counter When Women Invented Television: The Untold Story of the Female Powerhouses Who Pioneered the Way We Watch Today - Free Download Books
Hot Best Seller

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

Availability: Ready to download

The New York Times bestselling author of Seinfeldia tells the little-known story of four trailblazing women in the early days of television who laid the foundation of the industry we know today. It was the Golden Age of Radio and powerful men were making millions in advertising dollars reaching thousands of listeners every day. When television arrived, few radio moguls were The New York Times bestselling author of Seinfeldia tells the little-known story of four trailblazing women in the early days of television who laid the foundation of the industry we know today. It was the Golden Age of Radio and powerful men were making millions in advertising dollars reaching thousands of listeners every day. When television arrived, few radio moguls were interested in the upstart industry and its tiny production budgets, and expensive television sets were out of reach for most families. But four women—each an independent visionary— saw an opportunity and carved their own paths, and in so doing invented the way we watch tv today. Irna Phillips turned real-life tragedy into daytime serials featuring female dominated casts. Gertrude Berg turned her radio show into a Jewish family comedy that spawned a play, a musical, an advice column, a line of house dresses, and other products. Hazel Scott, already a renowned musician, was the first African American to host a national evening variety program. Betty White became a daytime talk show fan favorite and one of the first women to produce, write, and star in her own show. Together, their stories chronicle a forgotten chapter in the history of television and popular culture. But as the medium became more popular—and lucrative—in the wake of World War II, the House Un-American Activities Committee arose to threaten entertainers, blacklisting many as communist sympathizers. As politics, sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, and money collided, the women who invented television found themselves fighting from the margins, as men took control. But these women were true survivors who never gave up—and thus their legacies remain with us in our television-dominated era. It's time we reclaimed their forgotten histories and the work they did to pioneer the medium that now rules our lives. This amazing and heartbreaking history, illustrated with photos, tells it all for the first time. 


Compare

The New York Times bestselling author of Seinfeldia tells the little-known story of four trailblazing women in the early days of television who laid the foundation of the industry we know today. It was the Golden Age of Radio and powerful men were making millions in advertising dollars reaching thousands of listeners every day. When television arrived, few radio moguls were The New York Times bestselling author of Seinfeldia tells the little-known story of four trailblazing women in the early days of television who laid the foundation of the industry we know today. It was the Golden Age of Radio and powerful men were making millions in advertising dollars reaching thousands of listeners every day. When television arrived, few radio moguls were interested in the upstart industry and its tiny production budgets, and expensive television sets were out of reach for most families. But four women—each an independent visionary— saw an opportunity and carved their own paths, and in so doing invented the way we watch tv today. Irna Phillips turned real-life tragedy into daytime serials featuring female dominated casts. Gertrude Berg turned her radio show into a Jewish family comedy that spawned a play, a musical, an advice column, a line of house dresses, and other products. Hazel Scott, already a renowned musician, was the first African American to host a national evening variety program. Betty White became a daytime talk show fan favorite and one of the first women to produce, write, and star in her own show. Together, their stories chronicle a forgotten chapter in the history of television and popular culture. But as the medium became more popular—and lucrative—in the wake of World War II, the House Un-American Activities Committee arose to threaten entertainers, blacklisting many as communist sympathizers. As politics, sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, and money collided, the women who invented television found themselves fighting from the margins, as men took control. But these women were true survivors who never gave up—and thus their legacies remain with us in our television-dominated era. It's time we reclaimed their forgotten histories and the work they did to pioneer the medium that now rules our lives. This amazing and heartbreaking history, illustrated with photos, tells it all for the first time. 

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Niamh

    What an excellent book about television and the women who, ultimately, pioneered its evolution as the prominent little box in the corner. So much of television and film studies is dominated by men, because the contributions of women - as Armstrong points out - are often poorly recorded and archived, as was the case for Hazel Scott, one of the first African-Americans to host her own show. While some, Lucille Ball (not explored in this book), have been well preserved, Armstrong picks out true pion What an excellent book about television and the women who, ultimately, pioneered its evolution as the prominent little box in the corner. So much of television and film studies is dominated by men, because the contributions of women - as Armstrong points out - are often poorly recorded and archived, as was the case for Hazel Scott, one of the first African-Americans to host her own show. While some, Lucille Ball (not explored in this book), have been well preserved, Armstrong picks out true pioneers whose contributions to television have been consistently ignored or undermined. If you're the least bit interested in women in media or in TV - this is a great read filled with fascinating stories of Hazel Scott, Betty White, Irna Phillips and Gertrude Berg - four women who invented television.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Galloway

