Postwar America: The Golden Age of Television

argumentative Essay
1253 words
1253 words

The ‘Golden Age of Television’ is what many refer to as the period between the 1950s and 60s when the television began to establish itself as a prevalent medium in the United States. In 1947, the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), and the Du Mont Network were the four main television networks that ran stations with regular programming taking place. (Television, 2003) While regular television programming was a new innovation, the television itself had been commercially available for over twenty years prior to the 50s. It was conceived by many worldly innovators and went through several testing stages before it was finally completed in the late twenties. The three main innovators were Niplow - who first developed a rotating disk with small holes arranged in a spiral pattern in 1884, Zworykin - who developed the Iconoscope which could scan pictures and break them into electronic signals (a primitive form of the Cathode Ray Tube) in 1923, and lastly Fansworth - who demonstrated for the first time that it was possible to transmit an electrical image in 1927. (Rollo, 2011) However, one of the many reasons why this medium was successful in the 50s was due to the fact that it became more accessible to the public. Television sets were more affordable to middle class citizens which created further interest in the new technology. Through an historical account of the medium, the spread of television across America throughout this particular decade will be examined.

Firstly, for the purposes of illustrating the cultural context of this decade, I will refer to Lynn Spigel’s writing entitled “Welcome to the Dreamhouse: Popular Media and Postwar Suburb”. After WWII...

... middle of paper ...

...ay, it has not stopped television from being one of the most successful mediums for the dissemination of information.

Works Cited

Paul S. Boyer. "Television." The Oxford Companion to United States History. 2001. Retrieved November 24, 2011 from

Bretz, Rudy , 1957 “Video Tape: A TV Revolution” The Quarterly of Film Radio and Television , Vol. 11, No. 4 pp. 399-415 Published by: University of California Press Article Stable URL:

Ganzel, Bill. (2007). Television during the 1950s and 60s. Retrieved from

Rollo, Mike. 2011 ¬“Video History” Film/Video I Lecture Notes

Spigel, Lynn. 2001 Welcome to the dreamhouse : popular media and postwar suburbs / Lynn Spigel Duke University Press, Durham, N.C. :

In this essay, the author

  • Describes the ‘golden age of television’ as the period between the 1950s and 60s when television began to establish itself as a prevalent medium in the united states.
  • Analyzes lynn spigel's "welcome to the dreamhouse: popular media and postwar suburb" to illustrate the cultural context of the decade.
  • Explains that the videotape was the most important development in television since the image orthicon camera tube. the kinescope recorder was used to record and distribute live television.
  • Explains the multiple-use aspect of magnetic tape will make video re- cording vastly cheaper than ever before.
  • Explains that videotapes have become obsolete due to image deterioration caused by blurred and grainy images along with muffled sound.
  • Explains the technological innovation and mass use of coaxial cables was a significant aspect of the spread of television in america in the 1950s.
  • Explains that the 1950s and 60s birthed many genres of television shows which structure or inspire programming on television today.
  • Concludes that television is one of the most successful mediums for the dissemination of information. many technological innovations took place in the span of ten years allowing television to rise to its peak.
  • Cites paul s. boyer's "television." the oxford companion to united states history.
Get Access