A space for students to share questions (and answers) based on their readings and research for the course.
It was really interesting reading about the start of radio shows and how foundation of Hollywood. It's all about perspective when it comes to these things though. Like Wu said (and as discussed in class), you can never actually determine who started something or who was the "first." It gets fuzzy when trying to understand the history of things, especially "firsts." Hence, the Alexander Graham Bell situation. Nonetheless, it's always fascinating seeing how ambition, passion, and a few ideas come together and create scenarios of "amateurs" making big breaks in the radio and film industry. All in all, it's very inspiring for me since I want to be a "first" in the industry too! We've come so far in the progression of radio and film that I can't help but wonder if future generations will read about today's media and see it as premature and ancient or as inspiring as we do to situations like J. Andrew White or Adolph Zukor.
I loved Jack Benny's insight of transitioning to radio and the massive effect of commercials and sponsors on the radio. I think it's fascinating that sound effects can set up a whole scene, while today there are complicated sets and even CGI to explain something. The writing process for his show was fantastic and the comedy was much better since it was only heard, not seen. I also thought his transition to television/live audiences was telling of the time when he used a white actor to portray a black actor on the radio, but couldn't use the same actor when it was on television.t
On chapter two and four the most interesting aspect of the reading was the fact that while some may come up with an idea, the only person history really remembers, is the person who understood how to make money off that idea. On the Jack Benny reading, I thought the writer's explanation of why certain jokes . Benny described it as through the slow build up of character, viewers actually developed a relationship with this show. They actually tuned in so often and for so long that a body of knowledge began to build up in association with the characters. The fact that Benny not only recognized this fact, but also capitalized off it, shows how he intuitively understood the medium.
I found a couple things interesting about the Jack Benny reading. For one, there is a parallel between the rise of new communication mediums from back then to what we are going through today. The move to the new medium of the 30s was radio while today its about adapting to the still new medium of internet entertainment today. Another thing that I found interesting is that Benny actually had to sell himself in order to get advertisers. Today, when you get a job with a company, the company already has advertisers filling commercial time. For Benny, if he did not preform well and advertisers did not like him, then he would not have a job because no one would buy the time. Finally it was interesting to see how he adapted to the audience of radio. He said radio was mostly families, which was different from what he was used to preforming for. In order to be successful he had to be a "real person" and show that he had normal everyday problems. All of these factors came together to make Benny one of the most popular radio stars of the day.
I absolutely loved reading about Jack Benny. Today we are always discussing the changing form of entertainment and broadcasting, it was interesting to see how he had to adapt to a radio audience. He had to anticipate his audience's reaction and sell his jokes enough that the audience could picture what he was doing. I imagine it was hard enough to be so enthusiastic and overly dramatic with your voice and sound effects in order to get your point across.Reading this I thougt about all the people that make a name for themselves on Youtube. There are so many diffrent acts on Youtube that they kind of have to take the mentality of a new radio act. Fortunately for Youtube, the audience gets to see your face, so you don't have to be so dramatic. However, Youtube doesn't provide a live studio audience as Jack Benny had. Youtubers have to be even more confident in ther material becase it is just them in from of the camera. Aside from comments that people post on their videos, the Youtuber only seeshow many hits the video has; they can't tell what specific jokes of bits were funny. I see new radio performers and Youtubers and playing on different, but even playing fields.