HERE’S FLASH CASEY. Grand National Pictures, 1938. Eric Linden, Boots Mallory, Cully Richards, Holmes Herbert, Joseph Crehan, Howard Lang. Based on the story “Return Engagement,” by George Harmon Coxe (Black Mask, March 1934). Director: Lynn Shores.

   A copy of Black Mask from 1934 with “Return Engagement” in it is going to be hard to find, if you don’t already own one, but you can also find it in a much more recent book about the leading character: Flashgun Casey, Crime Photographer: From the Pulps to Radio and Beyond, by J. Randolph Cox and David S. Siegel.

   I wish I had my copy at hand, because any resemblance of the Flash Casey in this movie and the Casey I remember reading other stories about is — to put it bluntly — none at all. Someone else is going to have to read it, the original story, that is, and be willing to tell us about it.

   I’ve also been hard-pressed to come up with posters or stills from the film. I have one of Eric Linden, who plays Casey, and some kind of trading card of Boots Mallory, who plays Casey’s girl friend of sorts, Kay Lanning, the society page editor of the newspaper where Casey, fresh out of college, lands his first paying job. (And at $18 a week, it is not much of a job. It is a wonder what Kay sees in him.)


   What you can do, however, is watch the entire movie online. Go to, click on the right spot, and there it is. Marvelous!

   In a matter of speaking, of course. I’m talking about Internet technology, not the quality of the film. Eric Linden, whose career lasted about ten years through the 1930s, plays Casey as a naive college kid for all it’s worth, which is maybe the dime it would cost you to see it back in 1938. And if I haven’t happened to have mentioned it before, this is a comedy film all the way, so it’s not Linden who’s responsible for his actions.


   What might possibly qualify this as a crime film? Almost nothing, as long as you’ve asked, but Casey does take some candid photos at a society affair that an unscrupulous gang of blackmailers alters and tries to make a bundle on. Bungling that, they kidnap Kay, and Flash comes to the rescue by commandeering an ambulance…

   Besides being an actress for a short while, Patricia “Boots” Mallory was also a good-looking dancer and an actress. Her film career ended in 1938, but she had married film producer William Cagney, brother of actor James Cagney, back in 1932, well before then. She later married actor Herbert Marshall, to whom she was still wed when she died in 1958.

   So, as you can see, here’s my review. Two paragraphs about the movie itself, surrounded by a lot of fluff. Go watch the movie itself and see if it deserves more.