The Affect of Television on American Filmmaking

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The Effect of Television on American Filmmaking

Seth Goehring

309 Grant St Crookston, MN 56716

FIL-110 American Cinema

Thomas Edison State College

The Effect of Television on American Filmmaking

The invention and rise of television was a primary factor in the decline of filmmaking in America. Many in the film industry considered television a mere novelty, and not a real threat. As described by Davis (2008), "the television set was basically only a movie projection machine in the home." Waning ticket sales in the early 1950's forced the film industry to change their strategy to gain back an audience of moviegoers.

American theaters were filled with over half the United States population during the Post-World War II era. These motion pictures were family-friendly shows that attracted large audiences on a weekly basis. With the introduction of mainstream television sets in the late 1940's, the film industry encountered a massive shift in how people watched films.

According to Prost (2013), "Hollywood studios were antagonistic to television until the late 1950s when they realized television was not going away, at which time the studios grudgingly tried to find a way into an industry already dominated." This social and technological shift helped to produce a new era of writers, directors, and actors within the film industry.

Hollywood employed new methods of attracting customers back into the movie theaters. The majority of the public was unwilling to pay for tickets for films that they could easily watch on their home television sets. Studio executives soon realized this and attempted to lure customers back in with novelties such as three-dimensional, widescreen, and even more risqué or violent films. Davis (2008) states that "in a move towards creating a higher form of motion pictures, Hollywood began utilizing...