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The Deadly Ray from Mars

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Flash Gordon - The Deadly Ray from Mars
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Flash Gordon – The Deadly Ray from Mars (1966) starring Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers

Buy from Amazon In short, Flash Gordon – The Deadly Ray from Mars is the 1938 Universal serial “Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars“, edited into a single movie that was released to TV. Having said that, if you’re a fan of the old time movie serials, you’ll have a blast. Emperor Ming of Mongo returns, as well as new additions like the magical Azura, Queen of Mars, the clay people she’s cursed, etc.

The Light Bridge in Azura’s palace – calls to mind the classic joke about the inmates escaping the insane asylum with a flashlight.

Product Description

The Earth is being ravaged by mysterious floods, hurricanes and earthquakes. After blasting off in a rocket ship, Flash Gordon, Dale Arden and Dr. Zarkov discover that the source of the destruction is a mysterious ray emanating from the planet Mars. Flying to the rescue, Flash and his friends must overcome the cruel and beautiful Queen Azura and the legions of Claymen and Treemen of Mars. But lurking behind Azura’s deadly schemes is the real culprit, Flash’s archrival Ming the Merciless! Once again Flash must struggle against incredible odds to save the Earth from almost certain doom. But will he be in time? This is a feature-length edited version of the 1938 serial “Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars.”

Cast of characters

  • Buster Crabbe (Flash Gordon – Spaceship to the Unknown) … Flash Gordon. Our main protagonist, who’s defeated Ming before … But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the trio can do it again.
  • Jean Rogers (Whistling in Brooklyn) … Dale Arden. Flash’s lovely girlfriend and assistant. She and Hap are left with the clay men …. As bargaining chips.
  • Charles Middleton (Batman 1943 serial; Spook Louder) … Ming the Merciless. The cruel emperor of Mongo. He’s once again attacking the Earth, with the aid of the Martian Queen and her death ray.
  • Frank Shannon (Flash Gordon) … Dr. Zarkov. The scientific genius, who created the rocket to get to Mongo — and Mars. And quickly masters the advanced technology of other planets as well. And he’s not bad in a fight, either.
  • Donald Kerr (The Devil Bat; Room Service) … Happy Hapgood. The reporter who “invites” himself along for a scoop. And gets more than he bargained for! Primarily comedy relief.
  • Beatrice Roberts … Azura, Queen of Mars. Beautiful, cruel, and magical. She’s overthrown the former rulers of Mars by turning them into the Clay People. With her special magic jewel …
  • Wheeler Oakman (The Ape Man; Ghosts on the Loose) … Tarnak
  • C. Montague Shaw (The Three Musketeers) … The Clay King. He politely “retains” Dale and Hap as bargaining chips, to “entice” Flash and Zarkhov to free his people.
  • Richard Alexander (Dangerous When Wet) … Prince Barin

Additional Cast

  • Thomas Carr … Rama, of the Forest People
  • Kenne Duncan (The Astounding She Monster) … Airdrome platform officer
  • Stanley Price (Scared To Death) … Martian traitor turned to clay
  • Kane Richmond … Stratosled patrol captain
  • Anthony Warde … Toran, King of the Forest People


  • 01 “New Worlds to Conquer”
  • 02 “The Living Dead”
  • 03 “Queen of Magic”
  • 04 “Ancient Enemies”
  • 05 “The Boomerang”
  • 06 “Tree-men of Mars”
  • 07 “The Prisoner of Mongo”
  • 08 “The Black Sapphire of Kalu”
  • 09 “Symbol of Death”
  • 10 “Incense of Forgetfulness”
  • 11 “Human Bait”
  • 12 “Ming the Merciless”
  • 13 “The Miracle of Magic”
  • 14 “A Beast at Bay”
  • 15 “An Eye for an Eye”

Editorial review courtesy of

Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars poster

Call it high camp, middlebrow, or simply low rent, but this entry in the Flash Gordon series is at least reasonably entertaining. An edited version of the 1938 serial Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars, it finds Flash (Buster Crabbe) and friends traveling to Mars to battle archenemy Ming the Merciless (and arch is certainly the word for Charles Middleton’s performance) and the death ray he’s using to suck the very life out of Earth.

Sure, the action is silly, the effects for the most part laughable, the “science” absurd, and the acting consistently over-the-top; and tedium will likely set in halfway through the feature’s 96 minutes. But how can you not chuckle along with (or perhaps at) such deathless dialogue as “Kneel, Earth man” and “Gee whiz, King”? And so what if there are no DVD bonus features? Flash Gordon has no need for cheap frills to keep us the edge of our seats! –Sam Graham

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