Helen Wheatley
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Keeping it in the family
American Gothic television in the 1960s
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This chapter discusses two hybrid forms of Gothic drama in the 1960s, firstly the Gothic family sitcoms The Munsters and The Addams Family, and secondly the Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. In a sense, both The Addams Family and The Munsters 'worried at' the home lives of their viewers, albeit in a humorous way, thus acting as classic American Gothic texts. An examination of the formation of Gothic television in the US shows that, as with early British television drama, the Gothic anthology series on American television was prefigured by the genre's popularity on the radio. This highlights the relationship between the domestic reception context and the Gothic text. Dark Shadows' particular brand of the 'fantastic-marvellous', the blending of stock characters and narrative events from the soap opera and the Gothic genre, therefore bringing into congruence the ordinary and the supernatural, might be seen to render viewer identification somewhat mystifying.

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