[Our Miss Brooks]

Thursday, March 17, 1955

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

Talks about Even Arden in Our Miss Brooks. The way the school teacher is viewed in television and motion pictures. Mentions The Halls of Ivy. Reads the entire article by Leslie Lieber about television's most talked about kiss. No other kiss has been the object of such careful planning. It was risky business. Took place in an unromantic pretext. "Prissy, noncommittal, and antiseptic." School teachers are grateful for this program. She is not obnoxious to look at. What stands in her way is her intelligence. She breaks away from the stereotype - the spinster teacher (or the absent-minded teacher on the male side). Referring to the "prissy, noncommittal and antiseptic" kiss, Seldes asks, "for what are the school teachers so grateful?"

Moves on to talk about privileges people have in discourse. Group of people in Pleasantville, New York wanted to listen to a recording of The Investigator and a showing of a longer version of Edward Murrow's interview with Oppenheimer. Use of schools in community affairs. In some communities, municipal building are not to be used by the public to discuss controversial issues. One-hour long extended version from the one televised. Westchester County branch of American Legion protested against both. They didn't want either of these things exposed to the public. Oppenheimer has not been accused of a crime. Not right to suppress free speech of any man who is not an enemy of this nation. The Investigator - Canadian program, one hour radio drama begins with an airplane accident who arrives in heaven. Begins to take over and deports the undesireable people. People like Thomas Jefferson who attach their names to subversive ideas. Story goes on with the investigator's search for Karl Marx. Political satire. How did the recordings get here? Bootlegs or reprinted with permission? Senator McCarthy is parodied in The Investigator. Talks briefly about Canadian radio. Government supported broadcasters are limited because they must be unpartisan. The point - because we dislike a person, doesn't mean they don't get a fair chance to reply.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 70366
Municipal archives id: LT6405

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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