How does Television become a 'household' name?

Essay by stefanielovascioUniversity, Master'sA+, April 2004

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How does Television become a 'household' name?

Though much of the decade was spent deciding what was 'un-American,' the 1950's became somewhat of a reference point for what is 'American' in our culture. The values and goals that were set then are some of which are still among us and still strived for today. Everything about the 50's is perceived as "golden", though under the gilded layer of gold lay a deposit of paranoia and uncertainty. This is why television became so important in the 1950's.

In the late 20's and 30's, the radio served double-duty, part news source, part entertainment source. While television was being developed in the 40's, radio served as the most up to date source of information during the Depression. It also served a greater purpose as a source of escape from the daily problems of life. Television followed in those footsteps.

It started with McCarthyism.

Americans developed nervousness about international events and a fierce national pride. These feelings were reflected in the anti-Communist movement in the United States that came to be known as McCarthyism, because of its founder, the father of pointing-the-finger-paranoia himself, Senator Joseph McCarthy.

America began a trend that turned to traditional lifestyles and the idea of common decency. Church attendance rose, and any behavior that could be considered rebellious was repressed by social censure and, occasionally, by the courts. However, throughout the decade, the U.S. enjoyed a swelling prosperity. Automobiles became commonplace as the country grew prosperous, and highways, tunnels and bridges sprang up across the United States, making far-flung travel possible for middle-class Americans. Labor-saving appliances went from luxuries to everyday items. Perhaps the greatest changes in American life, however, resulted from the growth of television as a national medium. Political events were televised, popular programming entertained the country, and...