[Apology for errors on previous broadcast]

Sunday, May 08, 1955

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Seldes opens with an apology for errors he made on an earlier broadcast regarding the work of Dr. Eleanor E. Maccoby. He quoted a newspaper article about Dr. Maccoby, a lecturer of social psychology at Harvard University, by Frederick C. Othman. Former students of Maccoby's contacted Seldes, informing him that he had given the impression that he was quoting Maccoby, while he was actually quoting Othman. Seldes returned to primary sources and found that in many cases Othman misquoted or misused Maccoby's words. Can't blame the violence in movies and television. These books are read by hundreds of thousands of children and only a few of them become delinquents. The ones that do are "predisposed." Seldes talks about his testimony as a literary expert on Arthur Schnitzler's book "Casanova's Homecoming." Talks about John Sumner, head of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, and his misundestanding of a scene in the book. Seldes then moves on to discuss J. B. Priestly and Billy Graham. Priestly compares the British and the Americans and how they are influenced by mass communication and advertising.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 70364
Municipal archives id: LT6403

Hosted by:

Gilbert Seldes


More in:

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


About Lively Arts, The

Legendary critic and author of The Seven Lively Arts Gilbert Seldes discusses big-thinking issues in art and life from his characteristically populist perspective.

Simultaneously a timely and visionary program, Gilbert Seldes's The Lively Arts (1953-1956) examines contemporary issues of 1950s television, radio, and theater, as well as current events and the intellectual arts. Seldes, who was the first Director for Television at CBS News and the founding Dean of the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania, was also a renowned critic, author, playwright, and editor. As a major social critic and observer, Seldes viewed theater, television, and radio with a prescient eye to the future based on a well-informed understanding of the past. 

These programs feature commentary and discussion on a wide range of topics — from sex and censorship in the movies to progressive education to juvenile delinquency to political campaigning on television — many of which are still hotly debated today. Serving as a precursor to Seldes's television programs and providing an audio context for his seminal books, this show is key to understanding today's cultural commentary.


Supported by