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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, October 16, 1975. Interview G-0023-3. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

The early television industry and the executives who ran it

After the war, Clifford began working with the Federal Communications Commission, and as a result, he received a television before television became a popular medium of broadcasting. He and Virginia also became friends with the producers and directors associated with television, and she describes their relationships, particularly their tendency to trade wives.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, October 16, 1975. Interview G-0023-3. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Cliff was on the FCC. It was during that period, of the war, that he made the great fight for the educational TV. You see they couldn't build any radio, couldn't use the steel and material to build any radio towers. And FM had been invented, which is high fidelity, you know. So he was able to get through, this section set aside of ultra high frequency for the educational TV system, which he did. And that was a big fight, too, but that's his book. He got it done. Mostly on the TV the first things they had were women fighting in mud. It's the truth; you never would believe it. See industry gave Cliff an early TV set because he was on the FCC. They weren't for sale then, but they wanted him to watch the progress of it. And they had Mr. Howdy Doody on there, which the children adored-kind of like Sesame Street, you know. But the main thing was that they used to have women wrestlers wrestling in mud. Don't ask me why that attracted people, but they did. We had people over; you see it was an absolutely new thing you know and the neighbors would come rushing over you know and the main entertainment was women wrestling in mud. It was the craziest thing you've ever seen in your life. And then they'd have some little news on there. It was a pretty . . . The first TV was pretty awful. But one of the things that happened during that period was, once again, the TV people had lobbies. And they were always inviting you, me, to lunch particularly, having dinners and luncheons, you know, and all kinds of wooing the people on the FCC and then the Congress. Ah, the boredom. It seems to me that the big shots in the TV industry and the radio industry always married, always did away with their faithful old wives and married their secretaries, because the young women who were the hostesses of these men who were the big shots and who were the executives were always silly little girls who didn't know from nothing. They would have a great big elaborate lunch at the Mayflower, you know, with all these people there, this diverse group of people. They were just frightfully, frightfully boring. And so there again I told Cliff, asked him if his future depended on my going to these luncheons, and he said no, so I was relieved of that. I would say I was having children or somebody had a cold. I often wondered why it waswhy these, married such silly little girls. They were the secretaries. Of course they were pretty.