Wednesday, May 31, 2017

FILMBAY 2000 Greatest Films of All-Time (1888-2014) by Year # 0111 - EXPLOITS OF ELAINE, THE (Louis J./George B. Setiz/Leopold Wharton Gasnier, 1914, USA, BW)



 

EXPLOITS OF ELAINE, THE (Louis J./George B. Setiz/Leopold Wharton Gasnier, 1914, USA, BW)



Introduction

The Exploits of Elaine


Directed by Louis J. Gasnier
George B. Seitz
Leopold Wharton
Theodore Wharton
Produced by Leopold Wharton
Theodore Wharton
George B. Seitz
Written by Charles W. Goddard
George B. Seitz
Basil Dickey
Arthur B. Reeve
Starring Pearl White
Arnold Daly
Sheldon Lewis
Distributed by Pathé Exchange
Whartons Studio
Release date
December 28, 1914
Country United States
Language Silent (English intertitles)

The Exploits of Elaine is a 1914 American film serial in the damsel in distress genre of The Perils of Pauline (1914).

The Exploits of Elaine tells the story of a young woman named Elaine who, with the help of a detective, tries to find the man, known only as "The Clutching Hand", who murdered her father. The Clutching Hand was the first mystery villain to appear in a film serial. The concept was widely used for the remainder of the format's existence.

The serial stars Pearl White (who also starred in The Perils of Pauline), Arnold Daly, Sheldon Lewis, Creighton Hale, and Riley Hatch. Lionel Barrymore had a small role. The serial was written by Arthur B. Reeve (novel), Charles W. Goddard, and George B. Seitz, and directed by Louis J. Gasnier, Seitz, and Leopold Wharton. The film was produced by the Whartons Studios and distributed by Pathé Exchange, the American distribution branch of the French company Pathé at that time. Pathé was the largest film equipment and production company in the world during the first part of the 20th century.

The film was followed in 1915 by The New Exploits of Elaine.

The serial, which is extant, was named to the United States National Film Registry in 1994 for its cultural and historic importance.


Cast
Pearl White - Elaine Dodge
Arnold Daly - Detective Craig Kennedy
Creighton Hale - Walter Jameson (Ep. 1, 2, 3)
Raymond Owens - Walter Jameson (Ep. 4-14)
Sheldon Lewis - Perry Bennett / The Clutching Hand. Sheldon Lewis, as the handsome attorney Perry Bennett and The Clutching Hand, was "the first in the serial genre's long parade of unknown menaces."
Edwin Arden - Wu Fang
Leroy Baker - The Butler
Bessie Wharton - Aunt Josephine, Mrs. Dodge
Riley Hatch - President Dodge (as William Riley Hatch)
Pearl White and Creighton Hale.
Robin H. Townley - Limpy Red
Floyd Buckley - Michael
Lionel Barrymore - Undetermined Role
M.W. Rale - Wong Lang Sin. Long Sin is a Yellow Peril character, who wants the Clutching Hand's treasure map. He became just an agent of Wu Fang in the sequel. Wu Fang appeared in several Pearl White serials.
George B. Seitz


Production
The Exploits of Elaine was based on a book in the "Craig Kennedy, Scientific Detective" series by Arthur B. Reeve. It was a prototype for the scientific mystery serials but has less interest for later audiences. A lot of the technology and science demonstrated in the serial soon became out of date or considered mundane. For example, the serial has to explain the concept of fingerprinting in dramatic fashion. Nevertheless, the serial was a success on its release and led to two sequels, The New Exploits of Elaine (1915) and The Romance of Elaine (1915).

Cliffhangers

Similar to other film serials, each chapter typically closed with a cliffhanger with Elaine in some physical peril or confronted with a shocking revelation. For example, at the close of Chapter 10 Elaine actually dies. She is then brought back to life in the next chapter by Craig Kennedy.

Critical reception

In the opinion of film critic Stedman, this serial is an improvement on The Perils of Pauline, with better acting, script, and direction.

