18 May 2006 | horn-5
The last of its kind.
"Haunted Harbor", a 256-page, 19-chapter novel, was the last Republic serial to be adapted from another medium. The remaining serials from Republic were house-originated in concept and story and then assigned to various studio writers to flesh out and expand the chapters.
Dayle Douglas was a "nom de plume" for prolific film writer Ewart Adamson, and "Haunted Harbor," as a novel, was published by Mystery House of New York on June 12, 1943. Studio executive Howard Sheehan instructed Francis Manson , in a memo dated November 12, 1943, to begin negotiations for the purchase of the novel for intended serial use, and the sale was completed and contracts signed on December 6, 1943. The author retained the rights for stage performance and all radio and television rights and, unusual for Republic when buying outside material for a serial, the contract incorporated no provision giving the studio the right to also make a feature version if they so desired. And Republic was obligated to give Adamson (as Dayle Douglas) on-film credit if the finished serial was based upon his story or suggested by it. The credit on the film read "From the novel by Dayle Douglas."
"Haunted Harbor" replaced an intended-and-announced (in trade ads and letters to their film exchanges and exhibitors) serial based on Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," on the back-end of the studio's 1943-44 serial-production schedule. The $1000 cost for the novel versus the rights-cost of the Verne material saved Republic more than a little money.
This serial's filming start date was on April 14, 1944 and it was completed on May 18,1944. The budget (expected cost of the production) was set at $170,099 and the finished negative-cost came in at $207,856. This serial was the first and only Republic serial to carry a 2nd Unit Director credit on the film credits.
Sources: Letters and telephones calls from Jack Mathis circa 1971-1975.
"The Valley of the Cliffhangers" (1975)- Jack Mathis.
Author's personal collection of Republic Pictures material.