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Welcome to the Serial Squadron!
Greetings, cliffhanger fans! Welcome to the international movie, TV and radio chapter play appreciation society! Our members, dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the lost form of the movie serial. Here you can participate in film restoration pledge drives, chat weekly, and produced the world's only all-cliffhanger film festival SerialFest! You're invited to join in and contribute to upcoming events and projects.
This website was designed and developed by artist/writer/director Eric Stedman in 1998 as a place for fans of classic cliffhangers to read or share information about radio, TV and silent and sound movie serials and to publish related books, CDs and DVDs on the subject in conjunction with father Raymond William Stedman, author of The Serials: Suspense and Drama by Installment -- it was the first major website dealing with the clliffhanger serial, and has been the the most comprehensive, popular and well-regarded one on the topic ever since, perhaps because it's the only one that takes it seriously as a legitimate art form!
Here you will find the sharpest and highest quality classic movie serial DVDs sold anywhere, including exclusive restorations of THE LONE RANGER, THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN, KING OF THE MOUNTIES, THE MASKED RIDER and much more rare serials, many developed with the help of generous Squadron members and cinema fans who have contributed to them for the benefit of all! We are now sponsoring a not-for-profit archive which raises money for new acquisitions of rare serial films and transfers, and recently have even begun shooting and recording partial or complete re-creations of lost serials and developing new original serial DVD projects.
These are the originals, the first superhero ever to fly across the silver screen -- the first screen appearances of Batman, the Lone Ranger, Dick Tracy and many more, the first Emperor of the Universe to be defeated by a young blond space hero, brunette Princess, and giant fuzzy ally, The first black-masked villain with white-suited stormtroopers to fly a wedge-shaped airship. The first Mr. Jones, whip-cracking hero, and cliffhanging adventure set in Casablanca, The first helmeted hero in a flying suit, the first girl reporter series, the first major film to deal with aspects of the paranormal in the present-day, early roles by John Wayne, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and so much more.
The Serial Squadron is a group of hard-working, dedicated staff members and volunteers, supported by film historians and restorers, writers, actors, artists, researchers, collectors and professionals in the current entertainment industry dedicated to releasing as much interesting and sometimes historical cliffhanger-related material as we can provide for fans of the serial form. We do not allow hype, spam, or links to unlicensed DVDs in our forums, or endorse racist, ethnocentrist, misogynist, sadist or hostile points of view here. Nor do we root for the "bad guys." We watch serials in installments as they were meant to be seen and in historical context and recognize and appreciate them as unique examples of the art of film melodrama which include flaws, including ethnocentric points of view, as did most films of their time, but also at first endorsed the rights of women during a time before they even had the vote, then developed into the fantasies of children growing up in a world at war and have continued to influence filmmaking ever since. We appreciate the amazing stunt work, innovations in editing, performances of the underpaid actors, and stories about the production of the cinema equivalent of golden age comic books which we are making an effort to keep alive here.
We are here to share, not to take things that don't belong to us or try and dominate the conversation on the forums, in the chat room or elsewhere. Please enjoy your visit with us and help us keep the Squadron clubhouse clean and restore order after having undergone attacks from serial villains by keeping your comments cordial, calm and constructive in the chat room and on the forums.
We are out to show you the best time possible with our restored and remastered DVDs, Audio DVDs, and Books, keeping in mind entertainment value, historical value and also that most serials after 1930 or so were made for children and some could still be watched by them today. We also sponsor and endorse worthy new works that keep the serial form alive in a new millennium.
Thanks for visiting and happy cliffhanging!
Squadron History & Accomplishments
January 1994: Eric Stedman suggests to his father, author Raymond William (Bill) Stedman, author of The Serials, Suspense and Drama by Installment, that, since movie serials have begun to be released on VHS tape, they develop a new book together about movie serials on video. Eric begins researching, assembling and writing cast lists and articles for it and collecting editions of all cliffhanger serials known in the universe.
1995-98: Bill Stedman expands Eric's typed serial cast lists, notes and reviews of serials into longer articles and suggests additional print projects be developed as part of a joint publishing venture. Bill and Eric agree that Bill will function as publications editor for the upcoming company & Eric will be website & product designer, publicity director and website manager. Investment, research, writing, and development of publishing projects by both Eric and Bill continue for several years.
December 1998: After four years of investment and research and content creation, Eric suggests it's time to open shop and that a website be posted to allow serial fans to assemble and communicate on the web while material to be printed is prepared for publication. Bill says that though he does not wish to be involved in the website's design and execution, he may sometimes choose to participate in activities as "Commander Lincoln Rand, Ret." and suggests the website be named "The Serial Squadron."
