Rod Serling's "Hegemony Zone."
by Bob Pondillo
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
P.O. Box 413
126 Johnston Hall
Milwaukee, WI 53201
e-mail: [log in to unmask]
Submitted April, 1997 to the History Division of the Association for
Education in Journalism
and Mass Communication, 1997 Annual Convention, Chicago,
This research paper traces the changes of a 1956 teleplay by Rod Serling
entitled "Noon On Doomsday." Serling based his television script on a true-life
event of the mid-1950s, the killing of Emmett Till, a black youth who was
lynched in rural Mississippi for "whistling at a white woman." The paper seeks
to understand and explain the ideological and extra-media forces that vitiated
this powerful drama because it challenged the sensibilities and hegemony of the
The author wishes to thank Professors Genevieve McBride, Dave Pritchard, Karen
Riggs, and Earl Grow at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Mass
Communication Department, each of whom encouraged this project, read earlier
drafts, and made significant suggestions and contributions toward its
improvement. Thanks also to Mark Vargas at the Milwaukee Urban Archives, Golda
Meir Library, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Mark paved the way for my
first go at original research and the "mother of all" Rod Serling archives
(eighty boxes worth!) at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in Madison.
Finally a very special thanks to Penelope, my best friend.
Rod Serling's "Hegemony Zone"
On April 26, 1956, writer Rod Serling woke up to bad news. His teleplay, Noon
On Doomsday, had just been broadcast on the CBS network the night before, a
presentation of the United States Steel Hour, and the reviews were not good.
Jack Gould of the New York Times dismissed the telecast as "inconsequential."
Henry Furst, critic for the Cincinnati Times-Star said, "Noon on Doomsday is
high caliber but probably will not win the lavish praise heaped on [Serling for]
Patterns ." Serling himself wrote to a columnist friend at Daily Variety
saying, "for God sakes, Dave, if anybody asks you about Noon on Doomsday and
its author -- just tell them you never heard of me or it, at least until this
goddamned thing settles."
Serling later admitted he was "professionally destroyed" by the show, "for
about eleven or twelve months. People kept referring to me as 'the guy who
wrote that thing.' It also stuck to me that I was now a so-called controversial
writer. I read many Southern TV editors' columns where I was spoken of as 'the
guy who wrote the Till story.'"
What had happened? Serling was suddenly trapped in a new dimension, a
dimension of corporate capitalism and extra-media control -- a familiar place
where the status quo is praised, dominant sensibilities are rarely challenged,
and nothing upsets "the sale." He was caught, and even participated as a
willing partner, in a very real yet completely invisible place called the
How it all began
In late summer of 1955, a true-life event particularly stunned and outraged
Serling, as it had the nation. It was the story of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old
African-American from Chicago, who was lynched while on vacation in Mississippi
for the crime of "whistling at a white woman."
The drama of the event was palpable to Serling. But could a tragedy so horrible
and controversial be turned into a teleplay?
Serling was convinced it was a tale that had to be told, and he saw himself as
who could tell it. After all, he had just received the Emmy Award for Best
Teleplay of the 1954
season, the critically acclaimed Patterns, his 72nd TV script. Although he had
written (and seen produced) fifteen more teleplays since Patterns, he was still
caught in its shadow. Joel Engle, one of Serling's biographers said, "Patterns
was Serling's Death of a Salesman, and [it] established a benchmark for the
author's skill." It was the one script against which all his newer works
were being compared. Could he write another story as powerful? Could he
parlay the celebrity of a national Emmy into a play that would change the
attitudes of a nation?
It was admittedly a tall order, but Serling was up to the challenge. Another
Serling biographer, Gordon Sander, explains:
Like [Norman] Corwin, Arch Obler, and Orson Welles, as well as Clifford
Odets and the agitators of the
legitimate stage of that era, Serling fervently believed that the theatre
of the air, like the other literary
arts, in addition to being entertaining, should be both relevant and
provocative. Serling saw the
dramatist's role in American society as that of an agent of change and a
spark to controversy.
Or, as Serling himself said in a speech to the Library of Congress in 1968:
"The writer's role is to menace the public's conscience. He must have a
position, a point of view. He must see the arts as a vehicle for social
criticism and he must focus on the issues of his time."
Would dramatizing the essence of the Emmett Till story be that issue for
Serling? What could be more polarizing and morally challenging than the
question of racial attitudes in the mid-1950s? But, could he write a TV play
which accommodated the needs of commercial network television and which also
gripped the soul of a nation?
The Emmett Till Story
It was a hot, humid, moonless night in the Mississippi Delta. The southern
thick on the persimmon trees as the cicadas' song droned in the cotton fields.
Suddenly, the faint rumble of a new 1955 Chevrolet pickup could be heard. The
truck was coming up the back road with its headlights off. It was almost 2
a.m., August 28, 1955.
The half-ton Chevy rolled to a stop next to the shanty home of sharecropper
Moses "Preacher" Wright. Two white men stepped out of the cab. One carried a
flashlight; both were armed with .45 automatic weapons. They pounded on the
front door of the tiny, unpainted cabin. Waking the household, the two men
announced they'd come for "the boy from Chicago who wolf- whistled at the white
Moses Wright, the young man's uncle, pleaded with the two men. "The boy ain't
got good sense," he said. "He was raised up yonder . . . and . . . didn't know
what he was doin'. Please, don't take him," Preacher begged.
Wright's wife, Elizabeth, promised to "pay you gentlemen for the damages," but
the two men, Roy Bryant, 24, and J.W. Milam, 36, could not be mollified.
"You niggers go back to sleep," ordered Milam, as he rousted up one of the
youngsters sleeping there that night.
The boy they kidnapped and threw onto the bed of their green pickup was Emmett
14-year-old eighth-grader from just outside of Chicago. He had come south to
spend part of his summer vacation with his cousins in the Delta. It would be
his last summer.
Till's naked body was found less than three days later in the Tallahatchie
River at Pecan Point. It was described as "hideously decomposed." Only the
lower half of the badly beaten corpse protruded from the water, because the
upper half had a cotton gin fan, weighing about 74 pounds, attached to it with
barbed wire, suggesting terrible torture. The left side of Till's head was
missing. His tongue had swollen to eight times its normal size, and one eye
dangled. There was a bullet hole above his right ear.
The Jackson Daily News, one of the two dailies in the state capital, called the
slaying "a brutal, senseless crime and just incidentally one which merits not
one iota of sympathy for the killers. The people of Mississippi deplore this
evil act. Till's death has appalled Mississippi." A front-page editorial in
the Greenwood Commonwealth asserted that "the citizens of this area are
determined that the guilty parties be punished to the full extent of the
law." Its editor, Tom
Shepard, called the "nauseating" killing "way, way beyond the bounds of human
decency." The NAACP got involved. Time and Newsweek printed stories, as
did the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and the Associated Press. All of
America -- indeed the world -- was made aware of the death of Emmett Till.
