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

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Feb 19 21:17:03 UTC 2014

To W. Brewer:

In your humorous response, there is one tidbit I'd like to follow up
on.  You wrote "after careful re-examination of 1914 episode
1...".  Did you mean to imply that episode *one* contained a (or
"the") runaway balloon/cliff ledge incident?

I ask because yesterday I came across one writer who does find a
balloon incident in chapter one.  He quotes from "the original
campaign book" (he doesn't identify that further) a description of
chapter one, "Twixt Heaven and Sky".  That description says that
while Pauline is sitting in the basket of a balloon, the villain
arranges for someone to create a panic and cuts the ropes. "My God!
gasped Harry, in horror. "The balloon has escaped, and Pauline is
alone in mid-air."  That is where the campaing book quotation is
ended.  [Slide, Early American Cinema, p. 198.]

Another description of the 20 chapters, "taken from an article in the
July, 1974 Blackhawk Bulletin, which listed the original story
synopses from THE MOVING PICTURE WORLD", has nothing like this for
chapter one, and puts the balloon/cliff incident in chapter six.  (It
also does not have a chapter title "Twixt Heaven and
(Movie Serial Message Boards), then select "1910s-20s Silent Movie
Serials & Series" followed by "The 20 Original Chapters of THE PERILS

So I'm confounded -- chapter one or chapter six?


At 2/19/2014 03:17 AM, W Brewer wrote:

>JB: <<So I am speculating that the presence of "suspense" at the end of
>episodes of the early serials may have become associated with the
>"suspense" of Pauline depending from and on the cliff, leading to the
>joining of "cliff" with the suspension of "hanging".>>
>WB: Sad to note, after careful re-examination of 1914 episode 1, neither
>Pauline nor any of the other characters was wearing suspenders. I think
>that would have clinched it. (8^o)
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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