The University of Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television, and Theatre professor Christine Becker has received the 2011 Michael Nelson Prize for Work in Media and History from the International Association for Media and History (IAMHIST). Becker will be honored for her book, “It’s the Pictures that Got Small: Hollywood Film Stars on 1950’s Television” (Wesleyan University Press, 2009) at the IAMHIST Conference being held from July 6-10 in Copenhagen, Denmark. In addition, Becker will present a plenary lecture.
According to IAMHIST, “This biennial prize is awarded to the book, radio or television program or series, film, DVD, CD-ROM, or URL making the best contribution on the subject of media and history, which has been published or shown in the preceding two years. The prize is dedicated to Michael Nelson, whose passion for media and journalism inspired IAMHIST throughout the years.”
Becker’s publisher, Wesleyan University Press, states that, "… the book addresses how the interplay between television and film in the 1950s transformed television production and programming, affected the careers of countless film actors, and challenged the traditional mechanisms of the Hollywood star system.
“This groundbreaking study asks why certain film stars crossed over to television while others did not, why some succeeded in the new medium and others failed, and how the presence of film stars shaped the nature of certain television genres. Using extensive primary source material and new archival research, Becker argues that the early film-to-television crossover turned traditional myths of star-making inside out, fundamentally altering the standard workings of the Hollywood star system.”