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Watching Television Come Of Age


Providing video companionship for isolated housewives, afternoon babysitting for children, and nonstop evening entertainment for the whole family, television revolutionized American society in the post-World War II years. Helping the first TV generation make sense of the new medium was the mission of Jack Gould, television critic of The New York Times from 1947 to 1972. In columns noteworthy for crisp writing, pointed insights, and fair judgment, he highlighted both the untapped possibilities and the imminent ...

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Watching Television Come of Age: The New York Times Reviews by Jack Gould

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Providing video companionship for isolated housewives, afternoon babysitting for children, and nonstop evening entertainment for the whole family, television revolutionized American society in the post-World War II years. Helping the first TV generation make sense of the new medium was the mission of Jack Gould, television critic of The New York Times from 1947 to 1972. In columns noteworthy for crisp writing, pointed insights, and fair judgment, he highlighted both the untapped possibilities and the imminent perils of television, becoming "the conscience of the industry" for many people.

In this book, historian Lewis L. Gould, Jack Gould's son, collects over seventy of his father's best columns. Grouped topically, they cover a wide range of issues, including the Golden Age of television drama, McCarthy-era blacklisting, the rise and fall of Edward R. Murrow, quiz show scandals, children's programming, and the impact of television on American life and of television criticism on the medium itself. Lewis Gould also supplies a brief biography of his father that assesses his influence on the evolution of television, as well as prefaces to each section.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292728462
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2002
  • Series: Focus on American History Series
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 268
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

LEWIS L. GOULD has appeared on "Howdy Doody," "The CBS Morning News," and "The ABC World News Tonight." A resident of Austin, Texas, he is an internationally recognized scholar of American political history and commentator on the role of First Ladies.
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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction: Portrait of a Television Critic

Chapter One: The Golden Age of Television Drama
Television Debut: Theatre Guild Makes Video Bow on NBC with Production of "John Ferguson," November 16, 1947
Matter of Form: Television Must Develop Own Techniques If It Is to Have Artistic Vitality, October 31, 1948
"Julius Caesar": Worthington Miner's Version in Modern Dress Proves Spectacular Television, March 13, 1949
A Plea for Live Video: Switch to Film for TV Was a Major Mistake, December 7, 1952
NBC Playhouse Offers Valid and Moving Hour with Production of Paddy Chayefsky's "Marty," May 27, 1953
"Patterns" Is Hailed as Notable Triumph, January 17, 1955
TV's Psychodrama: How to Keep 'Em Down on the Couch after They've Written for TV, August 7, 1955
Cheese, Mustard Ad Also Stars on Kraft Theatre, December 1, 1955
"Requiem for a Heavyweight": Rod Serling's Drama Scores a Knockout, October 12, 1956
Study of Alcoholism: Piper Laurie and Cliff Robertson Are Impressive in "Days of Wine and Roses," October 3, 1958

Chapter Two: The Shadow of a Blacklist
Case of Jean Muir: Principles of Fair Play Yield to Pressure, September 3, 1950
Again, "Red Channels": The Civil Liberties Union Revives an Issue, April 13, 1952
The Case of Lucille Ball: Treatment of the Star Should Be Standard in Industry, September 20, 1953
Fifth Amendment: Danger Seen in Union Plan to Punish Members Claiming the Privilege, July 31, 1955
Report on Blacklisting: Fund for the Republic Study Dealing with Radio-TV Is Found Deserving of Commendation and Censure, July 1, 1956
What a Blacklist Means: A Review of John Henry Faulk's "Fear on Trial," November 22, 1964
Blacklisting's Effect: Censored Tape of Jean Muir's Remarks on '50s Travails Shown on ABC, January 15, 1965
Jack Gould to John Pope, October 13, 1971
Jack Gould to John Pope, October 31, 1971

Chapter Three: The Rise and Fall of Edward R. Murrow
Edward R. Murrow's News Review "See It Now" Demonstrates Journalistic Power of Video, November 19, 1951
Murrow's "This Is Korea" Film over CBS Captures Poignancy and Frustration of Life in Battle, December 29, 1952
Celebrity Time: Murrow Puts Cameras into Their Homes in "Person to Person," October 7, 1953
Video Journalism: Treatment of Radulovich Case History by "See It Now" Is Fine Reporting, October 25, 1953
Murrow vs. McCarthy: "See It Now" on CBS Examines Senator and His Methods, March 11, 1954
"See It Now" Finale: Program Unexpectedly Ends Run of Seven Distinguished Years on CBS, July 8, 1958
"Harvest of Shame": Exploitation of U.S. Migratory Workers Is Documented on "CBS Reports," November 25, 1960
Murrow Departs: Commentator Leaving Broadcast Post For Challenging Federal Job, February 5, 1961

