UCLA FTVA Master Mystery Contents

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As promised, I am going to review each incomplete version of the Mastery Mystery (i.e., The Miracle Factory, Kino, McIlhany and UCLA FTVA) that I have seen and go over what pieces they contain and don’t contain.  This post will focus on the UCLA FTVA copy of the Master Mystery.

The UCLA FTVA does not contain Episode 8 or Episode 10, but it does contain all of the other episodes ( 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15) on 16 mm safety print reels that were transferred onto two VHS tapes for non-circulating research and study.

UCLA Media Lab

Below are the UCLA Master Mystery Episode Descriptions:

Episode 1:

International Patents, a firm controlled by Balcom and Brent, has made a fortune by inducing inventors to trust the marketing of their inventions to their care, and then keeping the inventions off the market to protect holders of previously existing patents. Brent, tormented by a guilty conscience, decides to make amends and release the patents to the world. On the eve of his decision, he and his foreign representative, Flint, are stricken down by the Madagascar (or laughing) Madness. A giant automaton, whose secret retreat is under the home of Brent, administers poison by the smoke of candles and pursues Eva, Brent’s daughter, to her boudoir, while Quentin Locke, the newly hired manager of Brent Laboratories, has been bound in a straight jacket brought by an ambulance which came to remove Brent to the sanitarium.

Episode 2:

International Patents, Inc., a firm controlled by Balcom and Brent has made a fortune by keeping patented inventions off the market. A giant automaton that lives under the home of Brent has secretly administered poison through the smoke of candles that causes the Madagascar (or laughing) madness. Quentin Locke, the newly engaged head of the laboratories endeavors to aid Eva, daughter of Brent in solving the mystery. While Flint is captured by the automaton and given an antidote for the laughing madness, Locke has a chemist friend working to find an antidote for Brent. Through Flint, the automaton arranges for Eva to go to to the docks in order to get a antidote, as she mistakenly thinks that Locke and the chemist have failed. While Eva is chased by the automaton, Locke is thrown from the dock by henchmen while bound and shackled in chains.

Episode 3:

Balcom and Brent, owners of International Patents, a firm that has made a fortune by keeping patented inventions off the market, quarrel, the outcome of which leaves Brent stricken by the “Madagascar (or laughing) madness.” A giant automaton whose secret retreat is under the Brent house is responsible for the crimes committed and Quentin Locke, the newly engaged head of the laboratories endeavors to aid Eva, daughter of Brent, in solving the mystery. In attempting to find an antidote to restore Eva’s father to sanity, Locke has been thrown from a dock by the emissaries of the automaton. Miraculously he escapes. One of the emissaries is captured and put in jail, and Locke impersonates him in order to get to the automaton at the acid mills. Eva is coerced into going to the acid mills to meet Locke, but instead is abducted by the automaton. Locke is left suspended over a seething vat of acid, with Eva unwittingly the key to his demise should she open the door to where Locke has been shackled.

Episode 4:

Balcom and Brent, owners of International Patents, Inc., a firm that has made a fortune by keeping patented inventions off the market, quarrel; the outcome of this leaves Brent stricken with the Madagascar (or laughing) Madness). A giant automaton whose secret retreat is under the Brent house, is responsible for the crimes committed. Quentin Locke, the newly engaged head of the laboratories, but secretly an agent of the Department of Justice, endeavors to aid Eva, daughter of Brent. Captured by the emissaries of the automaton, Locke is suspended over a vat of seething acid, but miraculously manages to escape. Locke decides that one of the patents, for a diving suit, must be tested. He knows that if anything happens to his airline it would mean certain death. The automaton sends one of his emissaries underwater to cut Locke’s airline. Locke manages to escape the diving suit, but is then shackled and put in a crate to be thrown off the dock, while Eva is in the clutches of the automaton.

