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Old 05-21-2012, 08:50 AM   #26
foreverwingnut
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Actually kid sidekicks in adventure films and serials were very popular in the 1940s and 1950s because they were aimed at younger audiences. George Lucas writes stories that are influenced by the films he loved as a kid. Star Wars, in particular, was influenced by the Buck Rogers serials of Lucas' youth. In the Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Spielberg says Harrison Ford understood that Raiders was a throwback to the adventure serials of the 40s and 50s. Let's remember the most popular kid sidekick of all time, Robin the Boy Wonder, who debuted in 1938 (I believe that's the year) and was only 12-years-old at the time. And, ironically, the original Robin was still popular in comics at the very time of TOD- albeit a teenager by then.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:15 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverwingnut
Actually kid sidekicks in adventure films and serials were very popular in the 1940s and 1950s because they were aimed at younger audiences. George Lucas writes stories that are influenced by the films he loved as a kid. Star Wars, in particular, was influenced by the Buck Rogers serials of Lucas' youth. In the Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Spielberg says Harrison Ford understood that Raiders was a throwback to the adventure serials of the 40s and 50s. Let's remember the most popular kid sidekick of all time, Robin the Boy Wonder, who debuted in 1938 (I believe that's the year) and was only 12-years-old at the time. And, ironically, the original Robin was still popular in comics at the very time of TOD- albeit a teenager by then.

If you haven't already done so, you should check out the Cliffhangers thread.

I don't actually recall too many kid sidekicks in the 39 serials I chose to watch. Though saying that, I did intentionally avoid Undersea Kingdom! The same kid actor, however, played Junior in Dick Tracy.

And looking back at that thread I wrote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiffy
Even Junior, the orphan kid, was less annoying and less precocious than the likes of Short Round. Yet, like Shorty, Junior also idolized the lead as a hero figure.
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:07 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverwingnut
Actually kid sidekicks in adventure films and serials were very popular in the 1940s and 1950s because they were aimed at younger audiences. George Lucas writes stories that are influenced by the films he loved as a kid. Star Wars, in particular, was influenced by the Buck Rogers serials of Lucas' youth. In the Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Spielberg says Harrison Ford understood that Raiders was a throwback to the adventure serials of the 40s and 50s.
Hello, Foreverwingnut. Just in case you've been mistaken, "Raiders" was a throwback to the serials of the '30s & '40s. (Not the '50s.) So it must be asked:

Which serials of the '30s & '40s HAVE YOU SEEN that feature a c.10-year-old child as a sidekick fighting alongside the hero?


No malice intended, eh?
Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverwingnut
Let's remember the most popular kid sidekick of all time, Robin the Boy Wonder, who debuted in 1938 (I believe that's the year) and was only 12-years-old at the time. And, ironically, the original Robin was still popular in comics at the very time of TOD- albeit a teenager by then.
More Batman sh*t. Will it never end?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Smith
If you haven't already done so, you should check out the Cliffhangers thread.

I don't actually recall too many kid sidekicks in the 39 serials I chose to watch. Though saying that, I did intentionally avoid Undersea Kingdom! The same kid actor, however, played Junior in Dick Tracy.
The "Junior" character in the Dick Tracy serials is one of the only Short Round parallels that I can think of...and that is stretching the comparison a lot!

---
A good (the best?) comparison to Short Round would be "Boy" in the MGM Tarzan films!
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Old 05-21-2012, 04:18 PM   #29
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I never knew just how viciously people defend their hatred of Short Round until I added a few background comments...Serials started in the very late
20s, but were peeked in popularity in the 40s through the 50s. TV in the late 50s effectively put an end to the serials. It was the serials of the 50s that Lucas watched and in which he was inspired to write both SW and Indy. Indy has the look of a 30s serial because, obviously, that's the decade in which the trilogy occurs. Serials were cliffhangers in which the heroes were thrown into action-packed peril week-after-week to entice the audience (mostly young boys) to return to the theater. Which of these serials had a young sidekick? Batman and Robin had two serials in the 1940s. Captain Marvel, whose young alter-ego was Billy Batson, had a serial. As Montana Smith pointed out, there was Junior in Dick Tracy. Tarzan had Boy. I don't understand Stoo's specific indifference to 10-year-olds. A kid is a kid.

Last edited by foreverwingnut : 05-21-2012 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:09 PM   #30
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Well as a young Chinese kid about the same age as SR at the time ToD was released I LOVED Shortie. The is totally designed as the kids point of reference to the story. Just like the companion in Doctor Who is designed to be the window for you to understand the Doctor.

He's brave, funny, clever and best mates with Indy. He is fab. And his Chinese is far better than Ford's.

