Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Spaceman Always Mings Thrice in FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE*!

Space hero Flash Gordon returned to the silver screen for the third time in 1940's Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, along with...
...aww, you guessed!
Yes, we know.
He "died" at the end of the previous serial...and the one before that!
This time, there's no explanation for how he survived, he just did!
Not only that, but he managed to re-establish his base of power in Mingo City.

But Ming doesn't control Mongo as he once did.
War rages across the planet as the Forest People led by Prince Barin and his wife, Aura (Ming's daughter) fight to keep freedom alive allied with the inhabitants of the Ice Kingdom.
But Ming makes the mistake of testing out his new "ultimate weapon", Purple Death Dust, in Earth's atmosphere.
Once Dr Zarkov deduces the poison is from Mongo,  he rounds up Flash and Dale, and it's off to Mongo where they discover they were wrong about Ming's death.
But, they do what heroes must...try to stop the Most Evil Man in the Universe...who, in fact, is so evil, that he declares that he is the embodiment of the Universe!
(Which explains why a good guy like Flash would want to conquer anything, much less the Universe!)
Buster Crabbe returned as Flash for the third time, after taking a break to play the other big-name spaceman of the 1940s, Buck Rogers.
Frank Shannon reprised Zarkov, and none but Charles Middleton could have donned the now-European military-style mantle of Ming!
In fact, though adapted from a plotline from the Flash Gordon comic strip, this serial seemed steeped in current events with Ming paralleling Hitler and the Forest and Ice kingdoms filling in for besieged England and Scandinavia under constant air raids from Ming's aerial fleets!
(Ming also had slave labor camps and Gestapo-like secret police!)
The action never stops as Flash and Ming match wits for twelve chapters from the icecaps and jungles of Mongo to the Land of the Dead!
Ming stops at nothing, even risking his own daughter's life to capture or kill the rebels and Earthmen, but the end is never really in doubt...

Note the hint that there's one way for Ming to escape...but that "he'll be too frightened to think of it".
Now, is this finally, really and truly, once and for all, the End of Ming the Merciless?
Be back tomorrow for the startling answer!
To paraphrase Mel Brooks: "It's good to be the Ming!"
*I dare you to come up with a better post title!
And for more villains than you can boo and hiss at, see the other contributors to...
by clicking HERE!

1 comment:

  1. Ming the Merciless is truly one of the great "Boo! Hiss!" villains.

    This is such a great series!