The Black Abbot (January 8, 1934)

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John Stuart in The Black Abbot
 

Released on January 8, 1934: While watching for the ghost of the Black Abbot in haunted Monk's Hall, the wealthy estate owner disappears without a trace.

Produced by Julius Hagen

Directed by George A. Cooper

The Actors: John Stuart (Frank Brooks), Judy Kelly (Sylvia Hillcrest), Edgar Norfolk (Brian Heslewood), Richard Cooper (Lord Jerry Pilkdown), Drusilla Wills (Aunt Mary Hillcrist), Farren Soutar (John Hillcrist), Cyril Smith (Alf Higgins, the gardener), Davina Craig (Jane the maid), Earl Grey (Phillips the butler), Ben Welden (Charlie Marsh, American private detective), John Turnbull (Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Lockwood), Wally Patch (Police Sergeant)

 

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The Kidnapping Ghost of Monk's Hall

A wealthy British country gentleman has just purchased the building next to his estate that long ago was home to monks. Today there is a rumor that the place is haunted by the ghost of the Black Abbot, a monk gone bad who haunts the place every evening, walking the grounds in silence. The wealthy man has hired an architect to look the place over and bring it up to date, and the young architect has fallen in love with his daughter, the beautiful heiress Judy, and a wedding is planned. While the young heiress’ father, aunt, and friends are celebrating the engagement announcement, the gardener has snuck into the haunted building with Jane the maid to have a bit of fun. Suddenly a shriek pierces the night air and we discover that young maid Jane has seen the Black Abbot walking through Monk’s Hall and disappearing into the darkness. After a bit of debate about the reality of ghosts the men decide that they will quietly stand in Monk’s Hall until midnight and watch for the ghost of the Black Abbot. All is quiet until one of the men spots the shadow of a hooded monk walking outside the window and the four men take chase after the spooky figure. When the chaos of the chase is ended, one fellow has been knocked out cold, and the wealthy owner of the place has disappeared. An American detective who is a friend of one of the men is brought into the case to help the family in the event that Scotland Yard fails to find the missing man. The American suggests that it is probably a kidnapping for ransom, and the Scotland Yard Inspector replies that of course the American would suspect a ransom kidnapping. . . . . That sort of thing was begun in America, after all. To understand that comment, you need to know the state of the world in 1934 vis-à-vis kidnapping.

In 1927 Charles Lindbergh was the first person to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in an airplane and he became an instant worldwide celebrity. In 1932 his young son was kidnapped and that crime was reported around the world. In the following years, fear of kidnapping was rampant among wealthy people and celebrities. In fact, it caused one American movie star couple to move from America to England in 1935 to protect their young children from American copy-cat kidnappers. Movie stars Ben Lyon and his wife, actress Bebe Lyon, moved to England in 1935, a year after this movie, and never looked back. They built a successful life in England with a famous British radio and then television situation comedy show “Life with the Lyons,” eventually even making two motion pictures, “Life with the Lyons” in 1954 and “The Lyons in Paris” in 1955. But now back to our mystery.

The family does indeed get a ransom note, and the search for the kidnapper is on, with suspicion falling on the young architect who has just swept the heiress off her feet. As night falls, strange events around Monk's Hall are once again consuming our attention and raising the hairs on the back of our necks. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

John Stuart and Judy Kelly
John Stuart and Judy Kelly
Ben Welden and John Turnbull
Ben Welden and John Turnbull
Ben Welden, Richard Cooper and Judy Kelly
Ben Welden, Richard Cooper and Judy Kelly
Ben Welden
Ben Welden
Cyril Smith
Cyril Smith
Cyril Smith and Davina Craig
Cyril Smith and Davina Craig
Cyril Smith and Davina Craig
Cyril Smith and Davina Craig
Cyril Smith
Cyril Smith
Davina Craig and Cyril Smith
Davina Craig and Cyril Smith
Davina Craig
Davina Craig
Drusilla Wills
Drusilla Wills
Drusilla Wills and Richard Cooper
Drusilla Wills and Richard Cooper
Dusilla Wills
Dusilla Wills
Earl Grey
Earl Grey
Earl Grey
Earl Grey
Edgar Norfolk and Farren Soutar
Edgar Norfolk and Farren Soutar
Edgar Norfolk and Judy Kelly
Edgar Norfolk and Judy Kelly
Edgar Norfolk and Richard Cooper
Edgar Norfolk and Richard Cooper
Edgar Norfolk
Edgar Norfolk
Farren Soutar and Davina Craig
Farren Soutar and Davina Craig
Farren Soutar and Davina Craig
Farren Soutar and Davina Craig
Farren Soutar and Edgar Norfolk
Farren Soutar and Edgar Norfolk
Farren Soutar, John Stuart and Judy Kelly
Farren Soutar, John Stuart and Judy Kelly
Farren Soutar
Farren Soutar
John Stuart
John Stuart
John Stuart and Judy Kelly
John Stuart and Judy Kelly
John Stuart
John Stuart
John Turnbull
John Turnbull
Judy Kelly and John Stuart
Judy Kelly and John Stuart
Judy Kelly
Judy Kelly
Richard Cooper
Richard Cooper
Richard Cooper and John Turnbull
Richard Cooper and John Turnbull
Richard Cooper
Richard Cooper
Wally Patch
Wally Patch
Wally Patch
Wally Patch
Wally Patch and Davina Craig
Wally Patch and Davina Craig
Wally Patch
Wally Patch
Wally Patch, Davina Craig and Cyril Smith
Wally Patch, Davina Craig and Cyril Smith