The importance of films in the cultural and social life of both Britain and the United States has long been recognized. Although radio survived in Britain more or less intact, by 1960 it too had taken second place to television as the prime domestic medium. This book begins by analysing the very different relationships between cinema and radio that emerged in Britain and the United States. It moves on to examine the ways in which cinema adapted radio programmes in the fields of comedy and detective fiction and then how radio dramatized films. When radio first took off in the United States in the late 1920s, it was regarded by the film industry as a rival, something to keep people at home and away from the cinema. But during the 1930s, Hollywood began to appreciate the value of radio in publicizing and promoting its films. The British broadcasting service was set up in 1922 with a monopoly and finance from a licence fee following negotiations between the Post Office, which controlled the air waves, and the radio industry, which manufactured the equipment. Radio in wartime was informational and inspirational. It provided news, entertainment, and propaganda. The book concludes with a look in detail at the ways in which the two media have dealt with three popular fictional characters, the Scarlet Pimpernel, Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes.

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The creative nexus
Jeffrey Richards

, the sheet music of the film and above all radio. When radio first took off in the United States in the late 1920s, it was regarded by the film industry as a rival, something to keep people at home and away from the cinema. But during the 1930s, Hollywood began to appreciate the value of radio in publicizing and promoting its films. It discovered that radio complemented films rather than substituted for them and a richly symbiotic relationship developed between

in Cinema and radio in Britain and America, 1920–60
The creative tension
Jeffrey Richards

The British broadcasting service was set up in 1922 with a monopoly and finance from a licence fee following negotiations between the Post Office, which controlled the air waves, and the radio industry, which manufactured the equipment. The Post Office was anxious to avoid what it saw as the chaos of unregulated broadcasting in the United States and was concerned with the function of broadcasting as a public utility. But it had no philosophy

in Cinema and radio in Britain and America, 1920–60
Jeffrey Richards

Comedy was consistently the most popular genre of radio programme. In a 1946 US survey, 59% of respondents listed comedy as their favourite form of programme. 1 This is perhaps not surprising, given the background first of economic depression and later world war. People wanted to be cheered up. But radio imposed certain restrictions on comedy. Visual comedy such as slapstick was impossible. Comedy needed to be predominantly verbal and radio was the home of

in Cinema and radio in Britain and America, 1920–60
Jeffrey Richards

There are few more prosaic settings than a radio studio, usually an anonymous-looking room with table, chairs, curtains and control panel. But it was imbued with glamour by the nature of what was created within that space. In one of the earliest theoretical studies of the medium, Rudolf Arnheim conveyed something of that romance: I hope that there will be found in this theoretical book some of the many extraordinary sensations associated

in Cinema and radio in Britain and America, 1920–60
Jeffrey Richards

Detective stories were popular on radio: the suspense, the puzzle (pitting your wits against the detective), the exposition, all made for engaging radio drama. But crime stories in which the law always triumphed and evil was always exposed and punished provided audiences with a recurrent sense of reassurance in troubled times (the Depression, the wars, the Cold War). Where the sitcom affirmed the validity of family life and the timelessness

in Cinema and radio in Britain and America, 1920–60
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John Mundy and Glyn White

Just as silent film comedy developed in ways which overcame the absence of I speech and other aural effects, radio comedy developed techniques which circumvented the medium’s lack of pictures and which emphasised its own distinctive codes and conventions. Whereas silent film comedians relied on visual comedy, radio comedians and their scriptwriters explored the potential

in Laughing matters
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Jeffrey Richards

By common consent, the most popular and the best produced dramatic show on American radio was The Lux Radio Theatre . It ran from 1934 to 1955, regularly won awards as the best dramatic show on the air and at its height reached an estimated forty million listeners weekly. The show was the brainchild of the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency, who were promoting Lever Brothers products (notably Lux Flakes and Lux Soap) and had regularly

in Cinema and radio in Britain and America, 1920–60
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Jeffrey Richards

The Second World War was a radio war. Radio in wartime was informational and inspirational. It provided news, entertainment, propaganda. Speeches on the radio by the national leaders, Roosevelt in the United States and Churchill in the United Kingdom, lifted morale. The links between cinema and radio became ever closer. Three notable British films derived their titles from recurrent phrases in the news bulletins: One Of Our Aircraft Is

in Cinema and radio in Britain and America, 1920–60
Richard J. Hand

-hour adaptation, Mr Dash (Alan Wheatley) visits Mr Bloom (Esme Percy), the reclusive man of the title. Despite the object-lessons of writing for radio with Caligari , Appointment with Fear or The Man in Black , Brandt’s script is burdened with an unwieldy amount of narration, with Dash recounting what happened during his night in the mysterious house. In effect, the play is virtually a reading of the

in Listen in terror