Soon the wagons began forming a circle. The highly publicized trial of Bryant
and Milam began Monday, September 19, 1955, in Sumner, Mississippi. As the
macabre details of the lynching poured from the town, outrage and protests from
the North and East began filtering into the state. Between 50 and 70 reporters
from across the country descended upon the small cotton growing community, and
many white Mississippians began to hunker down to protect their own. Local
pride and self-sufficiency was at stake. The primacy of states' rights became
so urgent, the feelings of defensiveness so raw and exposed, that the
cold-blooded murder of a young black kid seemed secondary. "The court
proceedings produced front-page coverage throughout the nation. Probably not
since the the trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann in the death of the Lindburgh
two decades earlier had a kidnap-murder case generated so much front page
In 1955, neither blacks nor women were permitted to serve on Mississippi
twelve peers of Bryant and Milam included nine farmers, two carpenters and an
insurance agent. All five Bryant and Milam defense lawyers worked pro bono.
Their strategy was to appeal to Mississippi's "Anglo-Saxon" traditions and plant
doubt in the mind of the jurors that the corpse had been correctly
Years after the state had rested its case, the five defense lawyers -- the
entire Sumner County bar -- would admit to Hugh Stephen Whitacre, a graduate
student studying the Till case, that prosecutors had presented "sufficient
evidence to convict." Even the jurors later confessed that not a single member
of the panel doubted the defendants were guilty of murder.
Still, on September 23, 1955, after a jury deliberation of one hour and seven
minutes (the verdict would have come sooner but the jurors decided to take a
Coca-Cola break), Bryant and
Milam were found not guilty of the death of Emmett Till. The shock wave
of the acquittal was felt throughout the nation.
Serling's First Draft
The first and most passionate draft of Serling's Noon On Doomsday script
centers on the character of John Kattell, a white man in his early 20s, who
knifes to death a black man, Henry Clemson Washington, 19, in the town square of
Demerest, Georgia. Kattell is written as a drunken bully, full of rage and
racial hate who lashes out at those weaker than he. The play is narrated by a
Caucasian northern newspaperman, Chester Lanier. (See Figure 1 foldout.)
Washington's body is found immediately, and there are witnesses. Moreover, the
town sheriff arrests Kattell at the scene and takes him to jail. (In the actual
event Sheriff Harold C.
Strider of Tallahatchie County said he could not conclude the body found was
that of Till -- there
were no witnesses. Later, it was proven the body was that of Emmett Till's.
A local newspaper stringer, Ben Tyler -- portrayed as a sleazy, clubfooted
little man, more
of the town's chamber of commerce spokesperson than a hard-news reporter --
sends a "murder-by-self-defense" story to an Atlanta paper. The full story
eventually is reported by the Associated Press. The Northern "liberal" press
converges on the small Southern city to cover the trial.
Town attorney Bob Grinstead defends Kattell. We find out later that Frank
Grinstead, Bob's father, now the town drunk, was once a respected town attorney
as well, but was driven to drink and near-madness by a lynching, of which he
(Frank) was a part, 30 years earlier.
A jury of townspeople acquits Kattell of the death of the black man. During a
big celebration after the verdict, an incensed Frank Grinstead confronts the
drunken Kattell at the town square. Kattell kills Grinstead with the same knife
he used to kill the black man. In his death, Grinstead is symbolically
vindicated from the lynching 30 years earlier. Kattell runs off and is shot to
death by the sheriff.
Serling knew he had an explosive play in this story but, because of the racial
taboos of the times, didn't think it would work on television. Instead, he
brought the idea to The Theater Guild as a possible legitimate stage play.
Serling later said that most writers of his time who "probe current social
problems [using] them as background pieces on television . . . precensor"
Lawrence Langer, Director of the Guild, who produced teleplays for the United
States Steel Hour on CBS (and who coincidentally was looking for a project)
said, "I think you have the bone
structure of a very effective television play and I don't think you'll have to
dilute it at all."
Langer then promptly went about diluting it by telling Serling he couldn't make
it a teleplay dealing with racial issues. Serling explained such a thematic
change would "eliminate a great deal of the [story's] built-in emotional"
power. Langer said that if he wanted to get the idea "green-lighted", there
would have to be that one small change. Here was the first overt example of
extra-media influence (i.e., outside influence by sponsors, advertisers,
target-audiences, and the marketplace itself), but certainly not the last, in
what turned out to be a creative nightmare for Serling.
Although he felt the heart had been cut out of his script, Serling pressed
ahead with a draft for The Theater Guild and Batton, Barton, Durstine & Osborn,
Inc., the advertising agency representing United States Steel.
Serling's Second Draft
The second draft of Noon On Doomsday was the first full script submitted by The
Theatre Guild to BBD&O and United States Steel. This incarnation was an
all-white version in which Serling made the murder victim an elderly Jewish
pawnbroker who dies at the hands of a neurotic malcontent. Serling said,
"[it's now] the story of a town protecting its own on a 'he's a bastard, but
he's our bastard' kind of basis. Thus, the town itself was the real
killer." This version of Serling's script didn't pinpoint the state, but
the action was set in a small Southern border town somewhere "below the
Mason-Dixon line." (See Figure 1 foldout.)
Serling speaks about the horrific power of racism in this draft by introducing
a Jewish photographer who comments on the palpable town bigotry and xenophobia.
Frank Grinstead, the pathetic drunk in draft one, now becomes a respectable
attorney who was indirectly involved in a
town lynching 30 years earlier. The elder Grinstead is haunted by a dream
sequence which recalls the terror and injustice of the racial murder. By using
this dramatic device the audience gets to witness the lynching, complete with
the specter of anonymous hooded men who come to kill in the night.
Serling's jury of eight white men and seven white women (there were 12 white
men in the actual Till trail -- no women or blacks were permitted to serve on
Southern juries at that time) acquitted Kattell in one hour and seventeen
minutes. In the Till trial you'll recall the jury took only one hour and seven
minutes to acquit Bryant and Milam.
The second draft includes a town celebration in which the older Grinstead
confronts Kattell, proving the murderer's cowardice. The town, which protected
"its own", now shuns him and Kattell must, for the remainder of his life, live
with the shame and guilt of the cold blooded murder of an old man. Similar
consequences befell Millam, one of Till's killers. In a Look article a year
after the Till killing, author William Bradford Huie revisited Mississippi and
found Milam had been ostracized from "the white people in his own county who
[had previously] defended" him.
Serling was pleased with the second draft of his play. His message, he
thought, had been couched well enough to appease, while allowing a large
majority of the viewing audience to comprehend the ramifications of the real
tragedy -- mankind's need to find a scapegoat for its own deficiencies. The
script was eventually accepted as a dramatic offering in the United States Steel
Hour, an anthology network television series.
