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Edgerton talks 'Mad Men' and Westerns on Radio Program

With the fifth season of "Mad Men" debuting this week, Old Dominion University Professor Gary Edgerton, author of a book about the groundbreaking show, was a guest Tuesday on the local WHRV radio show "HearSay with Cathy Lewis."

Edgerton, chair of the communication and theatre arts department at ODU, wrote a book last year about the show titled "Mad Men: Dream Come True TV." On "HearSay," he spoke about the show's popularity and its imprint on contemporary culture.

"Every few years a new television program comes along to capture and express the zeitgeist. 'Mad Men' is now that show," Edgerton writes in the foreword to his book.

"Don and Betty Draper live in a picture-perfect world. He is a hard-living advertising executive - a 'mad man' - on the fast track. She's a Bryn Mawr graduate and former fashion model, now a suburban princess, mother of three children. If they've everything, why are they so unhappy? Why is their dream come true not enough?"

Edgerton said "Mad Men" is a zeitgeist show for our time because its characters are an earlier, confused and conflicted version of ourselves, trying to make the best of a future unfolding at breakneck speed.

To hear a podcast of Edgerton's "HearSay" interview, visit http://www.hearsay.org/2012/03/20/default.aspx.

Edgerton is also the editor, with Michael Marsden, of a new collection of essays published over the past 40 years about that most durable of American entertainment genres: the Western.

The book "Westerns: The Essential Collection" comprises the Journal of Popular Film and Television's rich and longstanding legacy of scholarship on Westerns.

"For nearly two centuries, Americans have embraced the Western like no other artistic genre. Creators and consumers alike have utilized this story form in literature, painting, film, radio and television to explore questions of national identity and purpose," Edgerton writes in the book's foreword.

"Westerns: The Essential Collection" is published by Routledge.

Edgerton was recently awarded the top paper in the History division of the Broadcast Education Association awards. He will present his paper, "The Sopranos as Tipping Point in the Recent Resurgence of HBO," at the BEA annual conference in Las Vegas on April 16. The paper is derived from the first chapter of Edgerton's forthcoming book, "The Sopranos," which will be published in spring 2013 as part of the TV Milestones series from Wayne State University Press.

This article was posted on: March 23, 2012

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