The Crimson Ghost From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Daughter of Don Q (1946) Republic Serial
The Crimson Ghost (1946) Succeeded by
Son of Zorro (1947) [show]
Films directed by William Witney
Golden Age Movie Serial. The Phantom Creeps starring Bela Lugosi. Chapter 11: The Blast! How will they die this chapter?
Kids lined up for a city block to get into the afternoon Saturday matinee at the Covina Theater. Hot little quarters burning holes in their pockets. 25cents to get into a double bill movie. An A movie like Forbidden Planet, a B movie like Earth Versus the Giant Spider. Laps filled with hot popcorn and icy cokes dripping across pants and skirts. Huge screen! Big sweeping movement of light then the first of a number of cartoons: Bugs Bunny versus the Pirates. Casper the Friendly Ghost in Ghastly Neighbors. Popeye Versus Bluto in Submarine Friends.
The last cartoon dims on the screen. Tiny hands throw spitballs, blow straw covers across the seats, pluck hair in front, yell, jump up and down, and then the next chapter of The Phantom Creeps slides onto the screen, showing the fiery, horrible death of last week and then how the lead character escapes death yet again miraculously.
Ah, those were the days!
Movie Serial. The Lost City, Chapter 9: Jungle Vengeance. Golden age movie serial filled with danger and adventure.
The big thing I always liked about the old classic serials were the cliffhangers they ended on. A cute series called the Perils of Pauline was a silent film that always left the heroine in danger of losing her life, whether by falling to her death, being crushed, exploded, shot, stabbed etc. These plot devices were tools of the film maker to make sure audiences returned for popcorn and soda the next week in the theaters.
And it worked.
Seeing Superman on the big screen about to die as the Atom Man attacks him, Flash Gordon falling to his death in the Pit of Doom, Ming the Merciless unleashing the Purple Rain of Death on Earth to destroy all its inhabitants. All cool, menacing, frightening and popcorn munching cliffhanging craziness!
This anticipation and conversation-inducing authorial technique would often be very contrived as the only purpose was to maintain interest in the monthly serial. Therefore, these were regularly removed from the plot when the serial was published as a full novel. The cliff-hanger migrated to film and is best known from the popular silent film series The Perils of Pauline (1914), shown in weekly installments and featuring Pearl White as the title character, a perpetual damsel in distress who was menaced by assorted villains, with each installment ending with her placed in a situation that looked sure to result in her imminent death – to escape at the beginning of the next installment only to get into fresh danger at its end. Specifically, an episode filmed around the New Jersey Palisades ended with her literally left hanging over a cliff and seemingly about to fall. A history of the cliffhanger and important stages of serial narration was written by Vincent Fröhlich in German.