Intimate and Kaleidosonic Styles

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:
Intimate and Kaleidosonic Styles

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  • History of the Americas


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The radio play “The Fall of the City,” with its bustling traffic of unruly mobs and untrustworthy ministers, reflects the political friction lying beneath the audioposition choices made in many scripts and studios during the 1930s. The conventionalization of the style of a radio play can have a greater reach than a single broadcast because it implies a normativity among the aesthetic instincts of the listeners. This chapter examines the normative use of perspective in such radio programs as The Columbia Workshop, The Shadow, The Mercury Theater on the Air, and The March of Time. It argues that late-1930s directors developed two audioposition formulas that account for the overall sound of the period—the intimate style and the kaleidosonic style—each of which embodied an aspect of the political rhetoric of the period and enabled prominent broadcasters to solve representational and narrative problems. When these styles became imbalanced, radio aesthetics ended its connection with space and time, and dramatists turned to stronger models.

Keywords: radio programs; intimate style; kaleidosonic style; audioposition; aesthetics; sound; Columbia Workshop; Shadow; Mercury Theater; March of Time

Chapter.  7176 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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