[The menace of atomic warfare]

Thursday, March 03, 1955

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

Seldes opens the program by discussing the stupidity of living in a world in which an atomic bomb can be dropped. He reads from a speech given by Bertrand Russell, which questions if man is so foolish as to exterminate himself over quarrels that are trivial compared to the life of mankind, he appeals for all to remember their humanity.

Seldes also speaks of a book by Elmer Holmes Davis titled "Two Minutes till Midnight" - a theme of which is that if we cannot prevent atomic war we must at least come out on top.

Seldes then changes gears and speaks of the recent news that Sweden will soon be getting television. He reports that a Swedish publishing company has sent a research team to the United States to determine the effects of television on book reading, library use, and culture in general.

He then goes on to discuss subscription television. He hopes that "pay as you go" television will provide more variety and not have to appeal to the largest common denominator.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 70370
Municipal archives id: LT6410

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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