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Radio Comedy is a fascinating journey into the recent past of American popular culture, an exploration of radio's Golden Age of humor. Bringing together excerpts from the transcripts of shows that helped define a period, and offering many rare studio photographs, it brings to life once again the excitement that radio generated among American audiences of the 30s and 40s. Wertheim recaptures the uproarious comedy of Amos 'n' Andy, Jack Benny, Fred Allen, Bob Hope, and Will Rogers, as well as the small town humor of programs such as Fibber McGee and Molly and Vic and Sade, showing how and why they became such a craze during the Great Depression and World War II eras. He also explores the relationship of social history to radio comedy, demonstrating how some shows reflected on the events occuring in America and afforded listeners not only an escape from reality, but a running commentary on society in a form the public could accept. Particularly incisive, and couched in accessible, readable language, this book reveals how radio comedy was both a traditional and innovative form of American humor. While resembling the frontier humor of the comic braggart, and borrowing from vaudeville stage comedy, radio comedy also fashioned an entirely new type of humor especially suited to the new sound medium. Telling the compelling story of an exciting era of entertainment, Radio Comedy also helps illuminate the roots of today's gigantic show business industry. For anyone interested in American popular culture, it is essential reading.
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