Old Movie Serials

Keep out! Low flying bears!
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:54 pm

Sat May 16, 2009 3:22 pm

What is the policy regarding old movie serials? By this I am referring to serials originally shown in cinemas such as

Buck Rogers (1939) - The Larry Crabbe version
Captain Video - Master of the Stratosphere (1951)
King of the Rocket Men (1949)
and others.

Most would have at some stage since have been re-shown on TV. I notice that similar Flash Gordon serials are already on TheTVdb.

Would adding these be accepted with original broadcast data etc. left blank?
Site Admin
Posts: 2472
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:16 pm
Location: Canada

Sat May 16, 2009 5:12 pm

We don't list movies. If they were originally movies they still are movies, most movies get shown on tv at some point that doesn't make them a tv show.
Please don't PM me. Post in the forums instead unless there is a very good reason for a PM or I won't respond.
Posts: 160
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2007 1:23 am

Sat May 16, 2009 7:21 pm

I wouldn't be so quick to jump on defining them as movies. This stuff was serialized episodes before most homes had TV. They weren't movies and were played before movie screenings.

Many have been on this site since the very early days.

There are always going to be grey areas and this is one of them. Considering there are so few of them and that they have episode numbers I would suggest you turn a blind eye. No ones going to mistake them as a movie precedent as they are so so old and even then you would have to realise when TVs became mainstream in the home.
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 2194
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 2:23 pm

Sat May 16, 2009 7:59 pm

Would they be similar to the shorts Pixar has before their movies? If that's the case, then they shouldn't be included. I think we're best trying to stick with a really strict definition of only allowing tv shows, but if someone gets me more info on one of these then Coco, emigrating and I will discuss it further.
Posts: 160
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2007 1:23 am

Sun May 17, 2009 1:16 am

TBH they are not similar to anything modern. In some cases were talking an organ popped up from the stage and a little woman played the sound track.

The vast majority of their screenings were on TV and when on TV they were screened as TV show. There no way they could have aired them as movies on TV cause they are serialised and short like tv shows. They are just so old that originally they would have been in the cinema but this was a time where people went and changed into a suit to go see a movie. To be clear no one ever went to see these they were tagged on at the beginning.

Nothing similar has existed since the TV became more widespread as they were always really destined for that medium.

I understand why the rule is in place and I agree completely with it but in every way these are TV shows with the one exception that they pre date TV.
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 2:38 pm

Sun May 17, 2009 3:59 am

Definitely a grey area as c4ho points out. Except that they weren't first broadcast on TV these serials bear all of the hallmarks of TV series. I'm sure that far more people have seen these on TV than in the cinema, and indeed have probably been broadcast many more times than they were in theatres.

Here's the Wikipedia article about these serials if you're looking for more information about them: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_film
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:54 pm

Mon May 18, 2009 5:16 am

Hmm, I seem to have stirred up a bit of controversy over this. :roll:

I have now checked tv.com and tvrage.com and currently they do not list these movie serials, I have also discovered that I was mistaken and the Flash Gordon show on this site is from 1954 and was originally a TV show, I had thought it was another old movie serial. There were however previous Flash Gordon film serials from 1936 to 1940 which do fall in to this same grey category and funnily enough I only remember seeing these when later reshown on TV and not the 1954 versions.

(Woah! Actually I now see both the 1936 film serial version and the 1954 TV versions of Flash Gordon are on this site.)

However the issue remains, the problem is that sites like IMDB.com do not provide episode level info for these shows suitable for use with computer software like XBMC, sites like this one are far more suited to providing episode level information but strictly speaking these were not TV shows. One could argue however that the point of a site like TheTVdb.com is to provide a service to users and if adding it would do no harm and could be argued as being useful then it would be beneficial to allow this grey area to be passed.

If its possible, one option that might keep some people happy would be to assign them to a "Genre" of "Movie Serial".
Posts: 160
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2007 1:23 am

Mon May 18, 2009 7:46 am

I really think were over thinking this readin back over my posts and others....

If anyone was to actually watch one of these they would say it was an old TV show... no one would say its a movie. If it quacks like a duck lets call it a duck :P