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Not very much is sold in this exhaustive consideration of the old wasteland that hasn't been said already. But to the evils that Mad Avenne's sinister savvy hath wrought upon television. Mr. Mehling brings vitality, wit, and refreshing optimism. Everything is here: a sulogy for the excitement of the Kraft-moistened salad days; an extensive history of the medium and its relationship to the FCC; evaluation of the pay-TV, UHF, VHF controversy; a as sampling from the mouths of those responsible for the rape of the medium always willing and able to exhibit their hucksterisms obscenely (""We're programming for the younger, larger families the ones with more teeth to brush, more bodies to bathe, more hair to shampoo"") criticism of the egregious inanity of the formula-format serial (Pete and Gladya get mugged in print); the gutter-mindedness of continuity acceptance (the joke goes that they almost changed Peter Pan's ""fairies"" to ""gnomes""). One could take issue with Mr. Mehling's thoughts about the enlightened sponsorship of Standard Oil, Sell & Howell, and Hallmark. To any that said sponsors may mislead the public by their good behavior is to reason in the style of the old syndicalists. The highpoint of the book is Mehling's dissertation on the significance of the viewer letter, the power of the displeased pen over the neurasthenic agency men. His appendix, listing the names and addresses of those to whom to write, including an extensive list of products and the agencies which handle each, is a stroke of pure genius. This is an organizationally definitive book, bold and well-written.

Pub Date: May 25th, 1962
Publisher: World