From its inception, visual entertainment media has not only shaped American culture, but also its values. While both TV and movies aired only what was socially moral and politically correct in their beginnings, they soon began to air what would garner the most ratings and money. We are a society that has made movie stars what they are today, yet we also criticize their every move. Visual entertainment media has come a long way from the censorship and monopolies of the 20th Century. While American culture has been shaped by visual entertainment media over the decades, visual entertainment media has been shaped by American culture at the same time.
TV is a type of visual entertainment media that has truly shaped American culture, while we as a nation have shaped TV. Before we had the TV, we had the radio; we could do anything while listening to the radio, but the TV has to be watched. The technology of one being able to sit in their home and watch the same event thousands of others were watching simultaneously, left Americans in awe, and everyone had to have one, making the TV a staple in over half the American households by the mid-50s. The TV programs of the 50s such as Leave it to Beaver and The Donna Reed Show were not realistic, depicting only nuclear families with moral dilemmas and problems conveniently fixed within a 30 minute show. Gunsmoke, a western that ran from 1955-1975, changed with the times, and dealt with issues that the public could relate to, such as religion, family values, and the discrimination of minorities. During the Civil Rights movement in the 60s, Gunsmoke changed its show based on what was going on in the country, depicting the sympathy toward minorities. This resonated well with the public, making it the longest running western of all-time. This is a prime example of how TV changes with the times. TV turned a little dark in the 60s, covering the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the Vietnam War. Though the war was not...
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