Archive for October, 2017

Leave it to Beaver

by admin - October 30th, 2017

By Elena Mouradian

Leave It to Beaver, written by Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, was an American television show released in 1956.

The Leave it to Beaver family

It depicted the everyday life of the Cleavers, an ideal suburban family from the 1950’s. The sitcom’s clean humor and likable cast gave it the popularity to continue on for 6 seasons. There were a total of 234 episodes and the last episode aired on June 20, 1963. Leave It to Beaver received two Emmy nominations in 1958 for Best New Program Series of the Year and Best Teleplay Writing. Although it aired on October 4, 1957 on CBS, the show changed networks in the next season to ABC and stayed there until the end. Each episode was 30 minutes long and shot in black and white. The typical episode will track the everyday activities of the Cleaver family.

The show was written from the point of view of Beaver, the youngest son in the family. Beaver is portrayed by Jerry Mathers. The other stars of the show included Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont as Beaver’s parents, June and Ward Cleaver, and Tony Dow as Beaver’s older brother Wally. A typical episode would show Beaver or Wally getting involved in some kind of adventure that eventually finds them in trouble. Later, June and Ward would teach the children that bad behavior has consequences. Most Leave It to Beaver episodes follow this pattern. The overall content of the show is used to explain how a wrongdoing results in parents teaching their children a lesson with a moral or punishment. This kind of moral guidance was a recurring theme in many shows and often Leave It to Beaver is compared to other wholesome family shows including, Ozzie and Harriet. (Dunar, 236) The theme displays many ideal middle-class values of the 1950’s.

The show encourages many of the stereotypical gender roles, family structure, and clothing attire of the time. The Cleavers are a typical nuclear family that consisted of two married parents living together with their two children. The parents are depicted as being a happily married couple with no problems. They are both college-graduates living a very comfortably life with Ward working in an office and June as a happy homemaker. Any time another kind of family is mentioned whether it be a single mom or divorced parents, Leave It to Beaver describes them in a negative light. The show also encourages the stereotypical gender roles of the time. For example, one episode has Ward describing how women should stay inside where the modern day conveniences make it easier to cook in the kitchen rather than outside where a man should be. For example:

Although Leave It to Beaver contains some debatable concepts, the show was very popular in the 50’s for its display of the ideal American family.

Works Cited:

Dunar, Andrew J. America in the Fifties. Syracuse University Press, 2006.

“Leave It to Beaver (TV Series 1957–1963).” IMDb,,

“Leave It to Beaver.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Oct. 2017,

The Korean War: Why the US Didn’t Use the Atomic Bomb

by admin - October 23rd, 2017

By Hoang Vo

Front page of the New York Times a day after President Truman’s November 30, 1950 press conference

The United States and North Korea have known to go against each other ever since the Korean War. The war that was deemed, “one of the least popular wars in American history”, which lasted “from June 1950 to July 1953” (Dunar 51). Although the war was relatively short, but did it really end? Did the Korean War bring peace to the Korean countries and unite the United States with its enemies? In recent years, the relationship between the United States and North Korea has been largely defined by nuclear weapons. In which North Korea’s development of long-range missiles capable of striking targets thousands of miles away created a tremendous amount of threats towards the rest of the world. North Korea released ongoing threats to strike the United States and South Korea with nuclear weapons and conventional forces (“In Focus: North Korea’s Nuclear Threats”).

“At the end of World War II, the United States and Soviets divided Korea into zones of occupation along the 38th parallel”, in which the North is being under the control of the Soviets’ communism, and the South is under the Americans’ Democracy (Dunar 52). Not completely satisfied with being under the different types of government, North Korea with the Soviet’s support looked to take over the entire country. On Sunday, June 25, 1950, North Korea launched a surprise attack which contained “a massive, coordinated attack: 90,000 infantry troops and 150 tanks crossed the border at the 38th parallel and overran South Korean positions” (Dunar 55). The North Korean offensive eventually took over the capital of South Korea’s Seoul, and as a response, President Truman demanded “the use of American’ ground troops”, the Navy and the Air Force (Dunar 56). Curiosity arose, many were wondering why didn’t Truman employ the US’s atomic bombs. At the time, the United States was the only nation that was advanced enough to deploy multiple atomic bombs, besides the Soviet Union, who was still in the process of developing the bombs.