January 1999: Eric, aka Dr. Grood, master of low-budget technology, develops, designs and posts The Serial Squadron, first-ever all-cliffhanger serial website. Online chats begin, sometimes hosted by Bill aka Lincoln Rand; chat room guests include author Frank Thompson and relatives of serial players and stunt performers such as Tom Tyler and stunt woman Helen Thurston. Bill Stedman continues to work on what he has now suggested should be one large book about movie serials, which will incorporate all information developed by both he and Eric over the past four years. The Squadron establishes itself as "serial central" on the world wide web. Charter Squadron member "Sgt. Ward" develops the Yak Awards.
2000: The Squadron forges ahead with new members as well as old, and new projects, including a member pledge drive to sponsor the world's first release Zorro's Fighting Legion on DVD. Serial of the Month connects serial fans with collectors. Eric restores classic radio dramas.
2001: SerialFest 2001, first-ever all-serial film festival, hosted in Toronto by club president Henry Miyamoto. Release of original radio serial The Dangers of Daphne.
2002: The Squadron releases the first-ever DVD edition of Zorro's Fighting Legion. SerialFest 2002, produced by the Serial Squadron and Pittsburgh Filmmakers, hosted by ToBeContinued, with speeches by club president "Bonga," is held in Pittsburgh with guest John Duncan. Eric directs premiere of John Balderston's 1930 play Frankenstein.
2003: Digital restoration of The Phantom Empire. SerialFest 2003 in Newtown Pa. featuring the premiere of the restored King of the Mounties. Guest Terry Harbin gives presentation on serials filmed in Ithaca, New York, guest Sam Sherman shows clips from The Chinatown Mystery.
2004: Digital reconstruction/restoration of Adventures of Tarzan. First-ever DVD release of Gang Busters. The Masked Rider is seen onscreen for first time in 85 years at SerialFest 2004. Digital restoration of Beatrice Fairfax (1916) begins.
2005: SerialFest 2005 a lost serial and part 2 of The Masked Rider are shown. Robin Hood and the Prince of Aragon performed. Squadron hosts Ithaca-made Movies Website.
2006: SerialFest 2006 features special guest Adrian Booth and the introduction of the Cliffhanger Card Game. DVD Releases of The Fighting Marines, The Vanishing Legion, The Jungle Princess, The Lost Serial Collection, The Sign of the Wolf, Rocket Ship and audio DVDs The Blue Beetle, Shadow of Fu Manchu, Masters of Horror and many others.
2007: The Squadron releases Undersea Kingdom and other titles on DVD. SerialFest 2007 features the restored version of The Lone Ranger Rides Again which is also released on DVD
and the complete restored King of the Mounties on DVD.
2008: Daredevils of the West is presented at SerialFest, shown for the first time since the 1940s. Dr. Grood releases the Serialfest 2008 Annual.
2009: The Serialfest DVD Magazine begins publication, including chapters of the long-lost Isle of Sunken Gold, the reconstructed The Voice from the Sky and other rarities. The Masked Rider DVD series begins release. The milestone restoration of The Lone Ranger (1938) is released in December.
2010: The photonovel reconstruction of The Mysteries of Myra is published, along with the first issue of Cliffhanger Treasury. The second volumes of both The Masked Rider and the Beatrice Fairfax DVD series are released. Daredevils of the West is shown at film festivals with sound restored by the Squadron.
2011: The Squadron releases Daredevils of the West on DVD in February. The final volume of Beatrice Fairfax is released, completing the series. The only known 16mm original print of Drums of Fu Manchu is acquired for the archive and work begins on it and The Trail of the Octopus, donated by Henry Miyamoto. A road trip to Ithaca, New York includes a staging of Chapter 1 of The Mysteries of Myra, and provides research material for future work on Wharton serials. Cliffhanger Treasury #2 and the Ithaca Cliffhangers 2012 Calendar are published.
2012: The Lost Special and a transfer of The Vanishing Shadow from an original print are added to the archive. The Squadron releases the restored version of Blake of Scotland Yard and the eagerly-anticipated Drums of Fu Manchu DVD from an original print. The lost serial Hidden Dangers book is published, and the extremely rare footage from The Mysteries of Myra is restored and offered for viewing online. The still-existing chapters of Patria featuring Irene Castle and Warner Oland are released. The restoration from 35mm of The Trail of the Octopus is completed and released.
2013: The Squadron releases the upgraded Lone Ranger serial on DVD
2014: The Squadron releases The Hope Diamond Mystery on DVD
2015: The Squadron releases The House of Hate, The Wolf Dog, and The Secret of Treasure Island, The Call of the Savage, The Red Rider, and Heroes of the West are added to the Archive. The complete DVD edition of The Masked Rider is finally released in November.
2016: The Squadron partners with the USC Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive to produce restorations of The Mystery Trooper, The Lone Defender, The Devil Horse, and Zudora. The Green Archer is added to the Archive.
2017: Deadwood Dick, Jungle Menace, Perils of Nyoka, King of the Texas Rangers and The Rex Bennett Collection are added to the Archive.
Read more about Serial Squadron Restorations at MATINEE AT THE BIJOU!