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

Wesleyan Film

2009 • 304 pp. 41 illus. 6 x 9"
Film, TV, Visual Culture

$24.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6894-6

“From its pitch-perfect title to its many insights…Becker’s book draws much-needed attention to the profundity of the sea change in media stardom that occurred due to the emergence of television.” —Ina Rae Hark, Film Quarterly

An original study of Hollywood film stars and 1950s television

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.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Becker reveals in fantastic detail the nuances of the relationship between fifties film stardom and TV. Many of these stars have never been deeply studied, and she does a brilliant job of giving them their due.”—Susan Murray, author of Hitch Your Antenna to the Stars

“A fascinating history that shows how television redefined the marketing and images of Hollywood stars and helped inaugurate a profound cultural shift in our entire concept of celebrityhood.”—Lynn Spigel, author of Make Room for TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America


Winner of the International Association for Media & History’s Nelson Prize (2011)

Author Photo

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

Fri, 6 Jul 2018 13:14:30 -0500