Weirdly, little Anakin in Ep 1 was supposed to do the same sort of job,(appeal to the kids). Now I don't know how kids felt about him, I would have dropped him down the nearest reactor shaft.
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:31 PM   #31
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Kt Templar, your comment about Anakin made me chuckle. Thank-you for that and I agree with you totally on everything. Yours is a great perspective here because you were about the same age as Shorty. Clearly, opposing viewpoints on Shorty depend greatly on the age of the viewer at the time of the release. I, myself, was about 13 at the time, but I longed to be a carefree kid again, so I totally dug Shorty. Dr. Gonzo left a comment here, too, that I wanted to respond to: he said he was jealous of Shorty, who got to be Indy's sidekick. I think most of us felt the same jealousy.
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:30 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverwingnut
I never knew just how viciously people defend their hatred of Short Round until I added a few background comments...Serials started in the very late
20s, but were peeked in popularity in the 40s through the 50s. TV in the late 50s effectively put an end to the serials. It was the serials of the 50s that Lucas watched and in which he was inspired to write both SW and Indy. Indy has the look of a 30s serial because, obviously, that's the decade in which the trilogy occurs. Serials were cliffhangers in which the heroes were thrown into action-packed peril week-after-week to entice the audience (mostly young boys) to return to the theater. Which of these serials had a young sidekick? Batman and Robin had two serials in the 1940s. Captain Marvel, whose young alter-ego was Billy Batson, had a serial. As Montana Smith pointed out, there was Junior in Dick Tracy. Tarzan had Boy. I don't understand Stoo's specific indifference to 10-year-olds. A kid is a kid.

The serials went back even further. The rolling boulder, for example, appeared in The Perils of Pauline (1914).

Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941) was an excellent serial, but Frank Coghlan Jr., who played Billy Batson, was twenty-five at the time. The role doesn't fit the sidekick model.

Douglas Croft was almost seventeen when he played Robin in Batman (1943), and Johnny Duncan was twenty-five when he played the part in Batman and Robin (1949).

What marks Short Round apart from earlier examples is his precocious nature. He assumed a more dominant role in respect of the hero figure, in seeing himself as Indy's bodyguard. His smartness beyond his years is more a product of the films of his own time, and is measured only by the idea that he grew up as an orphan on the tough streets of '30s Shanghai.
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:05 AM   #33
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I have the later Batman serial, which is also a great series. Granted, all the Robin actors were older, including Burt Ward at 20, but Robin was still considered a junior-high teenager in films and TV who, like the even younger Robin in the comics, was still referred to as a kid sidekick (the Boy Wonder not the Man Wonder) designed to appeal to young boys. I haven't seen the Capt. Marvel serial but his alter-ego is supposed to be much younger. Aside from serials there were also many adventure movies in the 50s with child sidekicks- movies that also surely must have influenced Lucas as a child. Not being allowed to compare kid heroes simply because of the age difference of a few years is like suddenly saying no one can any longer compare Indy to Humphrey Bogart because Bogey was much, much older. Yes, Shorty saw himself as a protector, but aside from bringing Indy out of the Sleep of the Kali, where else can it be assumed that Shorty was Indy's saviour? Short Round fought to survive in Shanghai, learning to guard and appreciate every good fortune he could find, so it's understandable that he should apply an even stronger guard and appreciation to a man he loved and admired above all others.
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Old 05-22-2012, 01:26 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverwingnut
I never knew just how viciously people defend their hatred of Short Round until I added a few background comments...Serials started in the very late 20s, but were peeked in popularity in the 40s through the 50s. TV in the late 50s effectively put an end to the serials. It was the serials of the 50s that Lucas watched and in which he was inspired to write both SW and Indy. Indy has the look of a 30s serial because, obviously, that's the decade in which the trilogy occurs. Serials were cliffhangers in which the heroes were thrown into action-packed peril week-after-week to entice the audience (mostly young boys) to return to the theater. Which of these serials had a young sidekick? Batman and Robin had two serials in the 1940s. Captain Marvel, whose young alter-ego was Billy Batson, had a serial. As Montana Smith pointed out, there was Junior in Dick Tracy. Tarzan had Boy. I don't understand Stoo's specific indifference to 10-year-olds. A kid is a kid.
You must be misunderstanding the point of my post, Wingnut, since I don't have a vicious hatred toward Short Round. (Where did you get that idea?) Even though the character annoyed me immensely back in '84, Shortie has grown on me over time and now I like the little punk!

My point is that pre-pubescent, child sidekicks were not at all common in the matinée serials. Sure, kids were their target audience but the cliffhangers had very few children in them. Out of the several hundreds & hundreds of serials, you haven't provided any good examples that can truly compare to Short Round. Billy Batson is neither a little boy nor a sidekick. He is the hero! Robin is not a child. Even ignoring Robin's older 'teen' age, he is just *1* example and nowhere near enough to justify that kid sidekicks were a "popular" trend in the serials.

