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Presentation on theme: "THE POSTWAR BOOM THE AMERICAN DREAM IN THE 1950S John Naisbitt."— Presentation transcript:


2 Learning Objectives: Section 3 - Popular Culture 1. Explain how television programs in the 1950s reflected middle class values. 2. Explain how the beat movement and rock’n’roll music clashed with middle class values. 3. Describe ways that African-American entertainers integrated the media in the 1950s.

3 NEXT New Era of the Mass Media The Rise of Television Mass media—means of communication that reach large audiences TV first widely available 1948; in almost 90% of homes in 1960 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates communications By 1956, FCC allows 500 stations to broadcast Programs: comedies, news, dramas, variety shows, children’s shows Lifestyle changes: TV Guide is popular magazine; TV dinners Popular Culture 3 SECTION Continued...

4 SECTION 3: POPULAR CULTURE A new era of mass media led by television emerged in the 1950s In 1948, only 9% of homes had T.V In 1950, 55% of homes had T.V. By 1960, 90% of American homes had T.V.

5 THE GOLDEN AGE OF TELEVISION The 1950s was known as the “Golden Age of Television” Comedies were the main attraction as Milton Berle, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were very popular Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball starred in I Love Lucy

6 TELEVISION EXPERIMENTS WITH VARIOUS FORMATS Television innovations like on-the-scene- news reporting, interviews, westerns and sporting events offered the viewer a variety of shows Kids’ shows like The Howdy Doody Show and The Mickey Mouse Club were extremely popular

7 GUIDED READING Popular Culture 1. TelevisionTV Shows: I Love Lucy; See It Now; Playhouse 90 Subjects presented: Comedy; idealized white America; Western frontier Subjects avoided: Poverty; diversity; contemporary conflicts, such as racial discrimination

8 NEXT continued New Era of the Mass Media Stereotypes and Gunslingers Women, minorities on TV are stereotypes; few blacks, Latinos Westerns glorify historical frontier conflicts Raise concerns about effect of violence on children 3 SECTION Radio and Movies Television cuts into radio, movie markets Radio turns to local news, weather, music, community affairs Movies capitalize on size, color, sound advantages; try gimmicks


10 TV ADS, TV GUIDES AND TV DINNERS EXPAND TV advertising soared from $170 million in 1950 to nearly $2 billion in 1960 TV Guide magazine quickly became the best selling magazine Frozen TV dinners were introduced in 1954 – these complete ready-to-heat meals on disposable aluminum trays made it easy for people to eat without missing their favorite shows

11 MAIN IDEA QUESTIONS A – How did the emergence of television affect Americans culture in the 1950’s More households used television for entertainment and People spent an increasing number of hours watching TV. More varied shows were broadcast, and TV dinners were invented to accommodate viewers.

12 Radio focused on local areas

13 GUIDED READING Popular Culture 2. Radioa. Radio changes: Tuned to local programming; began targeting specialized audiences b. African-American culture: Hundreds of stations focused on African-American performers, helping to sell their records.

14 B – Do you think the rise of television had a positive or negative effect on Americans? Explain. Positive – informing and entertaining; Reinforcing cultural values. Negative – Promoting stereotypes of minorities and women; Exposing children to images of violence.


16 C – How did radio and movies maintain their appeal in the 1950’s They concentrated on what they did best – local news, weather, and music programming on radio; Size, color, and stereophonic sound in movies.

17 GUIDED READING Popular Culture 3. FilmFilm: Introduced innovations such as stereoscopic sound and Cinemascope to capitalize on its advantages over TV; introduced such fads as piped-in smells and 3-D

18 NEXT 3 SECTION The Beat Movement Beat movement—writers, artists express social, literary nonconformity Poets, writers use free, open form; read works aloud in coffeehouses Beatnik attitudes, way of life attract media attention, students A Subculture Emerges

19 A SUBCULTURE EMERGES Although mass media and television were wildly popular in the 1950s, dissenting voices emerged The “Beat Movement” in literature and rock n’ roll clashed with tidy suburban views of life

20 BEATNIKS FOLLOW OWN PATH Centered in San Francisco, L.A. and New York’s Greenwich Village, the Beat Movement expressed social nonconformity Followers, called “beatniks”, tended to shun work and sought understanding through Zen Buddhism, music, and sometimes drugs Beatniks often performed poetry or music in coffeehouses or bars

21 D – Why do you think many young Americans were attracted to the beat movement? Teenagers looking for alternatives to the conformity and consumerism of the parents found a celebration of poverty, unconformity, and art that reflected immediate sensory experience.

22 GUIDED READING Popular Culture 4. The Beat Movement a. Beat movement:, Ginsberg, Kerouac b. Characteristics: Nonconformity; anti-materialism; interest in a higher consciousness; the shunning of structure in life and art

23 NEXT 3 SECTION Rock ‘n’ Roll Black musicians add electric instruments to blues—rhythm and blues Rock ‘n’ roll—mix of rhythm and blues, country, pop Has heavy rhythm, simple melodies, lyrics about teenage concerns Music appeals to newly affluent teens who can buy records Many adults concerned music will lead to delinquency, immorality African Americans and Rock ‘n’ Roll Continued...

24 MUSIC IN THE 1950s Musicians in the 1950s added electronic instruments to traditional blues music, creating rhythm and blues Cleveland DJ Alan Freed was the first to play this music in 1951– he called it “rock and roll” FREED

25 ROCK N’ ROLL In the early and mid-fifties, Richard Penniman, Chuck Berry, Bill Haley and the Comets, and especially Elvis Presley brought rock and roll to the forefront The driving rhythm and lyrics featuring love, cars, and problems of being young --- captivated teenagers across the country

26 THE KING OF ROCK AND ROLL Presley’s rebellious style captured young audiences Girls screamed and fainted, and boys tried to imitate him

27 E – Based on Elvis Presley’s song titles, what do you think were teenagers’ concerns in the 1950’s? Songs were about love and heartache, and the problems of being young.


29 F – Identify your favorite singer, based his/her song titles what message or idea do you think they are trying to relate to you. ANSWER THIS ON YOUR OWN

30 GUIDED READING Popular Culture 5. Rock ‘ n ’ Roll a. Rock 'n' roll: Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard; radio, TV b. Characteristics: heavy rhythm; simple melodies and lyrics; focus on youth

31 NEXT 3 SECTION The Racial Gap African-American singers like Nat “King” Cole, Lena Horne popular Many black artists play jazz, music characterized by improvisation African-American shows mostly broadcast on black radio stations - content, advertising target black audiences Important to black audiences with fewer TV sets, no presence on TV continued African Americans and Rock ‘n’ Roll



34 DANCE in the 1950s American Bandstand was the first program on television to integrate black and white teens. FREED

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