19 Dorothy Cooper Foote and Gidget from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video] (0:50)

19 Dorothy Cooper Foote and Gidget from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto with Dr. Rosanne Welch

19 Dorothy Cooper Foote and Gidget from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto with Dr. Rosanne Welch

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Transcript:

Then you flip over her to Dorothy Cooper Foote who was one of the freelance writers on the show. Gidget has a crush on an older man. That’s Daniel Travanti who will show up in Hill Street Blues as a grown man. He’s a photographer. He’s a war veteran from the Vietnam (Korean) War, although that war is unmentioned, but he’s a war veteran and he’s taking pictures of her for a magazine. She falls in love with him. She discovers he actually has a fiance. He didn’t realize she had a crush on him because he didn’t consider a younger girl as someone that he would go after and her and her Dad had this lovely moment because he says “(Your) always going to hurt a little.” and he knows because his wife has passed away and he’s a widow. So they make this connection on having experienced loss together. Which is a very mature thing for a young girl to be able to discuss and to share and again that mature attitude toward her comes from a female writer.

At this year’s 10th Annual Screenwriting Research Network Conference at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand I presented…

“How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto by Accident (and How We Can Get Her Out of it): Demoting Gidget: The Little Girl with Big Ideas from Edgy Coming of Age Novel to Babe on the Beach Genre Film via Choices made in the Adaptation Process.”

It’ a long title, as I joke up front, but covers the process of adapting the true life story of Kathy Kohner (nicknamed ‘Gidget’ by the group of male surfers who she spent the summers with in Malibu in the 1950s) into the film and television series that are better remembered than the novel. The novel had been well-received upon publication, even compared to A Catcher in the Rye, but has mistakenly been relegated to the ‘girl ghetto’ of films. Some of the adaptations turned the focus away from the coming of age story of a young woman who gained respect for her talent at a male craft – surfing – and instead turned the focus far too much on Kathy being boy crazy.

Along the way I found interesting comparisons between how female writers treated the main character while adapting the novel and how male writers treated the character.

Gidget


Dr. Rosanne Welch

Dr. Rosanne Welch teaches the History of Screenwriting and One-Hour Drama for the Stephens College MFA in Screenwriting.

Writing/producing credits include Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences, ABCNEWS: Nightline and Touched by an Angel. In 2016 she published the book Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop; co-edited Women in American History: A Social, Political, and Cultural Encyclopedia; and placed “Transmitting Culture Transnationally Via the Characterization of Parents in Police Procedurals” in the New Review of Film and Television Studies. Essays appear in Torchwood Declassified: Investigating Mainstream Cult Television and Doctor Who and Race: An Anthology. Welch serves as Book Reviews editor for Journal of Screenwriting and on the Editorial Advisory Board for Written By magazine, the magazine of the Writers Guild.

Watch Dr. Welch’s talk “The Importance of Having a Female Voice in the Room” at the 2016 TEDxCPP.


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The Screenwriting Research Network is a research group consisting of scholars, reflective practitioners and practice-based researchers interested in research on screenwriting. The aim is to rethink the screenplay in relation to its histories, theories, values and creative practices.

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