[The work of Clyde Gilmour]

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

Talks about two Canadians. First is Clyde Gilmour, motion picture critic. Talks about his report of the George Awards (named after George Eastman). Talks about decline in silent films by 1925. Chaplin was among those elected to choose those to be honored. Runs through the list of all the names. Including Cecil Demille. Not one mention of Chaplin or his films. Chaplin is aloof, exiled himself from the U.S. and is considered sympathetic to the communist ideas, if not a communist himself. Compares the elimination of Chaplin from the honors to totalitarian states like Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia re-writing history. Motion picture as a record of events. Ten Days That Shook the World. Rulers of Russia eliminated the figure of Leon Trotsky. Seldes admits to having a soft spot for Trotsky - calls him "a highly romantic and improbable figure in world affairs" and "a remarkably brilliant writer." George Orwell's 1984. Destruction of all remaining copies of newspapers and edited copies were made, so that history was being rewritten. "The truth crushed to earth shall rise again."


Talks about Marshall McLuhan, professor of English at St. Michael's College in Toronto. McLuhan gave an address, The educational effects of the mass media on communication. Talks about book "The Mechanical Bride." Western civilization based on Greek city-states. Roman roads - beginning of a new approach to communication. Writing and papyrus. Printing of the bible in 16th century. Vernacular nationalism and individualism. Print isolated the reader and the student. Shift in education from oral to written and visual instruction. Spread of information. Power press in early 19th century, newspapers were changing the character of politics by creating public opinion. Advent of telegraph had global effects. Knocks down cultural walls and natural consequence is diplomacy. Now we have radio and television. Can't have a new method of communication without tremendous social changes. We are the last generation where print is the primary medium of education. Battle between reader culture and electronic-based culture. "We are ill at ease because. . . we have to compromise between the print civilization in which we were brought up and this new and rather terrifying thing, which seems terribly mechanical to us, which is a civilization based on the electronic system of communicating ideas from one person to another."


Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection


WNYC archives id: 70380
Municipal archives id: LT6659