Magazine article American Cinematographer

Hollywood TV the Studio System in the Fifties

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Hollywood TV the Studio System in the Fifties

Article excerpt

Hollywood TV The Studio System inthe Fifties by Christopher Anderson University of Texas Press, 240 pps., paper $19.95, cloth $45

Anderson takes us back to the late 1940s when most of us were gazing as though hypnotized at anything that appeared on those tiny, rounded screens mounted in big cabinets. This threat to the supremacy of the theatrical film as America's favorite entertainment stirred consternation in the Hollywood studios, which already were in the throes of a post-World War Il economic slump. Meantime Uncle Sam administered what almost amounted to the coup de grace in 1948, when the Supreme Court demanded the divorcement of major studios from their theater chains. It was the possession of theater circuits that separated the major studios from the minors.

The movie industry was bitter. The major companies refused to lease their product to TV, and for a time the slickest shows on TV were 193Os movies from Poverty Row companies such as Monogram and Chesterfield and old "quota quickies" from England. Film people thrown out of work by postwar layoffs faced blacklisting if their credits or mugs appeared on TV.

The movie executives seemed almost gentle compared to some of their opposite numbers at the networks. …

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