From what we know, the United States was considering the use of atomic bombs to quickly end the war without losing much the allies’ troops and resources. President Truman even “sent two groups of B-29 bombers to the UK and Guam in July. The planes carried atom bombs which were complete except for their fissile plutonium cores which remained in the United States. If Truman decided to resort to the bomb, the UK bomber group would target the USSR and the group in Guam would target North Korea and China” (Pierson). Later in 1950, “at his November 30 press conference, Truman terrified the world. Truman answered a question about the potential use of the atomic bomb by saying that use of the bomb in Korea had always been under ‘active consideration’”(Pierson). With a plan in his mind and a great position to deploy the bombs to his enemies, why exactly didn’t President Truman use it?

Even General Douglas MacArthur who “opposed dropping the bomb on Japan”, yet “requested atomic bombs from the Joint Chiefs of Staff” to be used against North Korea (Pierson). MacArthur’s request was denied because of it was not strategical, but there were more reasons against it. Truman had many reasons for not using the bomb in Korea. As compared to the use of bombs in Japan, they were aimed at large urban centers to force the Emperors of Japan to surrender. But in this case against North Korea, “[they] lacked urban centers to target. The atom bomb was [also] unsuited to Korea’s mountainous terrain” (Pierson). Later on, when China entered the war, they did not “mass in large targetable formations” which made it hard to employ nuclear weapons on its forces (Pierson). Finally, “Truman feared escalation, which could lead to World War Three” (Pierson). After World War II ended in 1945, it was deemed the costliest war in history, many countries including the United States were still in the recovery process. And if the Korean War escalated, many more lives would lose. Even if Truman did not admit it, the use of atomic bombs in the Korean War would make it the war against humanity.

Works Cited

Dunar, Andrew J. America in the Fifties. N.p.: Syracuse UP, 2006. Print.

Dunlap, David W. “1950 | ‘Atomic Bomb Is Not the Weapon’.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 10 Aug. 2017. Web.
“North Korea’s Nuclear Threats, in Focus.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 Apr. 2013. Web.

Pierson, Charles. “The Atomic Bomb and the First Korean War.” N.p., 07 Sept. 2017. Web. war/.

Country Music’s Rise to Popularity in the 1950s

by admin - October 23rd, 2017

By Erin McCormack

Country music became increasingly popular throughout the 1950s in America and artists such as Hank Williams and Johnny Cash dominated a good portion of the Billboard Top Hits list. Hank Williams one of the biggest country stars at the time, “recorded his biggest hit, “Your Cheatin’ Heart” in September 1952, only to die three months later” which left Roy Acuff as the “most prominent force in country music” (Dunar 268). Other stars included Eddy Arnold and Gene Autry which had numerous number one hits on the country charts, only made it onto Billboard a few times on the pop charts (Dunar 269). Although country music made its way into the pop music scene during the 1950s, it was not the predominant genre of music at the time. Many country hits found their way to pop charts through covers of other songs (Dunar 269).

Kitty Wells was one of the first female country stars, she broke the barrier of an industry that was dominated by male artists with her song, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels” (Dunar 269). This song was in response to Hank Thompson’s lyrics to “Wild Side of Life” which described how married women run around to different bars to be “anybody’s baby” and he sung that he, “didn’t know God made honky-tonk angels and I might’ve known you’d never make a wife” (Wild Side of Life Lyrics). Wells reacted to Thompson’s accusations with her own song, directly calling out in her own lyrics that while she was listening to the lyrics of “Wild Side of Life” that “too many times married men think that they’re still single” and that’s why women go out and that it is a “shame all blame is on us women” (Kitty Wells -It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels Lyrics). This rise of female influence in the realm of country music was due largely in part to Wells and her music led the way for many other female country artists in future generations such as Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Patsy Cline.

