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A serial, film serialmovie serial or chapter play, is a motion picture form popular during the first half of the 20th century, consisting of a series of short subjects exhibited in consecutive order at one theater, generally advancing weekly, until the series is completed. Generally, each serial involves a single set of characters, protagonistic and antagonistic, involved in a single story, which has been edited into chapters after the fashion of serial fiction and the episodes cannot be shown out of order or as a single or a random collection of short subjects.

The perils of pauline softcore chapter was screened at a movie theater for one week, and ended with a cliffhangerin which characters found themselves in perilous situations with little apparent chance of escape.

Viewers had to return each week to see the cliffhangers resolved and to follow the continuing story.

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Movie serials were especially popular with The perils of pauline softcore, and for many youths in the first half of the 20th century a typical Saturday matinee at the movies included at least one chapter of a serial, along with animated cartoonsnewsreelsand two feature films. Many serials were Westernssince those were the least expensive to film. Besides Westerns, though, there were films covering many genres, including crime fictionespionagecomic book or comic strip characters, science fictionand jungle adventures.

Although most serials were filmed economically, some were made at significant expense.

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The Flash Gordon serial and its sequels, for instance, The perils of pauline softcore major productions in their times. Serials were a popular form of movie entertainment dating back to Edison's What Happened to Mary of There appear to be older serials, however, such as the Deutsche Vitaskop 5 episode Arsene Lupin Contra Sherlock Holmesbased upon the Maurice LeBlanc novel, [1] and a possible but unconfirmed Raffles serial in The villain would continually place the hero into inescapable deathtraps, or the heroine would be placed into a deathtrap and the hero would bravely come to her rescue, usually pulling her away from certain death only moments before she met her doom.

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The hero and heroine would face one trap after another, battling countless thugs and lackeys, before finally defeating the villain. The popular term cliffhanger was developed as a plot device in film serials though its origins have been traced by some historians to the Sherlock Holmes stories of Arthur Conan Doyle or the earlier A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy fromand it comes from the many times that the hero or heroine would end The perils of pauline softcore hanging over a cliff, usually as the villain gloated above and waited for them to plummet hundreds of metres to their deaths.

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The silent era was the zenith of the movie serial and serial stars from this period were major stars such as Pearl Whitewho starred in the quintessential silent serial The Perils of Pauline The perils of pauline softcore, which still ranks among the best known silent films. Most of these serials put beautiful young women in jeopardy week after week. The serials starring women were the most popular during the silent period but in the sound era few serials had a female character in the major role.

Years after their first release, serials gained new life at "Saturday Matinees", theatrical showings on Saturday mornings aimed directly at children. For that reason, serials are sometimes called "Saturday Matinee Serials", even though they were originally shown with feature films.

In the early days of television in the United States, movie serials were often broadcast, one chapter a day, and in the late s and s, they were often revived The perils of pauline softcore BBC television in the United Kingdom. Another popular serial was the episode The Hazards of Helen made by Kalem Studios and starring Helen Holmes for the first forty-eight episodes then Helen Gibson for the remainder. Other major studios of the silent era, such as Vitagraph and Essanay Studiosproduced serials, as did Warner Bros.

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Several independent companies for example, Mascot Pictures made Western serials. Four silent Tarzan serials were also made. Europe had its own serials: The arrival of sound technology made it costlier to produce serials, so that they were no longer as profitable on a flat rental basis. Further, the Great Depression made it impossible for many of the smaller companies that produced serials to upgrade to sound, and they went out of business.

Only one serial specialty company, Mascot Picturestransitioned from silent to sound filmmaking.

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The perils of pauline softcore Pictures also kept its serial unit alive through the transition. In the early s a handful of independent companies tried their hand at making serials, but managed only two or three, including the once-prolific Weiss Brothers.

The Weisses bought a little time when Columbia Pictures decided to take a try at serials, and contracted with them as Adventure The perils of pauline softcore Inc. They were successful enough that Columbia then established its own serial unit and the Weisses essentially disappeared from the serial scene. This was inand Columbia was probably inspired by the previous year's serial blockbuster success at Universal, Flash Gordonthe first serial ever to play at a major theater on Broadway ; and by the success of that same year of the newly created Republic Pictureswhich dedicated itself to a program of serials and westerns, eschewing major productions in their favor.

The creation of Republic involved the absorption of Mascot Picturesso that byserial production was now in the hands of three companies only - Universal, Columbia, and Republic, with Republic quickly becoming the acknowledged leader in quality serial product.

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Each company turned out four to five serials per year, of 12 to 15 episodes each, a pace they all kept up until the end of World War II when, inUniversal dropped its serial unit along The perils of pauline softcore its B-picture unit and renamed its production department Universal-International Pictures.

Republic and Columbia continued unchallenged, with about four serials per year each, Republic fixing theirs at 12 chapters each while Columbia fixed at fifteen.


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