The television adaptation of How to Marry a Millionaire (1957–59) premiered on the NTA Film Network on October 7, 1957, and was described by one reporter as “a frivolous series, by turns amusing and corny.” That the show was, even in its day, notably camp serves as an important counterpoint to accusations of dated-ness—the implication that it ever reflected the values of the day with a straight face. Rather than seeing How to Marry a Millionaire as a relic of the past, we might view it instead as surprisingly contemporary, both in its status as a trans-industry consumer product and in its comic point of view that pokes fun at 1950s gender performativity, teases the viewer with the ever-present threat of impropriety, and even proves eerily prescient about the future of computerized dating.
Bad Feminists: The Secret History of TV's How to Marry a Millionaire
Annie Berke is an assistant professor of film at Hollins University, with expertise in American film and television, media industry studies, and gender and sexuality. She completed her PhD in film and media studies and American studies, with a concentration in women's and gender studies, at Yale University. She also holds a master's degree in film studies from Columbia University. She is at work on a book manuscript entitled You Just Type: Women Television Writers in 1950s America.
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Annie Berke; Bad Feminists: The Secret History of TV's How to Marry a Millionaire. Feminist Media Histories 1 April 2017; 3 (2): 166–174. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2017.3.2.166
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