In the Nick of Time

Motion Picture Sound Serials


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SKU: 9780786404711 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

By the famous Big Reel columnist: the story of serials from Universal’s 1930 The Indians Are Coming to Columbia’s 1956 Blazing the Overland Trail. Fifteen fascinating chapters explain the importance of “cliffhangers” to the industry as audience builders and “product leaders.” The serials provided training for actors and served as a “technical university” for people who later made the television industry work.
An appendix lists in order of release all of the sound serials from 1930 through 1956, showing titles, releasing companies, chapter titles, directors and several cast members. Superb photographs.

About the Author(s)

The late William C. Cline was a widely known movie serials specialist who wrote a popular column for Big Reel. He lived in Concord, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

William C. Cline
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 293
Bibliographic Info: 64 photos, appendix, index
Copyright Date: 1997 [1984]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-0471-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9213-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Prologue      ix
Introduction      1

1 Anatomy of a Cliff-Hanger (The Formula)      4
2 In Search of the Ammunition (The Sources)      9
3 The Six Faces of Adventure (The Types)      28
4 The Plotters of Peril (The Writers)      55
5 A Cheer for the Champions (The Heroes and Heroines)      69
6 Guardians of the Sword (The Assistants)      97
7 The Masters of Menace (The Villains)      107
8 Emissaries of Evil (The Henchmen)      120
9 They Who Also Serve (The Citizens)      134
10 In the Hands of the Enemy (The Pawns)      148
11 Sons of Adventure (The Stuntmen)      152
12 Masters of Illusion (The Technicians)      166
13 Soothing the Savage Beast (The Music)      172
14 The Iron Hand with a Velvet Glove (The Directors)      179
15 Ascending the Heights (The Alumni Stars)      186

Epilogue      198
Filmography: Serials Released from 1930 to 1956      210
Index      259

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Not only gives the background, but also imparts the excitement of the chapterplay…lists them all”—Classic Images
  • “Entertaining”—Big Reel
  • “Deeply enthusiastic”—Film Quarterly
  • “Cline certainly knows his subject”—Movie Collector’s World
  • “The definitive record of the sound serials”—The Western Film
  • “Interesting and nostalgic…a mass of detail…such information can make a summer afternoon”—Choice
  • “[A] must”—Nostalgia Westerns.