Chapter titles

The Clutching Hand
The Twilight Sleep
The Vanishing Jewels
The Frozen Safe
The Poisoned Room
The Vampire
The Double Trap
The Hidden Voice
The Death Ray
The Life Current
The Hour of Three
The Blood Crystals
The Devil Worshippers
The Reckoning





Review


Elaine Dodge tries to find the murderer of her father, a villain known as The Clutching Hand (the murderer, not the father). This is one of the earliest serials I’ve seen, though I can’t strictly say I’ve seen it; though all episodes are believed to exist, only about half are available, and I’ve seen only six of the fourteen episodes. This early serial really didn’t have cliffhangers as such; each episode is somewhat self-contained and tells a single story as well as fleshing out the overall arc; in many ways, it’s more like a TV series in its feel than a serial. It’s quite entertaining at that, with some science fiction concepts thrown into the mix.

'The Exploits of Elaine' was a chapter play, so it stayed in release (one chapter per week) for more than three months. Coinciding with this release, Reeve published a novelisation of the serial. This book was narrated by Jameson, who serves more or less as a Dr Watson to Craig Kennedy. This device doesn't work very well, as Jameson has little in common with Watson. There is one especially painful passage in which the Clutching Hand knocks out Jameson, switches clothes with him, and then flees when Elaine and Craig Kennedy capture the wrong man. This scene is narrated by Jameson, despite the fact that he is unconscious! And the narration is made even more convoluted because we're not meant to know that the two men have switched places until after the captured Clutching Hand turns out to be Jameson instead.

One of the pitfalls of watching old serials, though, is that even if all the episodes exist, they may not all exist in the same language; I think that only two or three of these were in English; the rest were in a variety of different language, which left me scratching my head over more than just the identity of the villain.



Additional Information


Serials

I am the serial. I am the black sheep of the picture family and the reviled of critics. I am 
the soulless one with no moral, no character, no uplift. I am ashamed. . . . Ah me, if I 
could only be respectable. If only the hair of the great critic would not rise whenever I 
pass by and if only he would not cry, 'Shame! Child of commerce! Bastard of art!' 

('The Serial Speaks', New York Dramatic Mirror, 19 August 1916) 

It is rare indeed for a promotional article in the 1910s to lapse, however briefly, from the 
film industry's perennial mantra, 'We are attracting the better classes; We are uplifting the 
cinema; We are preserving the highest moral and artistic standards . . .' Probably few 
readers ever took such affirmations as anything more than perfunctory, and dubiously 
sincere, reassurances to a cultural establishment that approached the cinema with an 
unpredictable mixture of hostility and meddlesome paternalism. Nevertheless, it is 
unusual — and telling ~ that a studio mouthpiece (in this case, George B. Seitz, Pathe's 
serial tsar) should see fit to abandon the 'uplift' conceit altogether Clearly, it was 
impossible even to pretend that the serial played any part in the cinema's putative 
rehabilitation. The serial's intertextual background doomed it to disrepute. Growing 
directly out of late nineteenth-century working-class amusements ~ popular-priced stage 
melodrama (of the buzz-saw variety), and cheap fiction in dime novels, 'story papers', 
feuilletons, and penny dreadful —the serial was geared to a decidedly lowbrow audience. 

As early titles like The Perils of Pauline, The Exploits of Elaine, The House of Hate, The 
Lurking Peril, and The Screaming Shadow make obvious, serials were packaged 
sensationalism. Their basic ingredients come as no surprise: as Ellis Oberholtzer, 
Pennsylvania's cranky head censor in the 1910s, described the genre, 'It is crime, 
violence, blood and thunder, and always obtruding and outstanding is the idea of relationship.' 
Elaborating every form of physical peril and 'thrill', serials promised sensational spectacle 
in the form of explosions, crashes, torture contraptions, elaborate fights, chases, and last- 
minute rescues and escapes. The stories invariably focused on the machinations of 
underworld gangs and mystery villains ('The Hooded Terror', 'The Clutching Hand', etc.) 
as they tried to assassinate or usurp the fortunes of a pretty young heroine and her 
hero boyfriend. The milieu was an aggressively non-domestic, 'masculine' world of hide- 
outs, opium dens, lumber mills, diamond mines, abandoned warehouses-into which the 
plucky girl heroine ventured at her peril. 

