The Phantom is a classic cliffhanger serial starring Tom Tyler in the title role. The serial is based on Lee Falk's world famous The Phantom comic strip of the same name. The serial takes some liberties with the established lore of the comic, because like all serials, it had a small budget, and was therefore unable to be as ambitious and epic as the comic strip it was based on. The serial also features Jeanne Bates as the Phantom's girlfriend Diana Palmer, and Ace the Wonder Dog as the Phantom's trusty hound Devil (which is actually a wolf in the Phantom comics, but due to budget constrains, the filmmakers decided to drop that aspect).
Young Geoffrey Prescott takes over the mantle of The Phantom, a seemingly immortal man, from his dying father, and must thwart the evil Doctor Bremmer's plans to find the lost city of Zoloz, where the doctor intends to build a hidden airbase. To find Zoloz, the Phantom and Bremmer are both searching for pieces of a map that will lead them to the secret city, which is hidden deep in the jungle.
As in all serials, the hero has to fight his way through a path of many dangerous traps and set-ups. Every episode ends with an exciting cliffhanger, where the hero finds himself in great danger.
- THE AMAZING PHANTOM COMES TO THRILLING LIFE ON THE SCREEN!..Based on King Features Syndicated Cartoon Character Created by LEE FALK and RAY MOORE!
- AMERICA'S FAVORITE CARTOON HERO...NOW ON THE SCREEN!
- He's here...he's everywhere...STRIKING FEAR in the hearts of his country's enemies!
- The most fantastic...most exciting serial ever made!
- In the serial, the Phantom's real name is Geoffrey Prescott, while in the comic strip, his real name is Kit Walker. This was because the Kit Walker name had not been used in the comic strip at the time the serial was made.
- In 1955, Columbia Pictures filmed a sequel to The Phantom, this time with John Hart in the lead role (Tom Tyler had passed away in 1954). However, due to licencing issues with King Features, the owner of the character, the entire serial was re-shot and re-named The Adventures of Captain Africa.
- On the serial's DVD release, much of the dialogue of one of the chapters had to be re-dubbed by modern actors, because of sound damage to the original film.
- Tom Tyler's Skull-belt buckle was in fact a real pirate-artifact, sent to him by a fan who had read in the newspaper that he was going to play the Phantom.
- Lee Falk hated the serial. He claimed to have never seen anything else than the first chapter. In his own words, the serial "looked like it had been made in a phone booth".