Serling was ecstatic. He wrote to friends, "Noon on Doomsday . . . is the
shining light of
my life." Moreover, he needed a hit. None of his teleplays were as
critically acclaimed as his earlier Patterns  and in other personal
correspondence he dejectedly wrote, "If I fail on this one [Noon on Doomsday ] I
think I'll want to give up entirely . . . It makes [me] feel if my best is not
good enough, I might as well walk away from the ring."
Serling's Third and Fourth Drafts
One day in early February 1956, while discussing the proposed play with a
reporter, Serling casually gave him a brief outline of the story. The reporter
said, "That sounds like the Till case." Serling said, "If the shoe fits ...,"
which he later admitted, "was a little bit idiotic to say." (See Figure 1
The wire services picked up the story that The Theater Guild was about to
produce a television play based on the Till murder. That's when "all hell
broke loose," wrote Serling. The Southern White Citizens Councils became
outraged and threatened a major boycott of United States Steel. Serling joked,
"Does that mean from now on everybody below the Mason-Dixon line is going to
build with aluminum?" Actually, United States Steel feared that the Ford Motor
plant would pull steel orders because of an "industrial public relations"
problem Ford was having with white and African-American workers on their
Southern assembly lines. Air the show in the South, they warned, and race
relations would be set back five years. CBS was even asked to to black
out the show in the Southern markets -- which they refused to do.
Serling was immediately summoned to New York. There he looked into the ashen
faces of executives from BBD&O, CBS, the Theater Guild, and United States Steel.
"You know," they sputtered, "the whole thing must be completely altered."
[T]hey then proceeded to say what had to be done to the script. It could
bear no resemblance remotely,
in context or otherwise, to the South or any existing institutions in the
South. It had to be moved up.
I agreed to move it up just as long as we didn't pinpoint it
geographically. They said, no, that it must
be pinpointed geographically to prove it was not in the South. So they
made it New England. This,
of course, was the most ludicrous of all the alterations imposed, because
the sort of emotional mob stuff that
was going on is now foreign to New England.
BBD&O removed the Coca-Cola sign from the set of the diner, saying it was
obviously "a Southern drink." (In the 1950s, advertisers readily asserted
that they could not afford to have
their products known as "Negro products." ) It was suggested the word
lynch  be omitted, contractions removed, and the letter g added to all
participles and gerunds, so that nobody would be talking with what the
extra-media forces (i.e.,the sponsor and advertising agency) called a
A side-by-side script comparison (See Figure 1 in foldout) shows that by draft
three and four, the play was beginning to take on the appearance of the final TV
show. More cuts were made of any specific ethnic or religious appearances. The
Jewish photographer character is excised, along with his potent comments on
religious and ethnic hatred. The murdered old man is
no longer an elderly Jew but a "foreigner from the old country." The old man's
daughter's name is Anglicized from Esther, an ancient biblical name , to
Felicia. The action is still set in a Southern city, but it's not clear exactly
where. In the fourth draft, the setting is clearly changed to New England with
no southern referents in speech, dress, or cultural artifacts.
In draft three, there was an usual, puzzling addition. Kattell was made to
own a competing store to Chinik's. Kattell was angry that the foreigner was
"undercutting his prices and stealing his customers." Such a change
switched the motivation for murder to greed as well as xenophobia, and in so
doing implicated the American system of capitalism. The competition idea was
abandoned in the fourth draft and would never again surface in successive
The Fifth or "Rehearsal" Draft
By draft five, the teleplay is no longer a tension-filled, dramatic and
compelling polemic on racial hatred, bigotry, and ignorance. The story's
dramatic focus is diverted from the true meaning of the murder and is diffused
among the relationships between the defense attorney and his father, an obvious
(if not completely developed) love relationship between the reporter and the
murdered man's daughter, the town's relationship with the killer, and the
reporter's need to confront his own lack of courage because of a physical
deformity. Also, some speeches are shortened and a love interest between the
reporter, Lanier, and the murdered old man's daughter, Felicia, is toned down.
The only salient points which remain intact from the actual event in this, the
rehearsal draft, is the idea of a small xenophobic town wanting to protect its
prodigal son from outsiders screaming for a conviction. (See Figure 1
The Show is Telecast, Responses are Negative
On April 25, 1956 The United States Steel Hour presented Rod Serling's Noon on
Doomsday, part of their nationally televised anthology series on CBS. The
critical responses from the television industry ranged from tepid praise to
simply dismissing the program as a non-event.
The day following the broadcast, one television viewer, a Mr. M. Kroll of the
York, sent the following sarcastic three-line post card to Serling:
Dear Mr. Serling:
May I congratulate you on your effort not to offend your sponsor U.S.
I am sure if Emmett Till could, he would thank you for at least basing your
drama on his murder.
Finally, may I congratulate you on your unimpeachable writer's integrity.
I'm sure your script fee will be a
soothing balm for your conscience.
A crank named,
In a surprising response, Serling wrote:
All of us in television eventually reach [a] crossroads of conscience where
we have to pause and ask
ourselves whether or not it is best to give in and let at least something
be said, or uphold principle to the
last, with the result that nothing is said.
I may be wrong, but I felt that NOON ON DOOMSDAY made itself heard. It did
it obliquely and
sometimes badly. But the words were there. And they stated quite clearly
the extension of prejudice is
violence; that prejudice is ugly, dirty and dangerous -- no matter what
level it exists on, or what group it
is aimed at.
A few more postcards like yours Mr. Kroll, and I'll cease trying to say
something I believe in. I'll stick to
Dragnet and the Lux Video Theater. My writing will hardly be memorable, but
there'll be no bad taste.
It'll offend no one in terms of morality.
Oh Christ, I know what motivated your card and all I have to say is that
we're on the same side. The
identical same side. Only how the hell would you have guys like me beat a
system, a medium, and the
whole goddamned steel company? If you've got an idea -- shoot it out
Serling's intemperate final paragraph speaks volumes as to the frustration he
felt over the way ideological level and extra-media mass communications forces
had the power to change media content.
Mass media theorists Shoemaker and Reese focus on how, what, and why specific
societal and cultural forces distort or otherwise change media content. In
Mediating the Message: Theories of Influences on Mass Media Content, Shoemaker
and Reese pull together most of the relevant content-influence theories, and
they have synthesized their findings into five levels of analysis: the
individual level, the media routines/small group level, the organizational
level, and the ideological level. Each level, from micro to macro, in some way
messages of mass media.
But to add clarity to Shoemaker and Reese's work, we must also look at their
media model within the cultural context of consciousness, ideology, and
Althusser first pointed out:
ideology has very little to do with 'consciousness'. . . . It is profoundly
un-conscious (emphasis his). . . .
Ideology is indeed a system of representation, but in the majority of cases
these representations have nothing
to do with 'consciousness': they are usually images, occasionally
concepts, but it is above all as structures
(emphasis his) that they impose on the vast majority men, not via their
'consciousness'. They are perceived-
accepted-suffered cultural objects and they act functionally on men via a
process that escapes them.
