This new Hollywood museum is actually a not-so-new New York museum.
The Museum of Television and Radio had been open in New York City for almost 20 years before they finally opened a west coast branch in Beverly Hills in 1996.
But it was well worth the wait for those of us in Hollywood.
How would you like to be able to push a button and listen to FDR's first fireside chat? Perhaps you would like to watch the final episode of "The Fugitive" ? How about watching Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon? Or the Beatles debut on the "Ed Sullivan Show" ? Want to hear Orson Welles' infamous "War of the Worlds" broadcast of 1938? Or would the kids prefer to see the very first episode of "Rocky & Bullwinkle" ?
Well, you can see (and hear) it all at the Museum of Television and Radio, where visitors can sit down before one of fifty TV consoles and call up their favorite television programs from days gone by, or don earphones to listen to historic radio broadcasts.
Located in a sparkling, new three-level building within walking distance of Rodeo Drive, the Museum pays tribute to two media which helped shape our modern culture. This isn't just some private enclave for scholars. The Museum has collected over 90,000 television and radio programs, and it's all available to the general public. (Robert Redford did his research for "Quiz Show" at the museum).
Carol Burnett ("The Carol Burnett Show"), Alan Alda ("M*A*S*H"), Candice Bergen ("Murphy Brown"), Lea Thompson ("Caroline in the City "), Sid Caesar ("Your Show of Shows"), Tori Spelling ("Beverly Hills 90210"), and John Lithgow ("Third Rock from the Sun") all turned out in person for the ribbon-cutting on opening day.
You may also notice that the various rooms have been named in honor of their celebrity sponsors: the Danny Thomas lobby, Aaron Spelling reception area, the Gary Marshall pool...
The Museum doesn't claim to have everything that ever appeared on television (they're still looking for tapes of Superbowl I, for instance, and the original pilot for "All In The Family"), but the museum's collection allows you to select from among 45,000 television programs, 20,000 radio programs, and 10,000 commercials, which run the gamut from comedy to drama, from news to game shows, from children's programs to political conventions; the shows include concerts, sporting events, science fiction, even TV movies and miniseries.
The museum building is spectacular; a 23,000, two-level work of art in its own right, with crisp modern lines, glistening with white marble and glass, and featuring an open two-level lobby.
Inside the Museum you'll find:
The museum also offers general temporary exhibits, such as "Star Trek: The Tradition Continues" (with life-size mannequins modeling the original uniforms and props from the "Trek" shows) and a collection of Al Hirschfeld sketches of Hollywood celebrities.
Plus, it has regular seminars about TV genres or individual programs, featuring television and radio clips from the Museum's collection, and often attended by the stars and producers of the original shows (with a chance for the audience to ask questions).
For instance, in September of 1998, the museum hosted
"A Conversation With Carol Burnett"
where the comedian took questions from the audience following a showing
of highlights from her career. In October, another seminar brought together
the creators of "The Simpsons" , "King of the
Hill" and "South Park"; while November saw "A
Conversation With Dick Van Dyke."
In 2007, the Museum of Television and Radio changed their name to "The Paley Center for Media".
$10.00 for adults
Wednesday through Sunday: 12 noon to 5 PM.
Two hours of free parking in the Museums parking lot. After two hours, the charge for the lot is $1 per additional half hour.
Getting there: the museum is located in a distinctive white building on the west side of Beverly Drive, at Santa Monica Blvd. / From Rodeo Drive, go north to Little Santa Monica Blvd., and turn right (northeast). Go one block to Beverly Drive and turn right. The Museum will be on your right side, at the southwest corner of Beverly and Little Santa Monica.
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