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Mystery of the River Boat (1944)

Passed | | Action, Adventure, Crime | 24 October 1944 (USA)
"The Mystery of the Riverboat" while ending each chapter with a cliffhanger is more episodic in nature than the usual Universal serial and somewhat similar to Universal's 1934 "Tailspin ... See full summary »


Ande Lamb (story), Ande Lamb (adaptation) | 1 more credit »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Lowery ... Steve Langtry
Eddie Quillan ... Jug Jenks
Marion Martin ... Celeste Eltree
Marjorie Clements ... Jenny Perrin (as Marjory Clements)
Lyle Talbot ... Rudolph Toller
Arthur Hohl ... Clayton
Oscar O'Shea ... Capt. Ethan Perrin
Francis McDonald ... Batiste
Mantan Moreland ... Napoleon
Eddy Waller ... Charles Langtry (as Eddy C. Waller)
Ian Wolfe ... Herman Einreich
Byron Foulger ... Dr. H. Hartman
Earle Hodgins ... Jean Duval
Anthony Warde ... Bruno Bloch
Alec Craig ... Chief Engineer




"The Mystery of the Riverboat" while ending each chapter with a cliffhanger is more episodic in nature than the usual Universal serial and somewhat similar to Universal's 1934 "Tailspin Tommy" in that aspect as some plot lines are completed as a story within the overall story. Plus, while some serials often contained a title song or motif throughout, this one has six songs scattered around and about performed by either Marion Martin - and we have no idea if she was dubbed or did her own warbling - and former Three Mesquiteer and future head Mouseketeer Jimmie Dodd, who did his own. The overly-plotted (for juvenile Saturday matinée audiences to keep up with over a period of 13 weeks) story finds three Louisiana families, the Langtrys, Perrins and Duvals, as co-owners of swamp land in the Louisiana bayou country. Unaware that the property contains rich "nitrolene" deposits, they are considering an offer from speculator Herman Einreich, who is well aware of the secret, having killed the ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Did You Know?


CHAPTER TITLES: 1) The Tragic Crash; 2) The Phantom Killer; 3) The Flaming Inferno; 4) The Brink of Doom; 5) The Highway of Peril; 6) The Fatal Plunge; 7) Toll of the Storm; 8) The Break in the Levee; 9) Trapped in the Quicksands; 10) Flaming Havoc; 11) Electrocuted; 12) Risking Death; 13) The Boomerang. See more »


Chapter five: Batiste is cutting down a tree with a crooked base, when it falls, it is a tall pine tree. Yet when it is shown blocking the road, it has a crooked base. See more »

Crazy Credits

Main Title 'The Mystery of the Riverboat' is comprised of "SPOOKY' letters. See more »


Referenced in The Directors: The Films of Roger Corman (1999) See more »


Dancin' On Air
Written by Milton Rosen and Everett Carter
Sung by Marion Martin
See more »

User Reviews

Robert Lowery spends a lot of time in the water
12 December 1999 | by Vigilante-407See all my reviews

I was expecting this to be more of a western almost, with a gambling boat or something, from the title. The riverboat in question is a rather durable one, even for a piece of scenery in a serial. It survived a fire, a boiler explosion, a broken levee and flood, and crashing into several shanty boats along the way.

Robert Lowery makes another predictable serial performance. He was fairly good in the Batman serial, but tries way too hard to be Kane Richmond. He does know how to swim though, as I believe he hit the drink in six of the thirteen chapters. Lyle Talbot is always enjoyable, and plays one of the many bad guys (as usual). The surprise here was Mantan Moreland, who I had not previously known had done any serials. Mantan gives the best performance of anyone here, giving the limited and somewhat comic role he was given. He makes the serial worth the time to watch, as do some above par special effects, particularly during the levee break sequences (though I am not sure if they were actually filmed for this serial or are stock footage).

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Release Date:

24 October 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Mystery of the River Boat See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(13 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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