When I was a kid, we went to the movies every Saturday afternoon. The cinema was just a block away. The seats were made of canvas and were sort of like hammocks. The aisles sloped towards the screen, just perfect for rolling lollies (Jaffas) down.
The cinema was next to a paddock into which the Friday night patrons would throw their empty drink bottles. These bottles were gold to us kids. At that time, each bottle was worth money when returned to a retail outlet. We made it our business to be at that paddock early on a Saturday morning to search for bottles. We would gather as many as we could find and take them down to Mr Kennedy’s shop to exchange for money, which would then be used to fund our afternoon’s entertainment. Bottle collection was a fine little business for a kid to be involved with. We looked at it as free money rather than providing a public service. A really productive morning could see one set up for sweets for the rest of the week without having to dip into ones pocket money. Excellent!
On Saturday afternoons the cinema ran a children’s matinee. There would be a cartoon followed by a short film e.g. The Three Stooges and then Intermission. Then there would a serial and finally, the feature film, usually a Disney movie or Elvis Presley film.
I loved the serials. They were famous for their cliffhanger endings. The hero would be trapped in the mineshaft, the fuse of the dynamite would be lit, and then…the famous words…”to be continued” would appear and a massive collective groan would roll around the theatre. How on earth were we supposed to wait for a whole week to find out if he survived? Of course, we all knew that he would come up with some amazing way to escape just in the nick of time but it such fun to come up with all sorts of mad scenarios/suggestions for what might happen. Flash Gordon, The Hardy Boys, Roy Rogers and Rin Tin Tin all featured in those serials. They kept us on the edges of our seats and fired our imaginations for the rest of the week. It is a technique authors use in their books to make us want to keep turning the pages. A chapter, especially in a mystery story, should always end with a hook that makes the reader say ‘Just one more chapter’.
Now, someone has recently suggested that I write one of my Taya Bayliss stories in the form of a serial. One episode every week for, say, six weeks, released on Kindle. It is an idea worth thinking about. I can see the possibilities of this and am actually quite excited by it. Hmmm.