Playing at Paley

Playing at Paley

The Paley Center for Media

This past weekend I listened to an episode of the comedy radio program, The Jell-O Program. Hosted by Jack Benny, the program was a situational comedy that followed the antics of Benny and other regular characters and aired from 1932 to 1955 on NBC and CBS. You might be wondering how listening to this is even possible, given that it first aired about 82 years ago, but a trip to the Paley Center for Media took me back in media history.

The Paley Center is a mecca for fans of TV and radio, giving guests access to the center’s archives of TV and radio programs, along with advertisements and newscasts. During my visit, I watched part of a panel with the stars and producers of the show The Mindy Projectpart of the annual event, Paleyfest, featuring discussions with TV show casts and creative teams. I also watched an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show and an episode of Friends. The highlight, though, was definitely listening to The Jell-O Program. It began with an introduction by Benny and a message from Uncle Sam about supporting the troops during the war by buying war bonds, an amazing look into the life and culture of wartime in the U.S.

Visiting the Paley Center allows visitors to relax with episodes of their favorite TV or radio shows, learn more about various topics and gain access to programs they might otherwise not see. From clips of Beatles concerts to episodes of I Love Lucy, the center's collections includes almost any topic imaginable including politcis, documentaries, performing arts, children's programming, sports, drama, comedy, variety shows and advertising. Also, during the FIFA World Cup, the Paley center is showing free live screenings of each game (Full schedule here). 

 The Paley Center offers guests access to the archives for an hour and a half; however, visitors can stay longer if the museum is not busy, making this a perfect activity for a rainy day or a break from the summer heat. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors and $5 for children under 14.

» Paley Center for Media 25 West 52 St., 212.621.6600