    Even though I'm not much of a tv watcher, I found this completely fascinating. I had no idea that television started out with such an opportunity to be more diverse and equal (though the women in this story all had to fight for their places) before all that was quashed. These are women to be admired and remembered. I listened to this one as an audiobook and found the narrator to be fantastic. Even though I'm not much of a tv watcher, I found this completely fascinating. I had no idea that television started out with such an opportunity to be more diverse and equal (though the women in this story all had to fight for their places) before all that was quashed. These are women to be admired and remembered. I listened to this one as an audiobook and found the narrator to be fantastic.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Such an interesting book about early television. The author cleverly focuses on a few women and their impact on television. Armstrong has also woven in the background of the tumultuous post WWII years and the HUAC hearings. I was totally fascinated by this book and I admire the authors discipline in limiting the focus to four women. Those are Hazel Scott, Irna Phillips, Gertrude Berg and Betty White. She has thrown in a bit about Lucille Ball. The anecdotal reportage is delightful. I remember Ge Such an interesting book about early television. The author cleverly focuses on a few women and their impact on television. Armstrong has also woven in the background of the tumultuous post WWII years and the HUAC hearings. I was totally fascinated by this book and I admire the authors discipline in limiting the focus to four women. Those are Hazel Scott, Irna Phillips, Gertrude Berg and Betty White. She has thrown in a bit about Lucille Ball. The anecdotal reportage is delightful. I remember Gertrude Berg from my own childhood and certainly Betty White is still a national treasure. This is a historians’ dream, reading so much about the social and media history within a delightful framework. The author has done a remarkable job and I highly recommend this to college classes interested in media history and women’s studies. Bravo! A fine piece of scholarship wrapped in an easily read non-fiction book. .

