Pat’s masculinity is, indeed, open to question, in spite of his square-jawed stoicism and expertise at fisticuffs. He is denigrated by worse terms than “yellow,” including “sissy” and “pansy,” but only by women, so he won’t have to fight back. Late in 1936, when they are all shipwrecked on another island, Burma throws herself at the colonial administrator (although she is supposedly as hard as nails, she falls for every man she sees). The solicitous Pat gives the adminstrator’s wife make-up and hairstyle tips so she can beat off the competition. One expects that, if World War II had not broken out, Pat could have easily returned to America and opened a hair salon.
The sixteen and seventeen-year old Terry is often positioned structurally as a parallel to whatever tall, slinky woman is lusting after with Pat this time. The lady strips down to her underwear, and in the next scene Terry strips down to his underwear. Pat is knocked unconscious, and the lady gingerly holds him in her arms. The next time Pat is knocked unconscious, Terry gingerly holds him in his arms, in precisely the same position.
The two are by far the most physically expressive of homoromantic partners in movie serials, one with hand always firmly placed on the other’s arm, shoulder, or back, except when they are walking with their arms wrapped around each other’s waists. Terry screams and flails like a damsel in distress when he is terrorized by crocodiles, headhunters, and villains lobbing hand-grenades, and after Pat swoops down like Tarzan to save him, they embrace, Terry’s face pressed against Pat’s chest. In an early chapter, they are bedded down for the night when a gorilla breaks into Terry’s room and tries to carry him away. Pat rushes to the rescue, getting his shirt ripped off in the process. Afterwards Terry stares appreciatively at Pat’s bulging muscles and hints “I’d feel a lot better if I slept with you tonight.” Pat agrees.