The Making of American Audiences: From Stage to Television, 1750-1990 / Edition 1

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In The Making of American Audiences, Richard Butsch provides a comprehensive survey of American entertainment audiences from the Colonial period to the present. Providing coverage of theater, opera, vaudeville, minstrelsy, movies, radio and television, he examines the evolution of audience practices as each genre supplanted another as the primary popular entertainment. Based on original historical research, this volume exposes how audiences made themselves through their practices—how they asserted control over their own entertainments and their own behavior.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The subject is fascinating and so are some of Mr. Butsch's ideas..." Edward Rothstein, New York Times

"This is certainly a scholarly work, but its appealing style will draw a wide range of readers with an interest in the many facets of entertainment." Carol J. Binkowski, Library Journal

"Recommended for upper-division and graduate students and faculty." Choice

"One of the book's strengths is its breath...This ambitious book will be of interest to historians seeking to place audiences in a broad context...Most readers will be rewarded by his ability to organize diverse strands of interdisciplinary literature, neatly arranged in a sizable bibliography, into a coheasive history of the complex and changing nature of leisure audiences." Journal of American History

"The subject is fascinating and so are some of Butsch's ideas." Rocky Mountain News

"...Meticulously researched and lucidly presented, The Making of American Audiences is, to date, the definitive history of its subject matter." Canadian Journal of Communication

"Butsch brings substantial research and intelligence to his broad task." American Studies 2001

Library Journal
Scott (theater, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst; The Commedia Dell'Arte in Paris 1644-1697) sees Moli re's life through a web of documented information, much gossip, rumor and innuendo, and some loose inferences. In the first biography of Moli re in English since 1930, she threads her way gracefully and wittily through this tangle of information to build up a credible portrait of the playwright. She begins with a chapter in which she argues for the validity of imagination in the craft of biography, then proceeds to reinforce her argument throughout the rest of her book. Scott spends much time on Moli re's historical context, relationships, economic and political life, and artistic struggles and develops an excellent portrait of his theater and the state of drama in his time. But she is best on his plays and on understanding them as extensions of his life, providing a full discussion of their development, performances, and reception. Highly recommended.--Thomas E. Luddy, Salem State Coll., MA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction: participative public, passive private?; 1. Colonial theater, privileged audiences; 2. Drama in early Republican audiences; 3. The B'hoys in Jacksonian theaters; 4. Knowledge and the decline of audience sovereignty; 5. Matinee ladies: re-gendering theater audiences; 6. Blackface, whiteface; 7. Variety, liquor and lust; 8. Vaudeville, incorporated; 9. 'Legitimate' and 'illegitimate' theater around the turn of the century; 10. The celluloid stage: Nickelodeon audiences; 11. Storefronts to theaters: seeking the middle class; 12. Voices from the ether: early radio listening; 13. Radio cabinets and network chains; 14. Rural radio: 'we are seldom lonely anymore'; 15. Fears and dreams: public discourses about radio; 16. The electronic cyclops: fifties television; 17. A TV in every home: television 'effects'; 18. Home video: viewer autonomy?; 19. Conclusion: from effects to resistance and beyond; Appendix: availability, affordability, admission price; Notes; Selected bibliography; Index.

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