Gidget: Origins of a Teen Girl Transmedia Franchise examines the multiplicity of books, films, TV shows, and merchandise that make up the transmedia Gidget universe from the late 1950s to the 1980s.
The book examines the Gidget phenomenon as an early and unique teen girl franchise that expands understanding of both teen girlhood and transmedia storytelling. It locates the film as existing at the historical intersection of numerous discourses and events, including the emergence of surf culture and surf films; the rise of California as signifier of modernity and as the epicentre of white American middle-class teen culture; the annexation of Hawaii; the invention of Barbie; and Hollywood’s reluctant acceptance of teen culture and teen audiences. Each chapter places the Gidget text in context, looking at production and reception circumstances and intertexts such as the novels of Françoise Sagan, the Tammy series, La Dolce Vita, and The Patty Duke Show, to better understand Gidget’s meaning at different points in time.
This book explores many aspects of Gidget, providing an invaluable insight into this iconic franchise for students and researchers in film studies, feminist media studies, and youth culture.
Table of Contents
Introduction: An Array of Gidgets: The Transmedia Phenomenon Gidget
1. Gidget: The Little Girl with Big Ideas: An Intertextual Origina
2. Becoming Single: Gidget Betwixt and Between
3. Gidget Goes All Over the Place, But Always Back to Moondoggie
4. Gidget Gets Small: Containing Gidget on the Small Screen
Conclusion. Gidget Shoots the Curl
Pamela Robertson Wojcik is Professor in the Department of Film, TV and Theatre at the University of Notre Dame and Past President of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. She is a Guggenheim Fellow, writing about mobility and placelessness in American cinema.
In tight pages rich in resonant argument and grounded in the rigorous research she is so well-known for, Pamela Robertson Wojcik builds from the singular phenomenon of Gidget to deal broadly with American youth culture in the long postwar period in all its complexity. Great insights dot every page, from, to take just a few examples, the impact of the salacious yet existential novels of Françoise Sagan, to the role of phonograph and telephone in girls’ lives, to America’s touristic fascination from the 1950s on with turning the world into its playground, to the rise (and then mainstream cooptation) of surfer culture as counter-culture, and so on. Importantly, Gidget itself emerges from the analysis productively transformed as Wojcik shows that it was no simple, single work of culture but a multiplicity of iterations, each transforming the other and rendering no one version of this energetic young teenager the definitive statement of her place in complicated social times.
Dana Polan, Cinema Studies, New York University, USA