by Dale Paule
Remember when we were kids, our local movie theater played those 12-chapter, “Cliff Hanger” adventure serials, one per week, sandwiched in between two features, a travelogue, and a couple of cartoons; all for 50-cents plus a dime for popcorn and a nickel for a candy bar?
The theaters were smart, because each chapter would end leaving our hero hanging off the edge of a cliff, or locked in an airtight box – so we just had to come back with our 65 cents the following week to see if and how our hero got out of the predicament.
These serials featured many different heroes; some worked alone, while others had a partner. And the villains ranged from only one bad-guy, to an entire gang, but the scripts and the plots were identical. Hero good, villain bad, hero wins in the end, villain bites the dust. The American Dream in twelve easy lessons!
I really missed those old fun and exciting cliff hangers, until I realized that, in a way, they’re still here. The only difference is, instead of having to go to your local movie theater to watch them, you can watch them right from home on your television.
It’s called, “politics” now, but they still use the same old plots as those that thrilled us as kids. Each Monday, the hero still does battle with the villain, then by Friday, he will end up faced with certain doom at the hands of his nemesis, so we will once again have to wait for next week’s chapter to find out how and if he manages to escape his fate.
Only the names of the heroes and the villains have changed; instead of villains, like “The Hooded Terror” who we watched and booed as kids, now we have “The Swamp Creatures,” versus today’s hero, “The Orange Avenger!”
And instead of buying our hot buttered popcorn and candy at the theater, we’re now woo’d into buying whatever the commercials can sell us between each thrilling episode; and you can bet it ends up costing a lot more than sixty-five cents!
Our “political” hero, “The Orange Avenger,” has a partner called, “The Lethal Lip,” and just now, as we look in on this week’s chapter, we find the “Swamp Creatures” have “The Lip” cornered somewhere deep within their swamp, and are mercilessly badgering him into telling them anything about “The Orange Avenger’s” past which they hope could make him look as crooked as they are. So far however, “The Lip” just sits and sneers back at them!
Then suddenly, one of the foulest creatures of the Swamp called, “Pencil Neck” enters the scene and stares wild eyed into the camera, proclaiming he has seen, with his own eyes, evidence that will make the “Avenger” cringe, and slink away in shame!”
Well, “Orange Avenger” fans, could this finally spell the end for our hero?
Will “Pencil Neck” deliver on his vile threat to destroy the “Avenger’s” reputation?
Can the “Orange Avenger’s “ loyal side-kick, “The Lip,” somehow manage to escape the swamp and foil “Pencil Neck’s” plan to bring an end to our hero, and the “American Way?”
“To find out if the “Orange Avenger” will survive “Pencil Necks” dastardly deed, don’t miss the next thrilling chapter for the answer!”
“But until then, here’s a message from our sponsor.”
“Are you suffering from depression, or anxiety attacks?”
“If so, here’s some good news for you sufferers out there, blah, blah, blah !”
PS: I still miss that hot buttered popcorn though!