Dick Tracy Wiki

Gang Busters is a 1942 serial that took its name from a popular radio series, though only the elements of a prison escape and siren are used from the radio series.


In this 13-part serial, a squad of detectives are attempting to stop the League of Murdered Men, all of whom have been murdered and restored to life. The League is led by Professor Mortis, who restores them to life and gives them a drug that he claims keeps them alive.

After the Professor has been captured, he admits to the lead detective that this drug is a placebo and that he doesn't need it to survive.


  • Dr. Clayton Maxton (aka Professor Mortis) was played by Ralph Morgan, who had portrayed the villain in the 1941 serial Dick Tracy vs Crime lnc.
  • Gang Busters was co-written by Morgan Cox, who had also co-written the first Dick Tracy serial in 1937.
  • Footage of a car plunging down into the elevator shaft is originally from Republic's Dick Tracy Returns (1938). Universal purchased this footage and used it in several of their movie serials, including The Mysterious Mr. M (1946).
  • Due to its elaborate set pieces and fantastic story elements, some fans have speculated that Gang Busters was originally conceived as a Dick Tracy project which was then re-worked after Universal Pictures did not acquire the rights to the character. It is also possible that Gang Busters was simply inspired by the previous Dick Tracy serials.