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

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Dec 2 02:58:26 UTC 2021

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]


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

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