A huge part of country music both in the 1950s and today is the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville “was to country music what Hollywood was to film” (Dunar 269). Music Row, 17th avenue in Nashville was where some of the most notable country songs came out of and artists who achieved success performed at the Grand Ole Opry. Some of the stars who were part of the Opry in the 1950s were Kitty Wells, George Jones and Johnny Cash among 40 or so others and the list can be viewed on the Opry website. The Grand Ole Opry was not just a place for successful artists to showcase their talent, it’s also where unknown talents turned into stars, like Stonewall Jackson who sang “Don’t be Angry with Me Darlin” and “Waterloo.”

Country music’s rise in the 1950s is what shaped American music to present day where country music is widely popular today. The Grand Ole Opry is also still a huge part of country music and is inducting members into it constantly, just recently on October 17, 2017 new artist Chris Young was inducted into the Opry making its member count up to 457 artists of past and present country music.

Johnny Cash playing at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN in the 1950s

Works Cited
“1950s.” Grand Ole Opry. N.p., 14 Jan. 2015. Web.

“Artists.” Grand Ole Opry. N.p., n.d. Web.

Dunar, Andrew J. America in the Fifties. N.p.: Syracuse UP, 2006. Print.

“It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels Lyrics.” Kitty Wells – It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels Lyrics | MetroLyrics. N.p., n.d. Web.

Lytation. “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels – Kitty Wells.” YouTube. YouTube, 27 Jan. 2013. Web.

Verycoolsound. “HANK THOMPSON – The Wild Side of Life.” YouTube. YouTube, 18 Feb. 2010. Web.

“Wild Side Of Life Lyrics.” Hank Thompson – Wild Side Of Life Lyrics | MetroLyrics. N.p., n.d. Web.

The Mickey Mouse Club

by admin - October 19th, 2017

By Sophia Kontoes

Hi Mouseketeers! Let’s flashback to October 3, 1955, the first day The Mickey Mouse Club aired on television to celebrate the opening of Disneyland. Do you remember the theme song that we had all the little kids singing? “Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and me? M-I-C… See you real soon! K-E-Y… Why? Because we like you! M-O-U-S-E.”

Walt Disney is the epitome of postwar success, by the 1950s he was already a well known innovator in Hollywood. The beginning of Disney’s legacy began in 1937, when his first full length cartoon, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, premiered. “That was all a prologue to the expansion of his entertainment empire in the fifties, which by the end of the decade included television, feature films, documentaries, educational programs, and an amusement park…” (Dunar 245). His first dabble into television began in 1950 with a special on NBC. After four years of ABC trying to lure Disney into creating a weekly program, he finally agreed in 1954, which also affirmed support to build Disneyland in California.

The Disneyland Show, which first aired in 1954, quickly became one of the most successful programs on television. The show was hosted by Walt Disney himself, and was a great way to market his business. He also divided the episodes into segments that mirrored areas of his park such as: Fantasyland, Frontierland, Adventureland, and Tomorrowland. Building off of “Frontierland,” Disney created a three-part series “Davy Crockett mythologized the life of the American frontiersman, and his heroic death at the Alamo in the war with Mexico in the 1840s.” (Dunar 246). Davy Crockett, who starred Fess Parker, became extremely marketable because of one of the fifties’ fads it included. Coonskin hats became bigger than Mickey Mouse ears, even Time magazine claimed, “Davy Crockett is even bigger than Mickey Mouse.” (Dunar 246)

Some of the early Mousketeers

Disney then created a show to target the younger generation, which became known as The Mickey Mouse Club, which is modernized and still aired today. The show aired in the early evening everyday, and included of an all kids cast, who were called the “Mouseketeers,” and were lead by the host Jimmie Dodd. They wore large felt tip mouse ears and became role models to the children of that generation. Considering Disney demanded the Mouseketeers be regular kids, not actors, a lot of the children dreamed of being one.

