Love, Light, and a Dream: Television's Past, Present, and Future

Love, Light, and a Dream: Television's Past, Present, and Future

Love, Light, and a Dream: Television's Past, Present, and Future

Love, Light, and a Dream: Television's Past, Present, and Future


Love, Light, and A Dream is a timely and provocative look at the medium of television as one of the cultural vehicles carrying us toward the 21st century. It provides an up-to-the-minute review of developments and trends shaping the policy and regulatory issues that exert the strongest influence on the evolution of information technology.


Those earliest flickers of phosphorescent images excited an international public and created unsurpassed wealth for those fortunate enough to have had a "vision" for television. Television--a word that has taken on new meaning and a technology that is in transition.

Even today, television is still an experimental medium. While it has come a long way from the fuzzy images transmitted by Farnsworth and Zworykin, television continues to evolve into new technological and substantive dimensions.

America's first generation with television created a love affair with sight and sound. Viewers were enraptured by the electronic pictures and entertained by the talent that performed right in their living rooms. At times the "medium was the message," with audiences watching anything, as long as it was on television. During those nascent years television explored new dimensions in programming and technology, creating a hybrid environment for the consumption of both high culture and kitsch. Sid Caesar and Arturo Toscanini shared the same electronic proscenium, while Ed Sullivan entertained the public with opera and circus acts.

At the same time that producers and programmers pondered the limits of audience taste, engineers pursued the technological dimensions of the televised image. CBS and RCA developed competing color television systems, and NBC's Bonanza became the first regularly scheduled network series to be broadcast in color. Soon larger picture tubes were manufactured, stretching the electronic canvas and providing an illusion of greater viewing dimension.

While the technological aspect of television changed, so did the nature of programming. The cathode ray tube became a mirror reflecting the concerns, hopes, and dreams of American culture. During the 1950s, television was an electronic test tube, broadcasting popular sitcoms, vari-

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