In the 1950's, television was still coming into it's own and was still figuring out what American viewers wanted to see. Much of early television were spin offs of popular shows that aired on the radio. They also usually promoted American values and perspectives - most shows showcase a traditional home life, successful career and traditional gender roles. As television viewership expands and TV begins to come into its own we see much of this change relatively quickly.
The 1950's also was a time when the magic of television turned real life with the opening of Disneyland in Anaheim, California in 1954. The park was the brainchild of the creator of Mickey Mouse and other iconic figures who wanted people to experience entertainment in a different kind of way. This transition is a great symbol for change for America and it's relationship with entertainment.
Task 1: Watch the Introductory Video to this Unit (5 minutes)
Task 2: Review the provided images and attached links for television during the 1950's (15 minutes)
Task 3: Television in the 1950's (5 minutes)
Task 4: Go to GOOGLE CLASSROOM and Respond to the Posted Discussion Prompt (25 minutes)
Respond to prompts using complete sentences and appropriate punctuation and grammar
3 observations you made about the trends of television
You can list these trends or use complete sentences
Use details and be specific
1 societal shift that inspired these trends
What was happening in society, what was changing with the cultural thinking, what political influences were affecting American perspectives, or something else…
1 question you have about television
About the future influence of the trend, impacts it will have on society, why something was so widespread or popular, or something else...
1 responses to a classmates posts
Respond in no less that TWO (2) sentences
Use complete sentences and appropriate punctuation and grammar
Add additional details or insight
Do not just say you agree or disagree
Societal changes are often mirrored in the subject and placement of situation comedies. In the 1940s and ’50s, most half-hour comedies centered around a married couple or couples. As the fabric of American society began to morph, however, so did our entertainment. (https://www.pbs.org/wnet/pioneers-of-television/pioneering-programs/sitcoms/ 0
Leave it to Beaver
I Love Lucy
Ozzie and Harriet
Americans began listening to game shows on the radio and were immediately hooked on the excitement and thrill of competition. As television came of age in the 1940s and ’50s, game shows made a natural transition to the new medium. There’s something about watching contestants match wits onscreen: We love to play along, shouting answers at the television.
“We play games at home, we play games at parties, we go to clubs and play games. Americans love games,” says Bob Barker. (https://www.pbs.org/wnet/pioneers-of-television/pioneering-programs/game-shows/ )
Beat the Clock
The soap opera began in the early 1930s with 15-minute daytime radio episodes and was inherited by television in the early 1950s and expanded to 30 minutes. By the mid-1950s soap operas dominated late morning and early afternoon weekday television programming as they had dominated a similar time frame in radio programming during the previous decade. (https://www.britannica.com/art/soap-opera )
As the World Turns
The classic cartoon series in the 1950s were entertaining and ahead of their time. Even if some people think that cartoons are only for kids, the stories and plots of these cartoon series and their characters attracted audiences from all ages. The colorful visuals and crazy antics caught children’s attention, the cartoon’s dialogue was often filled with humor that only adults could understand. (https://mentalitch.com/top-cartoons-of-the-50s/ )
Born in the 1930's the Looney Toons become a flagship piece of early cartoons on television and print media
Before television, the nation saw westerns at movie theaters and listened to them over the radio. When westerns started appearing on TV, viewers avidly waited for their favorites. In any one week, westerns often received the highest viewer ratings. Viewers were able to escape their humdrum lives to watch their favorite heroes overcome all adversaries. It was good vs. bad, hero vs. villain, in the old nineteenth-century west.
Early TV western series helped define America as a nation. Westerns sought to teach the good values of honesty and integrity, of hard work, of racial tolerance, of determination to succeed, and of justice for all. They were, in a sense, modern morality plays where heroes, strong, reliable, clear-headed and decent, fought their adversaries in the name of justice. At the show's end, moral lessons had been taught and learned. (https://www.nypl.org/blog/2012/12/01/tv-westerns-1950s-and-60s )
Originally named “The Mickey Mouse Park,” and then “Disneylandia” before settling on “Disneyland,” Disney purchased 160 acres for the park in Anaheim and started construction in 1954. Disneyland opened on July 17th, 1955 with 18 rides and attractions. Just one year after Disneyland opened its door, 5 million people had visited the park. As of 2019, more than 700 million people have visited Disneyland.
The history of Disneyland is more than six decades-long, and in that time, the park has grown and evolved with the times but has managed to hold on to the magic that beckons people of all ages to visit, and dream of visiting, year after year. Fans of the park will tell you there’s just something about it—something special—that makes it a place unlike any other.
Upon entering the gates of the park, visitors pass through a tunnel and under the famous plaque that reads: HERE YOU LEAVE TODAY, AND ENTER THE WORLD. OF YESTERDAY, TOMORROW, AND FANTASY (https://www.adayinlatours.com/the-history-of-disneyland/ )
Disneyland, Walt Disney’s metropolis of nostalgia, fantasy, and futurism, opens on July 17, 1955. The $17 million theme park was built on 160 acres of former orange groves in Anaheim, California, and soon brought in staggering profits. Today, Disneyland hosts more than 14 million visitors a year, who spend close to $3 billion.
Walt Disney, born in Chicago in 1901, worked as a commercial artist before setting up a small studio in Los Angeles to produce animated cartoons. In 1928, his short film Steamboat Willy, starring the character “Mickey Mouse,” was a national sensation. It was the first animated film to use sound, and Disney provided the voice for Mickey. From there on, Disney cartoons were in heavy demand, but the company struggled financially because of Disney’s insistence on ever-improving artistic and technical quality. His first feature-length cartoon, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1938), took three years to complete and was a great commercial success. (https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/disneyland-opens )