Good as Gold?
Scott McGibbon is Project Specialist at the Norman Lear Center.
Norman Lear, whose TV screen cred goes back to the beginning of the medium as well as encompassing his own landmark shows, has said on more than one occasion he believes the Golden Age of television is right now, not during the heyday of his shows All in the Family and Maude nor lost amidst the initial, dazzling creativity in the 1950s. The range of choices, the improved technology, the freedom for writers and performers to explore just about any topic are all remarkable now. I have to agree, but with one significant hesitation: Where are the extraordinary presentations of great American plays that used to appear, infrequently but powerfully, on network television? I saw Death of a Salesman, The Glass Menagerie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, David Rabe's Sticks and Bones, and a number of other landmark plays for the first time on ABC, NBC and CBS.
I know times, tastes and business models change, but consider: these golden treasures of American theater weren't telecast to reap great financial profits -- Sticks and Bones, part of a Vietnam trilogy that aired during that war,