3 September, 2010
Television: Then and Now
From "I Love Lucy" to "I Love New York", Television has changed in many ways due to technological and cultural changes in the last fifty years.
Censorship has been an ever-present force in television. In 1942, Tweety bird made his first appearance in " A Tale of Two Kitties." The animator, Bob Clampett, had originally drawn Tweety without feathers, but the Hays Office of censorship bureau felt that a naked bird was far too risqué. Clampett was made to cover Tweety's titillating flesh with yellow feathers (Lender).
In 1952, Actress Lucille Ball was pregnant through an entire season of "I Love Lucy," but strangely enough, they were not allowed to say the word "pregnant" on television at that time. Instead, phrases like "with child," or "having a baby" were used, as if they were somehow less offensive(Lender).
Another controversial moment from television history was when Elvis Presley appeared on the "Ed Sullivan Show" in 1956. While performing a cover of Little Richard's "Red Teddy," the camera switched to a close-up of Elvis' face so the American public wouldn't be stimulated by seeing his hip gyrations( Lender).
Over 50 years later, we see an extreme lack of censorship in comparison. Shows like "South Park" push the envelope with characters like Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo, and Jesus Christ making regular appearances (YouTube). They also have a character who is a Homosexual school teacher, that eventually gets a sex change( YouTube).
Comedy Central even has a block of late-night programming call the "Secret Stash" where they are able to show movies like "South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut," and "Eddie Murphy's Raw," completely uncensored. The reason for this is that censorship in cable television, at this time, is voluntary (Erfahren). Many current television shows have parental advisories at the beginning of the show, and upon return from...