Dick Tracy (1937)

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    In early 1937, Republic Pictures released the first chapter of its first Dick Tracy serial.  Dick Tracy consisted of 15 chapters totalling almost 300 minutes.  Ralph Byrd played the popular comic book detective Dick Tracy.      In this serial, the Spider, whose true identity is unknown, leads a gang of criminals dedicated to enriching themselves and eliminating

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Julius Johannpeter (1875-1961)

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     Julius “Uncle Jules” Johannpeter was born in St. Charles, MO on March 5, 1875 to recent German immigrants Frederick William Johannpeter and Johanna Johannpeter nee Grieve.  “Uncle Jules” was seven years older than his sister Caroline Leah “Lee” Johannpeter, my great grandmother.      When Lee’s husband William Ellis died in 1917, Lee had the challenge of raising her two-year-old son Gilbert as

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Fred Beell Overcomes Old Champ

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     On October 20, 1906, Fred Beell proved dynamite comes in small packages.  Beell, light heavyweight wrestling champion, defeated former American heavyweight champion Dan McLeod.  Beell parlayed an active 1906 into defeats of former American Heavyweight Champion Dan McLeod and current American Heavyweight Champion Frank Gotch.      Beell won the American Middleweight (Light Heavyweight) Championship but remained out

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Bulldog Drummond’s Revenge (1937)

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     On December 16, 1937, Paramount Pictures released the second “Bulldog” Drummond film starring John Howard as Drummond.  Ronald Coleman and Ralph Richardson played Captain Hugh “Bulldog” Drummond in the past.  By the time Bulldog Drummond’s Revenge was released, the series had become a formula “B” movie franchise.      Despite Captain Drummond being married to Phyllis Clavering in

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Mr. Moto’s Gamble (1938)

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     Peter Lorre reprises his role as Mr. Kentaro Moto, Interpol Agent, in Mr. Moto’s Gamble (1938).  James Tinling directed this film and Charlie Chan in Shanghai (1937).  Tinling’s participation caused Lorre to portray Mr. Moto more like Inspector Chan with a little jujitsu thrown in.      In this film, Mr. Moto teaches a criminal investigation class to several

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House of Fear (1945)

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     On March 16, 1945, Universal Pictures released The House of Fear (1945), the eighth of twelve Sherlock Holmes films produced by the studio.  Basil Rathbone returned as Holmes for the tenth time.  Rathbone played Sherlock Holmes twice for Twentieth Century – Fox before Universal started producing the series.      Despite its late entry into the series, the

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