Dramas of Susceptibility and Transmission

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:
Dramas of Susceptibility and Transmission

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Lucille Fletcher's “The Hitch-Hiker” demonstrates that American radio drama during the 1940s typically neglected the spatial preoccupations of the 1930s and connected concepts of the mind to the idea of communication through sound effects. The “theater of the mind” hypothesis ought to help explain more overt conventions, such as the behavior of characters in radio dramas. This chapter argues that many 1940s dramatists often relied on a character's status and orientation vis-à-vis key aural transmissions to inform listeners about his or her motives and identity. Focusing on Fletcher's “Sorry, Wrong Number,” it examines how acts of communication underlie how we understand technology, the protagonist Mrs. Stevenson, and her dire situation. The chapter also shows that both writers of radio fiction and writers of social research generally viewed people as “active” transmitters or “passive” receivers.

Keywords: Lucille Fletcher; radio drama; active transmitters; passive receivers; theater of mind; characters; aural transmissions; radio fiction; social research; listeners

Chapter.  8477 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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