NOTE: I will leave this page up as long as this film remains on YouTube…
A Bit About One Of My Favorite
During the depths of The Great Depression, Chandu The Magician, the radio series and this movie, introduced many people to the exotic concept of Eastern Yogic Magick.
The public liked the radio serial so much it ran on Network Radio twice over the years! One version ran in the 1930s and a new cast, with slightly modernized, scripts redid the whole thing in the 1940s – The radio show ran five days a week in compelling 15 minute episodes. I have a nearly complete set of the 1940s version and it still works, bringing us all over the world from Beverly Hills, to Egypt (in one minute!), to Mitteleuropa and points in between. Some shows from the 1930s exist, but nobody appears to have a complete set. Here’s the opening of a typical 40s episode:
I prefer the 40s shows. That series has better acting and tighter scripts. In their favor, the 30s shows had a full orchestra. The 1940s series of shows shrewdly utilized the exotic Novachord Organ stylings of one of the most canny of all Show Biz hoaxers, the great KORLA PANDIT.
With Chandu’s vast popularity on radio, Hollywood saw an irresistible opportunity. Having to replace theater of the mind – radio – with visuals, they wisely put the film in the hands of two artists at the peak of their power: gifted cinematographer James Wong Howe and production design genius William Cameron Menzies The result? A state of the art special visual effects film that today would require massive Computer Imaging to equal – at a cost of tens of millions!
The film plays like the radio show – with an abundance of danger and daring escapes every few minutes. Chandu set the template for works such as Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Now mostly forgotten, Chandu has had a deep, lasting influence on American culture. Comics creator/artist Steve Ditko, for instance, often cited Chandu as a source for his character Dr. Strange, who played a big part in the Marvel Comics continuing film universe. Is more coming?
So check out the original Chandu movie in the link above to see early depictions of Astral Projection, Fire Walking, Telepathy, Crystal Skrying – and many more occult staples of… MAGICK!
Here’s another 1930s take on CHANDU:
In the original CHANDU movie – see it above! – Bela Lugosi has one of his best roles ever (outside of… you know who) playing the part of “The Malignant Roxor” a crazed scientist bent on world-domination. I mean, just look at him. Unhand that woman!
Pretty evil, eh? And yet in 1934 12-Chapter movie serial called The Return of Chandu, the versatile Lugosi easily slipped into the role of the benevolent Chandu himself!
Why, with this movie theater Give-Away you could
BECOME Bela Lugosi as Chandu!
The 12 Chapters of The Return of Chandu found such wide success with audiences in 1934 that the studio milked it for all it was worth, editing the chapters down into two separate feature films – but neither film provides the thrills of a weekly movie serial with its “cliff-hanger” endings each week. What a lost art!
Here’s the WHOLE Serial
THE RETURN OF CHANDU
All 12 CLIFF-HANGER chapters on 2 DVDs
Click The Flashing ON AIR Sign To Get Transported Back To The Golden Days Of Radio And… CHANDU, THE MAGICIAN!
Hear 154 episodes of the 1940s Serial, plus a dozen of the 30 minute shows that followed the serial. The serial episodes start with show #12 on the list – FRANK CHANDLER RETURNS. BEWARE! This serial can draw you right into its world!
TO START YOU OFF
LISTENING TO EPISODE #1:
FRANK CHANDLER RETURNS
JUST CLICK THIS OLD RADIO AD☟
While the magick used in the Chandu radio serial is, as generally happens in fantasy fiction, highly exaggerated for dramatic effect, the theory behind that which the show and movie presents remains grounded in reality. As you listen to all the radio adventures, you will hear Chandu The Magician repeatedly warn his family that FEAR brings defeat and failure. In fact, during one story arc, Chandu’s family faces imminent mortal danger in the Malay Jungle as Chandu finds himself utterly unable to use his powers to save them! To Chandu’s horror and dismay, his powers have vanished! The problem? FEAR! Chandu’s family faces such enormous danger that it frightens him to the bone, until… well, you’ll need to listen to the shows to discover what happened.
For more on the dangers of FEAR: click this image: