Moguls & Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood: Season 1, Episode 6

The Attack of the Small Screens: 1950-1960 (6 Dec. 2010)

TV Episode  |  Documentary, History
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Episode credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
A. Scott Berg ...
Himself - Writer / Director
Himself - Director, Film Historian
Donald Bogle ...
Himself - Film Director
Himself - Art Director
Mark Harris ...
Himself - Journalist / Film Historian
Molly Haskell ...
Herself - Actress
Miles Kreuger ...
Himself - Film Historian
Betty Lasky ...
Jesse L. Lasky ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself - Director


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Release Date:

6 December 2010 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Did You Know?


A photograph purported to be of American International Pictures' 'James H. Nicholson (I)' and 'Samuel Z. Arkoff' is actually that of Tony Sandler and Ralph Young of the vocal duo Sandler and Young. See more »


Singin' in the Rain
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Performed by Gene Kelly
Clip from Singin' in the Rain (1952)
See more »

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User Reviews

Not A Good Decade For Hollwood & It's Few Remaining Moguls
27 December 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Even though this episode is about the '60s, we are reminded that from 1940-46, profits soared in Hollyood followed by the decline of the moguls, who had to give up their studios. "The days of the guaranteed profits were gone," notes Narrator Christopher Plummer.

That sets up the 1950s - not the decade of peace you are led to believe, but nothing as volatile, either, as the '60s that followed. The point is that there were big changes made in America in the '50s "and none of them good for movies," according to Plummer.

For instance, the population shifted out of urban areas, where all the big movie theaters were; the family unit became stronger and dad wanted to stay home with mom and the the kids. Drive-in-theaters sprouted up; by 1960 one-third off all screens were drive-ins.....and, of course, there was television. Why go out for entertain when the family can stay home and watch TV dramas, comedies, variety shows, etc., for free?

What few moguls were left, we learn, had three mind sets regarding TV: (1) it wouldn't work; (2) we'll give audiences something bigger and better (Cinerama, Vistavision, Stereo sound, more color, 3-D and (3) we still have all the big stars like Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, Judy Garland, Montgomery Clift and the up-and-coming James Dean. Also, Hollwood, as film critic Leonard Maltin gleefully points out: "always knew that sex sells" so they began pushing that with Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe.

Meanwhile, those Hollywood "B" actors became mega-stars on television: Lucille Ball, Sid Caesar, Milton Berle and Jackie Gleason.

The movie minds did do one thing right: they began to appeal to a new audience: the teenagers, with teen rebellion flicks like The Blackboard Jungle and then later, rock 'n roll films.

This sixth segment of the seven-part, as with the others, has a whole bunch of material in it. In this case, things like famous films (Singin' In The Rain, All About Eve," and more), famous directors (Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock, Roger Corman and the exile of Charles Chapin) and the re-rise, so to speak, of United Artists, MCA and Hollywood agents which replaced the greedy, powerful Moguls of Hollywood history.

Real change, at least on screen, however, was about to begin the next decade when the liberals who had always run movies were about to get their dream wish.

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