Lull uses the metaphor of a fish in water to explain consciousness in a
culture. He says that since "fish don't problematize the water in which they
swim, audience(s)...don't always analyze how their everyday environments,
including media symbols, shape their thinking."
We can conclude that consciousness reflects the continuous, repetitive,
redundant quality of the dominant culture's messages which, inevitably,
inculcates a system of values, beliefs and behaviors in audience members. If
consciousness reflects the messages by those who control the
forms of symbolic communication, then the mass media, according to Gramsci, are
the ideological tools the ruling elite use to "perpetuate their [own] power,
wealth, and status [by popularizing] their own philosophy, culture and
morality." Why are not dominant ideas and philosophies simply rejected by
the subordinate classes? It is because control of the mass media by the ruling
elite is just one piece of a much larger power puzzle. Other "messages
supportive of the status quo
emanating from schools, business, political organizations, trade unions,
religious groups, the military and the mass media [emphasis mine] all dovetail
together ideologically. This . . . mutually reinforcing process of ideological
influence is the essence of hegemony."
Using the levels of analysis model by Shoemaker and Reese and the concept of
let us try to understand what happened to Serling's script. The discussion will
focus primarily on
three areas: the individual media-worker level (the writer/dramatist), the
extra-media level (the sponsor/ad agency), and the ideological level (the
hegemonic power level). The organizational, and media routines levels will be
less scrutinized because the actual script vitiation occurred not at the
organizational, or owner/operator level (although CBS tacitly approved all
changes), and not at the media routines level, or structural level (although
United States Steel felt the stress of having to change the content of a
potentially controversial television program to which they had committed
To define and add context to the discussion, here is an interpretation of what
Shoemaker and Reese present as their five levels of influence on mass media
Individual level traits are described as "factors intrinsic" to the media
worker (i.e., the
journalist or television dramatist). These factors would include education,
ethics, political attitudes, religious values and beliefs, gender, ethnicity,
sexual orientation, and whether the media workers view themselves as a neutral
transmitter of information or an active participant in the
story. The evidence suggests that Serling saw himself as an active
participant in the story. He was stunned and angered at the Look articles on
the murder of Till, written by William Randolph Huie. These stories were the
spark that, according to Serling, "gave vent to a dramatic treatment of a small
town where a member of a minority is murdered and the town reacts with a general
feeling of grief."
Serling also spoke to interviewer Mike Wallace about the vitiation of his
"In 'Noon on Doomsday', which was based on the Till case, I wrote the
script using black and white skinned
characters, then the black was changed to suggest, 'an unnamed foreigner,'
the locale was moved from the
South to New England -- I'm convinced they would have gone to Alaska or the
North Pole and used Eskimos
except that the costume problem was of sufficient severity not to attempt
it. But it became a[n] . . .
emasculated kind of show. I went down fighting [the sponsor and ad
agency], thinking in a strange, oblique,
philosophical way, 'better say something than nothing.'"
Media routines/small group level are classified as the predictable, recurring,
standardized patterns of gathering and presenting information. A media routine
form, and timeliness to the media product. Time, space, competitive pressures,
and deadlines are
constraints media workers must routinize in order to facilitate the work of the
In short, without an information gathering and presentation routine, the
newspaper paper would never get out, the newscast would never get on, the
television dramatist's script would never be
United States Steel had committed time and resources for the timely production
of this network television offering. When script changes started taking place,
other media routines were disrupted. New sets had to be constructed, casting
different actors needed to be considered, the availability of studios and
technicians had to be rescheduled. Changes at any one level affects every other
level of organizational behavior and, in so doing, changes media content.
The organizational level has a critical and pervasive, if not readily
modifying effect on media content. This is the owner/operator level. It is
here determined who is hired and fired, what policies are set and enforced,
where the corporate culture is established, and
the degree of editorial independence the programming department has in
relationship to sales and
marketing. In this case, the owner/operator was the CBS television
network. The extent of its interest in the program was to make certain the
client, United States Steel, was happy with the "television product."
Also, 1956, the year in which Serling wrote Noon on Doomsday, "saw the
beginning of the shift of power from the network itself to the agencies and
independent packagers, whose overriding concern was of necessity the attraction
of the largest number of consumers and the alienation of the fewest."
Extra-media factors that influence media content include: sponsors,
advertisers, target audience concerns, social institutions, government, the
marketplace itself, technology, and the
various sources chosen for news or dramatic writing. It is this level over
which The Theatre Guild, BBD&O advertising agency, and United States Steel would
hold sway. Clearly, based on Serling's writings, once the script was sold, the
original producer, The Theatre Guild, abandoned Serling altogether. The Theater
Guild and the advertising agency were actively involved in line by line script
changes. Serling said the Guild:
. . . supported the agency right on down the line. I received not one bit
of support from [the Guild],
though it was through their good offices that the script was submitted...in
the first place . . . [T]his was
capitulation of the worse sort, because suddenly it left the writer totally
culpable and without support.
Serling was stunned because he had done what was asked of him. Initially, The
Guild said the script could not speak of "black and white" issues, and that,
ostensibly, is the teleplay Serling delivered in his second draft -- although
there was considerable racial sub text. The "backtracking" exhibited by the
Guild prompted Serling to write:
...[I]t's been my experience that when you have submitted a script within a
certain framework ordered by a
producer, he will then fight with you, on your side. As often as not, he
will not win, but at least you have
an ally. In this case I was completely alone.
It seems clear that Serling understood that, if he wished to get an explosively
controversial (or non-dominant) point of view broadcast in the American system
he would need the influence, participation, and cooperation of powerful
Also, one must consider the political climate in the America of mid-twentieth
century. These were anxious times. After World War II, as the Cold War began,
a paranoid trio of ex-FBI men organized the American Business Consultants, Inc.
They distributed a newsletter called Counterattack to the advertising agencies
along Madison Avenue. In it they listed names of "reds" (i.e., "creative
community" people -- writers, directors, etc.) who should be blacklisted by
agencies or sponsors. They also published a book, Red Channels, claiming to
expose Communism in network programming and naming over 150 men and women as
"card carrying Communists." As part of the McCarthy hearings, the counsel
to the Senate Subcommittee on
Governmental Operations Roy Cohn launched investigations of prominent Hollywood
writers, producers, and directors. This hysteria and blacklist-mania
"helped to fasten on television in its childhood years a terror of
'controversial' people and 'controversial' topics -- a phobia that tended to
stunt its development."
The ideological level can be defined as " the natural outgrowth of the way a
system operates." Ideology governs the way we perceive what is "natural"
or "obvious." Ideology is
fluid and constantly negotiating with popular culture and thereby adapting to
the organizational and extra-media requirements of society. The media is said
to have ideological power because of its ability to define a situation as
deviant, reaffirm social norms, and draw (or redraw) cultural
boundaries. So, ideology gives society meaning in ways similar to culture.
however, ideology's meaning is tied to power and economic, social, and class
interests. The mass media serve as an extension of society's powerful
interests, and, in so doing, control and reproduce the dominant ideology -- in
the case of western industrialized cultures, capitalism.
