Artwork by Glenn Cravath
The Spider's Web © Columbia Pictures Corp.
The Spider TM & © Argosy Communications, Inc.
Spider's Web Crew

It's worth noting some of the principal artists behind the scenes that made this chapterplay stand out among serials of the Thirties and Forties:

Ray Taylor, co-director
(1888-1952) Minnesotan Ray Taylor began his show business career in regional theater, where he worked as an actor and stage manager until World War I intervened. After being discharged from the Army, Taylor struck out for Hollywood and found work at Fox Films as an assistant director, often working alongside the great John Ford. In the mid-Twenties Taylor moved to Universal Pictures where he became a full-fledged director. He started on short subjects, but was quickly promoted to features and serials, and his proficiency in the new field of sound pictures garnered him plenty of work in top western series and serial projects. Taylor is credited with over 150 films, but is probably best remembered for his cliffhanger output which includes The Return of Chandu (Principal, 1934), Dick Tracy (Republic, 1937, with Alan James), The Spider's Web (Columbia, 1938), and Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (Universal, 1940, with Ford Beebe). As serial work dwindled in the Forties, Taylor moved to low-budget westerns, then retired in 1949.

James W. Horne, co-director
(1880-1942) This San Francisco-born stage actor and director began his Hollywood career as a silent-film actor at Kalem Studios in 1913, where he worked under Sidney Olcott, one of the first great directors of motion pictures. Perhaps this is what inspired him to switch to directing only two years later. At first he specialized in silent serials such as Stingaree (1915), The Midnight Man (1919), and The Third Eye (1920), but found his true calling making comedies in the Twenties, including College (1927) with Buster Keaton and the Laurel & Hardy classic Big Business (1929). Horne is best remembered as a first-rate director of many Laurel & Hardy sound shorts, and features such as Bonnie Scotland (1935) and Way Out West (1937). But in the late Thirties he became a third-rate director of serials, returning to the genre that gave him his start, but inserting ill-advised comedy bits and unwisely treating most of the proceedings as if they were a joke. The Spider Returns (1941), under his solo direction, is solid proof of how great Ray Taylor's contribution is to The Spider's Web.

Allen G. Siegler, cinematography
(1892-1960) New Jersey native Allen G. Siegler actually began his career in film at the Edison Company of New York (where the medium was invented). He made an auspicious debut as a cinematographer with Universal's triple-exposure hit The Twin's Double (1914) which starred three Grace Cunards. He would go on to shoot hundreds of films for the next 37 years, including the underrated Boris Karloff thriller The Black Room (1935) and ending with the low-budget Journey to the Center of the Earth knockoff, The Unknown World (1951). For much of this time Al Siegler was a Columbia studios workhorse whose output includes entries in the Blondie, Whistler, Lone Wolf and Three Stooges series -- as well as the rare serial like the moodily-shot The Spider's Web.

Morris Stoloff, score
(1898-1980) As a child growing up in Philadelphia, Morris Stoloff was a violin prodigy and toured the U.S. as a soloist at the age of 16. He joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic at 17 as its youngest member ever. When sound came to the movies, Stoloff joined Paramount Studios as their first concertmaster. In 1936 he moved to Columbia Pictures and became its first musical director, an association that would continue through 1962. (Trivia: Stoloff has a cameo as an orchestra leader in Jolson Sings Again in 1949.) Having collaborated in some way with many of the composers that worked for Columbia, Stoloff is one of the most-nominated people in the history of the Academy Awards, and his Oscars for Best Score include Cover Girl (1944), The Jolson Story (1946), and Song Without End (1960). The Spider's Web is the only serial that Stoloff chose to score himself. Stoloff also had a top-ten hit in 1956 with a combination of "Moonglow" and the love theme from Picnic, a classic of space-age pop. In the early Sixties Frank Sinatra hired Stoloff to be the musical director of his new label, Reprise Records, where he notably re-recorded albums of many great Broadway musicals.

Glenn Cravath, poster artist
(1897-1964) Glenn Cravath got his start as an illustrator in the 1920's at the New York Journal. He also worked as a cartoonist for King Features Syndicate, and a cover artist for pulp magazines and books. Cravath was a prolific painter of movie artwork, creating stirring imagery for many of Columbia Pictures' serials and westerns. He is best known (though not really remembered/credited) for all the promotional art for RKO's blockbuster 1933 release King Kong. His last published work was for Burt Lancaster's Unforgiven (1960).