Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Way It Was

A fine show from when TV was done live hits DVD.

The Ghosts of 'Studio One' - "Network television was fresh out of the box in 1948, the year of Milton Berle, Ed Sullivan and a series called 'Studio One' that put on a new play every week. Back then virtually all TV broadcasts were live -- videotape had yet to be invented -- and if you forgot a line or tripped over a shoelace, your blunder instantaneously went out over the airwaves and into the homes of millions of Americans. Quite a lot of early TV was filmed for archival purposes, but only a handful of these films, known as 'kinescopes,' have made it onto DVD. Now Koch Vision, working in tandem with the Archive of American Television, has released a six-disc set called 'Studio One Anthology' that contains kinescopes of 17 'Studio One' plays (actually, 16 plays and an opera, Gian Carlo Menotti's 'The Medium') that were telecast between 1948 and 1956. None has been shown on TV since originally airing on CBS, and this is the first time that any of the plays have been transferred to DVD. They offer a startlingly vivid glimpse of what commercial TV was like in its precocious, promising childhood."

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