[Visit to the West Indies]

Sunday, March 04, 1956

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

Seldes discusses his recent trip to the West Indies. He speaks of a "fire dance." He speaks of the cultural significance of this traditional dance, but notes that no one was sure of its heritage. He wonders if American parades and traditional events are less exciting and lack spontaneity.

He discusses Western television shows being made less violent. He calls the removal of the "bad guy from the bar" a violence to the spirit of America. He also notes that he regrets the disappearance of comical minority characters in television.
He moves on to discuss jazz, calling it "one of the ways the United States has conquered the world."

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 70599
Municipal archives id: LT7555

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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