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Cliffhangers! - A TV series comprising of three revolving serials (The Curse of Dracula, The Secret Empire and Stop Susan Williams)


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#1 of 49 OFFLINE   WaveCrest

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Posted April 27 2010 - 10:04 AM

I've read about the Cliffhangers! TV serials before, in an article on or off the web about a music composer. Whilst on EpGuides.com just now one TV show name stood out, "Stop Susan Williams". It had episodes 2 to 12, but not the first episode. I then checked out the show on the IMDb and found that it was one of three revolving serials ("The Curse of Dracula" and "The Secret Empire" being the other two).

Stop Susan Williams was not completed before the series was cancelled. The complete story of Stop Susan Williams was edited into a TV movie called "The Girl Who Saved the World". The TV movie includes unbroadcast footage used to complete the story.

The Curse of Dracula, The Secret Empire and Stop Susan Williams were shown on NBC between February and May 1979. Do Universal own the rights to these three serials?


#2 of 49 OFFLINE   Douglas Monce

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Posted April 27 2010 - 10:07 AM

Yes Cliffhangers! was produced by Universal.

Doug

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#3 of 49 OFFLINE   WaveCrest

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Posted April 27 2010 - 10:16 AM

Thanks for the reply.

What's the likelihood of Universal sub-licensing Cliffhangers! to Shout! Factory?


#4 of 49 OFFLINE   Ron Lee Green

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Posted April 27 2010 - 10:33 AM

I would definitely buy this series. I remember watching it as a teen when it originally aired in primetime. I like the "Stop Susan Williams" segment the most. I had such a crush on Susan Anton and bought her orange swimsuit poster.


I haven't seen it since, so I don't remember much, but there is was scene in particular that I remember vividly.
As it contains spoilers--be warned:

Susan and some guy were in a car that careened of a bridge and sank to the bottom of the river. The guy wanted to open the door, but Susan told him it was not safe to open the door (maybe because the water would come crashing in). She opened all the air vents and let the water slowly seep in. Then, when the water reched neck levels, it was safe to open the door, and they were able to swim to the surface.

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#5 of 49 OFFLINE   Jack P

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Posted April 27 2010 - 11:04 AM

The last episodes of "Stop Susan Williams" and "Secret Empire" did air overseas and boot sets of the show do include them (they aired two segments of "Secret Empire" in place of the finished Dracula story).

Incidentally there never was a "first" episode of "Stop Susan Williams" or the other two serials.   The gimmick was to start all three in mid-storyline in the tradition of old movie serials (and which Star Wars did starting with "Episode IV")



#6 of 49 OFFLINE   Douglas Monce

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Posted April 27 2010 - 11:24 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Lee Green 

I would definitely buy this series. I remember watching it as a teen when it originally aired in primetime. I like the "Stop Susan Williams" segment the most. I had such a crush on Susan Anton and bought her orange swimsuit poster.


 
I mostly remember the poster of Anton from Goldengirl in the VERY tight gold running shorts.

Doug


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#7 of 49 OFFLINE   Duane Alford

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Posted April 28 2010 - 12:35 AM

I was 9 years old when it aired. I remember The Curse of Dracula finished up but The Secret Empire and Stop Susan Willims still had a few episodes left that never aired. I'd love to see it all again but I doubt it'll be released.

#8 of 49 OFFLINE   AndyMcKinney

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Posted April 28 2010 - 07:31 AM

This has been on my personal wish-list for years (along with Logan's Run, among other things).

I have multi-generation, off-air recordings of all the episodes (including the final unaired one--from an 1981 Australian TV showing--that, like someone else said, tied up the remaining two serials), but good-quality recordings would be most welcomed! Even if little-to-no restoration was done to the picture (like Battlestar Galactica) I wouldn't mind.

Heck, I'm sure if they asked, Kenneth Johnson would probably be willing to contribute a commentary track and perhaps other extras for free or nominal charge.

But, as has been said, this is probably unlikely, unless Universal sub-licenced it to someone else (like Shout!).

The Dracula segment was a bit popular in its day, popular enough that NBC toyed with spinning it off into its own show (in fact, two endings were shot for the serial: the one that aired--in which Dracula died--and an alternate one, used in the second Dracula TV movie, where the vampire was shown to have survived).


#9 of 49 OFFLINE   Regulus

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Posted April 28 2010 - 08:57 AM

NBC had gaul to cancel the Series WITHOUT airing the final episode!/img/vbsmilies/htf/furious.gif Only recently was I able to see the final Episode. (I refuse to answer how I did this on the grounds it may incriminate me)/img/vbsmilies/htf/laugh.gif All I can say is better late than never!/img/vbsmilies/htf/biggrin.gif

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#10 of 49 OFFLINE   Timothy E

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Posted April 28 2010 - 11:09 AM

I found the tone and spirit of this show to be consistent with the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films.  This may not be surprising since these were all inspired by the movie serials of the 30s and 40s.
I think anyone who enjoys the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films is likely to enjoy Cliffhangers.  This series is overdue for DVD release so here's hoping it happens in our lifetime.  I think Cliffhangers on DVD would sell well if promoted properly.

#11 of 49 OFFLINE   Jack P

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Posted April 28 2010 - 11:30 AM

Cliffhangers, rightly or wrongly, is forever identified with Fred Silverman's attempt to makeover the NBC schedule in early 1979 with disastrous results.    There was also the infamous "Pink Lady And Jeff" variety show (which actually got a DVD release!) and of course, "Supertrain" the ultimate disaster of all time. 


