Picks and Pans Review: At This Theater Next Week

updated 05/09/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/09/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Crass commercialism and emotional satisfaction rarely have blended as well as they did in movie serials. The genre, now sadly extinct, had many variations. Those common from the '30s through the '50s—and now on videotape—were usually cheap adventure tales. Each episode ended with a crisis and a "continued next week" tag line designed to bring the audience back. Audiences, in turn, knew that however bad things looked for the hero—and they always looked bad—he would cope. Today's children may not sit still for black-and-white movies where the robots look like garbage cans with legs and the rocket ships look like '49 Hudsons. But, as this sample suggests, there's fun here for older folk, and if the kids take a peek, it may help them understand how people escaped the specter of the Depression and World War II.

From Our Partners