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Historical Dictionary of American Radio Soap Operas

Posted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 7:36 pm
by Stewart
Historical Dictionary of American Radio Soap Operas
By Jim Cox

In 1999 the book The Great Radio Soap Operas by Jim Cox was published. This book focused on 31 of the hundreds of soap operas that aired during the Golden Age of Radio and whetted the appetites of Old-Time Radio fans for a more comprehensive volume on Radio Soap Operas.

In late 2005 that more inclusive book arrived, Scarecrow Press published Jim Cox's Historical Dictionary of American Radio Soap Operas as a volume in their Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts series.

OTR fans have come to expect informative and entertaining books from Jim Cox. They will not be disappointed with his Historical Dictionary of American Radio Soap Operas. Jim has packed an amazing amount of information into his 320 page volume.

It begins with an enlightening Chronology that spans the time period 1925 to 1960, halcyon days of the Radio Soap Opera. The most of the Introduction deals with the origins, basic plot and characterization schemas, and business aspects of Radio Soap Operas. An Overview Of The Dictionary which discusses its content and organization is the concluding section of the Introduction.

The Dictionary constitutes the major part of the book and is arranged in alphabetical order with over 450 entries which fall into one of following four categories.

Series:
There are in excess of 300 entries on the individual series, famous and obscure. These entries contain information on primary titles with cross references to alternate titles, plot and character overview, network affiliations, beginning and ending air dates, and cast, crew, and sponsor information. It is, in all probability, the most comprehensive compilation of American Radio Soap Operas.

Individuals:
Over 60 biographical entries of actors, writers, directors, producers, and announcers who prominently figured in the success of the genre. Several more entries deal with authors who have written about the American Radio Soap Opera.

Topics:
Additionally there are more than 50 entries that supply the reader with enlightening information on broadcasting terms, plotline concepts and devices, and Soap Opera sub-genres.

Organizations:
Finally, there are over 20 entries that discuss major advertising and talent agencies, awards, networks, production companies, ratings services, sponsors, and unions.

The Bibliography contains much more content than just standard citations of reference works and periodicals dealing with radio and soap operas. Additional sources of information on prominent soap opera figures are listed. Information is provided on several useful Internet websites. There also is a listing of research archives with prominent collections of soap opera related materials.

As this book is a dictionary, there is no index. However, throughout the book, references to persons, series, topics, and organizations that have their own separate entries are shown in bold text.

With the publication of his Historical Dictionary of American Radio Soap Operas, Jim Cox has contributed yet another highly informative and enjoyable tome to the literature on American Old-Time Radio. There is little doubt that this book will become the standard general reference on the American daytime radio adult serial drama. If you are a fan of Radio soap operas or just interested in Old-Time Radio history in general, this book deserves a place in your library.

Historical Dictionary of American Radio Soap Operas
By Jim Cox
ISBN 0-8108-5323-X
November 2005
320pp
$70.00 Cloth
The Scarecrow Press, Inc.
4501 Forbes Blvd Suite 200
Lanham, MD 20706
301-459-366
www.scarecrowpress.com