Williams defines ideology as a "set of ideas which arises from a given set of
material interests, or, more broadly, from a definite class or group." Hall
agrees but says ideology shapes
and maintains social class divisions, not just economic authority.
Thompson explains that in western democratic cultures, there is only "dominant
ideology" where symbolic forms are used by those in power to "establish and
sustain relations of domination." Lull synthesizes the lot by pointing out,
"socioeconomic elites are able to saturate society with their preferred
ideological agenda because they control the institutions that dispense symbolic
forms of communication, including the mass media." In any society, power
and prestige are companions. In television,
they are inseparable.
It is in this theoretical context that I focus on what happened to Serling, one
media worker at the individual level, when confronted with the power of
ideological and extra-media level control.
This paper is really a story about what wasn't shown on television, not what
eventually was broadcast. (See Figure 1 foldout.) The television network,
Theatre Guild, ad agency, and giant corporate underwriter discussed in this
paper were all members of the controlling, ideological elite. Each was involved
in protecting and maintaining a system that assured handsome profit and power.
By using television to control the ideas and images transmitted to the culture,
the elite secure the legitimacy of the owning class's political and economic
Serling's original play was intended to emancipate a society by examining the
"chronic problem" of repressed racism, but in so doing, his ideas collided with
powerful hegemonic forces. Parenti says, "Capitalism has no loyalty to anything
but its own process of capital accumulation, no loyalty to anything but
itself." It becomes obvious then, that the prime objective in capitalism
is to protect private profitability not to broadcast ideas that challenge
hegemony. The Serling teleplay's realism and moral relevance matter little to
mass communication as commodity. What needed to be protected was the American
commercial system of broadcasting. Ultimately, this "bubble of protection"
determines the content of television. Moreover, the concept of a "real" or
"morally relevant" story was -- and is -- anathema to commercial television says
Kellner. A realistic "narrative that simply reproduces the current form of
society as 'natural'. . .[is] actually subversive (my emphasis) . . . in the
falsely idealized television universe . . . A . . . 'realistic' picture could
subvert the image of American society perpetrated by the television world, where
society's chronic problems and worst failures have generally been
Clearly then, what TV doesn't say to and about our culture is just as important
as what it does say. "Television," explains Gitlin, "inscribes images of the
acceptable that go beyond its
stereotypes of men and women, blacks and whites, history and domesticity . . .
and we don't even
need to tune in . . . to [be] affected by the look and values that TV radiates .
. . [The networks] are not trying (his emphasis) to stimulate us to thought, or
inspire us to belief, or remind us of what it is to be human . . . what they're
trying to do is 'hook' us . . . By its sheer inertia, network television
convinces most Americans that the forms they see are the proper forms of
entertainment, even of culture."
Serling's early Noon On Doomsday script took a hard, unflinching look at
bigotry and racism yet that teleplay did not get broadcast in the America of
1956. Why? Because, according to Parenti, TV not only "sells" a "particular
product, [it] sell[s] an entire way of life, a way of experiencing social
reality that is compatible with the needs of a mass product, mass consumption,
capitalistic society . . . [I]ndustry confines the social imagination and
cultural experience of millions, teaching people to define their needs . . .
according to the dictates of the commodity market."
So just what was United States Steel "selling" in the sponsorship of this
television program? After all, the average consumer does not have a daily need
to buy a ton of steel coil, an I-beam, or yards of steel sheeting. In this
case, United States Steel was selling "goodwill," an image, and what Parenti
calls "the American System", an inseparable joining of capitalism and
Americanism "led by the oil, chemical, and steel companies, big business fills
the airwaves . . . with celebrations of the 'free market.'"  Corporate
image advertising, directed at influencing the public on political or ideologic
issues (as opposed to selling products), amounted to one-third of all the money
spent on network advertising in 1956.
Also, this was an "era when publicists, politicians, and intellectuals were
fond of sharp contrasts between American democracy and Communist tyranny ."
BBD&O -- "one of the most
conservative agencies" of the time --tried to keep not only United States
Steel but all of its clients'
network television involvement free of "race relations stories". Such
stories were seen as bad for
business. Indeed, advocating more power for the southern African-American was
regarded by many -- including the FBI -- as a position which smacked of
"Communist leanings." The simple threat of boycott by the white
citizens' organizations against United States Steel, should the original
teleplay be shown, literally terrified that "bastion of the fortune 500".
One may be appalled but not surprised at how Rod Serling's teleplay was handled
by the emerging television medium. After all, television of that era was not
established as a vehicle for
true public discourse; indeed it still is not. TV's need for media workers --
writers, directors, actors, musicians, costumers, set designers -- exists only
to the extent of having the worker create a positive environment in which to
sell products. Any idea which might be considered controversial surrounding the
sponsor's product thus threatened the product and its manufacturer. To the
agency and the sponsor, it made no sense to associate with a show that would
hurt business, no matter how important the program's message.
It's difficult to fathom, but a 1945 national Gallup survey asked respondents:
"Do you know what television is?" and "Have you ever seen a television set in
operation?" In 1949 only
2.3% of American homes had television receivers, but in less than five years
"the number of
TV sets in the U.S. . . . increased from 12 million . . . to 32 million."
With explosive growth like this, sponsors simply could not stay out of
television. Those who advertised on the emerging medium told astonishing
success stories. In a round table discussion, a television writer of the
period, Robert Alan Aurthur, related the story of Reynolds Aluminum: "They had
bought and stored enormous quantities of aluminum when the Korean War started
thinking the price would go up. When it didn't, they were stuck with warehouses
full of aluminum. So they bought a television show specifically to get rid of
it. And they did. They emptied the warehouses."
Another case was Hazel Bishop lipsticks, doing $50,000 in annual sales, took
up TV advertising in 1950, and sales zoomed to $4.5 million by 1952 and
continued up. As this new medium changed the mass marketing and advertising
paradigm, all the major industries of the nation had to get into television or
be left behind. And all felt they had to be identified with some kind of
programming. A vice president of the Association of National Advertisers said
if advertisers "could not be identified with a particular program of their
choice, they could not justify, for simple economic reasons, their present
investment in television and would feel impelled to withdraw."
By the time the so-called "quiz show" scandals hit the emerging medium in late
1959, broadcast historian Eric Barnow explains that "network leaders had long
chafed over the
degree of control they had yielded, early in broadcasting history, to
advertising agencies and
sponsors." Moreover, this extra-media control resulted in senseless,
Two network television pioneers, William Paley at CBS and Sylvester "Pat"
Weaver Jr. at NBC, argued for a "'magazine concept' -- a system under which
[advertisers] would buy only inserts in programs produced by the networks or by
independent producers for the network, under
network control." This paradigm, although not accepted until the
1959-1960 season, is the one still in place today. Still, if advertisers did
not like what they saw, or thought it would make a negative impact on product
sales, they could pull their schedules and advertise elsewhere. A network would
always try to modify programming content before turning away business.
