1. Steven Johnson, Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter (New York: Riverhead Books, 2005).
2. Walter De Leon, “The Wow Finish,” Saturday Evening Post, February 14, 1925; reprinted in Charles W. Stein, ed., American Vaudeville as Seen by Its Contemporaries (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984), p. 194.
3. Ibid., pp. 198–99.
4. My use of the sexually charged phrase “The Wow Climax” as the book's title is also intended as a tribute to the film critic Pauline Kael, whose collections of essays consistently dealt with the emotional dimensions of popular cinema, which she often signaled through the use of double entendres in her titles, such as I Lost It at the Movies, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Going Steady, and When the Lights Go Down.
5. Henry Jenkins, What Made Pistachio Nuts? Early Sound Comedy and the Vaudeville Aesthetic (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992).
6. Sergei Eisenstein, “Montage of Attractions,” in Richard Taylor, ed., The Eisenstein Reader (London: British Film Institute, 1998), p. 30.
8. See David Bordwell, The Cinema of Eisenstein (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993), p. 119.
9. Daniel Gerould, “Russian Formalist Theories of Melodrama,” Journal of American Culture 1, no. 1 (Spring 1978): 154–55.
10. David Bordwell, Planet Hong Kong: Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), p. 8.
11. Tom Gunning, “The Cinema of Attractions: Early Film, Its Spectator, and the Avant-Garde,” Wide Angle 3 (1986): 56–62.
12. David Freeman, Creating Emotion in Games (New York: New Riders, 2003), p. 16.
13. C. S. Lewis, “On Stories,” in On Stories and Other Essays on Literature (New York: Harvest, 1966), pp. 7–8.
14. Bordwell, Planet Hong Kong, p. 13.