Episode 5:

International Patents, Inc., a firm that has made a fortune by keeping inventions off the market, is owned Balcom and Brent. Brent has been overcome by a giant automaton whose secret retreat is under the Brent house. Quentin Locke, a Department of Justice operative, has fallen in love with Eva, daughter of Brent, who is engaged against her will to Paul, son of Balcom. Seeking evidence, Locke goes to an old warehouse dock, where he is abducted by emissaries of the automaton, shackled, put in a crate, and thrown off a dock. Miraculously he escapes. Locke goes to Deluxe Dora’s penthouse to ask questions and investigate Paul, but he is caught in a trap when a smoke bomb goes off. Deluxe Dora and her henchmen take Locke to the roof, and tie him to the bottom of a water tower. When water begins pouring in, it looks like certain death, but miraculously, he escapes. Locke and Eva meet at the apartment of Davis, the inventor who was promised restitution by Brent before his attack of laughing madness. Locke and Eva find themselves in an apartment with a ticking time bomb, planted by Zita Dane.

Episode 6:

International Patents, Inc., a firm that has made a fortune by keeping inventions off the market, is owned by Balcom and Brent. Brent has been overcome by a giant automaton whose secret retreat is under the Brent residence. Quentin Locke, a Department of Justice operative, in trying to solve the mystery, keeps an appointment at an old inventor’s where a bomb has been planted, timed to explode at eight o’clock. When the bomb goes off, the automaton is carried away by his emissaries. Eva and Locke tend to the dying inventor, who says that the automaton was created by a fanatical inventor in Madagascar named Dr. Q, who gave the automaton a human brain. Eva announces her plans to call for the release of all the patents at the directors board meeting the next day. Eva and Locke, on the trail of the automaton, find themselves in the clutches of a “Mad Genius” who has invented an electric chair. While Eva is abducted by the automaton, Locke is strapped into the electric chair, which means certain death.

Episode 7:

Quentin Locke, accumulating evidence against Herbert Balcom of International Patents Inc., enters the den of Dr. Q, the mad inventor, with Eva Brent. They are overpowered by a giant automaton and its emissaries, and Locke is strapped in an electric chair. Locke escapes in time to rescue Eva from the clutches of the automaton. Quentin follows Paul to the Black Tom Cafe, his underworld domain. There Quentin finds Deluxe Dora, who says that she will help him implicate Paul in illegal doings, but it is a ruse. Quentin and Eva find themselves led into conspiracy’s tangled web. Dr. Q’s emissaries wrap Locke up in barbed wire, while the automaton pours deadly acid on the floor that starts to flow towards Locke struggling on the ground.

Episode 9:

Quentin Locke, at the command of the automaton, is overcome, bound, and thrown beneath a descending elevator, while Eva has been abducted. At the very last minute, Locke escapes his bindings and manages to escape, aided by Zita Dane who is dressed like a man. Zita Dane admits that her jealousy of Eva and Locke prevented her from intervening earlier. To the Chinese Curio Shop comes a man from Madagascar, and Long Fang, a Monarch of the Underworld, is introduced. Deluxe Dora tells Eva Brent that there is a man who knows of a cure for Eva’s father, but he sails for Madagascar that night. Eva and Locke are led into a trap at the Chinese Curio Shop, and are attacked by the automaton and its emissaries. Locke is strapped to a wall.

Episode 11:

At Paul’s instigation, Eva has been abducted; and one of his followers disguised as a minister attempts to perform a false marriage ceremony. Quentin Locke, meanwhile, has been bound and placed under the coverings of a sofa, where he is left to the tender mercies of the Madagascan. After a miraculous escape and a brawl with Paul’s men, Locke follows the wounded Paul to a fishing shack. Zita Dane hides Paul in the attic of the shack, and Locke swears that he will find him. While Eva is being abducted by the Automaton, Quentin Locke is tied and bound head to toe in a fishing net.

