Please Stand By: A Prehistory of Television

Genre: Pop Culture, Science and Technology, History, Television; Author: Michael Ritchie

Why did Eddie Albert, Dinah Shore, and Betty Grable have their faces painted green and their lips black or purple? How did a college sophomore revolutionize communications? How far back was the New Yorker magazine sneering at television? Which live kids’ show first broadcast the F-word — and why? Ritchie, a superb film director (The Bad News Bears, The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom), traces TV from inception to golden age in this authoritative, anecdotal, and lively history. He does it well enough to teach some academic historians how to write histories. What was the second TV image ever transmitted? (A dollar sign.) How much did the first TV dramas cost to produce? ($100.) Why did a New York studio broadcast images of a swimming pool full of naked technicians? Hmmm. A

Originally posted October 21 1994 — 12:00 AM EDT

More from Our Partners