Television is the first audiovisual device that changed the way people see entertainment. It opened the field of recreation and mass communication. It made possible for people and families to watch live events in the amenities of their drawing room. The aftermath of World War II had faded away by 1950s. Economy was booming again and people had cash in their wallets. Prosperity was returning to America.
It was in the 1950s, when the television started influencing the life of the common men. According to a survey, approximately 3.1 million people had television sets in America in the 1950s.
The Best Part Of Television
Popularity of radio and print media began to fade away gradually, as television set its hold on people’s life. Here are some quick facts about television in the 1950s.
There were as many as 102 television manufacturers in the 1950s and hence, people had a great deal of options to choose from. Here are a few sets from the 1950s, to give you a sense of how it looked in its early days.
Other than these, there were numerous other popular brands of TV, like General Electric, Hoffman, Motorola, Westinghouse, Dumont, Andrea, National, and many more.
The popular shows of the 1950s are considered classics today. Television tried to cater to audience of all age groups, even in the 1950s. Programs like’ The Howdy Doody Show’ and’ Disneyland Series’ were popular among school-going kids. ‘ American Bandstand’ was a big hit among the teenagers. Evening was the time for family shows like -‘ I Love Lucy ‘,’ The Jackie Gleason Show ‘,’ Your Hit Parade ‘,’ Father knows Best ‘,’ Our Miss Brooks ‘,’ The Burns and Allen Show ‘, etc.
Towards the mid-fifties, live performances of reality TV shows were broadcast for the very first time that created a different way of television entertainment. These programs of reality television like Candid Camera, broke the monotony of scripted drama. Mid-fifties was likewise the time when color television was introduced. However, it took another few years for it to be a dominant medium. It was closely followed by launching of remote control and transistorized television sets towards 1959. The 1950s was also the time when many categories of programs that are popular today were introduced. Soap operas, crime dramas, and game shows, almost all started during this decade. In fact, the conception of TV guide began at that time to help people keep a track of their favorite programs.
In 1952, the Republican and the Democratic conventions were broadcasted live from Philadelphia, to the remainder of the country. The last vestiges of isolation were rooted out with television reaching every nook and corner of the country. People took more stake in the news, as they came to know of what was going on around, in real time.
What can be found through computer television is amazing, too. From local shows to international news broadcast directly from the country of origin, there was never a shortage of things to watch.
CBS’ news program -‘ See It Now ‘, took the world of TV by storm. This show was hosted by veteran news presenter Edward R. Murrow. It was a documentary series on public affairs that was telecast in sequences. Television in the ’50s played a great role in making people informed of their surroundings, and the world, in general.
Television became the much sought-after medium of telecasting advertisements in the 1950s. Various companies started looking at the television as the best medium to advertise, for better sale and publicity of their products. These companies began to sponsor popular shows and programs, as advertising there broadened their reach, and hence their business increased. Thus, the businessmen found a medium through which they could have a market for their products.
Television was first used as a medium for advertising the presidential campaign in the year 1952, by Dwight Eisenhower. Later on, all future presidential candidates started to build on it for advertising, as a portion of their strategy.
Thus, we see that popularity of television in the 1950s was a great turning point in the American society. It brought a great shift in the lifestyle of people. It added a new feature of recreation and fun for the people. Also kept them updated of the happenings in the country and in the world. The availability of movies and film-related shows, reality shows, daily soaps, and of course, the news programs, made television a very popular medium of entertainment in every home.