[Elmer Davis and newscasting]

Monday, November 02, 1953

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

Seldes speaks of Elmer Davis as a journalist - he describes Davis as a satirist, and impartial yet opinionated newsman.

Seldes then moves on to a photograph of Sir Winston Churchill and Marshal Tito, Seldes dislikes when people in photographs face the camera while shaking hands instead of each other. He describes the image in which Churchill and Tito appear.

Seldes moves on to discuss jazz music (or the lack of) behind the Iron Curtain.

Followed by a discussion of the television version of "Cakes and Ale" by Somerset Maugham, which Seldes views as an inaccurate portrayal of the book. Seldes goes on to describe how Maugham would have never allowed an editor to change any of his work.

Finally, Seldes speaks of the "Godfrey case" - a scandal involving Arthur Godfrey stating that a member of the radio "family," Julius LaRosa, would no longer be performing on the show. It was only the milk strike that pushed this scandal out of the newspapers.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 70335
Municipal archives id: LT3662

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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