Stedman, Raymond William: The Serials. Suspense and Drama by Installment. 2. Aufl. Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1977. (574 S.)
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|Resource type: Book
ID no. (ISBN etc.): 806114037
BibTeX citation key: Stedman1971
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Keywords: Adaptation, Film adaptation, Historical account, Seriality, TV, USA
Publisher: Univ. of Oklahoma Press (Norman)
|Attachments Table of Contents [1/4]|
Since its first publication in 1971, The Serials has become the standard history of that seemingly indestructible drama form, the serial. This new edition, revised and enlarged, includes new programs, such as the latest productions of Masterpiece Theatre: Rich Man, Poor Man; The Waltons; Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman; and the newcomers to the daytime soaps. The author makes trenchant comments about the newcomers and ventures some predictions about the ways the serials can be expected to go—and he does not mean off the air!
The serial, a uniquely American drama form, had its origins in early-day comic strips and the motion-picture cliffhangers of the early twentieth century. The author describes the radio adventure serials and domestic soaps of the 1930s and 1940s, the transfer to TV of the form in the 1950s, and its undiminished success in the 1970s, as shown by the popularity of such as Little House on the Prairie; Upstairs, Downstairs; and The Adams Chronicles, though the content and treatment would have been unthinkable twenty-five years ago.
In tracing the evolution of the serial drama, the author demonstrates how it has been geared to capture and sustain audiences through depression, war, and affluence, and how it is today reflecting America's social issues race relations, women's and gay lib. He points out the wide range in quality of such shows and illustrates how they have both reflected and influenced the times in which they appear—how Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy helped mold a generation of boys who took Jack's code of honor and patriotism to the battlefields of World War II; how Our Gal Sunday helped wives and sweethearts endure the loneliness of wartime: how Bob and Ray's satiric Mary Backstage, Noble Wife helped put a period to the Joseph McCarthy era; how All in the Family forced Americans to face—or evade—their own bigotry.
This is a book for all aficionados of the serial. For the observer of American culture it is a journey through twentieth-century traditions and mores. For the student of drama it is an enlightening account of the evolution of the one truly American drama form. For the reader who sat spellbound in a darkened movie theater on Saturday afternoons or listened fearfully before the big family radio to the whispers of The Shadow, it is an excursion in nostalgia. For today's TV audience it is a delight.
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