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Watching Television Come of Age: The New York Times Reviews by Jack Gould (Focus on American History Series) Paperback – November 1, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0292728462 ISBN-10: 0292728468 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Focus on American History Series
  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press; 1 edition (November 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292728468
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292728462
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About 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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have spent a delightful day reading this book, which brings together more than seventy columns written by the late Jack Gould, television critic for the New York Times from 1947 until his retirement in 1972. Not being from New York or a regular reader of the Times until after Gould retired, I must confess that I had never previously read any of his media criticism. This book has been a most welcome surprise.
The critic's son, Lewis Gould, a distinguished scholar in American history, selected the reviews that appear in this volume and also provided a remarkably candid and objective assessment of both his father and his influence. Insights about television, political figures--American culture in general--can be found throughout. Among the topics that Jack Gould considered were Edward R. Murrow, the quiz show scandals of the fifties, blacklisting, and live drama. As a baby boomer, I particularly enjoyed reading about two of the most memorable television performers of my childhood, "Miss Frances" of "Ding Ding School" and the inimitable Pinky Lee. Perceptive, too, is his assessment of the phenomenon that was--and is--Lucille Ball.
Some months ago the TODAY show celebrated, with much fanfare, its fiftieth anniversary on the air. But what was the show like in its earliest days? Gould tells us, in a no-holes-barred critique that NBC executives later admitted spurred changes in the program's format and presentation. Readers will find here in its entirety the review that Gould wrote in January 1952 in which he bluntly said that TODAY "needs a lot of work." "Thus far," he concluded, "TODAY has been excessively pretentious and ostentatious and unreasonably confusing and complex." Gould did not throw softballs!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
Born well after Jack Gould's retirement..it is exciting to feel the development and growing pains of the medium..through the columns Gould published. Lewis Gould's profile of the man and his life added to the sense of connection I felt to him..
You feel television's evolution...as if you were there.
Jennifer Salem
Antioch California
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating book! It tells at least three stories simultaneously: the birth pangs of television; American cultural and political history in the 1950s; and the relationship between Jack Gould and both his employers and his media. There's an excellent introduction which introduces Jack Gould, and his biography by itself is interesting. Most absorbing for me, however, was reading Gould's take on the nascent medium of television: was it better for news or art? was it the same as theatre? did it have a duty to the American public to cover certain events? what were its educational limits? Some of his criticisms of tv are astonishingly contemporary. Others are clearly of a different era. The book is spiced with personalities that many of us know--Elvis Presley, Lucille Ball, Howdy Doody, David Brinkley--and Gould's take on them is fun to read.
Also illuminating are Gould's views of historical events: the quiz show scandals, the blacklist of the Red Scare, the "rise and fall of Edward R. Murrow." Gould championed actress Jean Muir, who was dealt an unfair hand in the 1950s, and his columns help explain how the blacklist worked from the inside. I particularly liked questions Gould asked about children's television programming and the responsibilities of the news shows.
Mostly, though, this book is marvelous to read because Gould was such a lively writer. His columns are full of real zingers that run side by side with his ruminations on American society, culture, politics, and values in the Cold War era. Despite the age of the columns reprinted here, the book provides much to ponder today, which is why I'm buying this for many people on my holiday list. People who lived through the 1950s will be just as interested as folks in their 20s and 30s.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
Since I was born well after Jack Gould's retirement..it was exciting to feel the development and growing pains of the medium..through the columns Gould published. Lewis Gould's profile of the man and his life added to the sense of connection I felt to him..
You feel television's evolution...as if you were there.
Jennifer Salem
Antioch California
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