Chapter

Dramas of Space and Time

in Theater of the Mind

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780226853505
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226853529 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226853529.003.0002
Dramas of Space and Time

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One of the most openly polemical radio plays broadcast in the United States during the Great Depression was The Columbia Workshop's “The Fall of the City.” Aired by the Columbia Broadcasting System on April 11, 1937, the play signaled the start of a period in which many programmers sought to modernize and invigorate broadcasting aesthetics and extend highbrow culture to the masses. However, its technical exigencies and the complexity that made the result estimable within the industry received little attention. This chapter examines the context in which these “dramas of space and time” developed on the major networks in the late 1930s, as dramatists tried to encourage listeners to explore imaginary space just for the sake of doing so. As radio culture itself appeared to be “homogenizing” the nation, broadcasters explored ways to make the airwaves into a space that might be shaped. By building scenes in the mind, radio drama enabled listeners to come to grips with what proximal relationships were becoming in the media age.

Keywords: radio drama; United States; Columbia Workshop; Fall of City; Columbia Broadcasting System; aesthetics; broadcasting; space and time; radio plays; imaginary space

Chapter.  6659 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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