This chapter details how, given The Exploits of Elaine's enormous appeal, plans for an extension, or “extender,” began even as the original serial was still in production. Indeed, the opening episode of The New Exploits of Elaine (1915) was released just one week after the first serial concluded. By picking up where Exploits left off, both William Randolph Hearst and the Whartons hoped to maintain the keen interest in the adventures of Elaine Dodge and Craig Kennedy—and in Pearl White and Arnold Daly, the popular stars who played them. The production of serial-sequels, by then, had become an increasingly common practice among studios hoping to capitalize on their original successes. The unresolved-plot ending of The New Exploits of Elaine provided a natural segue into the third and final installment of the Elaine serial. On the one hand, The Romance of Elaine harked back to familiar elements of the serial formula, among them recurring threats from a mysterious villain, death-defying escapes, car chases, explosions, and romantic rescues. On the other, it celebrated Elaine's tenacity and reinforced the image of her as a new and increasingly independent female type of protagonist within a sensational, action-packed, typically male-oriented and male-dominated story line.
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