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Lost SoundThe Forgotten Art of Radio Storytelling$
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Jeff Porter

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469627779

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469627779.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 02 June 2020

Mercury Rising

Mercury Rising

Orson Welles and the Master’s Voice

3 Mercury Rising
Lost Sound

Jeff Porter

University of North Carolina Press

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.

Keywords:   Master’s voice, Demonic voice, Ennunicative mastery, Narrative framing device, Orson Welles, Dracula, War of the Worlds, Mercury Theatre on the Air

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