However, had this magazine concept of sponsorship been available for Serling's
Noon on Doomsday script, it can be argued that, given the gestalt of the times,
there still would have been major content changes. The organizational
(owner/operator) level will always yield to, or at least try to accommodate the
concerns of, the extra-media or sponsor level. If the universe of potential
sponsors rejects a given script's concept, the network, pushed by the profit
motive, will drop the
project and move on to a less controversial script.
In 1960 CBS Chairman Frank Stanton said it this way:
Since we are advertiser-supported we must take into account the general
objectives and desires as advertisers
as a whole. An advertiser has very specific and practical objectives in
mind. He is spending a very large
sum of money -- often many millions of dollars -- to increase his sales, to
strengthen his distribution and
to win public favor. . . . [I]t seems perfectly obvious that advertisers
cannot and should not be forced into
programs incompatible with their objectives.
It is clear that television's main business -- its mission -- is to create
for the advertiser a compatible environment in which to sell products. Stanton
further observed that advertisers and
their agents should be allowed to participate in the creative process.
To that, Serling remarked:
It is my contention that if a sponsor chooses to utilize the dramatic form
as a vehicle of communication,
he has to take with it certain responsibilities which are innate in the
form he chooses. Drama is not a
bastardized thing that exits in a vacuum. This is an aspect of culture
that has its roots in many, many
past ages. With it come certain ageless standards, certain ancient aspects
of quality. [The sponsors] can
say all they want about moving goods, but if they want to move goods and do
it by calling all the tunes, let
them sponsor baseball games or bowling contests or something like that
over which they have no control.
If a sponsor chooses the play as a kind of piggy-back on which he wants to
use his commercials, then he
has to respect the form he's chosen.
But they do not. And they will not. Because commercial television is not
about "morally correct" expression. It is about bulk numbers, audience; it's a
message delivery system to
millions and millions of consumers at the lowest cost per thousand. Advertisers
advertise on television, as writer Myra Mannes said, "to move goods. That is
all. [Advertisers] are not here to
elevate taste, to inform, to enlighten, to stimulate. Our business is to move
To "elevate taste," "inform," "enlighten," "stimulate," these are products of
art, drama, theatre; and although TV uses the symbolic forms of drama, the
palette of the artist, and the techniques of theater, television is not art. It
is only the illusion of art because its purpose is to use artful expression for
the on-going commodification of culture.
In sum, Serling's teleplay, his controversial vision of the time, was entangled
in what Inglis calls the "heavy, saturating omnipresence of the way things are."
Such is the essence and power of hegemony. It's the domain of everyday
consciousness. An invisible place of belief "controlled by the dominant class,
but produced by absolutely everybody." A true and very real place of mind and
imagination that gives reference, form, and structure to the most mundane facts
of life. A comfortable place that provides each of us the sense that our
thoughts and ideas are all independently and freely chosen. But they're not.
Because we think along the lines chosen for us by our massive social
institutions -- schools, the legal system, churches, political parties, the mass
media, etc. These are the agencies of power; what the great French Marxist,
Louis Althusser, termed ISAs, Ideological State Apparatuses'. "Such
institutions are the mechanisms that
manage the consent of society and therefore shape ideology."
Any version of "the truth, we should remember, is necessarily attached to its
power to win a hearing. Truth can't win by it's purity as we'd like to think;
it must have muscle." Serling's "truth" was simply ahead of common
acceptance by the dominant classes of his time. He was caught, indeed as each
of us in every generation are caught, in the "Hegemony Zone".
American Business Consultants. Red Channels: The Report of Communist Influence
in Radio and Television. New York: American Business Consultants, 1950.
Aurthur, Robert Alan, Serling, Rod, Tunick, Irve, et al. The Relation of the
Writer to Television , Santa Barbara, CA: Center for the Study of Democratic
Institutions, an Occasional Paper, 1960.
Axelrod, Alan and Phillips, Charles. What Every American Should Know About
American History: 200 Events that Shaped the Nation. Holbrook, MA: Bob Adams
Barnouw, Erik. The Sponsor: Notes on a Modern Potentate. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1978.
Boggs, Carl. Gramsci's Marxism. London: Pluto Press, 1976.
Comstock, George. "Television and Human Behavior", Understanding Television:
Essays on Television as a Social and Cultural Force, ed. Richard P. Adler. New
York: Praeger, 1981.
Cater, Douglas. "Television and Thinking People", Understanding Television:
Essays on Television as a Social and Cultural Force, ed. Richard P. Adler. New
York: Praeger, 1981.
Curran, J., Gurevitch, M., and Wollacott, J. (eds). Mass Communication and
Society . Hall, Stuart. "Culture, Media and the 'Ideological Effect'".
London: Edward Arnold, 1977.
Kellner, Douglas. "TV, Ideology, and Emancipatory Popular Culture", Television:
The Critical View, third edition, ed. Horace Newcomb. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1982.
Engle, Joel. Rod Serling, The Dreams and Nightmares of Life in the Twilight
Zone. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1989.
Gitlin, Todd. Inside Prime Time. New York: Pantheon Books, 1985.
Hebridge, Dick. "From Culture to Hegemony", Sources: Notable Selections in
Mass Media , eds. Jarice Hanson and David J. Maxcy. Guilford, CT: Dushkin,
Huie,William Bradford. "Approved Killing in Mississippi". Look, 20: 46-49,
January 24, 1956.
___________________. "What's Happened to The Emmett Till Killers?". Look, 21:
63-68, January 22, 1957.
Inglis, Fred. Media Theory: An Introduction. Cambridge: Basil Blackwell, 1990.
Kerbel, Michael. "The Golden Age of TV Drama", Television: The Critical View,
third edition, ed. Horace Newcomb. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982. P.
Kroll, M., postal card to Rod Serling, April 26, 1956, general correspondence,
May 1955- September 1956, box 6. Rod Serling papers, U.S. Manuscript
Collection, 43AN, State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
Lull, James. Media Communication and Culture: A Global Approach . New York:
Columbia University Press, 1995.
Museum of Television and Radio, New York. Research Services Department
transcript, The Mike Wallace Show. CBS-TV, October, 1959.
Parenti, Michael. Inventing Reality. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1986.
Sander, Gordon F. Serling: The Rise and Twilight of Television's Last Angry
Man. New York: Dutton, 1992.
Serling, Rod, letter to Dave Kauffman, April 8, 1956. General correspondence,
May 1955-September, 1956, box 6. Rod Serling papers, U.S. Manuscript
Collection, 43AN, State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
Serling, Rod, letter to M. Kroll, May 12, 1956. General correspondence, May
1955-September, 1956, box 6. Rod Serling papers, U.S. Manuscript Collection,
43AN, State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
Serling, Rod, letter to Mr. & Mrs. Jack Natteford, January 21, 1956. General
correspondence, May 1955-September, 1956, box 6. Rod Serling papers, U.S.