Chapter Four: The Influence of a Critic
Kaufman Incident: "This Is Show Business" Dismisses Panelist for Pre-Christmas Quip, January 4, 1953
On Faith Healing: Preacher's Timely TV Miracles Raise Questions of Stations' Standards, February 18, 1956
Disgrace of the Networks: Chains Ignore Session at United Nations, October 31, 1956
More on U.N.: Networks Make Limited Progress in Their Coverage of World's Realities, November 2, 1956
TV Can Be Good, Too: "The Play of the Week" Is a Case in Point, November 22, 1959
Madison Avenue Case Study: "The Play of the Week" Faces Doom Jan. 30, December 29, 1959
"The Play of the Week": Demise of Drama Series Has Economic Moral, June 11, 1961
Lively Panel Show: Betty Furness Is Spry Hostess on WNTA, August 2, 1961
Jack Gould to Louis Loeb, October 19, 1961

Chapter Five: A Critic's Likes and Dislikes
Comment on "Today": NBC's Early Morning Show Needs Some Work, January 20, 1952
The Nixon Telecast: Personal Story Brings High Drama to TV, September 28, 1952
Sweeping and Imaginative in Conception, "Omnibus" of Ford Foundation Makes Video Debut, November 10, 1952
Why Millions Love Lucy, March 1, 1953
Delightful "Peter Pan": Marriage of Media Is Noted in Inspired Video Offering, March 13, 1955
Johnny Carson: CBS Offers Answer to That Man Gobel, July 8, 1955
New Phenomenon: Elvis Presley Rises to Fame as Vocalist Who Is Virtuoso of Hootchy-Kootchy, July 6, 1956
Witty Commentator: Brinkley Enlivens NBC Convention Coverage, August 17, 1956
Elvis Presley: Lack of Responsibility Is Shown by TV in Exploiting Teenagers, September 16, 1956
Tribute to "Omnibus": Expected Loss of Program Brings Call for Similar Experimental Shows, July 30, 1958
Forthright Radio News Commentator: Smith's Analysis of Alabama Violence Shows Real Role of Commentator, May 28, 1961

Chapter Six: The Quiz Show Scandals
Man in the Street: The Public Often Can Outshine TV Stars, August 14, 1955
Quizzes Mostly Talk: "$64,000 Question" and "Big Surprise" Use Less than Half Their Times on Queries, September 26, 1956
Under Suspicion: Investigation of TV Shows Shakes Viewer's Faith in TV's Integrity, September 7, 1958
A Plague on TV's House: Rigged Quiz Shows Viewed as Symptom of the Age, with Many Guilty Parties, October 12, 1959
Journalists' Junkets: Quiz Show Headlines Raise Question of How Clear Is Conscience of Press, October 27, 1959
The Quiz Scandal: Legal and Moral Issues of Van Doren Affair Said to Need Resolution, November 4, 1959
Formula for TV: Quiz Scandal Shows a Need for New Rules, November 8, 1959
Assessing Effects of Life under the Table: Influence of "Payola" on Culture Weighed, November 20, 1959

Chapter Seven: Children and Television
Kukla and Ollie: Burr Tillstrom's Puppets Have a Spirit and Personality Unique in Video, March 27, 1948
Hail Howdy Doody! He Triumphs over Mr. X, Survives Mr. Y and Always Delights the Youngsters, November 14, 1948
Video and Children: Parents and Broadcasters Have Separate Roles, January 8, 1950
A Boy's Question: School Youngster Raises an Issue for Video, April 29, 1951
Pinky Lee Show Turns Children's Hour into Conspiracy against Parents, November 8, 1954
Peril in Small Pills: Pushing of Vitamins by "Ding Dong School" Indicates Deficiency in Commercials, December 23, 1955
Juvenile Audiences Suffering from Chains' Delinquency in Planning, December 2, 1956
Parent-Teacher Organization Issues Its First Appraisal of Programs, September 13, 1959

Chapter Eight: Tracking the Impact of Television
The Paradoxical State of Television, March 30, 1947
Family Life, 1948 A.T. (After Television), August 1, 1948
TV Daddy and Video Mama: A Dirge, May 14, 1950
What TV Is--and What It Might Be, June 10, 1951
TV at the Crossroads: A Critic's Survey, March 9, 1952
Europe's TV Picture--and Ours, August 23, 1953

Chapter Nine: Television and Its Critic
TV Tube Bites TV Critic, January 3, 1954
Television Today: A Critic's Appraisal, April 8, 1956
Tuning in on Dixie: Mocking Birds Sing, but Who Listens? Everyone's Inside Looking at TV! April 15, 1956
Where TV Critics Strike Out: Some Sweeping Charges about Their Manifold Deficiencies, May 19, 1957
A Critical Reply: An Answer to Objections Raised in the TV Industry to the Role of Critics, May 26, 1957
Critic Dissects the Anatomy of a Flop, Ruminates about His Role on "Open End," January 27, 1959


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