[Pablo Picasso and George Bernard Shaw]

Monday, September 10, 1956

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

Seldes relates a story about walking behind Bernard Shaw and noting the reactions of those who saw and recognized the great playwright. Then goes on to describe his meetings with Pablo Picasso, who encouraged Seldes to return to the United States because a person should live in the society with which they can communicate, but live outside of the dominant strain in order to be critical.For some unexplained reason Seldes also mentions that Picasso insisted that boxer Jack Johnson and Abraham Lincoln were both Jewish.

He then goes on to talk about celebrities who use charitable events to represent themselves and products they sponsor.

Seldes then discusses television, government oversight and the potential change of television from high frequency to ultra high frequency.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 70543
Municipal archives id: LT7531

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