September 9, 2003

Backstage at CBS-TV’s Chronoscope: A Portrait of the Post–World War II Era

Premiere Exhibit to Include Photos of Joseph R. McCarthy, Henry Ford II, John Foster Dulles, and Clare Boothe Luce, amon

New York, NY-The Museum of Television & Radio will present Backstage at CBS-TV's Chronoscope: A Portrait of the Post-World War II Era, a gallery exhibit of photographs taken backstage during the 1951-55 late-night current events program titled Longines Chronoscope.  This exhibit, which features images of Joseph R. McCarthy, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr., John Foster Dulles, Clare Boothe Luce, and Henry Ford II, among others, marks the first time ever that these photographs will be publicly displayed.  The exhibit will also feature clips from the series with other guests, including John F. Kennedy, Hubert H. Humphrey, and Eleanor Roosevelt.  Backstage at CBS-TV's Chronoscope will be on display in the Museum's Steven Spielberg Gallery from September 30, 2003, through January 2004.  

Ahead of Its Time

Formatted like such Sunday-morning news shows as Meet the Press and Face the Nation, Chronoscope featured a rotating panel of journalists (dubbed coeditors) grilling congressmen, senators, diplomats, politicians, military leaders, and assorted other movers and shakers on pressing domestic and international issues.  The show was produced and directed by Alan R. Cartoun, an amateur photographer.  Inspired by Henri Cartier-Bresson's book, The Decisive Moment, he took advantage of preshow "warmup" sessions in backstage dressing rooms to snap informal portraits of his guests. 

Although Cartoun processed the negatives and produced contact sheets in the stainless steel kitchen of his New York City hotel room every night, he was too busy to strike the prints.  Fifty years later, while packing for a move, Cartoun rediscovered the contact sheets and, while the negatives themselves had been lost, was finally able to bring these images-now a half century old-to life, through the use of powerful computer technology. 

Chronoscope was hosted most often by Frank Knight, who also delivered the commercials for Longines-Wittnauer.  Some of the more notable coeditors over the years were William F. Buckley, Jr., then associate editor of American Mercury; Harrison Salisbury of the New York Times; author, poet, and editor Max Eastman; and Charles Collinwood, Walter Cronkite, Daniel Schorr, and Robert Trout, all of CBS News. 

Portraits of an Era

Portraits to be exhibited include William Bullitt, America's first ambassador to the Soviet Union; Hale Boggs, majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives; Frank Knight, television and radio announcer; Herman Talmadge, governor of Georgia and U.S. senator; Krishna Menon, Indian diplomat and nationalist; Larry LaSeuer, CBS newsman and coeditor of Chronoscope; Joseph R. McCarthy, senator; Eric Johnson, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and head of the precursor to the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America); General Lemuel C. Shepperd, Jr., commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps; Henri Bonnet, French diplomat and scholar; Henry Ford II, industrialist and alternate delegate to the United Nations General Assembly; Clare Boothe Luce, journalist, playwright, Connecticut representative, and U.S. ambassador to Italy; Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr., New York representative; George Meany, president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO); John Foster Dulles, secretary of state under Eisenhower; and Thomas E. Dewey, governor of New York, two-time presidential nominee, and renowned organized-crime buster. 

Photos of Chronoscope are available either by downloading at or by contacting the publicity department at (212) 621-6735. 

The Museum of Television & Radio, with locations in New York and Los Angeles, is a nonprofit organization founded by William S. Paley to collect and preserve television and radio programs and advertisements and to make them available to the public.  Since opening in 1976, the Museum has organized exhibitions, screening and listening series, seminars, and education classes to showcase its collection of over 100,000 television and radio programs and advertisements.  In 2001 the Museum initiated a process to acquire Internet programming for the collection.  Programs in the Museum's permanent collection are selected for their artistic, cultural, and historic significance.

The Museum of Television & Radio in New York, located at 25 West 52 Street in Manhattan, is open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 6:00 p.m. and until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays. The Museum of Television & Radio in California, located at 465 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, is open Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 5:00 p.m. Both Museums are closed on New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Suggested contribution: Members free; $10.00 for adults; $8.00 for senior citizens and students; and $5.00 for children under fourteen. Admission is free in Los Angeles.  The public areas in both Museums are accessible to wheelchairs, and assisted listening devices are available. Programs are subject to change. You may call the Museum in New York at (212) 621-6800, or in Los Angeles at (310) 786-1000.  Visit the Museum's website at


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