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Curator's Note:

Acting for television drama is a surprisingly challenging craft. The need to create an hour-long program each week means actors often work 12 hour days, 6 days a week. There’s no time for rehearsal and no tolerance for performers who don’t know their lines.


The most successful television actors convey an innate likability that can’t be faked. Only a small number of performers have the disposition, drive, and personality to succeed in this distinctive art form. This collection, from the archives of the “Pioneers of Television” series, includes some of television’s most beloved icons discussing the unique art of television acting.


More information about about this series can be found on Pioneers of Television


Providing support for PBS Arts

Exhibition Playlist

Backstage with television’s pioneering actors

Exhibition playlist 1 of 9 ‹ previous | next ›

Acting for television drama is an art form unto itself—with a breakneck pace, and new lines to learn every day. Actors in pioneering TV dramas often worked 12-hour days in spartan conditions. These photos provide a backstage look at the television acting profession of an earlier era.

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