The New Entrepreneurs: An Institutional History of Television Anthology Writers
Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2010
Jonathan B. Kraszewski, Ph.D.
College of Communication and the Arts
Part of the Wesleyan Film Series edited by Jeanie Basinger.
According to the sociologist C. Wright Mills in his 1951 book, White
Collar: The American Middle Classes, the "new entrepreneur" was a lone
wolf able to succeed in post-World War II corporate America by
elusively meandering through various institutions. During this time,
anthology writers such as Rod Serling, Reginald Rose, and Paddy
Chayefsky achieved a level of creativity that has rarely been equaled
on television since. Yet despite their success, anthology writers still
needed to evade the constraints and censorship of 50s television in
order to stay true to their creative powers and political visions. Thus
they worked as new entrepreneurs who adapted their more controversial
scripts for the Hollywood, Broadway, and book publishing industries.
Even after the television networks cancelled their prestigious
anthology series at the end of the 50s, the most resilient writers were
able to redefine what it meant to be entrepreneurs by launching
cutting-edge shows such as The Twilight Zone and The Defenders that are
still popular today. The New Entrepreneurs includes detailed textual
analysis of legendary, sometimes hard-to-find, television anthology
scripts that have received only cursory glances in television history