King of the Rocket Men (1949, Fred C. Brannon), Chapter 6: Secret of Rocket Man

With the opening cliffhanger resolution once again being tepid, it seems like Rocket Men is never going to get out of the bad opening rut. Poor Mae Clarke is simply dismissed from the chapter, not very gracious considering she’s just around to be in danger.

There’s some brief setup for Tristram Coffin’s next scheme to catch the mysterious bad guy, but it turns out the bad guy has a better scheme. Most of the chapter is Coffin being held captive. Sure, he outsmarts thug Don Haggerty once or twice, but Coffin’s friends are pretty bad when it comes to rescues.

First, House Peters Jr. can’t save Coffin from getting kidnapped, then he can’t properly follow the bad guys’ car. A little late, it seems like James Craven is going to come to the rescue, only to botch it as well.

Ostensibly, Coffin is one heck of a pickle for the cliffhanger at the end of Secret of the Rocket Man; I assume it’ll be a quick, obvious resolution next time though.

Still, everyone’s likable, the pace’s speedy, the action’s good–even if director Brannon lets the fisticuffs go on a little long.


Directed by Fred C. Brannon; written by Royal K. Cole, William Lively, and Sol Shor; director of photography, Ellis W. Carter; edited by Cliff Bell Sr. and Sam Starr; music by Stanley Wilson; released by Republic Pictures.

Starring Tristram Coffin (Jeffrey King), Mae Clarke (Glenda Thomas), Don Haggerty (Tony Dirken), House Peters Jr. (Burt Winslow), James Craven (Prof. Millard), I. Stanford Jolley (Prof. Bryant), Ted Adams (Prof. Conway), and Stanley Price (Prof. Von Strum).


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