Serials were a hangover from the nickelodeon era. They stood out as mildly 'shameful' at 
a time when the film industry was trying to broaden its market by making innocuous 
middlebrow films suitable for heterogeneous audiences in the larger theatres being built at 
the time. Rather than catering to 'the mass' ~ a homogeneous, 'classless' audience fancied 
by the emerging Hollywood institution — serials were made for 'the masses' ~ the 
uncultivated, predominant^ working- and lower-middle-class and immigrant audience 
that had supported the incredible 'nickelodeon boom'. Oberholtzer again offers a sharp 
assessment: 

The crime serial is meant for the most ignorant class of the population with the grossest 
tastes, and it principally flourishes in the picture halls in mill villages and in the thickly 
settled tenement houses and low foreign-speaking neighborhoods in large cities. Not a 
producer, I believe, but is ashamed of such an output, yet not more than one or two of the 

large manufacturing companies have had the courage to repel the temptation to thus swell 
their balances at the end of the fiscal year 

Serials were also a proletarian product in Britain (and probably everywhere else). A writer 
in the New Statesman in 1918 observed that British cinema-goers paid much higher ticket 
prices than the Americans, but he notes an exception to this rule: 

Only in those ramshackle 'halls' of our poorer streets, where noisy urchins await the next 
episode of some long since antiquated 'Transatlantic Serial' does one notice the proletarian 
invitation of two penny and four penny seals. 

Almost never screened in large first-run theatres, serials were a staple of small, cheap 
'neighborhood' theatres (for all intents and purposes, these theatres were simply 
nickelodeons that had survived into the 1910s). Although the serious money was in big 
first-run theatres, small theatres still constituted the large majority in terms of sheer 
numbers, and the studios, despite their uplift proclamations, were reluctant to give up this 
lowbrow market. 


WHY SERIALS? 

The film industry turned to serials for a number of reasons, aside from the ease of tapping 
into an already established popular market for sensational stories. It saw the commercial 
logic of adopting the practice of serialization, already a mainstay of popular magazines 
and newspapers. With every episode culminating in a suspenseful cliffhanger ending, film 
serials encouraged a steady volume of return customers, tantalized and eager for the fix of 
narrative closure withheld in the previous installment. In this system of deliberately 
prolonged desire punctuated by fleeting, intermittent doses of satisfaction, serials 
conveyed a certain acuity about the new psychology of consumerism in modem 
capitalism. 

Serials also made sense, from the studios' perspective, because, at least in their earliest 
years, they represented an attractive alternative for manufacturers who were incapable or 
unwilling to switch over to five- and six-reel feature films. Released one or two reels at a 
time for a dozen or so installments, serials could be pitched as 'big' titles without overly 
daunting the studios' still relatively modest production infra-structure and entrenched 
system of short-reel distribution. For several years, serials were, in fact, billed as 'feature' 
attractions ~ the centerpiece of a short-reel 'variety' programme. Later, as real feature 
films became the main attraction, serial installments were used to fill out the programme, 
along with a short comedy and newsreel. 

Serials appeared at a pivotal moment in the institutional history of film promotion: 
producers were just realizing the importance of 'exploitation' (i.e. advertising), but were 
still frustrated by brief film runs that kept advertising relatively inefficient. As late as 
1919, only about one theatre in a hundred ran films for an entire week, one in eight ran 
them for half a week, and over four out of five changed films daily. In this situation, 
serials were ideal vehicles for massive publicity. They allowed the industry to flex its 
exploitation muscle, since each serial stayed at a theatre for three to four months. Serial 
producers invested extremely heavily in newspaper; magazine, trade journal, billboard, 
and tram advertising, as well as grandiose cash-prize contests. Serials helped inaugurate 
the ' Hollywood' system of publicity in which studios paid more for advertising than for 
the production of the film itself 

The emergence of serials was linked to one form of publicity in particular Until around 
1917, virtually every film serial was released in tandem with prose versions published 
simultaneously in newspapers and national magazines. Movies and short fiction were 
bound together as two halves of what might be described as a larger, multimedia, textual 
unit. These fiction tie-ins ~ inviting the consumer to 'Read it Here in the Morning; See it 
on the Screen Tonight!' ~ saturated the entertainment market-place to a degree never seen 
since. Appearing in major newspapers in every big city and in hundreds (the studios 
claimed thousands) of provincial papers, the serials' publicity engaged a potential 
readership well into the tens of millions. This practice exploded the scope of film 
publicity, and paved the way for the cinema's graduation to a truly mass medium. 


