The Hue and the Cry
During the more than three decades between the early tests of color television (in the late 1920s) and full adoption of color by the networks (1960s) there was an extended and compelling cultural and industrial conversation about the utility and meaning of electronic color which occurred alongside and in between debates about technical standards, dueling systems, and concerns over interference and bandwidth.
In the 1950s, during the period of initial dissemination and FCC approval, the conversation was at its most intense as industry insiders, audiences, critics, color specialists, consumer behavioralists, design experts, and psychologists all weighed in on the use and meaning of color and its effects on emotions, vision, and desire. Certainly, this did not occur in isolation as these discourses borrowed from and intersected with larger historical notions and beliefs about color, however this process also involved the teasing out of the specific implications of electronic color.
Speaker Susan Murray is an Associate Professor in the Department of Media Culture and Communication in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Books include Hitch Your Antenna to the Stars: Early Television and Broadcast Stardom (New York: Routledge) 2005, Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture, co-edited with Laurie Ouellette (New York: New York University Press) 2004 and 2009, and the forthcoming Brought to You in Living Color: A Cultural History of Color Television.
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