1950-1960 TV Blog
Danny Hetrick

After researching historical sources on television in the 1950s and 1960s, write an essay that describes the social, economic, political, and diplomatic impact of television on American culture.

Television changed the culture throughout the entire United States in various ways while keeping the population entertained.

People started to revert back to traditional ways of housewives, man going to work and kids going to school.  The housewife became popular again due to the stable economy along with men coming back from the war and taking back their jobs. Women were pushed out of their jobs and forced somewhere else. Television shows and advertisements began showing women advertising kitchen and household products such as refrigerators, washing machines, and vacuums.  That was perceived as normal back then and people began to conform to the social norms again.

The "Duck and Cover" video was widely popular throughout the 50's due to Americas nervousness for the Soviet Union's atomic bomb threats. Everyone was paranoid and expected a bomb at any second of any day. People expected to be in the range of a bomb dropping every day and some even bought or built a nuclear center underneath their yard or house. Most of these places wouldn't help to protect them but American liked to know that there was a "safe" option.

Advertising increased so much during the 50's and 60's. People realized that there was an opportunity for products to be shown and remembered throughout the market. The marketability of pain relievers became extremely popular and many would come up with catchy slogans or mottos for people to remember and to buy their products. Certain products advertised to get their businesses up and coming in order to become bigger. Timex used certain advertisements in order to attract wealthy buyers to buy their watches and promote it for fancy companies.

TV shows began to show traditional families again with mom, dad, and regularly two kids. This is about the time that the baby boomers began to become a part of society. The shows also showed how the economy was back on track. The families all lived in the suburbs or wealthy mansions. This was different from people in the 20's and 30's who were suffering from the economic damages. Most people weren't the "normal family" in the 40's due to the war. Most men were at the war while the women began working while the children were at school.

Industries began to explode with income and revenue within the economy. People had money once again and began to spend it freely due to economy being stable. The houses were mostly in the suburbs and most people only had the necessities which they saw with their TV's and radios. The large companies expanded and continued with advertisements whenever they were able to. The premium ads were run during the most watched shows including I Love Lucy  and The Ed Sullivan Show.

Little Rock High School was a highly publicized area with segregation. The Little Rock Nine were known for their desegregation of the Little Rock High School.  They were the first colored students to join an all white school. The governor called in the National Guard to stop them which defied the courts. This quickly began violent between protesters and school officials.

Brown vs. Board of Education was a highly public court case that allowed colored students into the public schools that didn't allowed colored students.  It promoted the ability for blacks into all segregated areas. This let them into schools and certain dining areas that previously banned them from even entering the site. White supremacists became intense in their efforts for an appeal and to do anything that they could to demote the desegregation of these groups.

The Tonkin Gulf attack was a major incident that helped to provoke a war. These actions allowed the President to pronounce war on North Vietnam. This attack was on a navy vessel and two air crafts were lost in the attack. Lyndon Johnson then made a speech and pronounced war on Vietnam.

Sputnik was the first space satellite to be successfully launched  into space and to be fully functional. It was the climax of the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States. The Soviet Union won by launching sputnik into space on  October 4th, 1957. It was a highly publicized race on TV that allowed citizens to see how their country was doing against another highly ranked country.

The Nixon-Kennedy debates were some of the most famous debates and presidential races in the history of the United States. It was the first one that could be seen on TV and heard on the radio too. People believed that Nixon won the one debate while listening to it on the radio but people who watched the debate on TV thought that Kennedy won in a landslide. TV glorifies beauty Nixon wasn't the most attractive  person and all of the girls loved Kennedy. He was young looking, charismatic, charming, and well known for his smile.

Comment Stream