Recently, I’ve been watching the old serials that Republic Film Studios put out in the late 1930’s through the late 1940s—programs such as The Black Whip, The Masked Marvel, Captain America (1940s version), The Green Archer, and The Phantom.
I’ve enjoyed watching these programs, not only because they’re from a time when story lines were more innocent, but also because it’s been fun to imagine my parents as children watching these at the Saturday Matinees that were so popular back then. I’ve gotten a kick out of imagining Mom and Dad as wide-eyed kids sitting on the edge of their seats each week as the episodes ended in cliffhangers.
In case you’ve never watched serials, they usually involved the hero (or heroine) fighting against a bad guy and his gang who were intent upon taking control of the country and world by selling national security secrets to foreign nations hostile to the USA. Each episode would wind down with the hero fighting the bad guys. The episode would end with it looking like curtains for the hero, leaving the viewers thinking there was no way the hero would get out of that one alive!
Of course, the hero would figure out a way…until the end of the next episode!
After 15 or so episodes, the serial would end with the total defeat of the bad guy, along with what was left of his gang after the hero captured or killed them along the way. And the world was made safe again for decent folks to live good lives!
Simple premise but so entertaining and satisfying!
As I was watching, I noticed that the bad guy seemed to be holding all the cards. He was always one or two steps ahead of the hero and his or her assistants. The bad guy was always scheming and had several contingency plans that would advance his dastardly cause but would also trap and foil the hero.
The hero, on the other hand, was more straight-forward in his/her thinking and, as a result, wouldn’t anticipate the traps and setbacks that the bad guy threw his/her way. It seemed like the hero would make a little bit of progress but thanks to the seemingly superiority of the bad guy, there were always obstacles, things to sidetrack the hero, and even traps that would seem to derail and totally shut down the hero.
But, the hero was always resourceful and always persevered, even through the most dire and seemingly hopeless of situations.
And, the hero never doubted for a moment that he/she would finally succeed, even in the face of the seemingly overwhelming dominance of the bad guy.
And, the hero’s attitude and resolve paid off. He/she would live to try again another day and, after many attempts and much effort, would finally succeed.
This got me to thinking….
The hero’s fight in the serials is a lot like our “fight” to achieve our dreams.
Oftentimes we feel that the Universe has events, situations, resources, and the like, stacked against us. It seems like we make one step forward and then several steps back and to the side. It can be very frustrating and down-right disheartening.
Even though our lives aren’t a Republic serial, we can still learn a lesson from them:
~ follow the lead of the hero and tap into our natural resourcefulness—as Teddy Roosevelt would say: doing all we could with what we had with where we found ourselves;
~ to be persistent. To persevere when the going gets tough, especially when it seems hopeless and like it’s curtains for our dream. Stick it out because tomorrow’s a new day with new possibilities;
~Above all, be just like the hero and keep believing in yourself and your dream, no matter what!
You can do it!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,