It’s the Pictures That Got Small: Hollywood Film Stars on 1950s Television
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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1950s television acting actress Adams and Eve Adolphe Menjou adventure anthology drama anthology programs appear on television audience broadcast CBS/Photofest character actors commercial continuing-character contract crime drama critical cultural David Niven Dick Powell early television Electric Theater Emerson Collection episode Eve Arden Favorite Story Faye Emerson feature film female film and television film career film industry film stars Fonda Four Star Playhouse genre glamour guest stars Hal Humphrey Hollywood Hollywood film Hollywood star host Howard Ida Lupino interview Jack Joan live Loretta Young Lucy medium movie star Pepsi performance played Playhouse 90 popular potential presented prestige publicity quiz quiz/panel radio Robert role Ronald Rooney season Show comedy show's sion sitcom spectaculars sponsors star image star's stardom status studio system success syndicated talent tele telefilm television television's tion TV Guide variety show viewers Warner Bros William York