When this serial was first released, ghosts were the big thing that year; it was the year of movies like THE UNINVITED. Having the the word "haunted" in the title probably seemed like a good idea. When it was re-released several years later, it was just after TREASURE ISLAND was a big hit, therefore a title change to PIRATES' HARBOR seemed most appropriate. Strangely though, there are no ghosts or pirates to be found in this serial. It does, however, have a wonderful sea serpent.
Definitely one of the better serials. It does have an air of mystery about it, and it never once dedicates any of its episodes to a recap. The serial also features Kay Aldridge of Nyoka (Jungle Girl 2) fame as the heroine.
A sea captain about to be hanged for a murder he didn't commit is rescued from the gallows by two of his crewmen. They head for the island of Pulinan, where they believe the real murderer--the captain's former partner--is hiding so the captain can clear his name. As it turns out, their troubles are only beginning. In order to recover his gold and clear his name, they must discover the secret identity of a man named Carter and brave the terrors of Haunted Harbor. (or Pirates Harbour if you prefer - I do wish these Americans could spell!)
Kane Richmond .... Jim Marsden
Kay Aldridge .... Patricia Harding
Roy Barcroft .... Carter, alias Kane
Clancy Cooper .... Yank
Marshall Reed .... Tommy (as Marshall J. Reed)
Oscar O'Shea .... John Galbraith [Chs. 1, 7, 15]
Forrest Taylor .... Dr. Oliver Harding [Chs. 1-4]
Wally Wales .... Lawson [Ch. 1, 6-7] (as Hal Taliaferro)
Edward Keane .... Fredrick Vorhees [Ch. 1]
George J. Lewis .... Dranga
Kenne Duncan .... Gregg
Bud Geary .... Snell
Robert Homans .... Port Captain [Chs. 1, 15]
Duke Green .... Constable #2 [Chs. 1,7]/Kassim [Ch. 2]/Henchman Neville [Chs. 6-7]/Cabin thug [Ch. 8]/Radio bomb thug [Ch. 10] Henchman Ronson [Chs. 14-15]
Dale Van Sickel .... Gold Theft Thug [Ch. 12]/Sailor #1[Chs. 13-14]
1. Wanted For Murder
2. Flight To Danger
3. Ladder Of Death
4. The Unknown Assassin
5. Harbor Of Horror
6. Return Of the Fugitive
7. Journey Into Peril
8. Wings Of Doom
9. Death's Door
13.Monster Of the Deep
15.Crucible Of Justice
"Haunted Harbor" was the last Republic serial to be adapted from another medium. In this case a 256-page, 19-chapter novel. The remaining serials from Republic were house-originated in concept and story and then assigned to various studio writers to flesh out and expand the chapters.
Dayle Douglas was a "nom de plume" for prolific film writer Ewart Adamson, and "Haunted Harbor," as a novel, was published by Mystery House of New York on June 12, 1943. The author retained the rights for stage performance and all radio and television rights and, unusually for Republic when buying outside material for a serial, the contract incorporated no provision giving the studio the right to also make a feature version if they so desired. Therefore, no film version.
"Haunted Harbor" replaced an intended (and announced) serial based on Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea". The $1000 cost for the novel versus the rights-cost of the Verne material saved Republic loads.
This serial's filming start date was on April 14, 1944 and it was completed on May 18,1944. The budget (expected cost of the production) was set at $170,099 and the finished negative-cost came in at $207,856. This serial was the first and only Republic serial to carry a 2nd Unit Director credit on the film credits.