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The Box: An Oral History of Television, 1929-1961 Paperback – December 1, 1996

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From 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.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

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. Mary Carroll --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (January 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140252657
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140252651
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,525,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a great book, funny as hell, about the early days of TV. Covers all aspects -- the technology, the first TV sets, the programs, advertising. The hilarious anecdotes from forgotten old timers are useful to anybody working on "new media" today. You read about early video being blurry on a tiny screen, about programs trying to concoct different advertising models, and you realize that the Internet is only the current new medium. A lot of similar stuff has been done before.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Best book I've ever read about the early days (and a little later on) of television. Instead of
a scissors and paste job, we have the voices of the participants and actors, comics, directors,
you name it. A few of the people passed on by the publication of this book, a few more since,
but this only increases it's value and interest. Get this at any price, you'll be amazed, and
just try to put it down! Well. maybe you'll have to stop reading to get some nourishment !
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Format: Hardcover
Jeff Kisseloff has written a fine volume on the formative years of TV. He takes some time to take you into the very early roots of TV and its intimate relationship with radio. He organizes the chapters simply by giving the reader a good readable introduction then following that with some wonderful oral history quotes to expand the chapter premises. The chapters hit most of the big topic for TV's early days. He really allows the participants to tell stories and give their opinion. When there is some controversy he allows those folks to tell their stories. I wish I could have been along for some great interviews and research that he did. I am a self trained radio/tv historian and he seems to have the basic facts in line. His stuff on the early days of TV is some of the best I have read. He also takes some big technology issues and puts them in understandable words. If you like TV history this is a must read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating read of the history of TV. A very engaging oral history. It was very hard to find for a long time. I highly recommend it.
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