Series
At Issue
Episode Number
67
Episode
Obscenity and the Law
Producing Organization
National Educational Television and Radio Center
Contributing Organization
Library of Congress (Washington, District of Columbia)
AAPB ID
cpb-aacip/512-2f7jq0tk6v
NOLA Code
AISS
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Description
For more than a century police and courts around the country have wrestled with the problems of obscenity and pornography. At one time or another, censors and local and state courts have banned such works as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, An American Tragedy, Elmer Gantry, Jane Eyre, and Brave New World. The sands of justice apparently have shifted again. On March 21, 1966, the United States Supreme Court, in separate decisions, reversed a lower court ruling that Fanny Hill was obscene and upheld an obscenity conviction against Ralph Ginzburg, publisher of the magazine Eros. For a review of censorship and obscenity laws in this country, and a debate on the celebrated Ginzburg case. National Educational Television, in its monthly At Issue series is presenting Obscenity and the Law: A Debate on Recent Supreme Court Decisions. Veteran correspondent David Schoenbrun, who was most for N.E.Ts eight-part television series Great Decision 1966, will be the commentator for this program. Specifically, Obscenity and the Law examines such aspects as: the bounds of freedom of speech; the extent to which they are guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution; and the issue of censorship versus public morality. Appearing on the program to discuss Ralph Ginzburg v. the United States are Ephraim London, noted attorney in censorship trials who defend charges against the motion pictures Lady Chatterleys Lover and The Miracle and who edited the two volume The World of Law; Alan U. Schwartz, Counsel to the Civil Liberties Unions radio and television committee and author of Censorship: The Search for the Obscene; Robert Tofel, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the governments case against the book, Lady Chatterleys Lover; and Richard H. Kuh, coordinator for the New York State Combined Council of Law Enforcement Officials and former chief of the Criminal Court Bureau in the New York County District Attorneys Office. He has written a book on obscenity and the law which will be published in the fall. On March 21, 1966, by a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld convictions against Mr. Ginzburg who was found guilty by a District Court Judge in Pennsylvania of violating a Federal obscenity law by sending his three publications, Eros, Liaison, and The Housewifes Handbook on Selective Promiscuity through the mails. In the majority opinion of the Supreme Court, Justice William J. Brennan Jr. wrote that, the leer of the sensualist permeates the advertising for the three publications. The reference to advertising and promotional material, as a factor in determining obscenity, marked a departure from the Courts adherence to the obscenity test it established in 1957 in Roth v. United States. In one of three dissenting opinions written, Justice Potter Stewart warned, Censorship reflects a societys lack of confident in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. It is against the background of such divergent opinions by the Justices that At Issue: Obscenity and the Law focuses on this national issue which involves legal and literary worlds, as well as the public in general. Running Time: 57:45 (Description adapted from documents in the NET Microfiche)
This one-hour videotaped program will be a summary of obscenity and the law in the United States from the 1821 Massachusetts ban on Fanny Hill to the 1966 Supreme Court Decision on Eros. (Description adapted from documents in the NET Microfiche)
1 hour piece, produced by NET and initially distributed by NET in 1966.
The program will consist mainly of a debate on the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the obscenity conviction of Ralph Ginzburg, publisher of Eros. The participants in the debate will be lawyers and literary figures. The program will also include an interview with Mr. Ginzburg and a brief description of his magazine. (Description adapted from documents in the NET Microfiche)
An examination of the controversy over what is and what is not obscenity, and in particular, over the conviction of Ralph Ginzburg, publisher of the now defunct Eros magazine. (Source: NET Jan-June 1966 Semi-Annual Report) (Description adapted from documents in the NET Microfiche)
At Issue consists of 69 half-hour and hour-long episodes produced in 1963-1966 by NET, which were originally shot on videotape in black and white and color.
Broadcast
1966-06-01
Asset type
Episode
Genres
Talk Show
News
Topics
News
Social Issues
Politics and Government
Law Enforcement and Crime
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
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Credits
Director: Rigsby, Gordon
Executive Producer: Perlmutter, Alvin H.
Guest: London, Ephraim
Guest: Kuh, Richard H.
Guest: Schwartz, Alan U.
Guest: Tofel, Robert
Host: Schoenbrun, David
Producer: Silverstein, Morton
Producing Organization: National Educational Television and Radio Center
Writer: Silverstein, Morton
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2047441-1 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 2 inch videotape
Generation: Master
Color: B&W
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2047441-2 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 1 inch videotape: SMPTE Type C
Generation: Master
Color: B&W
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2047441-3 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: U-matic
Generation: Copy: Access
Color: B&W
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2047441-4 (MAVIS Item ID)
Generation: Master
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2047441-5 (MAVIS Item ID)
Generation: Copy: Access

Identifier: cpb-aacip-512-2f7jq0tk6v.mp4.mp4 (mediainfo)
Format: video/mp4
Generation: Proxy
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Citations
Chicago: “At Issue; 67; Obscenity and the Law,” 1966-06-01, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 24, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_512-2f7jq0tk6v.
MLA: “At Issue; 67; Obscenity and the Law.” 1966-06-01. Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 24, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_512-2f7jq0tk6v>.
APA: At Issue; 67; Obscenity and the Law. Boston, MA: Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_512-2f7jq0tk6v