THE FILMS AND THEIR FORMULAS, 1912-1920 

Although series films (narratively complete but with continuing characters and milieu) 
had appeared as early as 1908, or earlier if one counts comedy series, the first serial film 
proper (with a story-line connecting separate installments) was Edison's What Happened 
to Mary, released in twelve monthly 'chapters' beginning in July 1912. Recounting the 
adventures of a country girl (and, needless to say, unknowing heiress) as she discovers the 
pleasures and perils of big-city life while eluding an evil uncle and sundry other villains, 
the story was published simultaneously (along with numerous stills from the screen 
version) in Ladies' World, a major women's monthly magazine. Although critics derided 
the serial as 'mere melodrama of action' and 'a lurid, overdrawn thriller', it was popular at 
the box-office, making the actress Mary Fuller, playing Mary Dangerfield, one of the 
cinema's first really big (if rather ephemeral) stars. The commercial success of What 
Happened to Mary prompted the Selig Polyscope Company and the Chicago Tribune 
syndicate to team up in the production and promotion of The Adventures of Kathljai, 
exhibited and published fortnightly throughout the first half of 1914. In keeping with the 
early star system's trope of eponymous protagonists, Kathlyn Williams played Kathlyn 
Hare, a fetching American girl who, in order to save her kidnapped father, reluctantly 
becomes the Queen of Alahah, a principality in India. 

When it became clear that Kathlyn was a huge hit, virtually every important studio at the 
time (with the notable exception of Biograph) started making action series and twelve- to 
fifteen-chapter serials, almost all connected to prose-version newspaper tie-ins. Kalem 
produced The Hazards of Helen, a railway adventure series that ran for 113 weekly 
installments between 1914 and 1917, as well as The Girl Detective series ( 1915), The 
Ventures of Maijerite ( 1915), and a number of other 'plucky heroine' series. Thanhouser 
had one of the silent era's biggest commercial successes with The Million Dollar Mystery 
( 1914), although its follow-up Zudora {The Twenty Million Dollar Mystery) was 
reportedly a flop. By far the biggest producers of serials in the 1910s were Pathe (its 
American branch). Universal, Mutual, and Vitagraph. Pathe relied heavily on its 
successful Pearl White vehicles ~ The Perils of Pauline ( 1914), The Exploits of Elaine 
( 1915 ~ and two sequels). The Iron Claw ( 1916), Pearl of the Army ( 1916), The Fatal 
Ring ( 1917), The House of Hate ( 1918) (which Eisenstein cites as an influence). The 
Black Secret ( 1919), and The Lightning Raider ( 1919) - -as well as numerous serials 
starring Ruth Roland and various lesser-known 'serial queens'. Universal, like Pathe, had 
at least two serials running at any time throughout the decade. Several were directed by 
Francis Ford (John Ford's older brother) and starred the duo of Ford and Grace Cunard: 
Lucille Love, Girl of Mystery ( 1914) (the first film Luis Bunuel recalled ever seeing). 
The Broken Coin ( 1915), The Adventures of Peg o'the Ring ( 1916), and The Purple 
Mask ( 1916). Mutual signed up Helen Holmes (of Hazards of. . . fame) and continued in 
the vein of railway stunt thrillers with The Girl and the Game ( 1916), Lass of the 

Lumberlands ( 191617), The Lost Express ( 1917), The Railroad Raiders ( 1917), and 
others. Vitagraph at first claimed it was offering a 'better grade' of serials for a 'better class 
of audience', but in truth its serials are hardly distinguishable from the sensational 
melodramas of its competitors. 

The 1910s was the era of the serial queen. In their stunted adventures as 'girl spies', 
'girl detectives', 'girl reporters', etc., serial heroines demonstrated a kind of toughness, 
bravery, agility, and intelligence that excited audiences both for its novelty and for its 
feminist resonance. Serial queens defied the ideology of female passivity and domesticity, 
and instead displayed traditionally 'masculine' attributes, competences, and interests. They 
tapped into a larger cultural fascination with the 'New Woman', a revised model of 
femininity floated by the media (if not entirely adopted in practice) during the rise of 
metropolitan modernity and the disintegration of the Victorian world-view. While still 
fulfilling classic melodrama conventions of female imperilment, serial heroines in the 
1910s were not simply objects to be saved by the hero. To be sure, they still needed to be 
rescued with some regularity, but they also got out of plights using their own wits and 
daring. And in the serial's system of polymorphous prowess, one is almost as likely to see 
the heroine rescue the hero tied-to-the-railroad-tracks as the reverse. 

