Buster Crabbe is best known for his portrayal of intergalactic adventure hero Flash Gordon in three serials. A gold medalist in the 1932 Olympic games, Crabbe was signed to Paramount Pictures after a brief period working as a stunt double and starred in the imitation Tarzan
picture King of the Jungle
. The athletic leading man spent the next two decades working for smaller studios, racking up a long list of westerns and action/adventure credits.
The Contender (1944; 62 minutes): Hard luck truck driver Gary Farrell enters a boxing tournament to earn enough money to keep his son in a prestigious military academy. He wins the tournament and is suddenly thrust into the world of professional boxing. Trainer Pop Turner and famous promoter Kip Morgan both think he has what it takes to be champ. Gary doesn't disappoint, battling his way steadily towards a shot at the title. It seems the only person who might stop Gary Farrell's meteoric rise is himself, as the once modest working man lets success go to his head. Neglecting his son, his friends and his trainers with the big fight on the horizon, Farrell's fast living may have him headed for a fall. Starring Buster Crabbe, Arline Judge, Julie Gibson, Glenn Strange. Directed by Sam Newfield.
The Oil Raider (1934; 61 minutes): Upstart oil man Dave Warren is drilling in Oak Glenn Basin, and everything seems to be falling into place. Prospects are favorable that the claim will pay out, and financier J.T. Varley has agreed to front him fifty thousand dollars. Under the terms of agreement, Varley will legally own the well if the loan is not paid in 90 days, but Warren is confident that an oil strike is imminent. Varley believes Warren's optimism is justified and hires a vicious thug to do whatever it takes to make sure the drilling is delayed. The ruthless banker not only wants to sabotage the oil rig, but to take care of Dave Warren once and for all. Starring Buster Crabbe, Gloria Shea, George Irving, Max Wagner. Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet.
Buster Crabbe has two entries in his cinematic canon gathered here. THE CONTENDER is from 1944, and sees Crabbe playing Gary Farrel, a widower who enters a boxing tournament to earn money for his son's tuition. Proving to be a natural, he soon has a number of wins under his belt and an entourage of toadies and gold-diggers. Will he notice the straight-arrow news reporter who truly loves him before his head swells too much' Then, in THE OIL RAIDER, Crabb stars as Dave Warren, an oil man who runs into trouble with a corrupt financier who tries to delay drilling so that a loan owed to him by Warren will be difficult to pay back.