James Agee, Omnibus, and Mr. Lincoln: The Culture of Liberalism and the Challenge of Television 1952-1953by William Hughes
In 1952 CBS, in conjunction with the Ford Foundation, launched Omnibus, a remarkable experiment in television. The objective was to raise the programming standards of an emerging medium that figured to profoundly influence American life. The centerpiece of Omnibus during its inaugural season was "Mr. Lincoln," a series of five films about the early life of our… See more details below
In 1952 CBS, in conjunction with the Ford Foundation, launched Omnibus, a remarkable experiment in television. The objective was to raise the programming standards of an emerging medium that figured to profoundly influence American life. The centerpiece of Omnibus during its inaugural season was "Mr. Lincoln," a series of five films about the early life of our foremost political icon. James Agee, the distinguished American author, was the principal creator of "Mr. Lincoln." At the time, his scripts were hailed as 'the most beautiful writing ever done for television," and even today Agee's characterization of Lincoln remains " among the finestperhaps the finestfilm about Abraham Lincoln ever made." Regrettably, this important and sensitive work, a revealing expression of American culture at mid-century, has been consigned to the archives and has not been available to the public for many years. Author William Hughes aims to keep alive Agee's neglected masterpiece, placing "Mr. Lincoln" in the context of the period's prevailing ideology (Cold War liberalism) and conveying the institutional framework in which the work originated. In addition, Hughes takes into account Agee's personal experiences, his social and political views, and his related writings (for and about film), all of which came into play when he reworked the Lincoln legend for the television age. Based on extensive archive research and an interview with Norman Lloyd, who directed the five films, this book fully documents the cultural and historical importance of "Mr. Lincoln."
- The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
- Publication date:
- Studies and Documentation in the History of Popular Entertainment
- Product dimensions:
- 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)
Meet the Author
William Hughes taught for many years at the Community College of Baltimore County and has written extensively about film and the history of American culture. He is an associate editor of American National Biography.
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Masterful history and analysis of James Agee's Lincoln films for early TV. Particularly relevant now that Mr. Lincoln is once again available to the public on a recently issued DVD (which inludes some other relevant material from Omnibus. broadcast . The Lincoln films are a TV landmark. The book is the essential companion, as well as an insightful study of American culture during the early 1950s.