Using this translation turn the pages a bit odd - sorry

The Creators of Mandrake the Magician (and the Phantom)

Mandrake Movie

by Phil Davis

Mandrake was the first who went to the movie serials in 1939. Next Mandrake becomes aired over the Mutual Radio Network in 15 minutes serial from 11.11.1940 until 02.06.1942. The radio serial was scripted by Chuck Verral (known for the pulp hero Bill Barnes).

In 1941 Phil was honored by the American Society of Newspaper Editors with a premium of 500 $ for drawing the medal for assignment every year for the winner of the annual competition opened trough the students of journalism.

Alfred Bester

Falk started to write two adventures where both the Phantom and Mandrake fights against the Japanese invaders; The Phantom Goes to War (pd-420202-430109) and Pacifica (ms-420419-421101). Early in 1942 Lee Falk entered the Office of War Information and worked at the radio foreign language division. From 1944-1946 Falk served his duty at the Army Signal Corps.

It was not easy to combine the writings of the four strips and the work for the army so Alfred Bester and Rod Reed was hired by KFS to ghostwrite the strips for Mandrake the Magician and the Phantom during the ww2 years.

by W. McCoy

Wilson McCoy

R. Wilson McCoy had started working as assistant on the Phantom in late 1941 and when Ray Moore join the army in 1942 he hired McCoy to continue the strip (still under Moore's name), his wife Dorothy McCoy did the lettering.

In 1943 Phil Davis was drafted as art director of the Curtiss-Wright Aircraft Company, and his wife Martha did some of the artist work with Mandrake under Phil's name.

A Phantom serial was released in 1943, but due to copyright problems with the producer the serial ended like The Adventure of Captain Africa one year after.

Phantom and Captain Africa Movies

Ray Moore returned to the Phantom in 1945 and did a handful of stories, but handed the strip officially to R. Wilson McCoy in 1949. (More info: Ed Rhoades have done an interview with Claire Moore about her late husband's work)

Due to that Ray Moore was one of the creators of the Phantom he still receive 25 % of the income of the strips, minus the KFS regular payment for McCoy's work.

It is a bit uncertain if Lee Falk himself wrote all of the adventures of the Phantom from 1946 to 1960. It is something with the plots and how the stories are written that indicate that somebody else might have written the Phantom in this period.

ill. P Davis

In 1947 Phil Davis manage to find time to illustrate the book Chuck Dressler by G.L. Wind.

Strangely in 1939 to 1946 the Canadian born stage magician Leon Mandrake toured extensively in the US with great success, using the stage name Mandrake the Magician. His wife and female assistant's stage name was "Narda" and his main male assistant's name was "Lothar". Phil Davis and Leon Mandrake meet each other in 1947 and become friends.

After the WW2 Lee Falk continue to write for his strips and become more involved in his works with theater, and for the next 20 years he ran up to 5 theaters (in the Boston area and Nassau in the Bahamas). He produced many plays and directed several. Lee Falk wrote about 12 plays but only 10 of them were produced, but not too successfully.

Some of his plays were: The Big Story (with Alan Cranstone in 1939), The Passionate Congressman (about 1940), Eris (The Night People) (from about 1966, staged in Paris in 1966), and Home at Six (from about 1966 ?).

He also wrote two musicals, Happy Dollar (about 1950 and with the lyrics by John Latouche and the music by William Friml) and Mandrake the Magician and the Enchantress, which was at stage in 1976 and directed by his wife Elisabeth.

He also wrote Festival at Salzburg, Long after Gath and The Katatonics before WW2.

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Mandrake the Magican and the Phantom is copyright 2018 King Features Syndicate Inc., The Hearst Corporation