["The $64,000 Question"]

Sunday, October 09, 1955

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

Gilbert Seldes discusses the TV show "The $64,000 Question" and the censoring of TV shows.

Seldes describes a panel discussion he had recently taken part of arranged by the Canadian Broadcasting Company to discuss whether the show "The $64,000 Question" should be banned from the air. Among the panelists was a minister who felt the program should be banned because it was gambling and encouraged the idea of "getting something for nothing;" a newspaper columnist who claimed that the show wasn't simply a gamble, but that participants earned their winnings; and a TV Executive who claimed that the show made people think and was very popular among viewers.
Though Seldes does not agree with all aspects of the show he does not approve of it's censorship. He speaks generally about panel shows and some of the redemptive qualities of this type of show. He also speaks with regret of the cancellation of Edward R. Murrow's "See It Now" - saying it is a shame that such a show will not be seen by the large audience that currently tunes in to the $64,000 Question.

Seldes then moves on to speak generally about comic books that children are exposed to. He speaks also of the prospect of pay television.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 8360

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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