A history of "the forgotten network," as seen through its own programs and personalities
The Forgotten Network
DuMont and the Birth of American Television
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During the late 1940s and early 1950s, the name DuMont was synonymous with the new medium of television. Many people first watched TV on DuMont-brand sets, the best receivers money could buy. More viewers enjoyed their first programs on the DuMont network, which was established in 1946. Network founder Allen B. Du Mont became a folk hero for his entrepreneurial spirit in bringing television to the American people. Yet, by 1955, the DuMont network was out of business and its founder and namesake was forced to relinquish control of the company he had spent a quarter century building.
The heart of David Weinstein's book examines DuMont's programs and personalities, including Dennis James, Captain Video, Morey Amsterdam, Jackie Gleason and The Honeymooners, Ernie Kovacs, and Rocky King, Detective. Weinstein uses rare kinescopes, archival photographs, exclusive interviews, trade journal articles, and corporate documents to tell the story of a "forgotten network" that helped invent the very business of network television.
An original and important contribution to the history of television, The Forgotten Network provides a glimpse into the dawn of broadcasting and the growth of our most ubiquitous cultural medium.
"In The Forgotten Network, David Weinstein performs a singular task of historical recovery, using archival materials and recollections of surviving DuMont employees to bring to life the story of this maverick network... Weinstein's book is elegantly written, richly detailed, and offers the reader a glimpse into an era that has all but vanished."
"In The Forgotten Network, David Weinstein moves with sure mastery and ready wit through the technological issues, political machinations, and blurry kinescopes that tell the story of the ill-starred DuMont network. Sharply insightful and smartly written, Weinstein's TV guidebook to a lost chapter in American broadcasting is a major contribution to both television studies and Cold War history. He answers a question that has bedeviled media scholars for decades: how did four networks become three?"
"[His] research makes a convincing case that relegating the DuMont network to a footnote in broadcast history is an impoverishing oversight."
"Weinstein's title is right on the mark....It is this emphasis on programs which makes this book so useful, as there has long been but scattered information on many of the shows telecast."
"The author has helped to resurrect an important story, and he tells it well.... The emphasis on programs makes this book so useful, as there has long been but scattered information on many of the shows telecast.... Weinstein has done a creditable job relating this sometimes complex story, a vital part of American television."
"David Weinstein has performed a valuable and substantial task for media scholarship in producing this engagingly written and well-researched study of DuMont...it is very good to see this accessible and fascinating account of DuMont."
"An important [story]... Highly recommended."
"This book needed to be written.... Author David Weinstein immersed himself in all things DuMont, and his thoroughness is commendable...this book provides a fascinating look into television in those formative years."
"...engaging... Weinstein makes effective use of corporate records and oral histories in a study that is both good business and cultural history."
"Thankfully, David Weinstein allows us to rediscover DuMont in the first comprehensive history, an outstanding institutional history of American television, of the network. Weinstein’s accomplishment in piecing together the network’s history from its few surviving traces deserves the attention of anyone interested in the history of post-war American culture and the respect of all who recognize the dedication and imagination that has gone into this research."
Learn more about this book and the history of early television at www.theforgottennetwork.com.
A Note on Spelling