Chapter Titles: 1. Millions For Defense 2. The Curtain Falls 3. The Decoy 4. High Stakes 5. Desperate Chances 6. The Human Target 7. Midnight Tragedy 8. The Devil's Disguise 9. Between Two Fires 10. The False Trail 11. Heavy Odds 12. The Enemy Within 13. Mission For Mercy
Not seen on TV over the last 50+ years, this 1938 serial was one of many Universal cliffhangers based on comic strip characters. It was shown in the early 1950s to the young TV viewing audience, but then it suddenly vanished, along with Ace Drummond (1936), Tim Tyler's Luck (1937), Radio Patrol (1937) and others. Except for the "Flash Gordon" trilogy (1936-40) and Buck Rogers (1939), also starring Buster Crabbe, these Saturday-matinee specials seemed to have dropped "off the radar", but thankfully have been revived for home video on VHS and now DVD. Fortunately in March-April-May 2018 Turner Classic Movies showed this serial in its entirety, in weekly Saturday morning installments.
Based on the comic strip of the same title by Will Gould which was distributed by King Features Syndicate from 1934 to 1939. It was brought out to compete with the "Dick Tracy" strip by Chester Gould (no relation).
The passenger liner depicted as departing China for the U.S. in Chapter 1 "Millions for Defense" is actually the Japanese steamship Nagasaki Maru. Built in Scotland in 1922, it hit a Japanese mine off the coast of Japan, near Nagasaki, and sank on May 13, 1942.
As in most serials, none of the principals, including the two leading ladies, ever change their costumes, from beginning to end. This was a common practice in order to avoid conflicts of continuity, but otherwise unlikely on screen or off.
The fire breathing dragon shown at the end of each Chapter was actually created for Ace Drummond (1936). It was suggested to be used for Flash Gordon (1936) for the cave scene that has Flash battling the Fire Monster. Instead a different monster creature is used for Flash Gordon (1936). It may be, because Buster Crabbe is in both of these movies, why the dragon scene is in the end credits of Red Barry.
In Chapters: 6 and 7, Vane (Hugh Huntley) is placed in front of a bullseye target, as the crook uses him for target practice. In portions of this scene, Vane is but a split-screen image appearing to be in front of the target as the shots are fired.