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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