It’s the Pictures That Got Small: Hollywood Film Stars on 1950s Television

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Wesleyan University Press, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 293 pages
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Winner of the International Association for Media & History’s Nelson Prize (2011)

The interplay between television and film in the 1950s transformed television production and programming, affected the careers of countless film actors, and challenged the traditional mechanisms of the Hollywood star system. In this groundbreaking study, Christine Becker asks why certain film stars, like Ronald Reagan and Ida Lupino, crossed over to television in this period while others did not, why some succeeded in the new medium and others failed, and how the presence of film stars shaped the nature of certain television genres. Using extensive primary source material and new archival research, It’s the Pictures That Got Small argues that the early film-to-television crossover turned traditional myths of star-making inside out, fundamentally altering the standard workings of the Hollywood star system. By looking at a broad range of popular stars of the fifties, Becker paints a revealing portrait of the relationship between film and television in the waning days of the classical studio system and the budding years of commercial TV. The book includes an appendix of established film stars and the TV shows they appeared on.
 

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About the author (2008)

CHRISTINE BECKER is an assistant professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre at the University of Notre Dame.

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