[Low priced television sets]

Sunday, March 07, 1954

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

Seldes talks about the alarming full page advertisement that reads "Television moves out of the living room..." and can now go in to the kitchen, bedroom, den, or bungalow. The portable television can be rented. He believes this will put the television set in the same bracket as the telephone.
Seldes also briefly mentions the concept of televisions in cars. He discusses the super saturation of television sets in the United States, but claims people are going back to the cinema.
Seldes believes it is difficult to un-addict yourself from television.

He goes on to discuss the political side of television. He quotes James Reston's article about two political statements, and the manner in which they made them. President Eisenhower held a press conference at the Indian Treaty Room of the Old State Department building (a room Reston deems very ugly). Two hours later a Senator Joseph R. McCarthy made a statement in Room 155 of the Senate Office Building.

Seldes then discusses semantics and Stuart Chase, who wrote "The Tyranny of Words" and Charles Ogden, author of "The Meaning of Meaning."
This leads to a discussion of semantics in politics and broadcasting.

He goes on to discuss children being taught to read and progressive schools. Seldes goes on to talk about rendering of abstract ideas through graphics, a book call "A Visual History of the United States."

Finally, he talks about a book by Elmer Davis, who has a new book out, "We Were Born Free."

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71514
Municipal archives id: LT3091

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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