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                        Celebrating the Art of Cinema, ... and Cinema as Art


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     The first public demonstration of the “Television” was presented by inventor Philo Farnsworth at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute in August of 1934.  But it wasn’t until the post WW2 economic upsurge of the 1950s and 60s that it became a viable commercial medium.  Since then it's been saddled with many names.  Called early on "The Orphan or Stepchild of Radio", it's also enjoyed the monikers "Boob Tube", "Idiot Box", "One Eyed Monster", "Ulitmate Babysitter" and many others.  Condemned by some as the epitome of evil ... or at the very least indicative of all that contributes to the inevitable downfall of human civilization as we know it,  we feel differently.  The technology is merely a tool, and as such can be used positively or negatively.  In the same way an axe can build a home, hospital or school, or  in the wrong hands be used to commit mass murder, so is Farnsworth's technical offspring a powerful catalyst in the conceptual hand of he (or she) who wields it. 


Walter Cronkite announces the death of John Kennedy (Nov. 22, 1963)

     If nothing else, one of TV's greatest contributions has always been it's "through the looking glass / gateway" effect - allowing the average Joe or Jane entree' into a world outside their door larger than any they could have imagined.  In the 1960s the medium certainly helped shift a national naivete concerning war to a more sobering conceptiion via nightly beamings of explicit Vietnam footage into America's living rooms.  And the Civil Rights and Women's Equality movements also gained particular momentum because of similar news coverage.  Neil Armstrong's first walk on the moon captivated the imagination of the entire human race.  And American citizens became more politically aware, outraged and eager to effect change when daily Watergate conspiracy coverage was unspooled week by week; all of it via the (so-called) "Idiot Box"

     Fortunately many of these and other seminal historical milestones have been preserved by various archives.  And here in BLAST FROM THE PAST we'll make them available for your perusal, be they classic interviews from the National Archives, news footage, documentaries or episodes of well loved television series.     


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(AUG. 28, 1963)

    Poitier, Belefonte and Heston
    at the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington

     One of early television's finest hours (giving the public a taste of what it could be at it's future best) was it's primetime broadcast of a "Hollywood Roundtable" discussion the evening of Aug., 28th, 1963.  A few hours after the Civil Rights March on Washington and MARTIN LUTHER KING's legendary "I have a dream" speech, TV host/moderator DAVID SCHILLINGDOM sat down with entertainment and media industry titans HARRY BELAFONTE, CHARLTON HESTON, SIDNEY POITIER, director JOSEPH MANKIEWICZ, MARLON BRANDO and writer JAMES BALDWIN - all of whom attended the march, to discuss their thoughts on what it meant ... and would mean ... to the prospect of race relations in America. 

     Kudos to the National Archives for making this preserved footage available to the public. 


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