Saturday Mornings At The Movies……..
Chapter One. My Adventures On The Planet Nostalgia…..
Its no secret that I love nostalgia. particularly movie nostalgia. I guess that’s where my love for the old movie serials from the 1940s onwards comes from. Weve all seen them at some time or other. Those rip roaring adventures featuring the likes of Flash Gordon, Superman, Buck Rogers, The Green Hornet, Dick Tracy and countless others.
They were mostly shown in cinemas on a Saturday morning, accompanied by a handful of cartoons, possibly a newsreel and a couple of movies. They were a way of life for kids and young adults from the 1930s onwards, and were usually shown in 12 or 15 weekly chapters. It was a way of getting people back into movie theaters week after week, to find out how our hero escaped some perilous situation set up the week before, which was followed by the request to return the following week, to find out how our hero escapes his apparent fate.
There was a resurgence of interest in the 1970s, when in the U.K, they were shown in the mornings during the school Summer holidays, which is where I first came into contact with them. We were treated to the likes of Flash Gordons Trip To Mars and Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe, starring the King of the American serial Larry “Buster” Crabbe, sandwiched in between classic episodes of Herges Adventures Of TinTin, The Banana Splits, Champion The Wonder Horse and classic European serials such as the swashbuckling adventures of The Flashing Blade, and the classic Robinson Crusoe starring Robert Hoffman.
This is where my love of these multi chapter adventure serials began. Many years later I was scouring Amazon for something to buy when I accidentally bumped into a classic Dick Tracy serial on the, as then, new DVD format. As soon as I realised this was a serial similar to my beloved Flash Gordon, I hit the “Buy It Now” button, and an obsession was born. I devoured that serial, watching an episode every Saturday and Sunday morning over breakfast. I loved every nostalgic minute, right from the opening credits, which recapped the previous weeks events, right up to the end of the chapter, which always ended on the now classic words
“The Next Thrilling Chapter At This Theater Next Week !!!
I now have quite a collection of these lovely old serials, and still love to watch them every weekend. Kind of sets me up for the day, and they’ve become as much a part of my morning breakfast as toast and coffee. Just as a footnote, Steven Spielberg was once quoted as saying that the Saturday Morning Serials he saw as a kid at the local movie theater, were the inspiration for Raiders Of The Lost Ark, which if you watch it now has a very similar feel to them.
Does anyone else remember these wonderful Saturday Morning trips to the cinema ??? Drop a comment below. I’d love to hear your stories and memories……