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BISON BILL'S BLOG
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5:15 pm CDT
Bison Bill's Favorite Westerns:
THE PHANTOM EMPIRE



The 1935 Gene Autry classic, "The Phantom Empire", was the first singing-cowboy science-fiction film ever made; also, to my knowledge, it was the last. I do not know why more singing-cowboy science-fiction films were not made. Perhaps someone, some day, will revive this promising hybrid genre.

In the meantime, we at least have "The Phantom Empire" to enjoy. In this thrill-a-minute serial, Gene really has his hands full. He keeps trying to broadcast his daily radio show from the Radio Ranch, but (wouldn't you know it) is constantly interrupted by hostile robot warriors from the Technocratic City of Murania. Murania, located 20,000 feet underneath the Radio Ranch, is also home to a rich uranium deposit which has attracted the interest of gangsters seeking to steal the uranium. This means Gene has to fight gangsters in addition to robot warriors. It also means (I just realized) the "Phantom Empire" is actually a hybrid of not just two, but three genres. It's a singing-cowboy science-fiction gangster film! No doubt about it, this was way ahead of its time ...

Phantom Empire [VHS](1935) VHS
The Phantom Empire [DVD](1935) DVD



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