Orson Welles and the Master’s Voice
When CBS realized that prestige drama was earning points for the network, it began searching for even more literary luster, a search that led the network to approach the wonder boy of theater, Orson Welles, to produce a new weekly show, Mercury Theatre on the Air. Chapter 3 examines Welles’ subversive radio genius, which lay in creating narrators who fragmented the authorial perspective into multiple voices. As his radio adaptations of Dracula and The War of the Worlds show, Welles embraced the premise of a dominant narratorial presence, only to deconstruct it. Teasing listeners with the prospect of discursive authority, he denied them the comfortable certainty of one monologic perspective and instead disrupted the idea of ennunciative mastery. By doing so, Welles questioned a concept that was profoundly important to broadcast culture.
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