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Never whisper to the deaf or wink at the blind. Slovenian proverb
This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us. Western Union internal memo, 1876
Shakespeare is art, but it’s not adapted altogether for the five cent style of art. ... The stabbing scene in the play is not predominant, but in the picture show it is the feature. Chicago police lieutenant, enforcing a censorship ban on a Vitagraph production of Macbeth, 1908
That the Cinematograph Exhibitors'Association of Great Britain and Ireland deplores the present tendency on the part of the Manufacturers to produce excessively long films to the detriment of the short length film upon which the prosperity of this business was built up and depends, it being obvious that the present number of inferior short length films is the outcome of this policy and must ultimately prove to the detriment of all parties concerned. Resolution in Annual Report for the year ending 31st March, 1914
The Committee view with great alarm the practical monopoly which has been obtained by foreign film production concerns of the kinema programmes of the British Empire. They consider that this must have a most detrimental effect on British prestige and must be seriously prejudicial to the best interests of the Empire, especially in those parts of the overseas Dominions which contain large coloured populations. Overseas Committee of Federation of British Industry; quoted in Kinematograph Weekly, 22 April 1926
[Motion pictures] color the minds of those who see them. They are demonstrably the greatest single factors in the Americanization of the world and as such fairly may be called the most important and significant of America’s exported products. ‘Certain factors and considerations affecting the European market’, internal memorandum, Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association, 25 October 1928
By William Shakespeare with additional dialogue by Samuel Taylor. Credits for 1929 production of The Taming of the Shrew, starring Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford; sometimes misquoted as 'additional dialogue by William Shakespeare
Looker, televiser, viser, viewer, televiewer, gleaner, witnesser, telobservist, visionist, teleseer, looker-in. Words suggested as TV equivalent of listener, quoted in Asa Briggs: History of Broadcasting, Volume III
Even perfected television would never overcome human reluctance to admit mechanical impediment between man and man. BBC Year Book, 1930
The BBC is most anxious to know the number of people who are actually seeing this television programme. Would those who are looking in send a postcard marked ‘Z’ to Broadcasting House immediately? BBC broadcast message, first TV audience research
The woman you have on the air appears very well on television. My set shows the waves in her hair. I could also see her eyes and white teeth. Chicago viewer, writing to station W9XK, 1933
[Television] might be regarded as a serious menace. Joint report of UK’s Cinematograph Exhibitors’ Association (CEA) and Kinematograph Renters Society (KRS), July 1935—ie, 16 months before the start of the regular 'high definition' BBC Television Service
The 'hard faced men' and their political friends kept control of the Government. They controlled the banks, the mines, the big industries, largely the press and the cinema. ... They controlled the ways by which most of the people learned about the world outside. ... These men had only learned how to act in the interests of their own bureaucratically-run private monopolies which may be likened to totalitarian oligarchies within our democratic State. They had and felt no responsibility for the Nation. Let Us Face the Future: A declaration of Labour Policy for the Consideration of the Nation. Election manifesto, 1945
See also Go to British film policy 1949British film policy 1949
The majority of the films exhibited throughout the world are American produced, most of them reflecting an artificial Hollywood look on life; in 1939 American films took up 65 per cent of the world’s screen time. Other countries are mostly unrepresented on foreign screens since they cannot compete with the lavishness of American productions and the impact of American publicity. Film-producing nations belonging to small language groups have been further hampered by the introduction of sound. Thus, with a few notable exceptions, feature films have done little to project the national life and culture of one country to another, although the possibility of using them in the future for this purpose should not be ignored. PEP: The Factual Film: A survey by the Arts Inquiry, 1947
Given two neighbouring families of broadly similar economic status but of differing educational levels, it is the family where the educational level is lower which is likely to acquire a television set first. BBC Audience Research Department, 1952
Go to Early TV audiences See also Early TV audiences
There’s been nothing like it since Charles II doled out patents for making soap. British TV lawyer on ITV company profits, late 1950s
cf Go to Roy Thomson Roy Thomson
The housing needs of the arts have never been considered as a whole in this country. The queue of housing priorities has been inordinately long for many years, but now that it has been decided to rebuild Dartmoor Prison we are not without hope that public attention may again be directed to the prospect of building the National Theatre. Arts Council of Great Britain: Housing the Arts in Britain, Preface, 1959
A programme that displeases any substantial segment of the population is a misuse of the advertising dollar. US advertising executive, quoted in Robert McNeill: The People Machine, 1970
What is television? It is education. We have newsreels, documentaries, forums and revolutionary model operas, ballets and orchestral music. They all teach. Chinese television administrator, quoted in Roger Howard: ‘Chinese message’ in New Society, 18 November 1971
If an American foundation had been commissioned to research the prospects of Gutenberg’s process called printing they would probably have said, ‘Interesting, but of limited value because most people cannot read.’ speaker at VIDCA Conference, Cannes, October 1972
We’re selective viewers. We watch a lot of BBC2. housewife interviewed on BBC2’s Real Time, 1 November 1973. BBC2 being the 'cultural' channel
Although more imagination and expertise is being used in the making of TV drama, a recent trend is unfortunately eroding this standard—videotape. Viewer’s letter in TV Times, November 1973
The most habit-forming discovery since tobacco. description of television serials
Television is bringing them [politicians] into our homes and now you can really see how awful they are, and how they are contradicting themselves and quarrelling. Before, you could only read what they said but now you see them in all their ridiculous reality, and it is clear they do not care about the country, only themselves. Ipswich housewife, quoted in The Times, 18 February 1974
Hosted by WABC disc jockey Frank Kingston Smith, Retro Rock is a historical retrospective on Rock ‘n’ Roll Music. The program explores the sounds of the Rock era—Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bill Haley, et al—to the present, along with insights and comments from the artists themselves. Retro Rock qualifies as ‘Instructional’ under FCC [Federal Communications Commission] definitions. American Contemporary Radio Network schedule, c.1975
Most pressures in broadcasting, whether technical, ideological or commercial, tend to reduce what is distinctive, encourage uniformity and narrow the range of choice. In television the centre always holds—it is on the wings that the retreat begins. Independent Programme Producers' Association's Submission to the Peacock Committee on Financing the BBC, August 1985 (probably drafted by John Gau)
Censorship can no longer be 100 per cent effective, but even if it is only 20 per cent effective, we should still not stop censoring... We cannot screen every bit of information that comes down the information highway. Singaporean Minister for Information and Arts, 1996
The consumer doesn’t care if optical fibre, copper or a highly trained duck brings them broadband. British Telecom spokesman, May 1997
The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious rights of man. Everyone can therefore speak, write and print freely, with the proviso of responsibility for the misuse of this liberty in the cases determined by law. [0045] ‘Declaration des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen’ (Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen), France, 26 August 1789
The first thing we did was look at old James Bond movies. US Army spokesman on a $1m armoured car with such built-in gadgets as laser guns, quoted in The Times, 2 June 2001
What we're not trying to be when we invest is elitist. It does not all have high cultural value. After all, this is lottery money. Certain films are not critic-led. Spokesman for UK Film Council, quoted in The Times 20 February 2004 in connection with the release of The Sex Lives of the Potato Men
See Go to Andy Humphries Andy Humphries
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Page updated 30 July 2013
Compilation and notes David Fisher