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Glued to the Set

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Glued to the Set: The Sixties Television Shows and Events that made us who we are today

During the nineteen-sixties there was a lot of change going on. There was a social revolution witch brought change to the rights to people like woman, African Americans, and other minorities. There was the “hippy movement” witch brought change to how the average adolescent thought and acted. And there was a major cultural revolution, including different clothing styles and a new kind of music. But there’s one major change that occurred in the sixties, that power all of these movements and is usually overlooked. That is, of course the television revolution. In the book Glued to the Set the author, Steven D. Stark, talks about the importance of the television and its roles in American development over the past seventy years, putting specific emphasis on the sixties. Throughout this paper I will discuss the topics addressed in the book, why the TV was so important, and my thoughts on the book and why I chose it. The book starts of discussing the first TV shows of the forties.

In the forties television was a rarity, most people did not have one and thee where very few programs on it (T.V. in the forties). During this time most people had radio’s, if they wanted to be up to date on the most current news, or be just entertained they usually got it from radios (T.V. in the forties). This is most likely why the first TV show to ever become popular was “Meet the Press”. The author, Steven D. Stark talks about how the reason “Meet the Press” was so popular was because the show was basically used a radio broadcast with pictures. The other show that the author believes is a staple in 40’s TV is the show “Howdy Doody”. “Howdy Doody”, a children’s show is believed to have given birth to the counter culture movement (Encyclopedia of the Sixties). Essential it was the first show that parents hated and children worshiped.

By the nineteen-fifties the television had taken off. In the forties most of the broadcasting were variety shows and news, basically radio on TV type shows. The fifties is where you start more, drama based, sitcom style shows (though I was given that name until the seventies). One of the first TV shows to premier in the fifties was the classic comedy “I Love Lucy”. The author talks about how this was, at the time the most controversial program of the period, as well as talk about how it helped lay the ground work for early 2nd wave feminists in the 60’s. The show was so controversial because it featured a female lead, who was not married and did more than just house work (Leiban). Throughout the fifties there were many influential TV shows that paved the way for popular shows in the sixties. Such as a show like the Si-Fi classic “the Twilight Zone”. This show broke boundaries being the first popular science fiction TV show, and paved the way for shows like “Star Trek”.

By the nineteen-sixties two- thirds of all of America had at least one television in their home (Living History Farm). The television was becoming a true family activity and was the home of many families on Friday nights (How Has Television Changed the American Culture). Because of the fact that there was so many people watching TV, and the fact that every night on the news death counts and horrific images of war are being broadcasted, you can easily argue (as does the author of the book) that the TV fueled the protest movement going on in the sixties (Oracle).Without the TV to create a counter youth (as it did with Howdy Doody) and then fuel that group with images of war and violence in there adolescents, there would be no protest movement, nor a “hippy” movement as well (seeing how there directly related). The sixties also featured broadcasts of moon landings, and space travel, which brought much needed patriotism to the American public during the time, were most American news pertained to the war.

The last part of the book is basically what happens to TV from the seventies up until the current time period. The television in the sixties had end with a bang, there was the moon landing, the first three super bowls and of course the first season of everybody’s favorite childhood show “Sesame Street”. Now the seventies brought a new style to the world of entertainment, the sitcom. But lacked to provide anything quite as substantial as the moon landing or coverage of Vietnam. The eighties and nineties brought cable and MTV but also brought tons of commercials with them as well. Yes, no decade could quite match the importance of TV as the sixties. Why was the TV important to the sixties? It brought entertainment and news as well as being credited to helping the social and “protest/ hippy” movements.

For the nineteen-sixty non-fiction book review project I chose the book Glued to the Set: The Sixties Television Shows and Events that made us who we are today by Steven D. Stark. There are a couple reasons that I chose this book. Number one: I have always been fascinated by nineteen-sixty culture and television. Number two: I am an avid television watcher, and have wonder where television has originate and how we got to the point we are currently at. Third and finally: I needed a book for this project and when you type in nonfiction sixties book this is the first one that comes up.

During the nineteen-sixties change was occurring all around. There is an equality movement, a political movement, a protest movement all of which have inspired change. But what most people don’t realize is that there’s also a television movement. It might not have been the most obvious part of history, but where would we be without the television. Where would we be without the feministic message of “I Love Lucy” or the violent images about war that caused people to take action and protest the war? And if not that where would are culture be without all the benefits TV has given us? The information given to me from the book Glued to the Set: The Sixties Television Shows and Events that made us who we are today by Steven D. Stark, has opened my eyes and shown me how much television has shaped history and how big of a role it still has today.

Works Cited

"Encyclopedia of the Sixties [2 Volumes]: A Decade of Culture and Counterculture." Encyclopedia of the Sixties 2 Volumes A Decade of Culture and Counterculture RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2012.
"How Has Television Changed the American Culture?" WikiAnswers. Answers, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2012.
Leiban, Nina. "Changing Nature of the American Family." : I Love Lucy Pushing the Boundaries of the 1950 's. Power Blogger, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012.
Living History Farm. "Television during the 1950s and 60s." Television during the 1950s and 60s. Living History Farm, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2012.
"Media in the 1960s." ThinkQuest. Oracle Foundation, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2012.
"T.V. in the '40s: Development." T.V. in the '40s: Development. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2012.

Cited: "Encyclopedia of the Sixties [2 Volumes]: A Decade of Culture and Counterculture." Encyclopedia of the Sixties 2 Volumes A Decade of Culture and Counterculture RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2012. "How Has Television Changed the American Culture?" WikiAnswers. Answers, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2012. Leiban, Nina. "Changing Nature of the American Family." : I Love Lucy Pushing the Boundaries of the 1950 's. Power Blogger, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012. Living History Farm. "Television during the 1950s and 60s." Television during the 1950s and 60s. Living History Farm, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2012. "Media in the 1960s." ThinkQuest. Oracle Foundation, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2012. "T.V. in the '40s: Development." T.V. in the '40s: Development. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2012.

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