When Women Invented Television: The Untold Story of the Female Powerhouses Who Pioneered the Way We Watch Today

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong. Harper, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06297-330-6
Television cultural critic Armstrong (Sex and the City and Us) reclaims in this enthusiastic outing the forgotten history of four women who shook up the staid ranks of mid-century television and set it on a course to become the medium it is today. Among the players are Gertrude Berg (1899–1966), who created, wrote, and starred in The Goldbergs, the first TV show to feature Jewish-American characters; it became a phenomenon and was adapted into a 1950 movie. Virtuoso Betty White ad-libbed her way into being one of the first women to develop a hit daytime talk show (Hollywood on Television) and now, with a career spanning 80 years, boasts the longest tenure in television history. Irma Phillip (1901–1973), meanwhile, created the longest running broadcast program of all time with the soap opera Guiding Light, which ran from 1937 to 2009. And jazz pianist Hazel Scott (1920–1981) became “the first black person to host a prime-time network television show” when she began hosting The Hazel Scott Show in 1950. Despite their successes, however, Armstrong drives home the point that her subjects (other than White) would not live to know the impact of their work on “the frontier of television.” This fast-paced and fascinating group biography will enthrall pop culture, television, and women’s history buffs. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/08/2021
Release date: 03/23/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-297333-7
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