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The Box: An Oral History of Television, 1920-1961

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Guaranteed to keep readers up long after prime time, The Box re-creates the old-time TV years through more than three hundred interviews with those who invented, manufactured, advertised, produced, directed, wrote, and acted in them. Here are household names and fascinating unknowns, from the brilliant RCA scientists, flying paper airplanes off the top of the Empire State Building, to Uncle Miltie, Rod Steiger, Imogene Coca, Studs Terkel, Edward R. Murrow, and Paddy Chayefsky. Go behind the scenes of many of ...
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Overview

Guaranteed to keep readers up long after prime time, The Box re-creates the old-time TV years through more than three hundred interviews with those who invented, manufactured, advertised, produced, directed, wrote, and acted in them. Here are household names and fascinating unknowns, from the brilliant RCA scientists, flying paper airplanes off the top of the Empire State Building, to Uncle Miltie, Rod Steiger, Imogene Coca, Studs Terkel, Edward R. Murrow, and Paddy Chayefsky. Go behind the scenes of many of television's classic shows and learn whether Father really did know best, and laugh at the hilarious low-budget antics of Captain Video (remember the opticon scillometer?). Hear about the great pioneering stations in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia, where the horses ate the microphones on TV's only live daily western, and finally get the truth about the quiz show scandals that rocked America.

Guaranteed to keep readers up long after prime time, The Box recreates the old-time TV shows through more than 500 interviews with those who invented, manufactured, advertised, produced, directed, wrote, and acted in them, from the RCA scientists who flew paper airplanes off the Empire State Building to Ernie Kovacs, Uncle Miltie, Captain Video, and Beaver's mom. of photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Kisseloff's (You Must Remember This, LJ 5/15/89) history of television's formative years will be of interest to historians, TV buffs, and the general public. The more than 500 interviews the author conducted are presented as an entertaining oral history. Those who contributed were there when the first televisions were invented, when TV shows were first developed and the performers became household names, and when others were blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee. They include actors, writers, inventors, directors, and producers. Especially interesting are the sections on the blacklists of the 1950s and those on the early, live television shows, where anything could and did go wrong. A good complement to Michael Ritchie's Please Stand By: A Prehistory of Television (LJ 11/1/94), this is recommended for both public libraries and special collections.-Judy Hauser, Oakland Schs. Lib. Svcs., Waterford, Mich.
Mary Carroll
Television's early years may not interest MTV and "X-Files" fans, but nostalgic fortysomethings--and teens who have discovered "The Honeymooners" and Lucille Ball on cable--will find fascinating behind-the-scenes details and a solid outline of television's technological, economic, and public-policy context in this enlightening oral history. Kisseloff, who gathered Manhattanites' memories from the 1890s to World War II in "You Must Remember This" (1989), met with hundreds of famous and not-so-famous people from television's first generation--as well as relatives of pioneering inventors and entrepreneurs like Philo Farnsworth, "General" Sarnoff, and Ernst Alexanderson, who can no longer speak for themselves. Readers will recognize some names and "voices" : on-screen favorites like Hugh Downs, Betty Furness, Rod Steiger, Barbara Billingsley, and Studs Terkel and well-known offscreen figures like Red Quinlan, Pat Weaver, Arthur Penn, Don Hewitt, and Fred Friendly. But "The Box" is most valuable in blending the memories of recognized pioneers with those of dozens of invisible foot soldiers in TV's early struggles. A welcome, insightful supplement to Erik Barnouw's classic histories of the medium.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670864706
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/15/1995
  • Pages: 608
  • Product dimensions: 6.53 (w) x 9.57 (h) x 1.82 (d)

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