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Quotations about Television

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NOTE:  Some of the quotes on this page were submitted to me by visitors, and not all have been verified for original source or wording. I'm working hard to confirm everything, but in the meantime please be aware of the possibility for errors.   —ღ Terri, March 2021

The best thing on television the other night was a meadowlark on my neighbor's antenna. ~William D. Tammeus

All television is educational television.  The question is:  what is it teaching?  ~Nicholas Johnson

I wish there was a knob on the TV so you could turn up the intelligence.  They got one marked "brightness" but it don't work, does it?  ~Leo Anthony Gallagher

And there is no question but that you can't sustain a mood, a dramatic mood of any particular kind, when at the end of the climactic moment of the scene, out come a couple of dancing rabbits with toilet paper. ~Rod Serling, quoted in Teaching Literature to Adolescents: Plays by Alan B. Howes, 1968; various wordings exist, including "How can you put on a meaningful drama or documentary that is adult, incisive, probing, when every fifteen minutes the proceedings are interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper?" ~Rod Serling, speech at Ithaca College (New York), quoted in Reader's Digest, vol.121, 1982

Sex on television can't hurt you unless you fall off.  ~Author Unknown

Television has proved that people will look at anything rather than each other.  ~Ann Landers

I must say I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go into the library and read a good book. ~Groucho Marx

Television has changed a child from an irresistible force to an immovable object.  ~Author Unknown

We cannot blame the schools alone for the dismal decline in SAT verbal scores.  When our kids come home from school do they pick up a book or do they sit glued to the tube, watching music videos?  Parents, don't make the mistake of thinking your kid only learns between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.  ~George Bush

If you came and you found a strange man... teaching your kids to punch each other, or trying to sell them all kinds of products, you'd kick him right out of the house, but here you are; you come in and the TV is on, and you don't think twice about it.  ~Jerome Singer

Television:  A medium — so called because it is neither rare nor well done.  ~Ernie Kovacs

The most important thing we've learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set —
Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all...
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out...
~Roald Dahl, "Mike Teavee is Sent by Television," Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 1964

Today, watching television often means fighting, violence and foul language — and that's just deciding who gets to hold the remote control.  ~Donna Gephart

[Television is] an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn't have in your home.  ~David Frost

Television!  Teacher, mother, secret lover.  ~"Homer Simpson"

Television is simply automated day-dreaming.  ~Lee Lovinger

They say that ninety percent of TV is junk.  But, ninety percent of everything is junk.  ~Gene Roddenberry

The publishers and others should quit worrying about losing customers to TV.  The guy who can sit through a trio of deodorant commercials to look at Flashgun Casey or swallow a flock of beer and loan-shark spiels in order to watch a couple of fourth-rate club fighters rub noses on the ropes is not losing any time from book reading.  ~Raymond Chandler, 1946

It's the menace that everyone loves to hate but can't seem to live without.  ~Paddy Chayevsky

They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they're hypnotized by it...
~Roald Dahl, "Mike Teavee is Sent by Television," Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 1964

What is being lost is the magic of the word.  I am not an image person.  Imagery belongs to another civilization:  the caveman.  Caveman couldn't express himself so he put images on walls.  ~Elie Wiesel, 1995

Everything is for the eye these days — TV, Life, Look, the movies.  Nothing is just for the mind.  The next generation will have eyeballs as big as cantaloupes and no brain at all.  ~Fred Allen

Time has convinced me of one thing.  Television is for appearing on, not looking at.  ~Noël Coward, 1956

We can put it in its proper perspective by supposing that Gutenberg's great invention had been directed at printing only comic books.  ~Robert M. Hutchins, News Summaries, 31 December 1977

TV.  If kids are entertained by two letters, imagine the fun they'll have with twenty-six.  Open your child's imagination.  Open a book.  ~Author Unknown


~Roald Dahl, "Mike Teavee is Sent by Television," Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 1964

The television, that insidious beast, that Medusa which freezes a billion people to stone every night, staring fixedly, that Siren which called and sang and promised so much and gave, after all, so little.  ~Ray Bradbury, The Golden Apples of the Sun

So much of TV seems to be chewing gum for the eyes.... TV desperately needs more self-reliance and pride in the medium. ~John Mason Brown, January 1955, modification of an earlier statement by Henri Peyre about radio, see

Television keeps the masses occupied.  What if everyone decided they wanted to make something of their lives?  Television keeps the competition down and keeps more criminals off the street.  What if everyone decided to go to law school or medical school?  It would sure make it tough on the rest of us.  ~Jim Urbanovich

Television has done much for psychiatry by spreading information about it, as well as contributing to the need for it.  ~Alfred Hitchcock

Television — the drug of the nation
Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation...
~The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, "Television, the Drug of the Nation" ♫

