This month and next, we celebrate the Latin American Library's most recent digital collection, the Louis J. Boeri and Minín Bujones Boeri Collection of Cuban American Radionovelas, 1963-1970, published now on the Tulane University Digital Library. Most of us recognize the Spanish term telenovela which means television soap opera. Radionovelas are those soap operas that are transmitted via radio. From the 1930s to the 1950s, Cuba was one of the leading centers of production for Spanish language radio dramas. After the Revolution of 1959, that center shifted to Miami, Florida as many of Cuba's gifted writers and performers emigrated abroad. America's Productions, Inc. (API), based in Miami and led by Louis J. Boeri, became a major producer and distributor of a variety of Spanish language radio programs that included soap operas, suspense dramas, thrillers, comedy shows, and variety programs among others. These popular programs present a form of serialized storytelling aimed primarily at female audiences, and provide important insights on the rise of the U.S. Spanish-language media, the construction of a U.S. Hispanic audience and feminist media criticism in particular, as well as the history of Spanish and Latin American radio and advertising, popular culture and performing arts in the post-1959 Cuban diaspora, among many other topics.
The Radionovelas digital collection features three full length soap operas and select episodes from five other radio programs available now for the first time since they were last broadcasted during the late 1960s. Among the selections are episodes of Se soltó el loco con Pototo starring Leopoldo Fernández famous for his portrayal of "Tres Patines" in the well-known radio program, El tremendo corte. In addition to the audio selections, the collection includes examples of API's marketing materials, brochures, and program synopses, like the example above. The digital collection will continue to grow as more titles and episodes are digitized.
To consult these and other materials from the physical collection and to find other resources about Cuban and Cuban American writers and artists, contact us to view and listen to them in the Latin American Library's Reading Room or search our database using the Quick Link above.
Christine Hernández, Curator of Special Collections