Historical Dictionary of American Radio Soap Operas
by Jim Cox
Publisher: Scarecrow Press
Release Date: November 28, 2005
Price: $70.00 hardbound, 296pp with photos
The radio soap opera was a particularly American form of "art," and although it only existed -- and thrived -- from 1925 to 1960, it has never been forgotten by its tens of millions of listeners. In addition to being part of popular culture, the soap opera had important commercial aspects as well that were not only related to their production, but also to the desperate need to sell products or perish. Both sides of this story are traced in this comprehensive compendium.
The dictionary section, made up of more than 500 entries, provides brief vignettes of the more popular and also less well-known serials, 293 in all. Other entries evoke those who brought these programs to life: the actors and actresses, the announcers, the scriptwriters, the networks, and even the sponsors. Nor are the basic themes, the stock characters and the gimmicks forgotten. The book's introduction defines the soap opera, examines the span of the radio serial, reviews its origins and its demise, and focuses on the character types that made up its denizens. The chronology outlines the period and the bibliography offers further reading. Together, these elements make a comprehensive reference work that research will find invaluable long into the future.
(comments adapted from a Scarecrow Press website)
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