Retro Active Television: An In-Depth Perspective on Classic TV’s Social Circuitry

Grand Prize Winner Los Angeles Book Festival

“Herbie J Pilato is the epitome of an appreciator of classic television. He writes with warmth, knowledge and a deep understanding of the history of television and the effect it has had on American culture. If you like nostalgia, this book will have you beaming!”- Helen Richman (Actor, Playhouse 90)

Winner Best Compilation/Anthology Los Angeles Book Festival
Winner Beach Book Festival
Winner New York Book Festival 
Runner Up San Francisco Book Festival Award
Runner Up London Book Festival
Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Finalist

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$24.95

Grand Prize Winner Los Angeles Book Festival
Winner Best Compilation/Anthology Los Angeles Book Festival
Winner Beach Book Festival
Winner New York Book Festival 
Runner Up San Francisco Book Festival Award
Runner Up London Book Festival
Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Finalist

“Herbie J Pilato is the epitome of an appreciator of classic television. He writes with warmth, knowledge and a deep understanding of the history of television and the effect it has had on American culture. If you like nostalgia, this book will have you beaming!”-    Helen Richman (Actor, Playhouse 90)

“I understand the power of nostalgia. I see and hear about it every day from classic TV fans who share with me their joyful, sentimental journeys. With RETRO ACTIVE TELEVISION, Herbie J Pilato so wonderfully clarifies the road to yesterday’s television as a safe, comforting and happy path for travelers to take and embrace in today’s complicated world.” –    Wesley Eure (Actor, Land of the Lost, Days of Our LivesDragon Tales)

“Nobody knows as much about classic television as Herbie J Pilato, and with this book, RETRO ACTIVE TELEVISION, he has created a classic commentary on the subject that exceeds all expectations. Herbie J demonstrates that he is more than a fan, critic, and historian. He is, in fact, the most insightful media commentator around, the possessor of a unique understanding of how television in all its forms has shaped – and continues to shape – past, present, and future world culture. A must-read is ever there was one!” –    Larry Brody (TV Writer, Star Trek: The Animated SeriesBarnaby Jones)

“Herbie J Pilato brings his expertise to bear with this extensive analysis of television’s effect and reflection on our culture; a book that connects the dots between the medium’s origins and milestones, between the past and the present…and how we can utilize it productively…for the future.” –    Marc Wade (The Television Academy, Emmys.com)

“Pilato understands better than most historians why certain characters, certain TV locales, certain episodes and certain lines of dialogue resonate with a viewer – often decades after s/he saw the show in question.  Will remind you of or introduce you to great series, amazing actors and filmmakers, and fun, newly-revealed facts. I couldn’t put it down.” –    Frank Balkin (Managing Partner, Worldwide Production Agency)

“I found this book to be quite satisfying and nutritious on both an intellectual and spiritual level.” –    David L. Harper (Actor, The Waltons)

“Television and pop culture historian and author Herbie J Pilato takes readers on a provocative and entertaining look into the agenda behind classic TV shows and the resulting trends. We’ve spent years of our lives in front of the tube; isn’t it about time we found out what makes that tube tick? RETRO ACTIVE TELEVISION will enlighten you.” –    Marc Cushman (Author, Screenwriter)

“Herbie J Pilato addresses the role of Classic TV historically, socially, psychologically, and morally. More than a TV dinner, this is entertaining food for thought.” –    Edgar L. Bullington (Entertainment Historian)

 

“Ever wonder what the people who bring us our TV entertainment are thinking? Television and pop culture historian and author Herbie J Pilato has, and now takes readers on a provocative and entertaining look into the agenda behind TV shows and the resulting trends. Even when it seemed television programming was primarily mindless, there was serious thought behind what audiences were presented. The networks, after all, believe in giving the people what they want, even when the people should have known better. We’ve spent years of our lives in front of the tube; isn’t it about time we found out what makes that tube tick? Retro Active Television will enlighten you.”  –    Marc Cushman (Screenwriter, Author)

