Notorious Hollywood tightwad Sam Katzman's first serial, Shadow of Chinatown stars Bela Lugosi as Victor Poten, a Eurasian with a destructive hatred of both whites and Asians hired by Sonya Rokoff (Luana Walters) to ruin the tourist trade in San Francisco's Chinatown. But, as Sonya discovers and Poten himself acknowledges, she has inadvertently created a seemingly unstoppable "Frankenstein's monster." The forces of good opposing Poten and Rokoff include Martin Andrews (Herman Brix, aka Bruce Bennett), a novelist specializing in all things Oriental, sob-sister-turned-crime-reporter Joan Whiting (Joan Barclay), and Chinese houseboy Willy Fu (Hawaiian crooner Maurice Liu). Sonya Rokoff, whose allegiance to the madman quickly comes under some strain, is destroyed by a falling chandelier in Chapter 14, but Victor survives to be carted off to jail in the 15th and final chapter, "The Avenging Powers." Shadow of Chinatown was filmed in two weeks in Culver City, CA, and on rental stages at Hollywood's Talisman Studios. A slightly altered feature version in which Lugosi's character is killed off in the final reel was released simultaneously.