August 18, 2002: The Museum of Television & Radio -- Beverly Hills, CA:

You may recall at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art [go to LACMA story] the famous painting "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" [This is not a pipe]. With apologies to Msr. Magritte, we dedicate our story about The Museum of Television & Radio to that same sentiment.


The Museum of Television & Radio [MT&R] is not a museum. It's called a museum; it's even marketed as a tourist destination along side other museums.

MT&R had even hooked itself into being part of a CityPass partnership called, "The Ultimate Hollywood Tour." A $59.00 ticket gives admission to MT&R, Hollywood Entertainment Museum, Peterson Automotive Museum, Autry Museum of Western Heritage, The American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre, a Star Line Tour of Hollywood, and Universal Studios Hollywood.

Fair enough. But let me repeat -- MT&R is not a museum.

MT&R is a resource center; an information library; an archive used for historical purposes. Want to check out the pilot episode of 'Seinfeld'? Interested in reliving Walter Cronkite's coverage surrounding the JFK assassination? Remember Ed Sullivan introducing 'The Beatles' to American television? It's apparently all here. Which, for a particular audience, or student of the medium, or fan of a past television series, would be great stuff.

But if I were a tourist with limited time in the Los Angeles area, this is not a destination I would add to my list of 'Things to Do.'

"Well, what did you expect, Jim?" I can hear some saying to themselves.

To answer that, I go back 10 years, during a visit to Chicago, when my older brother Brian and I visited The Museum of Broadcast Communications.

This museum did a great job of saluting Chicago's rather extensive history in radio and television. Along with a fairly deep archive of old shows which could be watched on video tapes, it also featured a nice little walk-through of exhibits.

We grew up in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, and so, it was fun to see various pieces of TV shows that we watched as kids -- costumes from the original Bozo show, puppets used on 'Garfield Goose,' pictures from 'CJ and Dirty Dragon Show,' 'Cuddly Duddly' and extensive information about the Chicago Cubs' broadcasts and Jack Brickhouse, were all really enjoyable to see.

We even went to the archive library, and watched a couple of episodes of 'The Ray Rayner Show' -- another local kid's program. Sitting there with headphones on, all we needed was our feet pajamas and a bowl of Sugar Smacks to munch on, and we would have been set.

Nostalgic, intimate, and very well done, the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago was a neat little surprise.

That's what I was expecting at the MT&R. Without a doubt, Los Angeles has an extensive local program base, and features the birthplace of hundreds and hundreds of television shows from 'I Love Lucy' and 'The Twilight Zone' to 'The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson' and 'Star Trek' - all filmed within 10 miles of this building.

Why can't they have a museum dedicated to some of the local broadcasts. And why not house it in MT&R? I can't answer that.

On the other hand, If you did want to visit, what exactly is in the Museum of Television & Radio?

Come on. We'll show you.


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