[Jack Gould's and John Crosby's newspaper columns]

Friday, August 20, 1954

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

In the past two days two things have happened to two of the most important critics in broadcasting: Jack Gould of the New York Times stopped being a critic. Seldes relates a story of one of Gould's articles which resulted in a crime program being removed from the Saturday morning line-up. Another critic "got angry." John Crosby normally did not get mad, but in this instance he became upset about the figures collected by the National Organization for Better Radio and Television - the figures were about the incidents of crime in children's programing. The budget of the 21 programs that the organization found "admirable" was less than the budget of one crime Western. Crosby demanded that the networks take over the creation of children's programs.

Seldes goes on to discuss the implications of "condemned programs," and the limits of the networks.
He goes on to discuss an unofficial group that reports to Congress about programming. He finds this dreadful and would prefer a grassroots organization.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71484
Municipal archives id: LT3108

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