If you can give many, many, many more examples beyond the Robin fixation, then I will bow to you like a proper gentleman.

Furthermore, you seem to be mistaken about the history of the genre. Serials started in the 1910s (not the late '20s) with over 100 produced between 1910-1919. Their 'peak in popularity' was during the '30s & '40s (not the '40s & '50s) and they slowly dwindled to death in the late '40s & early '50s (not the late '50s). The last 2 came out in 1956. Yes, Lucas & Spielberg were kids in the 1950s and they undoubtedly saw some of the inferior '50s cliffhangers but, by their own account, Indy (& Star Wars) were inspired by those of the '30 & 40s (which they both could have seen as re-runs in the cinema or on TV).
Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverwingnut
As Montana Smith pointed out, there was Junior in Dick Tracy. Tarzan had Boy. I don't understand Stoo's specific indifference to 10-year-olds. A kid is a kid.
Well, I also gave a nod to Junior in Dick Tracy but he isn't really a Short-Round-type sidekick because he doesn't usually go out & about with the hero. Junior stays in Tracy's office and operates the radio. Dick's real sidekick is another character. Plus, it was I who brought up Boy in the MGM Tarzan films...but those aren't serials.

In no way do I have an "indifference to 10-year-olds". I'm just opposing your misconceived statements surrounding the serial genre.

---
P.S. Wingnut, apologies if my words are coming across as antagonistic. You've just struck a chord on a topic that I'm very passionate about - the ol' cliffhangers. If you wish to talk more about that subject, then please don't hesitate to join in the discussion here: Cliffhangers - Republic Pictures & Other Saturday Matinee Serials
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Old 05-22-2012, 01:34 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverwingnut
Not being allowed to compare kid heroes simply because of the age difference of a few years is like suddenly saying no one can any longer compare Indy to Humphrey Bogart because Bogey was much, much older.

The point that both Stoo and I picked up on was that "kid sidekicks", at least as young as Shorty, don't seem prevalent in the serials. In that regard KOTCS would be more typical, in having a 20-year-old as the leading man's sidekick.

Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverwingnut
Yes, Shorty saw himself as a protector, but aside from bringing Indy out of the Sleep of the Kali, where else can it be assumed that Shorty was Indy's saviour? Short Round fought to survive in Shanghai, learning to guard and appreciate every good fortune he could find, so it's understandable that he should apply an even stronger guard and appreciation to a man he loved and admired above all others.

I didn't write "saviour", I wrote "bodyguard, which is scattered throughout the novelization.
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:16 PM   #36
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Film historians can find similarities to serials as far back as the 19th Century, but the true era of cliffhanger serials with a male lead didn't begin until the late 20s. The series of films in the earlier 1900s such as What Happened to Mary are considered pre-runners to serials, but they were episodic- not segmented- with female leads and no cliffhangers that were left over for the next installment. Each episode was wrapped up with some general resolution at the end. They were monthly, not weekly. Regardless of the sentiment expressed in the rebutals, I do feel there was intentional offense and I now have to nitpick in response. The serial in '56- played in theaters throughout 1957 which IS late 50s- was not the last one ever made, just the last one in the true era of the serial. Unpopular and unforgettable as they were and of no inspiration whatsoever to Indy, newer serials were attempted in the 60s. I had earlier discussed the era from the 20s through the 50s because this was the true era of the cliffhanger serials as agreed upon by film historians, where the true inspiration for Indy and yes, Shorty, was to be found. Stoo commented that I pointed out Robin as the only kid sidekick, but my words are in black-and-white for everyone to see that I made several other references (and reiterated what others had pointed out as testament) and here I'll give you even more kid heroes/sidekicks in serials: Don Sturdy was only 14 by the time of his third book, Tombs of Gold, (excellent book) with a whole string of adventure books that lead to his own serial. Sturdy was not only his father's sidekick and confidant, but his father's equal in most respects, braving adventures just as Indy himself would have. There was the popluar Little Beaver in several Red Rider serials. Japanese films of Lucas's youth didn't strictly follow the serial formula in their episodic films, but they certainly had their share of many, many popular child sidekicks/heroes that were every bit the model for Short Round. There's no point in researching kid-sidekicks any more, I've presented plenty even though I was challenged initially to even find one. But I don't think it would matter if I found a 10-year-old Chinese sidekick doppleganger for Shorty because I'd still be shredded because the kid wasn't born in Shanghai... or the adventurer he tagged along with wasn't American... or an archeologist...or dark-haired- the nitpicking wouldn't cease no matter how many references I presented just as has thus-far been evident. I would always be asked for more criteria so you'd save face and not ever admit that I've met the challenges. But I'm bored with this now, so I'm done. You can protest in vain all you want but I'll be unsubscribing to this particular thread. I welcome opposing viewpoints, but not from those who refuse to admit that someone else might have a valid point.
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:45 PM   #37
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I thought he was awesome
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:15 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverwingnut
But I don't think it would matter if I found a 10-year-old Chinese sidekick doppleganger for Shorty because I'd still be shredded because the kid wasn't born in Shanghai... or the adventurer he tagged along with wasn't American... or an archeologist...or dark-haired- the nitpicking wouldn't cease no matter how many references I presented just as has thus-far been evident.

