In Character NPR is launching a new series called "In Character" featuring such American greats as Atticus Finch, Ugly Betty and Darth Vader. Host Liane Hanson speaks with Elizabeth Blair, the curator of the series. Listeners can nominate their favorites at npr.org/incharacter.

In Character

In Character

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NPR is launching a new series called "In Character" featuring such American greats as Atticus Finch, Ugly Betty and Darth Vader. Host Liane Hanson speaks with Elizabeth Blair, the curator of the series. Listeners can nominate their favorites at npr.org/incharacter.

LIANE HANSEN, host:

(Soundbite of In Character montage)

BUGS BUNNY (Cartoon Character): What's up, Doc?

Ms. VIVIAN LEIGH (Actress): (As character) Fiddle-dee-dee. War, war, war.

(Soundbite of gunshot)

Unidentified Man #1 (Actor): (As The Lone Ranger) Hi-yo Silver.

Unidentified Woman #2 (Actress): (As character) I really don't know why you're here Mr. Grant.

HANSEN: This week, NPR begins a new series called In Character. For the next six months we'll put these characters on the couch, explore their origins, their effect on the culture at large; find out what makes them tick and why they've endured.

In the studio with us is Elizabeth Blair, she's the curator of In Character.

Elizabeth, first, a little bit of background. What is this series going to be?

ELIZABETH BLAIR: It is going to be a series where every segment we'll, as you said, put a fictional character on the couch. We'll find out a little bit more about what the vision for this character was and get at that thing that sort of universal that either it's a character that we recognize ourselves in that character or it's a character where we recognize something about the social climate of the day, something about a particular generation.

HANSEN: Who are some of the characters?

Ms. BLAIR: We have Atticus Finch, Ugly Betty, Scarlett O'Hara, Darth Vader, Jim from Huck Finn and Pollyanna.

HANSEN: And I understand you're also going to be soliciting nominations from listeners?

Ms. BLAIR: Yes. On our Web site, we'll be asking listeners to come up with their own fictional characters and to write a 100- to 150-word essay on why they think this character is important.

HANSEN: Mm-hmm. And then what happens?

Ms. BLAIR: It is possible that we will do a radio piece if several listeners nominate the same character. We will also be posting the best essays on the Web site.

HANSEN: Okay. Elizabeth Blair is the curator of the In Character series.

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