#12 of 49 OFFLINE   Regulus

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Posted April 28 2010 - 12:20 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack P 

Cliffhangers, rightly or wrongly, is forever identified with Fred Silverman's attempt to makeover the NBC schedule in early 1979 with disastrous results.    There was also the infamous "Pink Lady And Jeff" variety show (which actually got a DVD release!) and of course, "Supertrain" the ultimate disaster of all time. 
I remember people back then euphamisticlly saying NBC stood for "Nine Bombs Cancelled"./img/vbsmilies/htf/laugh.gif

Ironically if Cliffhangers were on today, and it drew THE SAME NUMBER of viewers it did in 1979 it would be considered a "Top Ten Blockbuster"!/img/vbsmilies/htf/smiley_jawdrop.gif


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#13 of 49 OFFLINE   Neil Brock

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Posted April 29 2010 - 02:15 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Regulus 



I remember people back then euphamisticlly saying NBC stood for "Nine Bombs Cancelled"./img/vbsmilies/htf/laugh.gif

 
Now it just stands for NoBroadcasterCheaper.


#14 of 49 OFFLINE   Jack P

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Posted April 29 2010 - 05:13 AM

I think in those days, they also said it stood for something that it could be said it stands for today.   Nothing But Crap! :)


#15 of 49 OFFLINE   Regulus

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Posted April 29 2010 - 07:09 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack P 

I think in those days, they also said it stood for something that it could be said it stands for today.   Nothing But Crap! :)
 
Back then, as well as today, people were grousing about the "quality" of TV Programming. Then word began to spread about a little something called "Cable TV". Cable TV had been around for quite some time (It originated after World War II when a Town in the Appalachian Mountains strung a line to an Antenna that had been placed on a Mountaintop near Allentown, Pennsylvania in orter to pick up TV Signals that were blocked by the mountains.) It was soon realised that this was the way to bring TV into rural or mountainous areas which had little or no over-the-air TV Reception. (In the 1960s, my Grandparents, who lived on the shores of Lake Huron outside of Oscoda, Michigan, had a 50 foot tall Antenna which allowed them to pick up a grand total of TWO TV Stations, one in Alpena, Mi. and the other in Bay City, Mi.) In 1970 they got Cable, and they now had as many channels to watch as I did living in the Detroit Area. For the next decade that was that, there was no real need to bring Cable to the Cities, which had access to multiple TV Stations. But in the 1970s something else happened. A new Channel appeared on my Grandparent's Cable System. It was called "Cinema Plus" (Later replaced by HBO) and for an extra $5.00 a Month you could pick up this additional Channel, which featured recent Hollywood Movies uncut and without Commercials. Now the people in the Boondocks had something us "City Slickers" DIDN'T HAVE! But things were changing there as well. A Satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, and Enterpreneurs were broadcasting signals to this Satellite, which then transmitted them to Cable TV Stations across the Country. These included various Independant TV Stations which carried their City's Sports Teams (WTBS, WOR, WGN) as well as something new, various "Specialty Channels" such as ESPN, which carried nothing but Sports and Nickleodeon, which carried Kids Shows. People in the Cities began asking "When do we get all these new channels? In 1980 it happened. Cable TV arrived in my Hometown, and I was like a Kid on Christmas Morning! /img/vbsmilies/htf/banana.gifOh Boy! 28 New Tv Channels to get off on. Oh yes, since we had to PAY for these extra channels we were promised limited Commercials as well.
30 years later and look what we have now. 100s of Channels, many of which carry the same programs, and as for the Commercials, well I've ranted enough on this.

Times may change, but some things remain the same!

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#16 of 49 OFFLINE   JamesSmith

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Posted April 29 2010 - 09:44 AM


I liked Supertrain. I thought it was ok. Just a "Love Boat" on a wheels. Thought the theme song was pretty good.

If Cliffhangers came out on DVD, I'd buy it.

James

#17 of 49 OFFLINE   Douglas Monce

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Posted April 29 2010 - 11:31 AM

Interestingly with in 5 years NBC would be number one in the ratings with shows like Family Ties, The Cosby Show, Hill Street Blues, Remington Steele, The A Team, and shortly after Miami Vice and LA Law.

Doug

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#18 of 49 OFFLINE   AndyMcKinney

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Posted April 29 2010 - 04:37 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Monce 

Interestingly with in 5 years NBC would be number one in the ratings with shows like Family Ties, The Cosby Show, Hill Street Blues, Remington Steele, The A Team, and shortly after Miami Vice and LA Law.
One important difference, though, was by then, NBC had replaced Fred Silverman with genius programmer Brandon Tartikoff.


#19 of 49 OFFLINE   Douglas Monce

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Posted April 29 2010 - 05:19 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyMcKinney 




One important difference, though, was by then, NBC had replaced Fred Silverman with genius programmer Brandon Tartikoff.
Exactly. In fact Silverman was replaced in 1981. I remember Johnny Carson referring to Tartikoff as the "boy wonder".

Doug


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#20 of 49 OFFLINE   Jack P

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Posted April 29 2010 - 08:08 PM

The "Supertrain" theme was actually recycled by its composer the next year as the theme for the NBC game show  "Chain Reaction".   The series itself was literally a train wreck in every sense.     They couldn't come up with decent plots at to justify the concept, giving us ripoffs of old standbys ("Strangers On A Train" and an unreal "Prisoner Of Zenda" spoof involving Roy Thinnes as a presidential candidate that is too bizarro to describe), they had too many supporting cast members at the outset (half of whom would soon be jettisoned) and by the last episode they had even added a laugh track!     "Love Boat" at least offered some credibility in that when necessary things could be opened up a bit, but not so on a studio bound train set.





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