Monday Movie Madness: Serial Edition


Hey there, Posse!


Today's Monday Movie Madness blog is going to be short and sweet because I have got a lot of things to get done tonight and not a lot of time to get them done before P.R. has to get ready to go out of town on a business trip. So let's get to it.


Serial short movies actually began during the silent era of films. Some of the earliest famous American serials were made by Pathé Frères including The Perils of Pauline and The Exploits of Elaine. Obviously, alliteration was popular then. Many other studios produced serials including Warner Bros., Fox, and Universal. A great many serials were westerns.


Adventures of Frank and Jesse James, releases in 1948 by Republic was one such popular serial. This serial starred Clayton Moore as Jesse James (AKA John Howard) and Steve Darrell as Frank James (AKA Bob Carroll). Jesse returns home to Missouri where he reunites with his brother, Frank. The pair come to the rescue of a young woman after her father is killed. The woman inherits her fathers gold mine but not the desperados who killed her father are trying scare her off and take over the mine. Frank and Jesse have other plans.


This western serial was only the fourth 13-chapter serial released by Republic, the previous three were released in 1947. Adventures of Frank and Jesse James had a working budget of $149,985 and earned the studio $149,805 coming in $180 (or 0.1%) shy of breaking even. Even with the shortfall, this was the cheapest serial produced by Republic that year even though it had one more chapter than the other serials. Republic would continue making serials until 1955 when they released their last one named King of the Carnival.


I'm interested in checking out this serial. I have always been fascinated with stories of Frank and Jessy James. When I was a kid there was a family rumor that my dad's great, great (I think it's two) grandmother was an aunt to Frank and Jessy. I have never bothered to check out the genealogy so it could just be hokum, but at least it's interesting. It has made me more interested in that time period in history and probably had a little something to do with me writing westerns so it's had a positive influence. That's a good thing.


Check out the first episode and then go to YouTube to find the others. This first one has a 20 minute running time but all the other are just over 13 minutes each. A quick bit of entertainment when you don't have time to watch a feature length movie. Just like my novellas, quick entertaining reads for busy people. If you haven't already done it, you might want to check out my book serial. Part one, Into the West: The Orphan Train has won two literary awards now and is up for a third at the moment. It's just 99¢ for the ebook on Amazon. Just go to the books page here on my website and you will find buy links for all my books.


Now, pop your popcorn then sit back and enjoy the show.


Take care!

Stephen


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