Broadway, Hollywood, and the Problem with The Prom

Among all the necessary and welcome debates around identity in contemporary culture, few have been more pronounced in theatre and film than that of who should be cast to play characters of marginalised identities. From gender identity and religious beliefs to nationality and disability, this issue is occurring with increasing… Continue reading

Mending Fences: The Broken Bond between Theatre and Film

Play to film adaptations have fallen in prestige and numbers in recent years, and one of the main reasons for this is the decline in popularity of plays that can be adapted. For example, A Streetcar Named Desire was the 5th highest grossing film of 1951[i] while Fences was the… Continue reading

“Where is Thy Sting?”: Clifford Odets and the Problem of Audience

On September 6th 1936, The New York Times went to print with an article entitled: “Odets, Where is Thy Sting?”[i] Reflecting on the recent reception of Clifford Odets’s The General Died at Dawn (1936), Frank Nugent described the enthusiasm of the audiences who had come to see the Broadway playwright’s… Continue reading

Drama and Cinematic Adaptation: USSO Special Series

  The adaptation of plays into films has been a core part of Hollywood’s output in the 95 years since the introduction of sound into cinema. In this time a huge number of the cinema’s finest and best-regarded works have begun life on the stage, Broadway or otherwise. Despite this… Continue reading

“Heeere’s Johnny!”…Again…and Again…: Pluto TV and the Continued Presence of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show

(Image source: https://www.facebook.com/PlutoTV/videos/johnny-carson-tv/1012800892491661/)   In August 2020, Pluto TV, a free streaming service from ViacomCBS, launched a new channel called “Johnny Carson TV.” Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the channel streams hour-long edited episodes of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (NBC, 1962-1992).[i] This article will explore… Continue reading

‘Brings Back Some Memories’: Textual and metatextual experiences of nostalgia in Twin Peaks: The Return

  “When you see me again, it won’t be me,” the entity called The Arm warns in the second season finale of Twin Peaks, the cult 1990s TV series co-created by screenwriter Mark Frost and filmmaker David Lynch. This cryptic statement was borne out by the long-awaited revival of the… Continue reading

Quantum Leap: Jukebox Nostalgia and the Flattening of History

In the opening scene of the Quantum Leap episode “Animal Frat” (2×12), Dr. Sam Beckett ‘leaps’ into the body of Knut “Wild Thing” Wileton, arriving in his body on top of a pool table as two ‘Tau Kappa Beta’ fraternity brothers pour beer from the keg into Sam’s startled face.… Continue reading

Mirroring the Medium: Depictions of Female Domesticity in ‘WandaVision’

WandaVision (2021) is, at its core, a story of grief and nostalgia. In its genre-bending magnificence, WandaVision narrates the evolution of American sit-coms, hurtling us forward through the second half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, as the black-and-white pastiches of The Dick Van Dyke Show and Bewitched… Continue reading

“The Only Way Forward Is Back” – Nostalgia, Grief and Television in WandaVision

WandaVision, one of the newest installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), abandoned the cinema altogether to bring two of the Avengers, Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) to the small screen in a 7-episode miniseries airing weekly between January and March 2021 on streaming platform Disney+. The… Continue reading

Eliminating “Blood and Thunder” from Containment Culture: Audience Efforts to Censor Postwar Radio Programming in the Run-Up to Television

The decade after WWII (1945-1955) was distinct and pivotal in the formation of American media policy, and in establishing postwar social norms.[1]  The major broadcast networks (NBC, CBS, and ABC) had profited from wartime spending and garnered some regulatory goodwill through their work with the Office of War Information.  Still,… Continue reading