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Winchester, Mark D. "George McManus, Comic Strip Theatricals, and Vaudeville." Thesis Master of Arts. Ohio State University, 1990. 
Added by: joachim (7/10/11, 1:33 PM)   
Resource type: Thesis/Dissertation
Language: en: English
BibTeX citation key: Winchester1990
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Categories: General
Keywords: "Bringing up Father", Adaptation, Comic strip, McManus. George, Theatre
Creators: Winchester
Publisher: Ohio State University (Columbus)
Views: 25/618
“The period from 1896 to 1930 witnessed the widespread adaptation of newspaper comic strips for the popular stage: prior to 1896 the newspaper comic strip did not exist and after 1930 the venues where such entertainments flourished fell into a steady decline. During this time-span, more than thirty comic strips were adapted for the theatre in a variety of production styles. These ranged from the infrequent “high brow” presentations in ballet and operetta to the more common “low brow” performances in musical comedy and vaudeville. The merging of comic strips and the theatre results in what this study describes as the “comic strip theatrical”; this term is chosen to differentiate between adaptations of comic strips for the live stage and adaptations for other media. […]
Comic strips were adapted each season from 1896 through the late twenties; there were a large enough number of comic strips adapted to the stage during this period for this phenomenon to be considered prevalent. Comic strip theatricals have not been well documented and may be lost to theatre history if they are not chronicled. In comparison, theatrical adaptations of novels have a greater chance of surviving as society has generally valued literature. The general societal view of comic strips has ranged from complete dismissal to fanatical devotion. Only in recent years have comic strips been considered worthy of scholarly discussion. This lag from the appearance of the phenomenon to later serious consideration has resulted in a lack of critical discussion on the early ramifications of comic strips.
Of the comic strips adapted for the stage, George McManus’ were used as a source of material by both minor and major producers. Adaptations of McManus’ comic strips began during the height of comic strip theatricals and subsided through the decline of the popular commercial theatre. It is possible to examine the experiences of a small number of comic strip theatricals to get an idea of what the general experience for comic strip theatricals was like. A historical reconstruction of McManus’ entertainments was selected to show how extensively one man’s work could be adapted for the theatre. McManus was not unique in his effect upon the theatre, as his vaudeville exposure and comic strip theatricals were somewhat typical.
The stagings of George McManus’ comic strips are best examined in relation to the theatre of the day and the popularity of newspaper comic strips. Chapter Two includes a discussion of the history of comic strip theatricals and a brief look at the life and career of George McManus. Chapter Three explores the staging of Panhandle Pete (1906–1908), McManus’ brief vaudeville career (1908), and the staging of The Newlyweds and Their Baby (1907–1916). Chapter Four examines the stagings of Let George Do It (1911–1912) and Bringing Up Father (1914–1920). Chapter Five is the summary and conclusion. As a complete chronicle for comic strip theatricals has never been completed previously, Appendix A is a partial chronological list of comic strip theatricals known to the writer and Appendix B is an additional listing of undated comic strip theatricals. Both appendices are included to share the information collected in the preparation of this work. For each of McManus’ comic strip theatricals there is a discussion of the first performance, including the date of the comic strip’s first appearance, when the intent to produce an adaptation was first announced, when the production first opened, the content of the work, the critical/popular response to the piece, and the nature of the subsequent tour.” (From: “Introduction”, p. 1–5)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments (iii)
Vita (iv)

I. Introduction (1)
Introduction (1)
Statement of Purpose and Justifications for Study (2)
A Brief History of the American Road Theatre (6)
A Brief History of the American Comic Strip (13)
Summary (24)

II. Background: American Comic Strip Theatricals and George McManus (26)
Introduction (26)
An Overview and History of American Comic Strip Theatricals (27)
The Life and Career of George McManus (1882–1954) (40)
Summary (52)

III. McManus and Comic Strip Theatricals: 1906–1910 (53)
Introduction (53)
The Staging of Panhandle Pete (53)
George McManus in Vaudeville (67)
The Staging of The Newlvweds and Their Baby (74)
Summary (83)

IV. McManus and Comic Strip Theatricals: 1911–1920 (86)
Introduction (86)
The Staging of Let George Do It (86)
The Staging of Bringing Up Father (92)
Summary (108)

V. Summary and Conclusions (110)
Introduction (110)
Summary and Conclusions (110)

A . A Chronology of Comic Strip Theatricals Produced in America: 1896–1950 (114)
B. A Listing of Comic Strip Theatricals—Undated (130)

List of References (132)
Added by: joachim  Last edited by: joachim
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