[Ads-l] The cavalry arrives in the nick of time.

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Dec 2 07:55:31 EST 2021


Thanks for the kind words.  Here's an ex. that explicitly connects it with
the screen (or, less likely, the stage):

1943 _Seattle Daily Times_ (May 3) 13:  But like the American cavalry
arriving in the nick of time to rescue the embattled frontiersman [sic] of
the old-time melodrama, June Havoc is on her way from Chicago to Hollywood.

JL

On Wed, Dec 1, 2021 at 9:58 PM ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
wrote:

> Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> > Good find.
> >
> > The phrase seems to have become proverbial only in the '20s or '30s (at
> the
> > earliest) presumably with reference to some forgotten movie/s. (I was
> > unable to find the phrase in any early film review, however.)
>
> In 1923 the arrival of a person in a nick of time to prevent disaster
> was labeled a movie dogma, i.e., a commonplace plot device. Thus, the
> cavalry arriving just in time to save the day might be viewed as a
> specialized form of this cliché narrative schema which, of course,
> precedes the advent of film. The cavalry variant is distinctive enough
> to be worthy of the excellent analysis you have performed.
>
> Year: 1923
> Book Title: What's Wrong with the Movies?
> Author: Tamar Lane
> Publisher: The Waverly Company, Los Angeles, California
> Chapter 15: Dogmas of the Movies
> Quote Page 215
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> 29. That individuals dry within a very few seconds after emerging from
> water.
>
> 30. That persons always arrive in the nick of time to prevent disaster.
>
> 31. That innocent persons always pick up the revolver with which the
> crime was committed and hold on to it until the police arrive and
> arrest them for the crime.
> [End excerpt]
>
> Garson
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>


-- 
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