Episode 12:

Quentin Locke, while in pursuit of Paul, is overpowered by the emissaries of the Automaton and is entangled in the meshes of a fishing net, while Eva is left helpless before the advance of the Automaton. Locke miraculously escapes the fishing net and they escape. Eva acquires proxies that give her absolute control over International Patents, Inc., and now she can force Balcom out of the company. Locke gives Balcom 24 hours to arrange his affairs before his arrest. Balcom persuades Locke to come to his apartment, under the pretext that Balcom will turn state’s evidence. Meanwhile, Zita and Paul join forces at the home of Dr. Q, and decide on a pretext to get Eva to the office of a hypnotist on River Street. Locke arrives at Balcom’s and the apartment is full of unseen chlorine gas. Zita decides to save Locke, explaining her secret love for him. Zita and Locke rush to the hypnotist to save Eva, and Locke finds himself trapped in a noose, suspended over a fire trap.

Episode 13:

Eva, hypnotized by a medium and carried through a secret panel into a Chinese Temple, has been turned over to the Automaton and its emissaries, to be offered as a sacrifice to the rays of the Burning Eyes of the Fire God. Quentin Locke, attempting her rescue, is made captive and suspended over a fire trap with a noose around his neck. Miraculously he escapes in time to save Eva. Zita Dane, reaching the cross roads of conscience, offers further assistance in untangling the affairs of International Patents, Inc., while at the same time trying to find records to confirm that Brent is her father. Balcom prepares to do away with important documents to conceal his manipulation of the company. An important clue is the record of Zita’s birth, which would help solve the mystery. The Automaton takes Brent, while Eva and Locke discover that his cave is beneath the Brent house. Locke encounters Balcom in the secret passages of the cave, and both are buried in an explosion.

Episode 14:

While trying to solve the mystery of the Automaton and the underground passages beneath Brentrock, Quentin Locke encounters Balcom and a struggle ensues. An explosion occurs and they are buried beneath the wreckage. Meanwhile Eva and Zita have sought to discover an outside entrance to the underground retreat. Balcom has been killed by the explosion, and Brent is rescued. Dr. Q finds that with Balcom’s death, he is no longer under his influence, and discovers from Balcom’s diary that Zita Dane is his daughter. He explains to Locke, Eva, and Zita that Balcom, knowing his hatred for Brent, brought him back from Madagascar. Balcom took advantage of Dr. Q’s insanity, and used his invention, the Automaton, to accomplish his evil ends. Many years previously, Balcom had told Dr. Q that his wife and children were dead, one of the blows that wrecked his intellect. As Dr. Q announces that with Balcom’s death the Automaton will bother them no more, the mechanical man bursts into the room.

Episode 15:

[No description was supplied by UCLA]

The Episode Title Cards listed the episode number (e.g., Six) followed by Part One:






Episode Six Part One

This was followed by FORWARD title card(s) and footage recapping the previous episode.

Each episode ended with the following title card:

The continuation of the


will be shown at this theatre


As far as I can tell, these 13 episodes are complete with the following exceptions:

The last title card from Episode 1 found on all other versions (e.g., Miracle Factory, Kino, McIlany) is not included:

As the shadow on the sun dial lengthened.

The Baker’s Dock sequence in Episode 3 shows two thugs left on the dock instead of three after HH and the first thug hit the water. Kino’s George Eastman House footage shows three thugs left on the dock at this point and then mentions a second thug hurling himself into the water to finish the task that cost the first thug his life. But UCLA FTVA does show a giant fish swimming [not on George Eastman House footage] when all of a sudden there is a splash from HH and the first thug hitting the water.  The first thug is then seen floating up, which is followed by HH escaping his chains.

So to make the most complete 15 episode Master Mystery, we need the 13 UCLA FTVA episodes, plus Episode 8 from Kino (or McIIhany EPISODE 4] and Episode 10 from Kino with the addition of the first part of UCLA FTVA Episode 11 that recaps where Episode 10 left off.  Plus, we need to add one title card to Episode 1 of the UCLA FTVA version and merge the UCLA FTVA Baker Dock sequence in Episode 3 with the George Eastman House footage found on Kino.



2 thoughts on “UCLA FTVA Master Mystery Contents

    • Yes, Yes and Yes.
      Let me know and we can set up a date and time to see it. I have it on reserve for the Spring Semester for some additional research. You are going to flip when you see the water tower escape and diving suit footage; they are absolutely breath-taking.

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