The Adventures of Kathlyn

The Adventures of Kathlyn

Infobox Film
name = The Adventures of Kathlyn

image_size =
caption =
director = Francis J. Grandon
producer =
writer = Harold MacGrath
Gilson Willets
narrator =
starring = Kathlyn Williams
music =
cinematography =
editing =
distributor = Selig Polyscope Company
released = 1913
runtime =
country = USA
language = silent film
English intertitles
budget =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id =
imdb_id = 0002605

"The Adventures of Kathlyn" (1913) is an American motion picture serial released on December 29, 1913 by the Selig Polyscope Company. An adventure serial filmed in Chicago, Illinois, its thirteen episodes were directed by Francis J. Grandon from a story by Harold MacGrath and Gilson Willets and starred Kathlyn Williams as the heroine. Harold MacGrath's novel of the same title was released a few days later in January 1914 so as to be in book stores at the same time as the serial was playing in theatres.

"The Adventures of Kathlyn" was only the second serial ever made by an American film studio and considered the first of the cliffhanger serials that became enormously popular during the next decade.

The success of the serial spawned a 1916 feature-length film of the same title with basically the same crew and cast.


The serial came about due to a newspaper circulation war in Chicago that forced the Chicago Tribune to use more sensationalism. William Selig, noting the popularity of serial fiction in newspapers and magazines, took the idea of a "film" serial to the newspaper. Despite the Tribune being in favour of abolishing Nickelodeons only 5 years previously, Tribune editor James Keeley agreed and the serial was released as a promotional project. The chapters of the film were released biweekly and the story was also printed as a newspaper serial in the Tribune. cite book
last = Stedman
first = Raymond William
title = Serials: Suspense and Drama By Installment
origyear = 1971
publisher = University of Oklahoma Press
isbn = 9780806109275
pages = pp. 6-9
chapter = 1. Drama by Instalment
] cite book
last = Lahue
first = Kalten C.
title = Continued Next Week
year =
publisher =
isbn =
pages = pp. 6-8
chapter = 1. A Bolt From The Blue

Although the first American film serial was "What Happened to Mary?", "The Adventures of Kathlyn" is a more important piece of film history. It was the first serial to use cliffhangers as the ending of its chapters and so became the first recognisable film serial.

Frank Leon Smith, in a letter to "Films in Review" (Feb 1958), wrote that the cliffhanger ending of chapter one "was a 'situation' ending, but other episodes wound up with sensational action or stunts, broken for holdover suspense...gave the serial both the key to its success and the assurance of its doom."

It used animals from the Selig Zoo and had more action than "What Happened to Mary?"

The Tribune announced a 10% increase in circulation as a result of the film serial's success.

The film is now considered to be lost.

Chapter titles

# "The Adventures of Kathlyn"
# "The Two Orphans"
# "The Temple of the Lion"
# "A Royal Slave"
# "A Colonel in Chains"
# "Three Bags of Silver"
# "The Garden of Brides"
# "The Cruel Crown"
# "The Spellbound Multitude"
# "A Warrior Maid"
# "The Forged Parchment"
# "The King's Will"
# "The Court of Death"


External links

*imdb title|id= 0002605|title= The Adventures of Kathlyn (serial)
*imdb title|id= 0157293|title= The Adventures of Kathlyn (feature)

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