You'll find him in the movie Hong Kong in 1952!





You wrote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverwingnut
Actually kid sidekicks in adventure films and serials were very popular in the 1940s and 1950s

We were only picking up on the "serials" aspect, and commenting on the non-prevalence of kid sidekicks as young as Shorty in film serials, which were the direct inspiration for Indiana Jones.

Serials such as Spy Smasher, Dick Tracy, Zorro Rides Again, S.O.S. Coast Guard, Jungle Girl, among others.

I don't see Short Round as a throw-back to the serials, but a smart-ass product of the '80s. His being Asian made him, by movie stereotype, a natural martial artist. (A caucasian Karate Kid released a few months later).
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Old 05-23-2012, 09:19 AM   #39
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I always thought Shorty was a cool kid.
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Old 05-23-2012, 04:13 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverwingnut
Stoo commented that I pointed out Robin as the only kid sidekick, but my words are in black-and-white for everyone to see that I made several other references...
No. You most certainly did not make "several other references". You gave *one*: Robin, who isn't even a child. (Billy Batson is not a sidekick.) With your latest post, you've given 2 more, for a grand total of 3. If little kid sidekicks in the hundreds & hundreds of serials were as abundant as you claim, then it should be easy to rattle off a long list without any problem.

(I would comment on your bit about cliffhanger history but that would be going far too deep into off-topic territory and could possibly lead this thread astray.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverwingnut
But I don't think it would matter if I found a 10-year-old Chinese sidekick doppleganger for Shorty because I'd still be shredded because the kid wasn't born in Shanghai... or the adventurer he tagged along with wasn't American... or an archeologist...or dark-haired- the nitpicking wouldn't cease no matter how many references I presented just as has thus-far been evident. I would always be asked for more criteria so you'd save face and not ever admit that I've met the challenges.
That's an awfully presumptuous thing to say, Wingnut. (Even more presumptuous than thinking my first rebuttal of your statements was "vicious hatred" toward Short Round.) Did you miss where I wrote that I'd bow to you like a proper gentleman if you provided many more examples?
Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverwingnut
I welcome opposing viewpoints, but not from those who refuse to admit that someone else might have a valid point.
If you had a valid point then Montana & I would agree with you. Not to mention that we aren't discussing a "viewpoint", this is about facts and it is a fact that children were not commonly seen as sidekicks in the serials of "the 1940s and 1950s" (as you initially wrote) nor any other decade of the format's golden age.

Beat a retreat if you wish but it doesn't make your claim a valid one.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiffy
You'll find him in the movie Hong Kong in 1952!
Ha! I was going to mention "Hong Kong"!

As a matter of interest, in the 1984 TV special, "Heroes & Sidekicks: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom", numerous clips of movies are shown to draw parallels between Indy & Shorty. None of them feature any little kids.
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:07 PM   #41
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[/drama]
Back to topic.
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Old 05-25-2012, 09:33 AM   #42
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All is well...

I had unsubscribed to this thread, but Monty won me over in other areas, so I wanted to return again to make peace. I'm sorry, I can't comment on whatever Stoo has stated because he's been on my ignore list, but I am happy that I seem to have been awarded a little validation from Monty. Thank-you for uploading the movie posters with Shorty's doppleganger (and with the Gipper, no less- how cool is that!). I'll return a kind validation by agreeing that Shorty's personality was, indeed, more a product of the 80s, whereas the kid stars of the 50s and earlier were more wholesome and unassuming. I'm glad Monty and I have finally arrived on some middle-ground on the subject. Long-live The Raven!
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Old 05-25-2012, 01:40 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverwingnut
I had unsubscribed to this thread, but Monty won me over in other areas, so I wanted to return again to make peace.



Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverwingnut
Thank-you for uploading the movie posters with Shorty's doppleganger (and with the Gipper, no less- how cool is that!).

I've still yet to see that film myself. But I love discovering possible sources for the Indy movies, which is something that made contributing to the cliffhanger serial thread so much fun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by foreverwingnut
I'm glad Monty and I have finally arrived on some middle-ground on the subject. Long-live The Raven!

I think The Raven will outlive us all!
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Old 05-25-2012, 04:45 PM   #44
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I'm starting to think I'm strange because I always liked Short Round. He has a lot of great lines.....
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Old 05-28-2012, 07:52 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Smith
I think The Raven will outlive us all!

As long as there are Indy fans in this world I wouldn't doubt that statement!
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