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Stop Susan Williams was part of the Cliff Hangers TV series which featured three revolving serials. Susan Williams is a journalist whose investigation of her reporter brother's murder takes her around the world in pursuit of bad guy Anthony Kort. Susan narrowly escapes death episode after episode. Written by
Cliffhangers-A throwback to the serials of yesteryear
From the 1910's to the mid to late 1950's,cliff hangers were the stable form of movie entertainment for the American youth. Saturday afternoons meant a trip to the neighborhood theater where the latest chapter of the current "Zorro","Superman","The Adventures of Batman and Robin",or the order of the day was on display. All of the movie serials-whether Westerns,melodramas,science fiction,or Gothic horror stories-had one element in common. At the end of each episode(full serials had a maximum of 10 to 15 episodes)the hero or heroine was in for a perilous,potentially fatal situation facing certain doom or extreme danger. Miraciously,however,the first minutes succeeding episode would show how he or she had escaped,thus avoiding the certain fate that awaited them in the previous episode. The kids at the Saturday matinees knew upfront how their heroes would survive. The only question in this case is how. Not knowing gave them something to talk about all week until they faithfully returned the movie house the following week to find out what happened.
More than two decades after the last serial was produced,NBC brought the weekly serial back in 1979 under the format title "Cliffhangers". The series was the midseason replacement in early 1979 for the series "The Adventures of Sheriff Lobo",which NBC moved the show to new time slot. "Cliffhangers" was the umbrella title for three separate serials all sharing the same slot on Tuesday nights. Each week viewers saw the 20-minute chapter of "Stop Susan Williams" starring Susan Anton,and the "The Curse of Dracula"(which was shown in black and white to give it a more 1940's feel),starring Michael Nouri. The following week each serial would picked up a different stage along with the fantasy adventure "The Secret Empire",which was a cross between The Wild,Wild West mixed with Fantasy Island and the Fugitive. Each serial contain two different installments,with one continuing where it left off the following week. "Cliffhangers" was an innovative series for its time with audiences tuning in each week to see their heroes get out of tight situations while handling the unexpected. The idea was fresh and original while others were still in progress. But the ratings that this series got,didn't improved,since "Cliffhangers" lasted no more than three months on the air. The reason? NBC put this show on Tuesday nights at the 8:00pm time slot opposite ABC's powerhouse "Happy Days",which clobbered it in the ratings. The series ran from February 27,1979 until May 1, 1979 and 13 episodes were produced. The series was produced by Glen A. Larson for Universal Television.
Comment: Before the series went off the air,only two of the serials concluded their chapters("The Curse of Dracula",and "The Secret Empire"),but the other one,"Stop Susan Williams" did not conclude its last episode. However,in the last chapter and eventually the last episode in the series,audiences got to see Susan Williams in a bland predicament and to find out if she would escape certain doom. The only thing that was to find out that the episode ended up "to be continued". Did Susan escape from their trap of doom? Audiencs never got to find out and the last chapter in the series was never aired since NBC canceled the series right after that in May of 1979. However,the only serial from that "Cliffhangers" series,and for those who never got to see what really happen from the last chapter of "Stop Susan Williams" that never aired during the series run was presented for NBC in a made for TV-movie "The Girl That Saved The World" that premiered later on that year as part of the NBC Movie of the Week.
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