[Ford television show]

Tuesday, June 23, 1953

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

Seldes discusses the letters that have written to him in the past two weeks. He seems to have received some criticism about his delivery. He appreciates the communication aspect of the show. He notes, however, that he does not want a "personal rebuttal" show. He discusses his role as a professional critic of television, and the mistake of too-heavily criticizing routine shows. He talks at length about the Ford television show. (Perhaps "The Ford Television Theatre"?)

He discusses how American life in reduced to a very simplistic level on television. Seldes describes the day-time serials treatment of love. Love is strictly for teenagers in television and movies. Television's answer to infidelity is bigamy. Television can't get away with infidelity, but someone can always get amnesia and fall in love with someone else.

He talks about the perception of Americans in Europe due to television, such as the films of Esther Williams.

He closes by talking about advertising.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71537
Municipal archives id: LT3437

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