Chapter

Just the Facts

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/9780226853529.003.0010
Just the Facts

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Radio plays with crime as their theme relied on two conventions that reflected a persistent cultural fascination with coercion—direct address and acts of testimony—both of which conventions helped many Americans process the modalities of authority, the pursuit of evidence, and the dynamics of self-incrimination at a time when these ideas were relevant. Radio drama was not only asking how mass communication transmits belief in the mind; it was also lionizing those who disclose it enthusiastically to officials. By analyzing the prevailing patterns of communication in the 1950s crime story, this chapter argues that radio shows about communication essentially became “loyalty programs.” Just as radio reinvented spatial and temporal forms to deal with Cold War anxiety, notions about communication also changed, especially in crime programs from the end of World War II into the 1950s.

Keywords: radio plays; coercion; direct address; testimony; evidence; self-incrimination; radio drama; crime programs; loyalty programs; mass communication

Chapter.  9683 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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