

Arriving on Mars, to save civilization, Flash, Dale, Zarkov and Happy become prisoners of the Clay People.

With Dale Hostage, the Clay King commands Flash to bring Azura to their underground kingdom.

Flash, disguised as a Martian pilot, tries to trick Azura into disclosing the secret of her magic power.

Now...

Flash and Zarkov set out to free the clay people from the curse that hangs over them. Meanwhile, Azura, Queen of Magic, orders a bomber to destroy the clay people. Convinced that Flash has betrayed them, the clay king places Dale and Happy in line of fire. Flash realizes their danger and engages the bomber in a dog fight over the clay kingdom.

Ming walks through flames unharmed. It is unclear whether this is a physical ability of his, or whether he is protected by his cloak. Flash comments that this is how Ming tricked them at the end of the last serial in Chapter 13: Rocketing to Earth, which saw Ming apparently walking to a fiery death.

Dale screams when the Clay People appear out of the cavern walls, as though she has never seen this before. But she witnessed this ability in Chapter 2: The Living Dead.

Queen Azura speaks of her "war against the Clay People". If she is at war with them, why has she been increasing their numbers by turning more Martians into clay?

5. The Boomerang

April 18, 1938

"He's going for the tele-visor."

- Doctor Zarkov

In our last episode...

Flash and Zarkov set out to free the Clay People from the curse that hangs over them.

Meanwhile, Azura, Queen of Magic, orders a bomber to destroy the Clay People.

Convinced that Flash has betrayed them, the Clay King places Dale and Happy in line of fire.

Flash realizes their danger and engages the bomber in a dog fight over the Clay Kingdom.

Now...

Determined to rescue Dale and Happy from the clay people, Flash and Zarkov start for the power house. While Flash decoys the guards, Zarkov perfects a paralyzer gun. Azura and Ming see this on the televisor and try to capture this valuable weapon. Flash and Zarkov escape with the paralyzer gun, but Azura one of her bombers to pursue them.

The title of this episode is "The Boomerang" though there is no mention of the reason for the title.

Flash addresses Tarnak by name, even though he has never heard it spoken before.

Zarkov notes that you "cannot fight a Clay Person", but they have never actually tried engaging one in physical combat.

6. Tree-men of Mars

April 25, 1938

"Yes, they are most savage nation on Mars.
No one has ever entered there and lived."

- Queen Azura

In our last episode...

Determined to rescue Dale and Happy from the Clay People, Flash and Zarkov start for the Power House.

While Flash decoys the guards, Zarkov perfects a Paralyzer Gun.

Azura and Ming see this on the Televisor and try to capture this valuable weapon.

Flash and Zarkov escape with the Paralyzer Gun, but Azura orders one of her bombers to pursue them.

Now...

Flash wins the support of the clay people in his war against Ming and Azura. At the advice of the clay king, Flash and his friends journey to the forest kingdom for help. Happy spies a sacred shrine in the forest and innocently takes a snapshot of it. Ming and Azura, watching over the televisor, seize this chance to turn the savage tribe against Flash.

As Flash tells the Clay King of his previous encounters with Ming, flashbacks are used from chapters 1, 10, and 11 of the earlier 1936 serial a feature Dale with blonde hair.

One of the Martian soldiers puts his gas mask on back-to-front as they hurry after Flash and Zarkov.

In this chapter only, the Forest People are called the Fire People.

All of Happy's clothes and belongings are taken from him, including his camera, when was first captured by the Clay People. Yet now he suddenly has his camera back.

Azura uses her magic to destroy the sacred idol of the Forest People, yet it will be established in the following chapter that the Forest Kingdom is immune to her magic power as its inhabitants possess the Black Sapphire.

7. The Prisoner of Mongo

May 2, 1938

"Doc, if we could get a hold of that Black Saphire..."

- Flash Gordon

In our last episode...

Flash wins the support of the Clay People in his war against Ming and Azura.

At the advice of the Clay King, Flash and his friends journey to the Forest Kingdom for help.

Happy spies a sacred shrine in the forest and innocently takes a snapshot of it.