The Mouseketeers were well rounded, energetic, and lively. They went to school five days a week on the Disney lot, on top of working six days a week and performing for the public on Sundays. Mouseketeers became very close friends, and still remain friends till this day. Most of the actors got their big break from this show, including Johnny Crawford, Annette Funicello, and many more. The big felt mouse ears were what put the show on the map. They were a great marketing tool, and became just as popular as coonskin hats.


Dunar, Andrew J. America In The Fifties. Syracuse, N.Y., Syracuse University Press, 2006.

Doperalski, Daniel. “The Mickey Mouse Club: Famous Members.” Variety, 4 Oct. 2014,

“The Mickey Mouse Club.” Disney Wiki,

“The Mickey Mouse Club.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Oct. 2017,

The Hollywood Ten

by admin - October 19th, 2017

By Rosemarie Murray

The 1940’s into the 1950’s saw the Red Fear take control of different aspects of American society. Due in large part to Senator Joseph McCarthy’s outlandish claims causing public mayhem, numerous parts of society were struck by the fear of communism. One such part of society that attracted such attention was Hollywood’s film industry. Hollywood figures were targeted because of “the high degree of public recognition of the industry, which brought attention to the investigators as well as their subjects” (Dunar, 39). Seeing actors, screenwriters, directors, and more being accused and tried of links to the communist party was something that would get every American talking. After all, most Americans had some sort of exposure to the lives of the rich and famous through seeing them in the movies. Another possible driving force behind the accusations of communism with the Hollywood Ten and other members of Hollywood was anti-Semitism. A disproportionate number of Jewish members in Hollywood were accused of being communists by the HUAC (Dunar, 39). When ten members of the film industry were accused of being communists and voiced their disapproval in the House of Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC), they were arrested and thereby “blacklisted”, or ostracized, from working in Hollywood.

The Hollywood Ten were not alone in being accused as communists and blacklisted. The HUAC “summoned forty one prominent members of the film industry” (Dunar, 39). These men, however, were the first to challenge the HUAC’s tactics on investigating communist claims. The men did not answer any questions during the investigation, and employed their First Amendment Rights. Their actions backfired, and were convicted of Contempt on Congress, arrested, and kept in jail for six months to a year and had to pay a 1,000$ (Britanica Hollywood Ten). Only one of the men arrested, Edward Dmytryk, eventually succumbed and told investigators that he was a communist and named other communists as well (Britanica Edward Dmytryk). For his information, Dmytryk was released from jail and allowed to return to Hollywood. However, the other members of the Hollywood Ten were not as fortunate and the public knew what would happen to them if they were caught with links to the communist party. Years after the fact, the men never reached the pinnacle of their careers before the scandal in Hollywood again ( Some of the Hollywood Ten wrote scripts under different names for movies, and two of the Hollywood Ten were accepted into Hollywood years later.

Nine members of the Hollywood Ten gathered

In terms of how communism was to be handled in the United States, Hollywood was the example to follow in the late 1940’s into the 1960s. The trials left an undeniable mark on the film industry, as “the insidious process destroyed the creative energy of Hollywood for years, as friends turned on friends” (40). Still, it remains unknown what the impact the loss of ten powerful screenwriters and directors had on the film industry at the time. No one knows the span of movies that could have been made, or the scope of creativity. How different would Hollywood be today without the loss of the Hollywood Ten and other members of Hollywood found guilty?

Works Cited

Dunar, Andrew J. America in the Fifties. N.p.: Syracuse UP, 2006. Print.

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. “Hollywood Ten.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 09 Aug. 2016. Web. Staff. “Hollywood Ten.” A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web.

The Baby Boom

by admin - October 19th, 2017

By Meagan Sebastiao

The Baby Boom was a post-war era that provided normalcy in not only the country, but in families with loved ones at war. Many young couples at the time postponed marriage and building families during the Great Depression, because most families didn’t have enough money to have children, and during World War II, because their partners were serving our country. World War II ended in 1945, and in 1946, 3.4 million babies were born, more than any other year. 3.8 billion were born in 1947, 3.9 in 1952, and throughout the decade of 1954 to 1964, 4 million babies were born each year. That dramatic increase of births following the return of the troops from World War II truly defines the name of this time.