It costs only a penny an hour to operate your TV set, and there are times when it's worth it. ~Arnold H. Glasow (1905–1999)

The human race is faced with a cruel choice:  work or daytime television.  ~Author Unknown

If it weren't for the fact that the TV set and the refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn't get any exercise at all.  ~Joey Adams

What used the darling ones to do?...
Before this monster was invented?...
THEY … USED … TO … READ! They'd READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed TO READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
~Roald Dahl, "Mike Teavee is Sent by Television," Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 1964

Television should be the last mass communication medium to be naively designed and put into the world without a surgeon-general's warning.  ~Alan Kay

Every time you think television has hit its lowest ebb, a new type program comes along to make you wonder where you thought the ebb was.  ~Art Buchwald, "Adding Insult to Injury," Have I Ever Lied to You?, 1966

Television was not intended to make human beings vacuous, but it is an emanation of their vacuity.  ~Malcolm Muggeridge

Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.  ~Edward R. Murrow

Kids don't remember their best day of television. ~Author Unknown

The problem with television is that the people must sit and keep their eyes glued on a screen; the average American family hasn't time for it. ~Orrin E. Dunlap Jr., 1939

Ninety-eight percent of American homes have TV sets, which means the people in the other 2% have to generate their own sex and violence.  ~Gene Baylos

Television is more interesting than people.  If it were not, we should have people standing in the corners of our rooms.  ~Alan Coren

Men who have a thirty-six-televised-football-games-a-week-habit should be declared legally dead and their estates probated. ~Erma Bombeck

So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
~Roald Dahl, "Mike Teavee is Sent by Television," Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 1964

Seeing a murder on television... can help work off one's antagonisms.  And if you haven't any antagonisms, the commercials will give you some.  ~Alfred Hitchcock

What compels you to stare, night after night, at all the glittering hokum that has been deliberately put together for you?  ~J.B. Priestley, about Americans

So long as there's a jingle in your head, television isn't free.  ~Jason Love

I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can't stop eating peanuts. ~Orson Welles (1915–1985)

Watching television is dosing one's self with great jugs of that modern Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup. ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, "The spice of life," A View from the Hill, 1957  [a little altered —tg]

I have seen some good things on TV, but watching it now and then is not the same thing as the indiscriminate gluing of the eye to the screen that some people do all day, all night, using up time that goes by and will never come again... I think such addiction to the screen is a crime against life itself... ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, "The spice of life," A View from the Hill, 1957

The smallest bookstore still contains more ideas of worth than have been presented in the entire history of television.  ~Andrew Ross

Television has raised writing to a new low.  ~Samuel Goldwyn

Why are sex and violence always linked?  I'm afraid they'll blur together in people's minds — sexandviolence — until we can't tell them apart.  I expect to hear a newscaster say, "The mob became unruly and the police were forced to resort to sex."  ~Dick Cavett, 1978

Theatre is life.  Cinema is art.  Television is furniture.  ~Author Unknown

TV is the place where the pursuit of happiness has become the pursuit of trivia
Where toothpaste and cars have become sex objects
Where imagination is sucked out of children by a cathode ray nipple...
~The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, "Television, the Drug of the Nation" ♫

I believe television is going to be the test of the modern world, and that in this new opportunity to see beyond the range of our vision, we shall discover a new and unbearable disturbance of the modern peace, or a saving radiance in the sky.  We shall stand or fall by television — of that I am quite sure.  ~E.B. White

I could have been a doctor, but there were too many good shows on TV.  ~Jason Love

Do you realize if it weren't for Edison we'd be watching TV by candlelight?  ~Al Boliska

Television is not the Truth.  Television is god-damned amusement park.  Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, sideshow freaks, lion tamers and football players.  We're in the boredom killing business.  ~Paddy Chayevsky

I have had my television aerials removed.  It is the moral equivalent of a prostate operation.  ~Malcolm Muggeridge

The cable TV sex channels don't expand our horizons, don't make us better people, and don't come in clearly enough.  ~Bill Maher

[T]elevision's perfect.  You turn a few knobs, a few of those mechanical adjustments at which the higher apes are so proficient, and lean back and drain your mind of all thought.  And there you are watching the bubbles in the primeval ooze.  You don't have to concentrate.  You don't have to react.  You don't have to remember.  You don't miss your brain because you don't need it.  Your heart and liver and lungs continue to function normally.  Apart from that, all is peace and quiet.  You are in the man's nirvana.  And if some poor nasty minded person comes along and say you look like a fly on a can of garbage, pay him no mind.  He probably hasn't got the price of a television set.  ~Raymond Chandler

If the television craze continues with the present level of programs, we are destined to have a nation of morons.  ~Daniel Marsh, 1950

Television is a gold goose that lays scramble eggs; and it is futile and probably fatal to beat it for not laying caviar.  ~Lee Loevinger