Ming and Azura, watching over the televisor, seize this chance to turn the savage tribe against Flash.

Now...

The forest people, secret allies of Ming, hold Flash and his friends prisoners in an underground cell. Barin, an exiled prince from Mongo, secretly joins them and helps them escape. Flash learns that the sacred black sapphire is the secret of Queen Azura’s magic power. Dale, sighting an unguarded stratosled grasps the opportunity to help Flash.

Curiously, both Flash and Happy address Dr. Zarkov as "Zarky" in the course of this chapter, a name the scientist is not usually called.

The Forest People state the name of another Martian race, the Dwarf People, whom we never get to see.

Just as Prince Barin is penetrating through the wall, Dale yells "Flash! Look!" This line ends abruptly and appears to have been edited down from a longer shot, which is seen in the opening credits of the early chapters where it is used to illustrate the actress Jean Rogers. Rogers appears to be saying "Flash! Look behind you!"

At the start of this chapter, Flash and his friends are all choking, yet there is no sign of smoke.

An editing and/or continuity error is evident in the scene where Dale is taken before Turan. In the long shot her arms are being held by the guards, but in the close-up shots her arms are free.

8. The Black Sapphire of Kalu

May 9, 1938

"I wouldn't do that if I were you!"

- Flash Gordon

In our last episode...

The Forest People, secret allies of Ming, hold Flash and his friends prisoners in an underground cell.

Barin, an exiled prince from Mongo, secretly joins them and helps them escape.

Flash learns that the sacred black sapphire is the secret of Queen Azura's magic power.

Dale, sighting an unguarded stratosled grasps the opportunity to help Flash.

Now...

Flash succeeds in obtaining the sacred black sapphire with which to combat Azura’s magic power. During the escape, Happy is wounded and taken to the clay kingdom for aid. Flash and Barin, continuing on to the palace, take Queen Azura prisoner. While Barin takes the captive queen to the clay kingdom, Flash remains to destroy the nitron lamp.

This is the first time we see Dale piloting a ship.

Usually Dale needs rescuing and Happy Hapgood is used for comic relief. However this chapter shows both characters unusually taking the initiative and helping the cause with positive action. Dale takes a stratosled and bombs their enemies, while Happy outmuscles one of Ming's soldiers and single-handedly holds off several of the Forest People. Even when Happy is wounded, he bravely tries to soldier on without calling for assistance.

Just as Prince Barin is penetrating through the wall, Dale yells "Flash! Look!" This line ends abruptly and appears to have been edited down from a longer shot, which is seen in the opening credits of the early chapters where it is used to illustrate the actress Jean Rogers. Rogers appears to be saying "Flash! Look behind you!"

The official recap at the start of this chapter contains detail that didn't occur in the previous chapter.

After he is hurt it is suggested that Happy will spend a few days recovering in the Clay Kingdom. Nobody expresses any concern that spending so long in the caves might turn him (or Dale and Zarkov, who wait behind with him) into clay, an effect that was mentioned in Chapter Five.

Queen Azura discovered the Clay People's secret tunnel running right to her palace back in Chapter Five, but has not taken any action to block it off.

9. Symbol of Death

May 16, 1938

"Bring me Flash Gordon dead or alive!"

- Ming the Merciless

In our last episode...

Flash succeeds in obtaining the sacred black sapphire with which to combat Azura's magic power.

During the escape, Happy is wounded and taken to the Clay Kingdom for aid.

Flash and Barin, continuing on to the palace, take Queen Azura prisoner.

While Barin takes the captive Queen to the Clay Kingdom, Flash remains to destroy the Nitron Lamp.

Now...

Queen Azura, captured by the clay people, escapes by means of her restored magic. Returning to her palace, she orders out the guard to search for Flash. Flash is taken prisoner and thrown into the disintegrating room. Barin and Zarkov, suspecting the danger confronting Flash, make their way to the roof to save him.

How does Flash know that the Black Sapphire would still be able to prevent Queen Azura from using her magic when she is miles away from it?

10. Incense of Forgetfulness

May 23, 1938

"I don't see how you could ever get a rocket ship in here."

