The Scarlet Avenger: A pulp-serial revival? (beware, near spoilers)

While I was too young to have seen serials like “The Perils Of Pauline” (although CBC when it was Channel 3, used to show them every Saturday morning not so long ago – at least for me, shh) and “Flash Gordon” in person, I do recall how “Indiana Jones” and “Tales Of the Gold Monkey” paid tribute to the old black&white episodic adventures that gave us the phrase “cliffhanger” – it meant where the hero or heroine was left in peril until the following week to get you to come back to the cinema…

In Victorian days, when there were no movies only magic lantern pictures – these same thrillers in book form were called “Penny Dreadfuls“, but it meant the same thing – a dreadful fate was in store for the protagonist until you bought the next issue.

A cartoon in the 70’s that was like that was a play on good ol’ Pauline – Hanna-Barbera’s “The Perils of Penelope Pitstop“, with Paul Lynde as the uncredited voice of “The Hooded Claw” and Penelope’s allies was the Ant Hill Mob; a ridiculous bunch of gangsters that were very similar to seven particular dudes also of a miniature stature…

One gangster was always crying, another was sleeping even when driving well! Still another gangster kept mumbling and sounded as though he was letting go every now and again, a popular Bajan word that starts with the letter “R“…

So what do these serendipities have to do with anything? There is a Canadian gent by name of Scott C Clements who has decided to revive this genre and in doing so, has done a great job of recapturing the spirit of these adventures! I was invited by the young man to offer an opinion on his mini-serial after he saw my [so far in early 2007] close to 100 reviews at the Internet Movie Database or IMDb!

Who says you have to spend thousands to look as though you are on a set worth millions? Scott has mastered the art of camouflage very well – in the 30’s and 40’s black & white disguised a lot of flaws, but in colour there is more to discern – yet he maintains the same kind of near-cheezy “Art Deco” that was oh-so-“de riguer” back then…

Like “…Gold Monkey,” he has melded contemporary ideas in WW II settings – As in when the Nazi commandant could not believe that a French Librarian could look so… “Vat iss ze vord I am lookink for?” “Sexy?

When I saw that part I laughed so hard, this is a load of fun and yet it grips you all at the same time, like the villainous Skull’s hypno-ring – the Scarlet Avenger is a blend between Batman and Captain America but dresses almost like a Mountie, no wonder! This is a Canadian production, I hope he does more!

This is why many entities, MTV and music labels fear YouTube, artists can demonstrate their talent straight to video without A&R or marketing folk nor labels now. It only follows that videographers will have expanded capacities and therefore minimise the need for TV or film studios – especially as broadband gets more common every day… Great work, Scott!

One Response

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  1. Ian,

    Thank you so much for that review. It was fantastic! Very well
    written. I’m sure it’ll really help promote the film.

    Best Wishes,



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