Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
My plan B thesis argues that the Suspense radio series, which aired from 1942-1963, served as a cathartic release for Americans during the Golden Age of Radio; the program accomplished catharsis by borrowing characteristics originating in 19th century gothic literature: sound effects, domestic space as setting, and the uncanny. The evidence I use in my argument includes radio show recordings, magazines, and published works from prominent radio scholars to analyze the effects of the Suspense program, specifically the 1960 season. Scholarly works include books and articles from Neil Verma, author of Theater of the Mind and assistant professor in Radio/Television/Film at Northwestern University; Tim Crook, author of Radio Drama and Senior Lecturer and Head of Radio at Goldsmiths College, University of London; and Michelle Hilmes, editor of Radio Voices and Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I argue that the three critical gothic elements examined reach this pinnacle achievement during the 1960 season of Suspense and resulted in a cathartic effect for listeners, who faced economic and domestic uncertainty. Radio became a cathartic tool used to soothe listeners who faced the social and economic pressures of mid-20th century suburban America.
Kirkham, Kelly, "Suspense Radio Series, Gothic Literature, and the American Family" (2018). All Graduate Plan B and other Reports. 1213.