ERIC Number: ED239330
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug-10
Reference Count: 0
Women in Radio Soap Operas: A Historical Perspective of the Image of Women's "Sphere" in the "Golden Age."
St John, Jacqueline
Radio's "Golden Age," the 1930s and 1940s produced numerous successful and profitable daytime serials, called "soap operas" because they were most often sponsored by firms selling laundry products. Among the most popular of these series were those produced by the team of Anne and Frank Hummert. Working through the Blackett-Sample-Hummert advertising agency, the Hummerts produced 46% of the soap operas introduced between 1932 and 1937, and 30% of those created between 1937 and 1942. Chief among their programs were "Ma Perkins,""Young Widder Brown,""Stella Dallas,""Our Gal Sunday," and "The Romance of Helen Trent." The Hummert formula for success was straight forward and easy to follow--characters were human and lovable, their actions were logical, consistent, believable, and painted against a canvas of simple, everyday life. The Hummert soap operas invariably had strong, assertive heroines, and one of two types of strong men--the patriarch or the villain. The heroines were sexually naive, recognized the threat of extra-marital sex, and never permitted themselves an "easy" escape from marriage through divorce. They were, in short, admirable role models for a generation of women who survived the Great Depression and World War II. (FL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Soap Operas
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Theatre Association (Minneapolis, MN, August 7-10, 1983).