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Small Screens, Big Ideas: Television in the 1950s
Synopses & Reviews
Small Screens, Big Ideas brings together specially commissioned writings from British and American contributors to explore themes of diversity in the formative period of the 1950s. With radical changes taking place in terrestrial television, this is a timely moment to revisit the decade when television's very novelty was its most striking feature. Discussing television's role in the construction of national and gender identities and its relation to other media such as theatre, film, and radio, this fresh exploration is based on detailed case-studies of this complex era.
Book News Annotation:
Relating various aspects of television to social change in Britain and America in the post-war period, 14 contributed essays consider the appeal of soap operas, television's aesthetic and social values, gender roles, ethnicity, the star system, the audience, news, and tv repair. Editor Thumin (film and television, U. of Bristol, UK) supplies a substantial introduction. Specific shows and stars discussed include Gracie Allen, Dinah Shore, Hedy Lamarr, The Wednesday Play, Mystery and Imagination, The Quartermass Experiment, and This Week. Black-and-white illustrations remind us what television, magazine ads, and cartoons used to look like. The book is distributed by Palgrave.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Includes bibliographical references (p. -253) and indexes.
About the Author
Janet Thumin is Head of the University of Bristol Department of Drama, where she teaches film and television.
Table of Contents
Introduction--Janet Thumin * I've Seen This One Before: The Construction of "Classic TV" on Cable Television--Derek Kompare * Selling Soap: Post-War Television Soap Opera and the American Housewife--Kristen Hatch * Study of a Mad Housewife: Psychiatric Discourse, the Suburban Home, and the Case of Gracie Allen--Allison McCracken * Lessons from Uncle Miltie: Ethnic Masculinity and Early Television's Vaudeo Star--Susan Murray * Nothin' Could be Finah:The Dinah Shore Chevy Show --L. Clare Bratten * Re-Made for Television: Hedy Lamarr's Postwar Star Textuality--Diane Negra * Maureen O'Hara's "Confidential" Life: Recycling Stars through Gossip and Moral Biography--Mary Desjardins * Matinee Theatre : Difference, Compromise and the 1950s Daytime Audience--Matthew Murray * The BBC and the Birth of The Wednesday Play, 1962-66: Institutional Containment versus "Agitiational Contemporaneity"--Madeline MacMurraugh-Kavanagh * Mystery and Imagination " Anatomy of a Gothic Anthology Series--Helen Wheatley * Exploiting the Intimate Screen: The Quartermass Experiment, Fantasy and the Aesthetic Potential of Early Television Drama--Catherine Johnson * This Week in 1956: The Introduction of Current Affairs on TV--Victoria Wegg-Prosser * Women at Work: Popular Drama on British Television c.1955-60--Janet Thumin * Cracking Open the Set: Television Repair and Tinkering with Gender, 1949-1955--Lisa Parks
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