Weekend Talkshows Past - Conversation, a weekly program dedicated to the "art of conversation" - this December 20, 1956 program is about Christmas and features writers and personalities Bennett Cerf, Clifton Fadiman, Emily Kilbrough and Commander Edward Whitehead. The subject is Christmas.
December 18, 2010

Christmas ad in the 1950's - idealized portrait of a holiday gathering during very nervous times and everybody knew it.

Listening to this program, broadcast on December 20, 1956, I was reminded that, not only is the art of conversation extinct, it's been extinct for a while. There was fear it was becoming obsolete in the 1950's, the reason why programs like this came into existence. Why it's extinct now has probably something more to do with mainstream media than a general lack of interest in conversation between people. But in any event, listening to this program now it may seem really odd to a lot of people.

The subject is Christmas and the participants are mostly from the literary world except Commander Edward Whitehead who was President of Schwepps U.S.A. - and most notable, the spokesman for Schwepps Tonic Water ads throughout the 1950's and 60's. I'm trying to remember the last time an advertising icon was actually asked an opinion on something and drew blanks.

The other participants were well known names to a lot of people in the 1950's. was a regular on early Television Gameshows and something of a wit who wrote a number of books as well as a publisher who founded Random House. Clifton Fadiman was known more as a personality although he was highly regarded by many as a mid-Century philosopher and intellectual. Emily Kilbrough was a writer, auther and contributing editor to The New Yorker Magazine and numerous other publications in the 1920's all the way almost until her death.

Well known names for their time who are mostly forgotten now.

But here they are on December 20, 1956 all talking about Christmas - how it was in the deep distant past and how it was in the then-present.

These are most likely people who would be condemned in the mainstream media today as "elitist snobs" - something that appears to be a universal assessment for anyone with an i.q. over room temperature and who can put more than three syllables together in a simple sentence.

It's not a desire to dwell on the past as much as it's a desire to steer away from The Stupid.

Just saying.

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