Review Flash Gordon Serials (1936)

Doctor Omega

Member: Rank 10
Sadly it has reached the point where I might get a copy of that book. (Who needs two pain free shoulders when you can have only one!) :emoji_grin:

Notice that he was dead against jogging and said that cycling was the better alternative - and that swimming was the best exercise, bar none.


Member: Rank 8
I love those old serials. Most people today, even my age, don't understand that this was the precursor to episodic television. Today, everyone knows the theatre as the place you go, watch a movie, and then go to dinner or hang out. Once upon a time, the theatre experience was a completely different animal. You paid to get in, and then you could sit for as long or as little as you wanted. That was where you saw the news reels, serials like Flash Gordon, cartoons by Looney Toons, Tex Avery, or MGM, one or two feature length films, and I believe even adverts. For many kids growing up, it was the only way to spend an afternoon, especially in summer when that was one of the few buildings you could hang out in that had air conditioning. It wasn't until more and more people started buying TVs that movie going changed entirely. Personally, I think we missed out on having that experience.

Doctor Omega

Member: Rank 10
I remember the era of the double-bill films here in the UK - and yes, you could stay and watch the whole thing again if you so wished.

As for FLASH GORDON, my Dad often waxed lyrical about going to see it every week, back in 1930's and '40's South Wales, while my Mum instead had fond memories of seeing her beloved Nelson Eddy singing with Jeanette McDonald in the regular films they brought out.

Both of them had vivid memories of seeing King Kong. For my Dad, it was the impact of his first arrival after the gong had been struck, and my mum told me that she had kicked her Dad's ankles in temper while he was shaving because she had seen the trailer for Kong and demanded to see it. In the end he gave in and she spent the rest of the night sleepless after seeing it, having been warned not to complain if it was too scary, while also expecting Kong's face to appear at the bedroom window, whereupon she would be promptly dropped to the street for not being blonde.

My Mum also told me how one of her older relatives burst out laughing when Karloff first spoke in THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, unable to contain himself, despite his embarrassment.

I had no conception of how precious anecdotes like that are at the time, because if it isn't recorded, it is of course lost and it is too late now to ask for further tales of yesteryear. Watching the Victorian lady (in the JACK THE RIPPER thread) talking about the world around her as she saw it is a lovely example.

Strangely, at no point in any of their anecdotes did my Mum or Dad mention flashing i-phones, rude, oblivious or aggressive audience members blurting out the plot, overpriced snacks or cinema staff dashing in at the end of the movie and standing there, clearly wanting you to get out so they could clean up all the garbage that people had left.

Maybe they forgot those bits. :emoji_disappointed: