The Radio Adventures of FU MANCHU

The Radio Adventures of FU MANCHU

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The notorious Dr. Fu Manchu was a mad scientist, intent upon conquering the world, but was continually foiled by the British policemen Sir Denis Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie, in thirteen novels (1913–59), by Sax Rohmer.  The first of the Fu Manchu novels was The Mystery of Dr. Fu Manchu, published in the U.S. as The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu. A master poisoner and chemist, he chose to dispose of his enemies  using members of other secret societies, pythons, cobras, poisonous fungi and black spiders. He found guns or explosives to be mundane.

Like many blood and thunder devices of literary fiction, he remained more elusive and mysterious, seldom making an appearance. He almost always sends his minions to commit crimes for him. In a later novel, it is revealed that Dr. Fu Manchu held doctorates from multiple universities.  Due to the popularity of the motion pictures, television renditions, comic strips, comic books and radio dramas, the character of Fu Manchu assured a steady income of royalties, while providing the mainstream public with a fictional portrayal best associated with a white man in costume who donned a Mandarin costume and pigtail and sported a Fu Manchu mustache. Today, the mainstream public is familiar with the fictional character through imagery and not the Sax Rohmer novels. Devout readers of the printed page are aware that Rohmer wrote more than just the worldwide “Yellow Peril” conspiracies. 

Over the years there have been a number of works documenting and preserving the legacy of Sax Rohmer, including Bianca in Black (1958) by Elizabeth Sax Rohmer, Master of Villainy: A Biography of Sax Rohmer(1972) by Elizabeth Sax Rohmer and Cay Van Ash with Robert Briney, The Yellow Peril: Dr. Fu Manchu & the Rise of Chinaphobia (2014) by Christopher Frayling, as well as additional Fu Manchu novels authorized by the Sax Rohmer estate, written by Cay Van Ash and William Patrick Maynard. In keeping with a central theme, this book will focus on the radio dramas of Fu Manchu and Sax Rohmer, debunking a number of myths and misconceptions that run rampant on the Internet.

Multiple Fu Manchu radio incarnations are documented, both coast-to-coast network productions and local regional ones in the 1930s. Other Sax Rohmer stories adapted for radio are documented, along with dozens of photographs and vintage advertisements. On top of all this, the 1944 Molle Mystery Theater radio script is reprinted in its entirety because a recording of that broadcast is not known to exist in recorded form. For fans of the fictional Fu Manchu and old-time radio, this is a must-have reference guide.


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