Monday, February 06, 2006

The Lit Fuse Device in Melodrama and Comedy

The Lit Fuse device is common in melodrama and comedy.

The very old "Perils of Pauline" movies are a melodramatic example. The villain, Snidely Whiplash, demands, "You must marry me!"

"No! No! I won't marry you!" she cries.

"But you must marry me!"

"No! No! I won't marry you!"

"But you must marry me!"

"No! No! I won't marry you!"

If he can't have her, nobody can. So Snidely ties her to the railroad tracks. Our hero, Dudley Doright, must get there to save her before the 12:10 arrives.

The old television series, Batman, parodied the Lit Fuse device. In every episode Batman and Robin were threatened with a frightful fate, say, by being dangled over a vat of boiling oil with the rope unraveling.

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