I've enjoyed this weekend a few episodes of The Mike Wallace Interview, thanks to Boing Boing. These are television interviews from 1957 and 58. Kind of similar to Charlie Rose, actually. In particular, there is a series of interviews on "the problems of survival and freedom in America," featuring some of the leading public intellectuals of the period, including Aldus Huxley, Erich Fromm and Mortimer Adler.
I feel a strong connection to this period, just far enough away from World War II to work out a coherent response to it, and to be confronted the "organization man" phenomenon that followed. I suppose it is the influence of my mother; in particular these shows would have closely mapped to what she taught in "Problems of Democracy" class in her first teaching assignment at Juniata Valley High School.
It is striking how much broader the scope of political conversation and possibilities was in the 1950's compared to the past thirty years. We've been living in the era of TINA - There Is No Alternative for a long time.