Manuscript Collection, 43AN, State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
Serling, Rod, Noon on Doomsday television scripts, box 71 and box 79. Rod
Serling papers, U.S. Manuscript Collection, 43AN, State Historical Society of
Serling, Rod, speech before Library of Congress, June 30, 1968. General subject
file, box 2. Rod Serling papers, U.S. Manuscript Collection, 43AN, State
Historical Society of Wisconsin.
Shoemaker, Pamela J. and Reese, Steven D. Mediating the Message: Theories of
Influence on Mass Media Content, 2nd ed. White Plains, NY: Longman Publishers,
Thompson, John B. Ideology and Modern Culture. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1990.
Whitfield, Stephen J. A Death in the Delta: The Story of Emmett Till .
Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1988.
Williams, Raymond. Key Words: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. New York:
Prentice Hall, 1976.
 1 Gorden F. Sander, Serling: The Rise and Twilight of Television's Last
Angry Man (New York, 1992), p. 117. During television's early years, before a
national audience rating system was in place, negative newspaper reviews from a
few powerful TV critics could hurt a television writer's career. Like opening
night on Broadway, TV producers, writers, and actors, waited for the major
reviews to gauge success.
 Rod Serling, letter to Dave Kauffman, April 8, 1956. General
correspondence, May 1955 - September 1956, box 6, Rod Serling papers, U.S.
Manuscript Collection 43AN, State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
 Robert Alan Aurthur, Rod Serling, Irve Tunick, et al., The Relation of the
Writer to Television (Santa Barbara, CA: 1960), p. 12. In this transcript of a
roundtable discussion, several TV writers of the period relate their experiences
and frustrations of writing plays for television in the early 1950s.
 Joel Engle, Rod Serling: The Dreams and Nightmares of Life in the
Twilight Zone (Chicago, 1989), p. 112.
 Patterns is a play about the character and ethics of big business. It
examined white-collar power, human greed and ambition, and suggested one may
have to compromise one's decency to be considered a success in the corporate
jungle. It was such a controversial teleplay, CBS refused to broadcast it. It
was eventually produced, live, on NBC's Kraft Television Theatre on January 16,
1955, to rave reviews. On February 9, 1955, the cast reassembled to to present
a live, encore performance -- the first time in TV history that had ever
 Sander, op. cit., p. xvii.
 . Rod Serling, speech before Library of Congress, June 30, 1968. General
subject file, box 2, Rod Serling papers, U.S. Manuscript Collection, 43AN, State
Historical Society of Wisconsin.
 Some historians argue the Till murder was the seminal event that marked
the actual beginning of the modern American civil rights movement. The Emmett
Till murder occurred a year after the Brown V. Board of Education school
desegregation decision, and the same year as "Brown II", the follow-up ruling
requiring public schools to be desegregated "with all deliberate speed." It
also came three months before Rosa Parks' refusal which triggered the
Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott and launched the career of Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr., and came five years before the Greensboro, North Carolina sit-in
movement. Civil rights organizer Medgar Evers was shot to death in Jackson,
Mississippi eight years later. See, Alan Axelrod and Charles Phillips, What
Every American Should Know About American History: 200 Events that Shaped the
Nation (Holbrook, MA., 1992), pp. 311-314.
 Stephen J. Whitfield, A Death in the Delta (Baltimore, 1988), p. 20.
 William Bradford Huie, "Approved Killing in Mississippi", Look, 20:
46-49, January 24, 1956.
 Whitfield, op. cit., p. 22.
 13 Ibid., p. 26.
 William Bradford Huie, "What's Happened to The Emmett Till Killers?",
Look, 21:63-68, January 22, 1957.
 Whitfield, op. cit., p. 33.
 Whitfield, op. cit., p. 30.
 17 Huie, loc. cit. Huie, a Southern born writer, was criticized for
paying for interviews for his Look magazine articles of the Till murder.
 Whitfield, op. cit., pp. 35-50.
 Ibid .
 Rod Serling papers, 1943-1962, box 79, State Historical Society of
 Whitfield, op. cit., p. 41.
 The author found that Serling wrote several drafts of Noon on Doomsday,
at least six for TV and another for a legitimate stage production that would be
performed on a Westport, CT stage, or so Serling hoped. After the television
version was panned, the stage adaptation, although a much more complete and
powerful piece of writing, was never presented. Based on Serling's personal
correspondence with various writing agents, the television script was also
"shopped" as a motion picture vehicle for actor Richard Widmark. Again, after
the TV broadcast version, the movie idea withered and died. See Rod Serling
papers, 1943-1962, general correspondence, box 6, State Historical Society of
 Aurthur, Serling, Tunick, et al., op. cit., p.10.
 Aurthur, Serling, Tunick, et al., op. cit., p. 11.
 The author spoke with Mary Muenkel, archivist at the International
Resource Library at BBD&O, New York. She told the author no production records,
memos, or notes were kept by the agency for Noon on Doomsday.
 Rod Serling Papers, 1943-1962, box 79, State Historical Society of
 Whitfield, op. cit., p. 83.
 Engle, op. cit. , p. 125.
 Aurthur, Serling, Tunick, et al., loc. cit.
 Huie, loc. cit.
 Rod Serling, letter to Mr. & Mrs. Jack Natteford, January 21, 1956,
general correspondence, May 1955-September 1956, box 6, State Historical Society
 Sander, op. cit., p. xvii.
 Rod Serling, letter to Mr. & Mrs. Jack Natteford, op cit.
 Rod Serling papers, 1943-1962, box 71, State Historical Society of
 Aurthur, Serling, Tunick, et al., loc. cit.
 Ibid. The West Roxbury and South Boston antibussing riots and killings
were as much a symbol of white racism in New England in 1974 as Selma, Alabama
had been in 1964, and the Delta of Mississippi had been in 1954. David Wellman,
in his book Portraits of White Racism, (Cambridge University Press, 1977, pp.
xviii,35,41) says, "[R]acism is quite characteristically American and . . . it
can be found in different forms throughout the class structure." For an
excellent discussion of covert northern racism see Ronald Formissano's book
Boston Against Bussing: Race Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s (UNC
Press: Chapel Hill, 1991.)
 Ibid .
 42 Ibid. Also, Serling said in other scripts he had been "called upon to
make alterations in some of the dialogue. I was asked not to use the words
'American' or 'lucky.' Instead, the words were to be changed to 'United States'
and 'fortunate.' The explanation was that this particular program was sponsored
by a cigarette company and that 'American' and 'lucky' connoted a rival brand of
cigarettes." According to broadcast historian Erik Barnouw, in another case,
the word "gas" had to excised from a script dealing with the Nuremberg trials
and the Nazi death camps. It seems the sponsor, the natural gas industry,
objected. Some ad agencies intensely scrutinized the words and action of major
characters in scripts. In shows where two cigarette companies had similar
programming, a tobacco policy was issued by the sponsors. The cigarette company
that made filtered cigarettes indicated its policy was to have the drama's
villain smoke non-filter cigarettes. The other company, which made non-filter
cigarettes, ordered the bad guy smoke a filter brand. "The association of the
client's (cigarette) product with a villain, murder or whatever, is certainly
something to be avoided," said an advertising executive testifying before the
FCC in 1959, says Barnouw in his book,The Sponsor: Notes on a Modern Potentate
(New York, 1979), p. 51-55. Some advertisers argued that their products were
designed to "cheerfully" raise the standard of living for average Americans.
