Hidden Hands that Shaped the Marketplace of Ideas: Television's Early Transformation from Medium to Genre
University of Denver Sports and Entertainment Law Journal, Vol 19, 2016
70 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2016
Date Written: Spring 2016
In a few decades from the beginning of national radio broadcasts to the Post-War cultural explosion, artists, politicians, lawyers, and spies forged the Golden Age of Television. Conflicting pressures of media censorship, modernist design, American hegemony, expressionist art, anti-communist legislation, and TV ownership limitations clashed and reshaped the cultural identity of the American viewer. These forces competed for dominance, shaping the content, empowering new producers, and setting new standards for artist and viewer alike.
Studies on the broadcast industry marketplace assessed the efficiency of broadcast licensing but failed to identify either the influences or goals of the emerging television market. This article develops the origins of television from its beginning in radio and film innovations. It then chronicles the surprising influences of modern art as part of the government's strategy to address Cold War concerns. Cold War politics, nascent marketing strategies, and cutthroat business practices combined to shape the Golden Age of Television. This article adds a legal and business commentary to television's early engagement with expressionist art and the risk-taking in the dynamic new medium.
Keywords: Television, Golden Age, Expressionist Art, Cold War
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