[Broadway and Off-Broadway]

Monday, July 18, 1955

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

Gilbert Seldes opens by discussing Christopher Fry's "The Dark is Light Enough." He notes that it seems like Broadway and Off-Broadway are trying to do two different things, and have different concepts of "theater." He brings in George Bernard Shaw, and recommends that all theater critics read the his writings. He talks at length about the play and the actor's performances.

Seldes goes on to discuss children's programming study by Junior League of City of New York. Who is going to tell the children's tales before they go to bed? Plato's point of view - one extreme vs. strict controls. He contrasts the British media system to the American system and indicates that he feels cautious programing - a middle spot- is a wiser way to proceed.

He then discusses a quote from the British runner Roger Bannister, who laments the apathy produced by a belief in freedom. He notes that despite our generation's inventino of poisonous phrases like "couldn't care less" and "haven't a clue," he still believes that in youth truth can be reborn.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71234
Municipal archives id: LT6495

Hosted by:

Gilbert Seldes


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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.


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