In every serial, the conflict between villain and hero/heroine expresses itself in a back- 
and-forth struggle both for the possession of the heroine (whom the villain constantly 

kidnaps or tries to kill) and also for the possession of a highly prized object ~ what Pearl 
White called the 'weenie'. The weenie took many forms: a blueprint for a new torpedo; an 
ebony idol containing the key to a treasure trove; a secret document outlining the defense 
of the Panama Canal; a special field to power a machine that disintegrates people; the 
secret formula for turning dirt into diamonds, and so on. The capture and recapture of the 
weenie afforded a sufficiently loose structure on which to hang a series of thrills. 

Another constant in serial stories relates to the pivotal position of the heroine's father, 
along with the total nonexistence of any mother characters (and, for that matter, most 
other female figures as well). The heroine is always the daughter (often an adopted one) 
of a powerful man (rich industrialist, army general, fire chief, explorer, inventor, or 
newspaper mogul) who is assassinated by the villain in the first episode or (less 
Frequently) abducted and blackmailed. The serial hinges on the daughter's fight to gain 
her inheritance while the villain and sundry henchmen try to kill her and usurp it. 
Alternatively, the serial involves the daughter's fight to save her father from the clutches 
of the villain, redeem his tarnished name, or simply aid the father (independent of his 
supervision) in thwarting his, and the nation's, enemies. 

Although when they hit they hit resoundingly, American serials had an erratic commercial 
history. Information on box-office receipts is hard to come by, but trade journal surveys of 
film exchanges (rental offices) may tell us something about the serial's popularity among 
audiences. Between 1914 and 1917, Motion Picture News conducted a number of in- 
depth polls of exchange In October 1914, to the question 'Do serials continue 
popular?', 60 per cent said 'yes', while about 20 per cent said 'no' (the rest saying 'fairly'). 
A year later, however, the 'noes' had swelled to 70 per cent. But a year after that, at the 
end of 1916, the serial's popularity had rallied again, with about a 65 : 35 percentage split 
between 'yes' and 'no' responses. By the summer of 1917 the responses had leveled out to 
exactly 50: 50. A number of factors explain the serial's mixed popularity among 
distributors and (presumably) exhibitors and audiences. At least in part it reflected the 
growing rift, on many levels, between a residual 'nickelodeon' cinema, geared toward 
small-time exhibitors and lower-class audiences, and an emergent Hollywood model of 
mass entertainment, ft is also likely that many audiences simply tired of the serial's highly 
formulaic stories, dubiously thrilling thrills, and low production values. 


INTERNATIONAL SERIES AND SERIALS 

Although an international history of series and serials has yet to be written, series and 
serials were far from being just an American phenomenon. France's considerable 
investment in series and serials is well covered in Richard Abel's history of silent French 
cinema. Clair pioneered the genre with the extremely popular series Nick Carter, le roi 
des detectives ('Nick Carter, king of the detectives', 1908), followed by Zigomar ( 1911) 
and various sequels, all directed by Victorin Jasset. Louis Feuillade directed a number of 
celebrated underworld crime serials for Gaumont Fantomas ( 1913-14), Les Vampires 
('The Vampires', 1915-16), Judex ( 1917), and La Nouvelle Mission dejudex ('Judex's new 
mission', 1918). 

While these and other domestically produced serials enjoyed considerable popularity, it 
was Pathe's American made serials that caused the biggest sensation among French 

audiences. Released, as in America, in conjunction with massive newspaper tie-ins, Les 
Mysteries de New York ( 1916) (a repackaging of twenty-two episodes from The Exploits 
of Elaine and its two sequels) was a smash hit and began a trend in cine-romans (or 'film- 
novels'). 

In Britain leading serials were, among others. The Adventures of Lieutenant Rose ( 1909), 
The Adventures of Lieutenant Daring ( 1911), The Exploits of Three-Fingered Kate 
( 1912). Films Lloyds in Germany made the Detective Webb series ( 1914), which, like 
Feuillade's Fantomas, was comprised of feature length installments. In Russia, a few serials 
followed after the huge success of imported American and French serials: Jay Leyda 
briefly cites Drankov's Sonka, the Golden Hand, Bauer's Irina Kirsanova, and Gardin and 
Protazanov's Petersburg Slums. Italy had Tigris and Za la Mort; Germany had 
Homunculus (an early instance of the silent German cinema's fascination with stories 
about man-made supermen); and Austria The Invisible Ones. 

