[The theater]

Saturday, November 13, 1954

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

Seldes asks for the audience's feelings about a slogan: "Morons of the world unite, you're being treated like idiots." And "Halfwits of the world unite, you're being treated like morons. The theater has been the popular art, but within the last 50 years, the situation has changed that two other dramatic arts, movies and broadcasting, are more important. The theater reaches a smaller audience, so it's the place where ideas are constantly acceptable. Lists of plays currently on stage. Musicals. The Ray Milland Show, an attack on the intellectuals of America. His notes from the show. It is not necessary to be as stupid as that to get a farce.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71496
Municipal archives id: LT3116

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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