18 Joanna Lee & Madeline Anderson From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

18 Joanna Lee & Madeline Anderson From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves.  It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

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Transcript:

Then we have to think about who’s getting recognized. In this case, Joanna Lee – in the early mid-1970s – is the first female to win her Emmy Award for a drama right? We have Treva winning for a comedy. Just about eight years later, Joanna Lee is going to win for the Thanksgiving episode of The Waltons. She had been an actress in the 40s and had sadly a car accident which made it difficult for her to perform and be on set for long hours. So she turned to writing. She became a television writer working on all of these many shows right? All the way through and it’s interesting to see how she went from comedies – we always think girls have to be funny first – and then she started to do dramas right? The Mod Squad and then moved into Dynasty but she got her Emmy award for The Waltons. So this is a huge moment – again a female winning this award on her own. That’s a big deal. Outside of that are there women of color in early television. Not as many as we would like as is always the case however Madeleine Anderson came up through the news business right? She started doing a black journal out of Chicago originally and then she got jobs on Sesame Street. So through the PBS network, she started working for them doing children’s programming and The Electric Company. Always things with an educational bent. She’s the first African-American woman who ever produced a nationally aired television series, also on PBS, and also an educational series. So Madeleine Anderson’s someone whose name does not appear in most of our history books. That’s always been a problem for me.

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves. It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

Watch this entire presentation

 

Women pioneers who created, produced, or shepherded many of America’s most wildly popular, early television programs will be profiled by Dr. Rosanne Welch.

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