Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 14, 2012



This fair-to-middling television show based on Milton Caniff's famous comic strip only lasted for 16 episodes. John Baer is perfect in both good looks and demeanor for Terry Lee, while William Tracy, in an atrocious rug, is also good as his partner, "Hotshot" Charlie. The two fly planes to and from Hong Kong for a shady character named Chopstick Joe (Jack Reitzen). The Dragon Lady, played to perfection by the sexy Gloria Saunders, appeared in almost all of the episodes, and was usually up to some hijinks. Burma (first Mari Blanchard, and then Sandra Spence) appeared with less frequency. The show wasn't terribly riveting -- although cute, appealing Baer and super-slinky Saunders must have had their fans -- but there were a few decent episodes. Pamela Duncan (Attack of the Crab Monsters) appears in "Black Market for Death," in which Terry assumes that the Dragon Lady is behind the theft of an important serum; this one has a good twist at the end. In "Extra Cargo" the boys foil the D L's plot to assassinate a maharajah with a bomb on a plane [Burma is in this episode as well]. The corpse of a wealthy man is held for ransom in "Chinese Coffin" and a boy prince (little Stephen Wong) is kidnapped in "Little Mandarin." "Tea Hee" has an old lady buying a special blend of tea from the Dragon Lady which has valuable jewels hidden inside. Series guest-stars include Tristram Coffin, Lyle Talbot, Phyllis Coates and Victor Sen Yung. Baer also appeared in Night of the Blood Beast. 12 years earlier William Tracy actually played a younger Terry Lee in the Terry and the Pirates serial.

Verdict: Attractive leads certainly don't hurt. **1/2.

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