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Worlds Without End: The Art and History of the Soap Opera Hardcover – September, 1997

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Editorial Reviews Review

Perhaps when a museum dedicates a three-month exhibit to the subject of soap operas, it's time to hang up our cultural hats and admit that we now occupy a world of overstimulated philistines. With that confession happily concluded, what could we want more than this gorgeous volume documenting the Museum of Television & Radio's soap opera show. Exhaustively chronicling the life of the soap opera, Worlds Without End covers the form from its roots in radio up to the late '90s. It not only reviews the histories of every soap series ever to air (up through late 1996), but also provides a general historical overview of the changes in subject matter, racial casting, and filming styles of the genre as a whole.

From Booklist

Published to coincide with an exhibit at the Museum of Radio and Television, this oversize, heavily illustrated volume surveys soaps from their birth on radio to their television incarnation and tries to explain their continued popularity. To this end, four scholars who study soaps (oxymoronic as that might seem) take a look at who watches and why. Soap lovers may have a laugh at the sometimes heavy-handed analysis; more fun is the individual looks at all the television soaps (dead and alive) and the terrific pictures that will bring back memories for devoted fans. Ilene Cooper

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N Abrams (September 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810939975
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810939974
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 9.8 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,201,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 21, 1998
Format: Hardcover
A beautifully illustrated book with plenty of information on the history of soaps, this book may be as interesting to sociologists as it is to soap fans. Most noteworthy, is the way it
differentiates the soaps from one another in terms of issues that each tackles and why. It is
interesting to trace how soaps such as "Painted
Dreams" began on radio and what appealed (and didn't) to various audiences throughout
the decades. Eg: Isn't it hard to believe that
"Guiding Light" (On Cable In Sydney) was
orginally a 15 minute radio serial about four ministers? Many soaps mentioned in the book
will probably be unknown to younger Sydney
audiences such as "Search For Tommorrow"
and "As The World Turns" which haven't been on the air for years (decades?) but there is
good coverage on todays lineup as well. If you like this book you may want to check out A book by Jean Rouverol called"Writing For The Soaps" (1984) and "Soapbox" (1990) Hopefully
a television special of a similar nature to this book could be done because the archive material itself would be priceless viewing.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sylviastel VINE VOICE on September 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Let's face it, Soaps, because they are generally geared and attracted to a largely female audience has never received the respect that it richly deserves. Think about it, where else is one hour episode done per day with constant revisions and a good memory to memorize all the lines. Of course, there is romance which women crave but it doesn't take just sex and romance to sell a soap. The soaps are largely family oriented in small towns or cities like Genoa City, Salem, Springfield, Llanview, Port Charles, and Oakdale. I was reading a British soap actor, Mike's Reid's autobiography, where he was dismissed by other actors on a morning show because soaps are still considered to be trash television. Unfortunately, American soaps which was as many as 14 and now as few as 8 on the networks today are seen as too expensive and the audiences are not the same as they were in their popularity. But I love soaps and so does my whole family including my late father who watched him, the soaps provide a different form of entertainment. You're not going to get Shakespeare every day and you don't want it. Some episodes are just brilliant and phenomenal while others are just typical much like life itself. The shows are quite conservative in nature and are very sensitive to delicate topics like homosexuality and abortion. Besides Luke and Laura, there is Roger and Holly on Guiding Light who fought more than made up and they were as equally complicating and intense. I'll never forget actors and actresses who has passed on and neither have the cast members who continously work. Soaps have provided roles for women on daytime like Erica Kane on All My Children or Marlena Evans on Days Of Our Lives as well as Reva Shayne Lewis on Guiding LIght.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Terrance Richard TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"World Without Ends..." is a very well-researched and well-written volume on the history of daytime television soap operas from their birth as 15 minute radio serials to the 60 minute format that most soaps were aired in by the late '90's. Every single serial that aired up until 1996 is covered from the little-known ones like "Somerset" to "Dark Shadows" to "General Hospital".

The authors, really scholars of the genre, write about what makes the afternoon suds so popular and why they will forever be a mainstay of afternoon viewing.

Simply a must-have and a treasure trove of info on the most beloved form of story telling TV has ever known.

The book also comes with exclusive pics of behind-the-scenes shots of all the wonderful great dramas that have graced our screens for decades.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jessi27 on August 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book was so fascinating. I enjoyed reading about the different soaps that have come along throughout the years. I also loved the fact that there was a section on African-Americans in the soaps. As an aspiring writer, it gave me better insight on a business that I would love to be in one day. I appreciate that world of television, and I am certainly glad that someone took up the opportunity to explore it in a book. A fine read!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a soap opera fanatic. I have narrowed myself to two now, "The Young and The Restless" and "The Bold and the Beautiful". I have watched both of them since they premiered. I love them! Still, I love to read about the history of other soap operas that I once watched. I like to catch up on the characters and find out how they got started. This is a big plus in reading. So interesting..
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