Sunday, May 13, 1956

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

Gilbert Seldes discusses a recent New York Times article that stated housewives long for parlor rooms in their homes. They also wanted a "mud room. or decontamination room where animals and children can be washed." Housewives did not want a basement, attic, den, or guest room. Modern furniture? Leather pillows with images of Mini Ha Ha. Bronzed baby shoes used as ash trays.

He moves on to discuss a "B" movie about a uranium mine, which was not very good, but was informative. He describes the movie in great detail. "The B picture goes on forever..."

Seldes then discuss the "A" picture, The Picnic. An over long picture to keep us from TV? Struggle between the movie and television industries.

Gertrude Berg of The Goldbergs transition from radio to TV. There should be a museum of television to present both the best and worst of the medium.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 70611
Municipal archives id: LT7562

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