Under the Radar DVD of the Week: 'Brenda Starr, Reporter'
This week, the oddest DVD to appear on release lists is:
“Brenda Starr, Reporter”
Ace comic-strip reporter Brenda Starr officially retired from the funny pages in January, but you can revisit some of her earliest on-screen scoops in a new DVD compilation of her 1945 Columbia movie serial, “Brenda Starr, Reporter,” due out Tuesday.
Five years after her 1940 creation as a comic-strip star by artist Dale Messick for the Chicago Tribune Syndicate, the globe-trotting Brenda came to life on screen in a cliffhanger serial with Joan Woodbury in the role of the intrepid red-haired reporter. The ongoing adventure had Brenda and her photographer-sidekick Chuck Allen (Syd Saylor) on the go to solve a $250,000 payroll robbery, with a white-knuckle array of narrow escapes and scrapes with arch-villain Kruger (Jack Ingram) and other nefarious sorts thrown into each episode.
The serial ran for 13 chapters before Columbia Pictures’ license expired and the film went into limbo. Most prints were destroyed and the original nitrate negatives landed in the Library of Congress. However, the negatives soon began to deteriorate, and when the library attempted to transfer the material to video some sections were beyond repair. While most of the original material remains intact, some scenes were lost and sections show severe damage that is beyond today’s technology to restore.
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