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Radio and Television

Radio and television productions from the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s make up the core of the WCFTR collection but significant holdings in more contemporary media are also represented. Anthology dramas, television documentaries, comedies, action/adventure, and variety shows can all be found at the WCFTR.  

The largest of the WCFTR television collections is comprised of 3,500 shows produced by Ziv Television, the most successful producer of action/adventure programming filmed for first run syndication from 1948–1962. The Ziv library includes viewing copies and printing elements for every episode of Boston Blackie, I Led Three Lives, Highway Patrol, Sea Hunt, Bat Masterson, and thirty-two other series. Scripts, production, legal files, and promotional materials for these and additional Ziv series can also be examined at the WCFTR.

Other collections include materials from popular shows such as Victory at Sea, Project XX, The 20th Century,  The 21st Century, The Bell Telephone Hours, The Martha Raye Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, Bob Newhart, Paris, Lou Grant, and The Ed Sullivan Show. On the theater side, WCFTR has information on seminal comedies such as You'll Never Get Rich and Car 54, Where Are You?

Television pioneers whose careers are documented at the WCFTR include David Susskind, Fred Coe, Ed Sullivan, Reginald Rose, Nat Hiken, Isaac Kleinerman, Alvin Boretz, Paddy Chayefsky, Hal Kanter, Loring Mandel, Irna Phillips, Sy Salkowitz, and Rod Serling among others. More recent collections include the Papazian-Hirsch Entertainment and Steven Starr collections.

The main access point for television programs held by the WCFTR is by series and episode title. Information about television programs, documentaries, cartoons, and short subjects, as well as manuscript collection can be accessed by title in the University of Wisconsin's integrated library catalog:

[limit your search to the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives location to find the WCFTR's holdings]