9780520270893

The Thrill Makers

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780520270893

  • ISBN10:

    0520270894

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-05-01
  • Publisher: Univ of California Pr

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Summary

Well before Evel Knievel or Hollywood stuntmen, reality television or the X Games, North America had a long tradition of stunt performance, of men (and some women) who sought media attention and popular fame with public feats of daring. Many of these feats--jumping off bridges, climbing steeples and buildings, swimming incredible distances, or doing tricks with wild animals--had their basis in the manual trades or in older entertainments like the circus. In T he Thrill Makers, Jacob Smith shows how turn-of-the-century bridge jumpers, human flies, lion tamers, and stunt pilots first drew crowds to their spectacular displays of death-defying action before becoming a crucial, yet often invisible, component of Hollywood film stardom. Smith explains how these working-class stunt performers helped shape definitions of American manhood, and pioneered a form of modern media celebrity that now occupies an increasingly prominent place in our contemporary popular culture.

Author Biography

Jacob Smith is Assistant Professor in the Radio-Television-Film Department at Northwestern University. He is the author of Vocal Tracks: Performance and Sound Media (2008) arid Spoken Word: Postwar American Phonograph Cultures (2011), both from the University of California Press.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
The Adventures of the Bridge Jumperp. 13
The Adventures of the Human Flyp. 48
The Adventures of the Lion Tamerp. 81
The Adventures of the Aeronautp. 124
Conclusionp. 182
Notesp. 195
Further Readingp. 261
Indexp. 265
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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