Brenda Starr, Reporter (1945, Wallace Fox), Chapter 11: On the Spot

This chapter has Joan Woodbury not just getting out of a trap, she executes a great plan for it too. A surprising one. Not a lot of surprises in Brenda Starr, Reporter, so getting any of significance–even this late (On the Spot is the penultimate penultimate chapter)–is nice.

Overall, it’s not a bad chapter. Too much with idiot cop Joe Devlin. Starr’s either got condescending super-cop Kane Richmond (who hasn’t solved a single thing… though neither has Woodbury) or idiot Devlin. On the Spot gives Devlin the illusion of more to do, but then cuts away when it’s his turn.

Syd Saylor’s playing the same type of part–dimwit sidekick–but he’s at least good at it. And his character isn’t as much of a dimwit.

After the escape sequence, it’s all about Ernie Adams scheming until the cliffhanger. Of course Woodbury has inserted herself into that situation; she’s tried to call for back up, but William ‘Billy’ Benedict messes it up.

There are a lot of thin characters in Brenda Starr but Benedict’s got the worst. Whenever he shows up on screen, the serial becomes practically intolerable. I’m not sure if anyone could play the role of office numbskull with charm, but Benedict doesn’t.

Still, it’s a lot better of a chapter than the serial usually puts out.


Directed by Wallace Fox; screenplay by Ande Lamb and George H. Plympton, based on the comic strip by Dale Messick; director of photography, Ira H. Morgan; edited by Charles Henkel Jr.; music by Edward J. Kay; produced by Sam Katzman; released by Columbia Pictures.

Starring Joan Woodbury (Brenda Starr), Kane Richmond (Lt. Larry Farrell), Syd Saylor (Chuck Allen), George Meeker (Frank Smith), Wheeler Oakman (Heller), Cay Forester (Vera Harvey), Marion Burns (Zelda), Lottie Harrison (Abretha), Ernie Adams (Charlie), Jack Ingram (Kruger), Anthony Warde (Muller), John Merton (Joe Schultz), William ‘Billy’ Benedict (Pesky), and Joe Devlin (Sgt. Tim Brown).


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