- Dale Arden

In our last episode...

Queen Azura, captured by the Clay People, escapes by means of her restored magic.

Returning to the palace, she orders out the guard to search for Flash.

Flash is taken prisoner and thrown into the Disintegrating Room.

Barin and Zarkov, suspecting the danger confronting Flash, make their way to the roof to save him.

Now...

Flash promises the clay people that he will free them from Queen Azura’s curse. In the forest, Flash and his friends separate to search for Barin’s rocket ship. The tree people capture Dale and force her to stand in the incense of forgetfulness. Under this magic spell, she takes a sacred oath to serve their great god, Kalu.

As Barin tells the Clay King of his previous struggles with Ming, the story is illustrated with flashbacks to Chapter 8 from the first serial.

When Flash last saw Happy in Chapter 8, Happy was badly wounded. When reunited with Happy in this chapter, Flash doesn't remark on Happy's recovery or ask him how he's feeling.

11. Human Bait

May 30, 1938

"Welcome Earth woman you shall be our honored guest until
Flash Gordon comes to claim you."

- Queen Azura

In our last episode...

Flash promises the Clay People that he will free them from Queen Azura's curse.

In the forest, Flash and his friends separate to search for Barin's rocket ship.

The Tree People capture Dale and force her to stand in the Incense of Forgetfulness.

Under the magic spell, she takes a sacred oath to serve their great god Kalu.

Now...

Dale, still under the magic spell, is a prisoner in Queen Azura’s palace. Flash and Zarkov, learning this, secretly make their way into the palace. Ming confides to Azura that he has prepared a trap for the earthmen. Flash and Zarkov enter the laboratory, seeking a means of reviving Dale.

Ming appears to be in two places at once. With Queen Azura in her throne room and in the Power House adjacent to the laboratory where he is spying on Flash and Zarkov's activities through a window looking into the lab.

12. Ming the Merciless

June 6, 1938

"I'm sorry to have to rough you up MIng but I needed that Black Saphire."

- Flash Gordon

In our last episode...

Dale, still under the magic spell, is a prisoner in Queen Azura's palace.

Flash and Zarkov, learning this, secretly make their way into the palace.

Ming confides to Azura that he has prepared a trap for the Earthmen.

Flash and Zarkov enter the laboratory, seeking a means of reviving Dale.

Now...

Flash captures Ming and Azura and forces them to return with him to the clay kingdom. Ming, suddenly unfolding his bat wings, leaps from the light bridge and escapes. He hurries back to the palace and commands the bombing squadron to stop Flash and Azura. Realizing their peril, Flash and the Queen seek refuge among the rocks.

The Airdrome Captain doesn't seem at all suspicious by the fact that three known enemies are shoving his Queen aboard her stratosled.

Queen Azura walks into the laboratory and remarks that there seems to have been an explosion in there, yet everything looks tidy and in order.

Barin and Happy are in the Forest Kingdom, but the model shot showing the stratosled supposedly flying over them appears to be in the Valley of Desolation, which is supposed to be a completely different area of Mars.

13. The Miracle of Magic

June 13, 1938

"We can't leave you here like this."

- Flash Gordon

In our last episode...

Flash captures Ming and Azura and forces them to return with him to the Clay Kingdom.

Ming, suddenly unfolding his bat wings, leaps from the light bridge and escapes.

He hurries back to the palace and commands the bombing squadron to stop Flash and Azura.

Realizing their peril, Flash and the Queen seek refuge among the rocks.

Now...

After helping the clay people regain their normal bodies, Flash sets out to capture Ming. Ming, now in command of the palace, orders a bombing squadron to attack the clay people. Flash learns this and takes off in a stratosled to stop the attack. He overtakes the squadron and, using his bat wings, drops to the top of the leading bomber.

When Barin and Happy were last seen in the previous chapter, they were in the Forest Kingdom and had been knocked unconscious after a bomber had attacked them. In this chapter they have arrived safely at the Clay Kingdom with no explanation as to what happened.