The baby boom truly impacted the fifties and the generations following. According to Andrew J. Dunar in his book America In the Fifties, “…as the baby boomers aged, the unparalleled magnitude of their numbers would have an equally unparalleled effect on partners of consumption, residence, and employment, as well as on government policy.” In terms of market consumption, this period’s sales in consumer goods skyrocketed. Families grew larger, needing a larger car, more food, baby furniture, clothing, toys, and books. One of the most popular books at this time was written by Dr. Benjamin Spock, titled The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care. Dr. Spock was an American pediatrician who trained and gained experience from some of the most prestigious universities in the country, and he inspired new parents with his beliefs and information about young children and parenting presented in his book. One of his goals was to make parents more comfortable and confident in their abilities, telling them, “Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do,” (“Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care.”).

Several other factors contributed to the baby boom and why it occurred. After the Great Depression and World War II, many new government programs were formed to allow war veterans to live a better life and have more opportunities. For example, they were able to be provided with loans to help pay for education, get better jobs, and for housing. Organizations such as the Federal Housing Administration and the Veteran’s Administration helped contribute to young couples purchasing their first homes. The GI Bill gave veterans the chance to obtain a college education, thus resulting in potentially qualifying for better, stable, and higher paying jobs. The baby boom also altered school districts throughout the United States. As families grew larger all at once, so did classroom sizes. Andrew J. Dunar states “By 1960, there were 3.5 million 13 year olds in the nation, most of whom were then eighth graders,” (Dunar, p#). The increase in class sizes led to a demand in faculty in school systems. This also led to a need for more schools to be build which increased availability for construction jobs. Overall, families affected by the baby boom, primarily war families, contributed greatly to the increase in production of consumer goods, the popularization of Dr. Spock’s book and ideas, school district success, and the formation and support of government programs.

Nurses are shown with babies all born on the same day

Works Cited

Alex. “Baby Boom No More. Birth Rate in the U.S. Hits an All Time Low in 2013.” Red Pill Times, 5 Dec. 2014,

“Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.,

Dunar, Andrew J. America in the Fifties. Syracuse University Press, 2006.

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. “Benjamin Spock.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 18 Sept. 2017, Staff. “Baby Boomers.”, A&E Television Networks, 2010,

Norman Rockwell

by admin - October 19th, 2017

By Jenna Goodreau

In the words of Dunar in his book America in the Fifties, “Beyond a doubt, Norman Rockwell was America’s most recognizable artist in the fifties” (Dunar 258). Rockwell’s artistry began at a young age, when he was 14 years old he began attending school at the Chase Art School, rather than attending regular high school. Later, he went on to study at the National Academy of Design and at the Art Students League of New York. In his later teenage years, Rockwell was given the job of art director of Boy’s Life, which is the publication for the Boy Scouts of America.

When Rockwell turned 21, him and Clyde Forsythe, a cartoonist, started a studio together. During this time, he had artwork featured in magazines such as Country Gentlemen, Life, and Literary Digest. Soon after, he produced his first cover for The Saturday Evening Post and the Post featured his work on the cover 321 times over the course of the next 47 years. Rockwell also painted portraits of four of the United States presidents, Eisenhower, Nixon, Kennedy and Johnson. He made illustrations for a number of books, the most popular including Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Other illustrations by Rockwell were used on stamps, advertisements (including Coca-Cola),catalogs, playing cards and posters.

The “Four Freedoms” paintings. Top (L to R): Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Worship. Bottom (L to R): Freedom from Want, Freedom from Fear

Rockwell’s paintings “celebrated American themes, glorified small-town rites of passage, and honored the family” and “ he occasionally used humor to challenge racial and gender stereotypes” (Dunar 258). One of Rockwell’s most famous works was a set of 4 painting he did called the Four Freedoms paintings. They were paintings inspired by Franklin Roosevelt’s address to congress where he discussed the four principles for universal rights. The four paintings were called Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. “The works toured the United States in an exhibition that was jointly sponsored by the Post and the U.S. Treasury Department and, through the sale of war bonds, raised more than $130 million for the war effort” (NRM).

