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The Culture of American Television during the 1950's

Noting the similarities in theme, setting, and plot formula in a typical 1950's television show.
by

Abigal Molina

on 25 May 2011

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Transcript of The Culture of American Television during the 1950's

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet Dragnet Father Knows Best Have Gun - Will Travel The Honeymooners I Love Lucy Lassie Leave It To Beaver The Lone Ranger Make Room For Daddy Twilight Zone Ozzie and Harriet Nelson and their sons David and Ricky portrayed fictional versions of themselves on the program. The Nelsons embodied wholesome, "normal" American existence so conscientiously (if blandly) that their name epitomized upright, happy family life for decades. "The story you are about to hear is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent." Thus began each and every episode of Dragnet, arguably the most famous police series in TV history. The Andersons were truly an idealized family, the sort that viewers could relate to and wish to emulate. The children went through the normal problems of growing up, included those concerning school, friends, and members of the opposite sex. They didn't always agree with their parents, but the bickering was miminal, and everything seemed to work out by the end of the half-hour. Paladin was not your normal gunfighter. He was an educated and a traveled man. A West Point graduate, he served as a Union officer during the Civil War. After the war, he went west and became a high-priced 'gun for hire.' He was based at the Hotel Carlton in San Francisco and enjoyed the finer… More things in life Set in a working-class section of Brooklyn, the series told of the daily life of bus driver Ralph Kramden and his wife Alice of 328 Chauncey Street, a rundown, walk-up apartment building, and their neighbors and best friends, Ed Norton, a sewer-worker, and his wife Trixie. To call Lucy "zany" would be putting it mildly; there seemed to be no end to the ridiculous situations she could get herself into, nor any limit on the wild plans she cooked up on her own or with Ethel. But no matter how crazy things got, Ricky and Lucy invariably ended up in each other's arms, Ricky declaring his undying love and (at least temporary) forgiveness. Week after week, audiences tuned in to enjoy the show's simple but satisfying formula: get the boy in trouble, have the dog save the boy, and let the boy learn a moral lesson from the experience. A warm, credible sitcom about modern suburban life as seen through the eyes of small children. "A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty "Hi Yo Silver!" The Lone Ranger. "Hi Yo Silver, away!" With his faithful Indian companion Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains, led the fight for law and order in the early west. Return with us now to those… More thrilling days of yesteryear. The Lone Ranger rides again!" Make Room for Daddy followed the misadventures in the lives of the Williams family. Danny Williams, a nightclub entertainer, (a character almost identical to that of Danny Thomas himself) tries to strike a balance between family life and the entertainment business. A collection of various tales that range from the tragic to the comedic. They may be scary or just thought-provoking. Most episodes have unexpected endings and a moral lesson. But, no matter what, it's "a journey into a wondrous land, whose boundaries are that of the… More imagination." 1950's TV Formula for a 50's Television Show Housewife Crazy Neighbors 2-3 Kids 'Breadwinning' Father Pet (optional) The population of the United States as reported by the 1950 Census is 150,697,361.
There are 1,667,231 marriages to 385,144 divorces
7,464,000 TV sets are sold at an average price of $300
There are 10,500,000 TV sets in 10,400,000 homes
Color television licensed - average weekly earnings reach $60. . TV first acknowledges pregnancy on I Love Lucy - TV still did not portray married people the same bed. TV Guide is born 1950 1952 1953 I believe...

* that to have a friend, a man must be one.

* that all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.

* that God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.

* in being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.

* that a man should make the most of what equipment he has.

* that 'this government of the people, by the people, and for the people' shall live always.

* that men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.

* that sooner or later...somewhere...somehow...we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.

* that all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.

* in my Creator, my country, my fellow man. Moral to the story
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