Advertising agencies bitterly complained the TV dramas being written were too
"real" and depressing for the general public.
 Engle, op. cit, p. 125.
 Aurthur, Serling, Tunick, et al., loc. cit.
 And Serling's mother's name.
 Rod Serling Noon on Doomsday TV script January 26, 1956, Act 1, p. 37,
1943-1962, box 71, State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
 Rod Serling papers, 1943-1962, box 71, State Historical Society of
 M. Kroll, postal card to Rod Serling, April 26, 1956, general
correspondence, May 1955-September 1956, box 6, State Historical Society of
 Rod Serling, letter to M. Kroll, May 12, 1956, general correspondence,
May 1955- September 1956, box 6, State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
 Pamela Shoemaker and Stephen Reese, Mediating the Message: Theories and
Influence on Mass Media Content, 2nd ed. (White Plains, NY: 1996), pp. 4-9.
 Dick Hebridge, "From Culture to Hegemony", Sources: Notable Selections
in Mass Media , eds. Jarice Hanson and David J. Maxcy (Guilford, CT, 1996.) p.
 James Lull, Media Communication and Culture: A Global Approach (New
York, 1995), p. 22.
 Carl Boggs, Gramsci's Marxism (London, 1976), p. 39.
 Lull, op. cit., p. 33.
 Shoemaker and Reese, op. cit., p. 65.
 Aurthur, Serling, Tunick, et al., op. cit., p.10.
 The Mike Wallace Show, CBS-TV, October, 1959.
 Shoemaker and Reese, op. cit., pp. 105-108
 57 Ibid., pp. 162-164.
 The United States Steel Hour, though paid for by the United States Steel
Corporation, and broadcast on CBS, is still considered the property of The
Theatre Guild , New York. Holdings are administered by Ben Aslan, Esq.
 59 Aurthur, Serling, Tunick, et al., op. cit., p. 3. Also, as is pointed
out in this document, in 1953-1955, when the balance of power was with the
networks, writers were freest to write. These were the days of the much
heralded Studio One, Lux Video Theatre, and Playhouse 90.
 Shoemaker and Reese, op. cit., pp. 175, 184 -186, 190-191, 194-199.
 Aurthur, Serling, Tunick, et al., op. cit., pg. 11.
 American Business Consultants, Red Channels: The Report of Communist
Influence in Radio and Television (New York, 1950).
 Alan Axelrod, Charles Phillips, What Every American Should Know About
American History: 200 Events that Shaped the Nation (Holbrook, MA., 1992) pp.
 Erik Barnouw, The Sponsor: Notes on a Modern Potentate (New York, 1978),
 Shoemaker and Reese, op cit., pp. 221-224.
 Ibid., p. 227-230.
 Raymond Williams, Key Words: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, (New
York, 1976), p. 156.
 Stuart Hall, "Culture, Media and the 'Ideological Effect'", in J.
Curran, M. Gurevitch, and J. Wollacott (eds), Mass Communication and Society
(London, 1977). p. 333.
 John Thompson, Ideology and Modern Culture (Cambridge,1990), p. 58.
 Lull, op. cit., p 8.
 Michael Parenti, Inventing Reality (New York: 1986), pp. 2- 24.
 Douglas Kellner, "TV, Ideology, and Emancipatory Popular Culture",
Television: The Critical View, third edition, ed. Horace Newcomb (New York:
1982) pp. 410-411.
 Todd Gitlin, Inside Prime Time (New York: 1985), p. 333 - 334.
 Parenti, op. cit., p. 63.
 Parenti, op. cit., p. 67.
 Barnow, op. cit., p. 66.
 Whitfield, op. cit., p. 83.
 Barnow, op. cit., p. 49.
 83 Ibid., p. 50
 77 Ibid.
 George Comstock, "Television and Human Behavior", Understanding
Television: Essays on Television as a Social and Cultural Force, ed. Richard P.
Adler (New York: 1981), p. 35.
 Douglas Cater, "Television and Thinking People", Understanding
Television: Essays on Television as a Social and Cultural Force, ed. Richard P.
Adler (New York: 1981), p. 11. Also, Kerbel suggests the mere proliferation of
television, growing from less than 10,000 TV sets-in-use in 1946 to over thirty
million in 1955, was the single most important development putting an end to
live, anthology drama. There were more sets-in-use in 1956 but their owners
were not interested in watching anthology drama -- or so the ratings suggest.
Apparently, anthology drama is a niche specific genre that attracts a "smaller"
(by TV standards) but loyal audience. Such audience-specific programming did
not work for advertisers of the era looking to attract tens of millions of
potential customers by the single sponsorship of a TV show. It is argued that a
"controversial program" aimed at smaller, more targeted audiences could find a
home--and advertisers to support non-hegemonic themes--on cable television of
today. Unfortunately for Serling, niche marketing as it's now called (or
narrowcasting) wouldn't become a serious sales strategy for another three
decades. See, Michael Kerbel, "The Golden Age of TV Drama", Television: The
Critical View, third edition, ed. Horace Newcomb (New York: 1982) p. 57.
 Michael Kerbel, "The Golden Age of TV Drama" , Television: The Critical
View, third edition, ed. Horace Newcomb (New York: 1982) p. 57.
 Aurthur, Serling, Tunick, et al., op. cit., p. 7.
 Barnow, op. cit., p. 47.
 With The $64,000 Question , scandal had reached the sponsor level.
Charles Revson, of Revlon Cosmetics, had repeatedly directed the producers of
the quiz show which contestants he wanted to win or lose. After FCC and
Congressional hearings during the Twenty-One/Charles Van Doren scandal, the
networks decided to "reorganize" and take back programming control from the
sponsors. A line might be drawn between the early "sponsors" of TV programs
(who proceeded as if they owned the show by exerting pressure on writers,
producers, etc.) and the later "advertisers" of television (who purchased small
chunks of time within an existing show.) The terms are used interchangeably in
this essay. Sponsors of 1950s television were undoubtedly "advertisers," and
advertisers of today are sometimes called "sponsors." The distinction, if one
wishes to find one, lies in that advertisers (or sponsors) of today simply do
not exert the enormous amount of power over programming as they once did.
 90 Barnow, loc. cit.
 Barnow, op. cit., p. 57.
 Aurthur, Serling, Tunick, et al., op. cit., p. 19.
 93 Ibid., p. 15.
 Fred Inglis, Media Theory: An Introduction (Cambridge: 1990), pp. 81-84