Buster Crabbe (1908 –1983) was an American athlete turned actor, who starred in a number of popular serials and movies in the 1930s and 1940s.
Crabbe's role in the 1933 Tarzan serial Tarzan the Fearless [see movie below] (also issued as a full length movie) launched a successful career in which he starred in over one hundred movies. It would be the only movie in which Crabbe starred as Tarzan. (The serial was re-edited into a made-for-TV feature in 1964.) In the 1933's King of the Jungle, 1941's Jungle Man, and the 1952 serial King of the Congo he played generic "jungle man" roles in the Tarzan mode. His next major role was in 1936 as Flash Gordon in the popular Flash Gordon serials, which he reprised in two sequels, released by Universal in 1938 and 1940).
Other characters he portrayed included Western hero Billy the Kid, Buck Rogers.
1. Tarzan the Fearless (1933) - Buster Crabbe - Based on the 1st 4 chapters of the 12 Chapter Movie Serial (Tarzan the Fearless) and the final chapter
Dr. Brooks is captured by followers of Zar, God of the Jeweled Fingers and Tarzan (Buster Crabbe) sets out to save him. After seeing a picture of Brooks daughter Mary (Julie Bishop) Tarzan is captivated and sets out to find her. One of the guides is carrying a telegram offering a reward for Tarzan, dead or alive. The guides are also after the Treasure of Zar in the Lost City.
Tarzan the Fearless (1933) is a 12 chapter film serial starring Buster Crabbe in his only appearance as Tarzan. It was also released as a 1 ½ hour feature film which comprised the first four chapters of the serial version and the final chapter. Co-starring was actress Jacqueline Wells, who later changed her name to Julie Bishop.
The complete, original 12-chapter movie serial version is considered to be a lost film.
An expedition sets out to darkest Africa to find the fabled City of the Dead, along the way they meet Buster Crabbe as Dr. Robert Hammond.
4. Drums of Africa (1941) - Buster Crabbe
An expedition sets out to darkest Africa to find the fabled City of the Dead, and must battle thick jungle, hostile natives, wild animals and a deadly epidemic.
Two Americans with the free French played by Buster Crabbe and Paul Bryar are sent to Carraby, a small village in Africa to build an airfield. They have to contend with restless natives under the influence of the evil Chief Schlangi (Jess Lee Brooks) who is in turn controlled by a married couple (Arno Frey and Evelyn Wahl) that are Nazi.
In an effort to clear the name of his deceased father, young Ray Gorman (Buster Crabbe)travels to darkest Africa to try to track down the money embezzled from his father's bank years earlier. After a long trek through the jungle Gorman finds the money in the care of beautiful 'white witch' Doreen, daughter of the now long-dead embezzler. Gorman finds his goal difficult to accomplish as not only does Doreen, guarded by a huge, ferocious gorilla, not want to give up the money, but greedy guide Carl Hurst has followed Gorman's trail, intent on getting the money himself by any means necessary.
7. Contender, The (1944) – Buster Crabbe: In order to get some extra money to send his son to military school, a truck driver (Buster Crabbe) turns amateur boxer. His success in that field convinces him take up the sport full-time, and he soon fights his way up to where he becomes a contender for the Heavyweight Championship. However, his chance at the title is endangered when he starts squiring around a flashy blonde and begins tasting the "good life" of nightclubs, partying and booze.
8. Swamp Fire (1946) - Buster Crabbe and Johnny Weissmuller: Johnny Weissmuller starts as Johnny Duval, a war hero returning to his bayou home. He lost a ship he was in command of during the war and vows he will not take up his old position as bar pilot. This does not at all bother his old rival Mike (Buster Crabbe sporting a mustache and a Cajun accent) who sees this as a chance to make time with Johnny's old sweetheart Toni (Carol Thurston). Too bad but Toni only has eyes for Johnny. To make matters worse a spoiled rich girl (Virgina Grey) has set her sights on Johnny and coerces her dad (Pierre Watkin) to buy up a lot of bayou land and outlaw all trapping, which means the local folks can no longer hunt to feed their families.
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