Television is now so desperately hungry for material that they're scraping the top of the barrel.  ~Gore Vidal

On cable TV, they have a weather channel — 24 hours of weather. We had something like that where I grew up. We called it a window. ~Dan Spencer

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man not watch TV. ~Student at Brookside School, Long Island, 1966, completing the first part of the proverb as given by Candid Camera, CBS

Television hangs on the questionable theory that whatever happens anywhere should be sensed everywhere.  If everyone is going to be able to see everything, in the long run all sights may lose whatever rarity value they once possessed, and it may well turn out that people, being able to see and hear practically everything, will be specially interested in almost nothing.  ~E.B. White

We've seen so many detective serials we're beginning to suffer from private eyestrain. ~Arnold H. Glasow (1905–1999)

The marvels — of film, radio, and television — are marvels of one-way communication, which is not communication at all.  ~Milton Mayer

Back again, new and improved
We return to our irregularly programmed schedule
hidden cleverly between heavy breasted beer and car commercials...
~The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, "Television, the Drug of the Nation" ♫

Whenever it's on it's like having somebody in my house that I want to get rid of and they won't leave.  I hate the sound of it.  All that noise and light coming from a piece of furniture.  ~John Waters

Philo began laying out his vision for what television could become.  Above all else... television would become the world's greatest teaching tool.  Illiteracy would be wiped out.  The immediacy of television was the key.  As news happened viewers would watch it unfold live; no longer would we have to rely on people interpreting and distorting the news for us.  We would be watching sporting events and symphony orchestras.  Instead of going to the movies, the movies would come to us.  Television would also bring about world peace.  If we were able to see people in other countries and learn about our differences, why would there be any misunderstandings?  War would be a thing of the past.  ~Evan I. Schwartz, The Last Lone Inventor, about Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television

The great thing about television is that if something important happens anywhere in the world, day or night, you can always change the channel.  ~Author Unknown

My father hated radio and could not wait for television to be invented so he could hate that too.  ~Peter De Vries

Art is moral passion married to entertainment.  Moral passion without entertainment is propaganda, and entertainment without moral passion is television.  ~Rita Mae Brown

Imagine what it would be like if TV actually were good.  It would be the end of everything we know.  ~Marvin Minksy

In Beverly Hills, they don't throw their garbage away — they make it into television shows. ~Woody Allen

MTV is the lava lamp of the 1980s.  ~Doug Ferrari

If you read a lot of books, you're considered well-read.  But if you watch a lot of TV, you're not considered well-viewed.  ~Lily Tomlin

CNN, ESPN, ABC, TNT but mostly B.S... ~The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, "Television, the Drug of the Nation" ♫

Television is the first truly democratic culture — the first culture available to everybody and entirely governed by what the people want.  The most terrifying thing is what people do want.  ~Clive Barnes

I suppose I should get a VCR, but the only thing I like about television is its ephemerality.  ~P.J. O'Rourke

If you surveyed a hundred typical middle-aged Americans, I bet you'd find that only two of them could tell you their blood types, but every last one of them would know the theme song from "The Beverly Hillbillies." Right? ~Dave Barry, Dave Barry Turns 40, 1990

Television?  No good will come of this device.  The word is half Greek and half Latin.  ~Author Unknown

The same media people that claim violence on TV doesn't influence people, are perfectly willing to sell you advertising time.  ~Author Unknown

TV — a clever contraction derived from the words Terrible Vaudeville.  ~Goodman Ace

I have come to the feeling about television the way I do about hamburgers:  I eat a lot of hamburgers and I don't remember a single one of them.  ~John Barrow, 1973

The triumph of machine over people.  ~Fred Allen, about television

The one function TV news performs very well is that when there is no news we give it to you with the same emphasis as if there were.  ~David Brinkley

I have never seen a bad television program, because I refuse to.  God gave me a mind, and a wrist that turns things off.  ~Jack Paar

If it weren't for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television, we'd still be eating frozen radio dinners.  ~Johnny Carson

If any reader of this book is in the grip of some habit of which he is deeply ashamed, I advise him not to give way to it in secret but to do it on television.  No-one will pass him with averted gaze on the other side of the street.  People will cross the road at the risk of losing their own lives in order to say "We saw you on the telly."  ~Quentin Crisp

Life doesn't imitate art, it imitates bad television.  ~Woody Allen

There are days when any electrical appliance in the house, including the vacuum cleaner, seems to offer more entertainment possibilities than the TV set.  ~Harriet van Horne

When television came roaring in after the war (World War II) they did a little school survey asking children which they preferred and why — television or radio.  And there was this 7-year-old boy who said he preferred radio "because the pictures were better." ~Alistair Cooke

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Last saved 2021 Aug 19 Thu 11:47 PDT

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