When examined in retrospect, the 1950s in America are often viewed in a very nostalgic sense as a “simpler time.” In direct contrast with that representation, the 1960s are often remembered as a time of rebellion, chaos, and social unrest. This paper seeks to analyze 1950s and 60s television programming and regulations in light of the changes in the mainstream American mindset in order to better understand the marked differences in society between these two decades. In order to do this, I examined patterns of family life, television programming and regulations, and the American reaction to entertainment television during each decade. I analyzed content from three 1950s television series: I Love Lucy, Leave It to Beaver, and Gunsmoke and content from four shows from the 1960s: Batman, I Dream of Jeanie, The Beverly Hillbillies, and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. The black and white nostalgic television of the 1950s gave way to the real-life television of the 1960s. In conclusion, I determined that entertainment television programming did not change due to the lowering of American social and cultural standards or beliefs regarding morality, but rather it evolved due to the audience’s desire for a more accurate and realistic representation of society.
Semester/Year of Award
Christiane Diehl Taylor
Mentor Professional Affiliation
Restricted Access Thesis
Turner, Alexa Lee, "1950s and 1960s Television Programming: An Analysis of Television Regulation Codes as a Reflection of the Changing American Mindset" (2016). Honors Theses. 400.