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The 50s were seen as the greatest era of television to ever be broadcasted. The shows and live televised plays were said to be so astounding that it nearly put the film industry out of business in the U.S. as people stopped going to the theater and stayed home to watch TV.

The Criterion Collection has released a set of live television plays from that era onto a 3 disk set.

http://www.criterion.com/films/3560-the-golden-age-of-television
"The hugely popular live American television plays of the 1950s have become the stuff of legend. Combining elements of theater, radio, and filmmaking, they were produced at a moment when TV technology was growing more mobile and art was being made accessible to a newly suburban postwar demographic. These astonishingly choreographed, brilliantly acted, and socially progressive “teleplays” constituted an artistic high for the medium, bringing Broadway-quality drama to all of America. The award-winning programs included in this box set—originally curated for PBS in the early 1980s as the series The Golden Age of Television, featuring recollections from key cast and crew members—were conceived by such up-and-comers as Rod Serling and John Frankenheimer and star the likes of Paul Newman, Mickey Rooney, Rod Steiger, Julie Harris, and Piper Laurie."

I won't say that television has progressed and got better since then as it is completely diluted with reality shows and stock sitcoms and crime dramas but I wonder what the live teleplays would be like today if they continued that.
 
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