Third World cinemas also made serials, although extremely little is known about this 
topic. A particularly fascinating implementation of the serial-queen formula is a group of 
Hindi serials starring 'Fearless Nadia', an Australian actress of Welsh-Greek extraction. 
Inspired by imported American serials, director Homi Wadis also made the feature 
Himterwali (The Lady with the Whip) with Fearless Nadia in 1935. Bombay's Kohinoor 
Studios produced numerous follow-up serials, as did other Indian studios. The Diamond 
Queen ( 1940) is among those still available from Indian distributors. 


THE 1920S AND AFTER 

In the United States, film serials lived out the 1920s, and survived to the rise of television, 
as a low-budget 'B' product with limited distribution and an appeal primarily to 
hyperactive children. To some degree, this had been the case from the very start, but after 
the 1910s it became more obvious that serials were slapdash juvenile movies for 'Saturday 
afternoon at the Bijou'. With the phasing out of prose-version tie-ins in the late 1910s, 
serials never again enjoyed wide publicity and distribution. Furthermore, the 
disappearance of the classical blood-and thunder stage melodrama, and a generational shift 
that caused adult audiences to view overwrought sensational melodrama as ridiculous and 
old-fashioned rather than exhilarating, solidified the serial's decline into a cartoonist 
children's genre. The serial's essential formula (hero and heroine fight villain for 
possession of weenie) remained unchanged throughout, but the genre underwent some 
key transformations. The 'serial-queen' cycle faded away in the late 1910s and early 1920s 
as emphasis shifted toward the adventures of traditional beefy heroes like Elmo Lincoln 
( Elmo, the Mighty, 1919; Elmo, the Fearless, 1920; The Adventures of Tarzan, 1921), 
Eddie Polo ( King of the Circus, 1920; Do or Die, 1921), and Charles Hutchinson 
( Hurricane Hutch, 1921; Go Get 'Em Hutch, 1922). Evidently, the plucky New Woman's 
novelty had worn off" and it was incumbent upon serial heroines to resume the role of 
damsel in distress. 

The serial's intertextual links also changed. Serials became much more closely associated 
with pre-existing characters in the Sunday comics, comic books, radio, and pulp 
magazines. In 1936 Universal bought the rights to many comic strips owned by the King 
Features Syndicate, and other studios made similar deals. Serials now fleshed out heroes 
like Flash Gordon, Superman, Captain Marvel, Dick Tracy, Batman, Buck Rogers, The 
Phantom, Captain America, Deadwood Dick, the Lone Ranger, and so on. 

With Mutual's dissolution in 1918 and the purchase of the already hapless Vitagraph by 
Warner Bros, in 1925, Path6 and Universal remained as the key serial producers in the 
1920s. Pathe got out of the serial-production business in 1928, when Joseph P. Kennedy 
came in and reorganized the studio. An upstart company. Mascot Pictures, filled the void 
left by Pathe's departure, and then in 1935 merged with a few other concerns to form 
Republic Pictures. The quintessential 'poverty row' studio. Republic nevertheless made 
the best serials, according to most collectors and nostalgia buffs. In terms of output. 
Universal, Republic, and Columbia Pictures were the undisputed 'big three' in sound-era 
serials, each studio offering three or four a year. Running weekly for between twelve and 
fifteen weeks, serials filled up an entire exhibition 'season', one leading directly into the 
next. An assortment of minor independent producers made one or two serials in the 
1930s, but none at all ventured into this field thereafter. With serials falling even lower in 
reputation and commercial importance. Universal bowed out for good in 1946, while 
Republic and Columbia plodded along making serials until around 1935, when television 
became the chosen medium for weekly adventure series. 

In all, Mascot and Republic made ninety serials between 1929 and 1955; Columbia made 
fifty-seven between 1937 and 1956; and Universal made sixty-nine between 1929 and 
1946. Independents account for fifteen serials between 1930 and 1937. In addition to 
these 23 1 sound serials, just under 300 serials were made in the silent era. All told, this 
adds up to over 7,200 episodes. If serials are a minor footnote in the history of film as art, 
they deserve recognition as an important phenomenon in the history of cinema as a social 
and institutional commodity. 



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