  4. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    Interesting account of four women who pioneered early television. Two are mostly forgotten, one defined daytime tv, and one still shows up on the airwaves. Gertrude Berg brought her sitcom from radio to television before Lucy. She had the first sitcom, the first ethnic character (Jewish household) and the first to film before a live audience. Hazel Scott was the first Black person to have a television show, the first Black female on tv, and is now largely forgotten. Daytime television was shaped Interesting account of four women who pioneered early television. Two are mostly forgotten, one defined daytime tv, and one still shows up on the airwaves. Gertrude Berg brought her sitcom from radio to television before Lucy. She had the first sitcom, the first ethnic character (Jewish household) and the first to film before a live audience. Hazel Scott was the first Black person to have a television show, the first Black female on tv, and is now largely forgotten. Daytime television was shaped by two powerhouses- Irna Phillips and Betty White. Phillips is the mother of ALL soaps. She brought Guiding Light to tv from radio and she mentored both Agnes Nixon and Bill Bell (who both went on to create their own soaps with input from Phillips.) She wrote for most, and convinced the network that soaps needed 30 minutes to tell their stories. Betty White is a cultural icon for so many reasons, but her biggest contribution is her start on television hosting morning shows, afternoon shows and evening sketch comedy. She starred in an early sitcom, got offered a job on the Today Show and her longevity, work ethic and feminism are legendary. Nice to see the women of early television getting their due.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    3.5 stars. I think the title is somewhat misleading. Armstrong focuses on four women who were pioneers in the early days of television, but I wouldn't say they were solely responsible for its development. Nevertheless, she makes a strong case that individually each of them were early successes in the era when many men hadn't yet made the jump from radio to television. Some of the profiles are more developed than others; I'm not convinced that Hazel Scott's contribution was on the same level as B 3.5 stars. I think the title is somewhat misleading. Armstrong focuses on four women who were pioneers in the early days of television, but I wouldn't say they were solely responsible for its development. Nevertheless, she makes a strong case that individually each of them were early successes in the era when many men hadn't yet made the jump from radio to television. Some of the profiles are more developed than others; I'm not convinced that Hazel Scott's contribution was on the same level as Betty White's or Gertrude Berg's, but her inclusion highlights the added level of discrimination she faced as a Black woman. Armstrong does make a strong case that today's situation comedies, variety shows, soap operas, and talk shows owe a big debt to these women, and the fact that their accomplishments happened despite anti-Semitism, sexism, racism, and the growing tide of conservatism and anti-Communist fervor is even more impressive. The tragic impact of the House Unamerican Activities Committee and Senator Joseph McCarthy was especially poignant, as Armstrong portrays Berg's increasingly futile attempts to stave off efforts by the networks and advertisers to fire the blacklisted actor who played her husband. On a lighter note, I now know why soap operas used to have that cheesy organ music and the rationale behind all of those dramatic pauses (aka Joey Tribbiani's "Smell the fart" acting technique from Friends). Other than Betty White, I would guess most of these women's names and stories will be unfamiliar to readers, and most people will be surprised to learn about White's early days in television (she is so much more than a Golden Girl). Armstrong moves beyond her previous books about popular television shows that have a built-in audience (Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And All the Brilliant Minds Who Made The Mary Tyler Moore Show a Classic, Sex and the City and Us: How Four Single Women Changed the Way We Think, Live, and Love, etc.), but this one deserves to even more widely read to honor the women who managed such amazing feats in a man's world.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    ⭐ 4.5 stars! I'm delightfully surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. A lot of the non-fiction I've picked up this year has ranged between awful and okay, but finally I've found one of my favorite non-fiction reads of the year. When Women Invented Television discusses the early beginnings of television in America by focusing on some of the women who helped to revolutionize the medium - Gertrude Berg, Hazel Scott, Irna Phillips and Betty White. One of the reasons I loved this book was simply be ⭐ 4.5 stars! I'm delightfully surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. A lot of the non-fiction I've picked up this year has ranged between awful and okay, but finally I've found one of my favorite non-fiction reads of the year. When Women Invented Television discusses the early beginnings of television in America by focusing on some of the women who helped to revolutionize the medium - Gertrude Berg, Hazel Scott, Irna Phillips and Betty White. One of the reasons I loved this book was simply because it falls into my personal area of academic interest. I took a module at uni about iconic women in media in the latter half of the twentieth century (which is a very broad subject range as it was meant to be an introduction) in which we went through various examples ranging from the 1950s to the late 1990s. In it we only briefly talked about the 1950s focusing more on the movie scene of the time so this book filled in a lot of knowledge I didn't have. It was so interesting seeing how television has changed and developed at the hands of these influential women. It was also just really well written and even prioritized this over my current fiction read which is unheard from me.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    I loved this book. I loved the detailed biographies that never got bogged down in minutiae. I loved the details of the early history of television. Jennifer Keishin Armstrong writes in a wonderful, conversational tone making the book impossible to put down; five more minutes became 10 more minutes, etc. Some of my love for this book is because the early history of television is the history of my childhood, so the historical aspects meant so much to me. My only disappointment with the book was wh I loved this book. I loved the detailed biographies that never got bogged down in minutiae. I loved the details of the early history of television. Jennifer Keishin Armstrong writes in a wonderful, conversational tone making the book impossible to put down; five more minutes became 10 more minutes, etc. Some of my love for this book is because the early history of television is the history of my childhood, so the historical aspects meant so much to me. My only disappointment with the book was when I flipped the page and hit the Acknowledgements. I could have read a lot more by this author. Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperCollins Canada for the advance reader copy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Absolutely remarkable! The book focuses on 4 women that made their careers in entertainment, specifically television. Seriously, they did it themselves by sheer determination and talent. Hearing about Betty White and just how long she has been on television is amazing but reading about how she did it is even more amazing. Hazel Scott a very talented pianist that was also black made huge inroads into television and she did it her way. Gertrude Berg wrote, starred in and produced a show about Jewi Absolutely remarkable! The book focuses on 4 women that made their careers in entertainment, specifically television. Seriously, they did it themselves by sheer determination and talent. Hearing about Betty White and just how long she has been on television is amazing but reading about how she did it is even more amazing. Hazel Scott a very talented pianist that was also black made huge inroads into television and she did it her way. Gertrude Berg wrote, starred in and produced a show about Jewish life in New York and Irma Phillips creating soap operas for television. This is truly a remarkable story and includes the challenges they faced politically and personally.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ang

    I didn't know ANY of this, so from that angle, this book was a hit! However, it felt weirdly lopsided, and seemed to spend the most time on Gertrude Berg (who, admittedly, was a great subject!), and weirdly little time on Betty White by the end of the book. But still, essential reading for anyone interested in the history of TV. I didn't know ANY of this, so from that angle, this book was a hit! However, it felt weirdly lopsided, and seemed to spend the most time on Gertrude Berg (who, admittedly, was a great subject!), and weirdly little time on Betty White by the end of the book. But still, essential reading for anyone interested in the history of TV.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    While I admire the author’s dedication to uncovering female histories that have been largely forgotten, I didn’t find the stories as compelling as the premise suggests. In fact I found that the author had to work overtime to connect the women to each other and it just got tiring to read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andréa

    Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gary Shapiro

    This is the best book yet from this chronicler of television history. Well researched and expertly told.

  13. 4 out of 5

    B.

    3.5 stars

  14. 5 out of 5

    Holly Hughes

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rosalyn

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Corbin

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jodie

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bobbie Lucas

  19. 4 out of 5

    Julia Indivero

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Wilde

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alice

  22. 4 out of 5

    Allison

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  24. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  26. 4 out of 5

    Anastacia Russell

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gregory

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mark Lashley

  30. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.