Television’s Golden Age: Mid-'50s to Late-'70s—From Its Roots in Radio, to Roots…and Beyond

Through screenings and discussion, we'll explore the most influential medium of the past 3/4 century: from TV's radio ancestry, into its early landmark achievements (Rod Serling's "Patterns" and "The Twilight Zone"), through the '60s “Rural Era” ("The Andy Griffith Show"; "The Rifleman"), through "M*A*S*H" and the early-'70s shows of Norman Lear ("All in the Family"; "Maude") and Mary Tyler Moore (her eponymous show; "Lou Grant"), into the historic miniseries "Roots", and beyond. TV's first quarter-century was a Golden Age indeed; while mining that gold, we'll study how the medium's first generation mirrored, critiqued, and impacted American history. We'll close with a glimpse of “the future”—David Lynch's early-'90s "Twin Peaks", the '90s–'00s Cable Revolution ("The Sopranos"), and the current Online-Content Era ("The Handmaid's Tale")—that places Classic TV in cultural/historical context.
NOTE: If available, Paul's friend Ed Asner (seven-time Emmy winner; “Lou Grant” in two acclaimed series, 1970–82; Roots actor) will join us in a live Skype conversation.

Required Readings: The Twilight Zone Companion: Second Edition by Marc Scott Zicree. Silman-James Press, 1992. ISBN: 1-879505-09-6
Note: Reading of the 156 individual episode descriptions is not required.

"Lou Grant": The Making of TV's Top Newspaper Drama by Douglass K. Daniel. Syracuse University Press, 1996. ISBN: 0-8156-0363-0
Note: Reading of the 114 individual episode descriptions is not required.

Paul McComas ’83 has won international filmmaking awards, plus a national prize for the adapted screenplay of his novel "Unplugged", in development as a feature film; another novel has been optioned. Paul has authored six critically acclaimed books of fiction, is under contract for a scholarly media book, and reviews movies and books for the "Milwaukee Shepherd Express". He's taught media, writing, and literature up through the Master's level, garnering teaching prizes at Northwestern and National-Louis Universities, and now teaches at the University of Chicago. Paul serves on the National Leadership Council of the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network—a key organizational partner in his nonprofit Dayna Clay Project targeting rape and suicide. He's received awards from the Mental Health Association, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin State Senate. Visit

Sunday, September 9, 2018 to Friday, September 14, 2018
$895 double; $1,175 single; $450 commuter
Television & Film

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