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Los Angeles Documentary and the Production of Public History, 1958-1977$
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Joshua Glick

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520293700

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520293700.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

Studio Documentary in the Kennedy Era

Studio Documentary in the Kennedy Era

Wolper Productions Begins

(p.15) 1 Studio Documentary in the Kennedy Era
Los Angeles Documentary and the Production of Public History, 1958-1977

Joshua Glick

University of California Press

The Sputnik launch, the network quiz-show scandals, and the election of President John F. Kennedy inspired the desire to strengthen the body politic through educational forms of mass media. This chapter argues that Wolper Productions occupied an essential position on the cultural front of Kennedy’s New Frontier. Documentaries about citizens, politicians, and the Cold War functioned as narratives of assurance. With the assassination of Kennedy, Wolper Productions became the preeminent custodian of the fallen president’s memory. The studio’s films documenting Kennedy’s rise to the highest office (The Making of the President: 1960 [1963]) and his death (Four Days in November [1964]) performed an important social function during the period of transition to the Johnson administration.

Keywords:   New Frontier, John F. Kennedy, mass media, assassination, Cold War

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