November 27, 2008
All the usual things, of course. Family and friends, as well as my loyal readers. Assuming those two groups don’t overlap entirely.
But here’s something for which I’m even more thankful. The Paley Center, the newest alias of The Museum of Television and Radio (f/k/a The Museum of Broadcasting) in New York and Los Angeles, now has its catalog online.
The search software is a little crude – Boolean searches appear beyond its grasp. Nevertheless, this is an enormously valuable research tool. It’s likely to yield up television credits I didn’t know about for some of my favorite TV writers and directors, or at least confirm or disprove data gleaned from less reliable sources.
More importantly, of course, it’s now possible to preview the Paley’s collection and plan ahead before making a visit. It used to be incredibly frustrating to poke through the UCLA Film and Television Archive‘s search engine and know exactly what that institution held on a given series or person – but not be able to do the same for the Paley. Finally, I can go through the videography of one of the writers or directors I’m profiling and know for certain how much of his or her work survives in an accessible venue, without leaving my desk.
(The Library of Congress and the University of Wisconsin-Madison also have substantial collections of early television that can be browsed via online searches. But since I’m regularly in New York and Los Angeles, UCLA and the Paley have always been the Big Two.)
Actually, it’s been so long since I’ve checked on this that the Paley Center could have had this feature on its website for years, but I just discovered it yesterday. So I know what I’ll be doing while I eat tonight’s cold turkey sandwich!