Cover

Paperback

ISBN

9781958914083

Pages

240

Size

8.5 x 11

Year Published

2023

Author

Herbie J Pilato

1 review for Retro Active Television: An In-Depth Perspective on Classic TV’s Social Circuitry

  1. Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers’ Favorite

    Retro Active Television: An In-Depth Perspective on Classic TV’s Social Circuitry by Herbie J Pilato delves into the television landscape throughout the decades to see how viewing trends developed. Join historian Pilato as he takes you through the ever-changing world of television with the evolution of entertainment that includes the early obsession with Westerns, mysteries, and medical dramas. Check out the black and white classics that started it all like Bewitched, then meet the first out-of-the-closet gay characters such as seen on Will and Grace. View the impact shows have on society that saw Doogie Houser inspiring a rise in computer sales through a weekly electronic diary and the creative influence of Star Trek. This book analyzes viewers’ interests and popular tendencies that have occurred to transport you throughout television’s rich and engaging history.

    TV lovers, historians, and scholars will enjoy reading this thorough and incredible resource for all things television. From the perspective of someone that genuinely enjoys the medium, this book takes you on a journey from the beginning to more recent trends. The work includes a look at the quirky characters and science-fiction space adventures that have become favorites with viewers. Written from an analytic perspective, the book serves as an ideal source for studying the landscape of television. Television is used to attract attention and Herbie J Pilato examines how it has been used for marketing purposes which is a common phenomenon. It’s fascinating to see how public tastes have changed over the decades, going from Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie to more Western-based content and dramas. The book provides many familiar examples for each genre such as education-based programs, puppets, mysteries, and game shows. The content of television programs later moved toward anthologies, talk shows, and country-themed rural sitcoms that saw the rise and fall of genres. Screen gems such as Leave It to Beaver, Bewitched, and Dennis the Menace are compared to the emergence of Nick at Nite with the Dick Van Dyke Show, while Christmas animations have stood the test of time. Each example gives you a well-rounded understanding of television’s history by seeing it through attitudes and preferences which reflect the changing decades. Well-researched and thorough, Retro Active Television is a must-have reference for those seeking to expand their television knowledge, delve into history, and understand TV trends.

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About the Author

Herbie J Pilato is a writer, producer, director, singer/songwriter, and entertainment executive who was born and raised in Rochester, New York, across the street from the original home office of the Xerox Corporation, and up the block from the global main office of Eastman Kodak.

Pilato attended elementary school at St. Peter and Paul, St. Augustine and St. Anthony of Padua in Rochester. He graduated high school from Rochester’s Aquinas Institute, received a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Nazareth College of Rochester, studied Television and Film at UCLA, and served his Internship as an NBC Page in Burbank, CA.

Today a resident of Los Angeles, Pilato has worked for Sony, Warner Bros., NBC/Universal, CNN, Bravo, TLC, E!, A&E, the Reelz Channel, and other film studios and TV networks. In 2010, he founded the Classic TV Preservation Society, a formal 5019(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the positive social influence of classic television programming.

Pilato’s extensive list of critically-acclaimed, media tie-in books include Mary: The Mary Tyler Moore Story, Twitch Upon a Star: The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery, Glamour, Gidgets and the Girl Next Door, Dashing, Daring, and Debonair, The Essential Elizabeth Montgomery, The Bionic Book, NBC & ME: My Life As a Page In a Book, The Kung Fu Book of Caine, The Kung Fu Book of Wisdom, Bewitched Forever, and more.

Pilato is also a Contributing Editor Emeritus for Larry Brody’s TVWriter.com, a Features Writer for the Television Academy and Emmys.com, hosts his own TV talk show, Then Again with Herbie J Pilato (on Amazon Prime and Shout! Factory TV), and has recently recorded his second musical CD, Christmastime with Herbie J Pilato.

For more information, and a complete list of Pilato’s books, visit www.HerbieJPilato.com.