Explosive popularity of radio dramas that started late 50s drove 'radio
heyday' of the 60s; and most of the radio dramas during this period were
remade into movies and garnered wide popularity from the public. In order
to explore detailed aspects of the changed medium and implication of the
time, the paper attempted to analyze three pieces of the representative
playwright of the 60s, Han, Woonsa, namely <Till My Life Expires>,
<South and North>, and <Under Certain Sky>.
During the first half of the 60s, public had a habit of listening to the
radio average of 3~5 hours a day, and radio drama was in the process of
structuring the public's emotion and taste through its daily undertaking and
persistence. While the movie industry was busy copying Hollywood movies
and other foreign movies, radio drama made a good deal of Korean formats
and among these the typical format is thought to be new-school melodrama.
Due to radio drama's movie boom in the beginning of the 60s, that
characteristic began to spread to movie's text. The characteristics of radio
drama's is the Shin-pa melodrama in the 60s, that seemed to be influenced
by Hollywood melodrama format and operetta during Japanese occupation with the Shin-pa flavoring, are slightly more apparent in <South and
North> which came into movie during the middle of the 60s. In this period,
radio drama wasn't free from dominant ideologies of the time led by public
power, such as anti-communist ideology and modernization ideology. At a
point of convergence between these ideologies and public emotion and taste,
we can discover that contradicting factors, such as cooperation and resistance,
existed side by side. It is on this crevice that the Shin-pa melodrama element
began to be seen most apparent.
Made into movie only a year after its first broadcast, this piece slightly
masks anti-communist ideology on the one hand; but on the other, it
strengthens melodramatic conflicts and alienates female main character even
more; the fact that it manifests more apparent the Shin-pa melodramatic
format implicates the internalization of self-contradiction in the forms of
cooperation and resistance within the boundary of powerful dominant
ideology of the time and the possibility that public emotion and taste might
have gradually changed. As mass politics of the Third Repulic began to
strengthen in the late 60s, the dominant ideology's usurpation of public
emotion grew stronger and this public taste was in the brink of being
transformed into ubiquitous structure of the time.
The emergence of 1968's <One More Time, Even Though it's Hateful>,
which is a symbolization of 'Korean Melo' or 'Shin-pa Melo' in the movie
industry, can be analyzed as an output of the continued intake of nutritious
matters within the boundary of strengthened radio-drama format. Han,
Woonsa's <Under Certain Sky>, which was broadcasted in 1959, was made
into movie again 10 years later in 1969 and whose altered text would be an interesting example supporting that hypothesis. By cutting major
narrative elements and changing the point of view, the movie focuses only
on love between man and woman, and thereby strengthens the piece's
melodramatic character. As a result, when female main character searches
for her husband in the snowy road and falls down dead calling her husband's
name in the last scene of the movie, it acquires the full Shin-pa element.
However, this last scene also existed in 1959's radio drama manuscript, and
the Shin-pa melodrama format was already formed in radio drama.
In conclusion, radio drama since the beginning of the 60s has actively
expropriated public emotion and taste of the time and has been forming
its own form of new-school melodramatic format; progressing into the
mid-60s, its daily undertaking and persistence enabled it to come before a
gradual structuring of consumer Habitus and media Habitus. The origin of
the Shin-pa melodrama that created a boom in movie industry during late
60s can therefore be said to be retraced back to radio drama and soap opera,
in particular, in the golden age of radio in the first half of the 60s. However,
this is but a rough hypothesis delving on few limited pieces and there needs
to be continuous studies on the matter.