Immediately after the Clay People are transformed back into their normal form, a messenger comes in from outside of the caves to give news to the king even though it was established in earlier chapters that Clay People could not survive outside on the surface of Mars. In addition he makes no comment or reaction to why all the Clay People are normal again.

As Flash prepares to depart from the Clay Kingdom in a stratosled, he looks through a circular porthole which is about 12 feet off the ground as he waves goodbye to Dale and the Clay King. The shot of Dale and the King waving back shows the porthole to now be rectangular, and at head height.

14. A Beast at Bay

June 20, 1938

"Get back to your controls."

- Flash Gordon

In our last episode...

After helping the Clay People regain their normal bodies, Flash sets out to capture Ming.

Ming, now in command of the Palace, orders a bombing squadron to attack the Clay Kingdom.

Flash learns this and takes off in a stratosled to stop the attack.

He overtakes the squadron and using his bat wings, drops to the top of the leading bomber.

Now...

After helping the clay people regain their normal bodies, Flash sets out to capture Ming. He wins the support of a martian pilot, who promises to help him carry out his plans. Meanwhile, at the palace Ming the Merciless is having himself proclaimed Monarch of Mars. Flash cleverly eludes the guards just in time to turn the martians against Ming.

As Barin tells the Martians about Ming, the backstory is again illustrated by the use of flashbacks from the first Flash Gordon serial. Sequences from the Atom Furnace sequences from chapter 7 and chapter 8 are used on this occasion.

As Flash appeals to the assembled Martians, he suggests that Queen Azura was a good ruler, to which they all readily agree. This overlooks the events of all the preceding chapters, where Queen Azura was a willing accomplice in the unjustified attack on Earth, ruthlessly punished anybody who defied her by banishing them to the Clay Kingdom, waged war on the Clay People and even callously destroyed a sacred artefact of the Forest People knowing that innocent people would be mistakenly blamed for it.

In some of the model shots in this chapter showing stratosleds taking off, they are incorrectly given the sound effects belonging to rocket ships.

The recap cards at the beginning of this chapter are not an entirely accurate representation of events in the previous chapter. Flash did not set out to capture Ming, he set out to stop the Forest People attacking the Clay Kingdom. Likewise, Ming did not order a bombing squadron to attack the Clay Kingdom, he sent a squadron to the Forest Kingdom to deliver weapons. The first recap card is actually used again, more accurately, on the following chapter.

15. An Eye for an Eye

June 27, 1938

"I wonder what the wife is going to say when I get home?"

- Happy Hapgood

In our last episode...

After helping the Clay People regain their normal bodies, Flash sets out to capture Ming.

He wins the support of a Martian pilot, who promises to help him carry out his plans.

Meanwhile, at the apalce Ming the Merciless is having himself proclaimed monarch of Mars.

Flash cleverly eludes the guards just in time to turn the Martians against Ming.

Now...

Ming escapes the angry martians and restores the nitron lamp so he can use it to destroy Earth and Mars. Flash goes after Ming and Barin bombs and destroys the nitron lamp from the air. Ming's obsessive desire to rule the universe turns his followers against him. Tanac, one of his own men, forces Ming into the disintegration room and kills him with the disintegration ray. Flash, Dale, Zarkov and Happy return to Earth as heroes.

Ming's body is not shown following his apparent death in the Disintegrating Room. The inference is that the damage to his body is too gruesome to show, but of course the following serial, Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, established that Ming did not perish in the Disintegrating Room after all.

In the scene where the Airdrome Captain leads the Commander, Zarkov, and Happy away at gunpoint with their hands bound, actor Donald Kerr stumbles and loses his balance and it looks as though his subsequent fall as he passes through the doorway was unintentional.

The final montage of shots show Flash, Dale, and Zarkov being hailed as heroes, but Happy is not included. The newspaper which is featured is the New York Sentinel, not the Washington Dispatch which was the publication Happy worked for and which one would have expected to have the exclusive story of the adventure on Mars.

Having been outside the Power House and not in reach of a communicator, Zarkov somehow knows that it is Barin in the stratosled which is dropping bombs on them.

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