"Perils of Pauline", 1914 -- cliff-hanger or not?

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Sun Feb 9 22:17:39 UTC 2014

I apologize to coming late to the discussion.

The first American "hold-over" serial (is that in OED?) is considered to be
"The Adventures of Kathlyn", although I don't know if any cliffs are

Preceding that, however, was a French series called Fantomas, in which, at
the end of episode 2, a house is blown up with the good guys inside. At the
end of the episode, a question appears on the screen, asking whether they
are dead. This may be the first true cliffhanger.


On Sun, Feb 9, 2014 at 2:59 PM, Dave Wilton <dave at wilton.net> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Dave Wilton <dave at WILTON.NET>
> Subject:      Re: "Perils of Pauline", 1914 -- cliff-hanger or not?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Going back to the Arabian Nights, I just finished the reading of the 1990
> Haddawy translation, which is based on the oldest extant manuscript from
> the
> fourteenth century. (There are various versions, containing different
> tales,
> and, presumably, different versions of the frame narrative.)
> I haven't looked at them systematically, but the story breaks seemingly
> come
> at random moments. Sometimes there is a some pending suspenseful action, at
> other times the break will happen at moments of no import, as in the middle
> of a conversation. And sometimes Shahrazad completes a tale just as dawn
> comes.
> Haddawy's rendition of the repeated break is "But morning overtook
> Shahrazad, and she lapsed into silence" and she promises to continue the
> next night "if I stay alive." While she is deliberately trying to stave off
> her death sentence, ultimately Shahrazad has no control over the pace of
> the
> tales as the dawn, like any event in one's life, "overtakes" her.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
> Of
> Joel S. Berson
> Sent: Sunday, February 09, 2014 2:29 PM
> Subject: Re: "Perils of Pauline", 1914 -- cliff-hanger or not?
> Thanks, Christopher.
> The first two links below provide conflicting opinions about the answer to
> my question.  For example, one author's mother recalls one episode ending
> with Pauline tied to railroad tracks, another with her dangling by her
> fingernails from a cliff ledge.  Another posting, with alleged synopses of
> the original 20 episodes, does not have either.  (It does describe two
> episodes, 6 and 7, as ending with Pauline in peril, although the major
> crisis of those episodes has been resolved.)
> The issue is compounded by the loss of the original negative and all
> 35 mm prints.
> Joel
> At 2/8/2014 02:57 PM, Christopher Philippo wrote:
> >On Feb 8, 2014, at 2:17 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at ATT.NET> wrote:
> > > Where might I find information (some movie email list?)
> > documenting whether the 1914 "Perils of Pauline" film serial was or
> > was not a
> > > "cliff-hanger" -- that is, ended episodes with Pauline in peril,
> > or resolved the peril before the end of the episode?
> >
> >Try http://www.serialsquadron.com/forums/ and
> >http://www.nitrateville.com and
> >http://www.imdb.com/board/bd0000001/threads/
> >
> >Christopher K. Philippo
> >
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