The Wonderful Game of Oz and Tarzan Jigsaws: Commodifying Transmedia in Early Twentieth-Century Consumer Culture

The Wonderful Game of Oz and Tarzan Jigsaws: Commodifying Transmedia in Early Twentieth-Century Consumer Culture’

Matthew Freeman

This article will serve to provide a historicised examination of the configuration that have come to be known as transmedia storytelling, offering two interrelated examples of how transmedia storytelling was exploited in the 1920s and 1930s via the production practices of board games and jigsaw puzzles. The study will examine media practices developing during the early twentieth century, practices that were encouraged at this time by the increased commodification and branding of media texts and consumer products. The article’s first example, The Wonderful Game of Oz, a board game released in 1921, demonstrates how transmedia storytelling became an industrialised means of branding consumer products across media during the early 1920s. The article’s second example, a Tarzan jigsaw puzzle released in the 1930s to promote a Tarzan radio serial, will serve similarly to reveal how author Edgar Rice Burroughs exploited transmedia storytelling, expanding the fictional storyworld whilst continuing the fictional stories of its characters – as a model of commodification. Both branding and commodification accelerated practices of transmedia storytelling as a means of sustaining and reinforcing the commodity circulations of early twentieth-century consumer culture. [Full Article Here]

From: Issue 7 (Summer 2014), eds. Bethan Jones and Wickham Clayton.

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