As Dunar mentioned, Rockwell sometimes did paintings and illustrations about racial and gender stereotypes. He did a painting called, The Problem We All Live With that showed “Ruby Bridges, flanked by white federal marshals, walking to school past a wall defaced by racist graffiti” (Wiki). When Ruby Bridges went the White House in 2011 to meet President Obama, the painting was on display. Another racial piece that Rockwell did was called New Kids in the Neighborhood, and it showed white children socializing with black children that were moving into their suburb, yet the white parents were just watching from behind their curtains. Pieces like these two that have deep meaning behind them seemed to be among his most popular.

Later in his life, Rockwell released an autobiography titled My Adventures as an Illustrator. At the beginning of his career, Rockwell was “dismissed by serious art critics” because “many of his works appear overly sweet” and “tend toward idealistic or sentimentalized portrayals of American life” (Wiki). But, once he began to release some more serious pieces of work his career really took off and he has had a huge impact on the art world. To learn more about Rockwell and view some of his work, click here.


Dunar, Andrew J. America in the Fifties. Syracuse University Press, 2006.

“Norman Rockwell.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 15 Oct. 2017,

“The Home for American Illustration.” Norman Rockwell Museum,
“Norman Rockwell.”, A&E Networks Television, 28 Apr. 2017,

Hugh Hefner

by admin - October 15th, 2017

By Kelsea Blair

After his recent passing on September 27, Hugh Hefner has been circulating through the internet a lot. Hefner’s name is often associated with the idea of being constantly surrounded by half naked women and living in the Playboy Mansion. Playboy Magazine, however, was created in 1953, during an era that most people deem as highly conservative and modest. Hefner opened up a new realm where the topic of sex could be discussed.

In 1938, Alfred Kinsey started research on marriage and sex. Kinsey and his research team interviewed thousands of people, asking hundreds of in depth questions about their relationships or thoughts on sex. He continued this research until 1963. The same year that Playboy was released, Kinsey released his second book, Sexual Behavior of the Human Female. Hugh Hefner was inspired by Kinsey. Dunar writes, “Hefner acknowledged his admiration of Kinsey, who, in his view, had exposed the hypocrisy of Americans about sex” (188 Dunar).

Hugh Hefner started Playboy Magazine with $8,000 he had gathered from 45 different investors, including $1,000 from his mother. The first issue he created in his kitchen, and it featured a nude photo of Marilyn Monroe that he purchased for $500 on the front cover. The first issue sold over 50,000 copies for 50 cents each, and Hefner had instant success. You can listen to Hefner further discuss his first Playboy issue here.


Despite the success Hugh Hefner achieved during his career, he faced many critics along the way. Most of the backlash he received was from people saying that he was objectifying women. He says, “When it came from what was called the liberal left, specifically as a part of the women’s movement — when the women’s movement became anti-sexual, it was a very confusing time for me then. It isn’t now.”(NPR). Hefner never viewed his magazine as a sex magazine, and didn’t want people thinking that’s all it was. He wanted sex to become a part of an everyday lifestyle, and for people to think of Playboy as a sophisticated men’s magazine.

After the first issue of Playboy was released, the company started to make some drastic changes in its image, going from a men’s magazine to crazy nightclubs. The first nightclub opened in Chicago, Hefner’s hometown. All the women working there dressed in skimpy, silky one pieces with bunny ears and tails. As more and more of these clubs opened, Hugh Hefner started to have “multiple girlfriends” and this is where the stereotypical image of Hefner began. He had a preference to date much younger girls and that continued all the way until his death.

Work Cited

Dunar, Andrew J. America In The Fifties. Syracuse, N.Y., Syracuse University Press, 2006.

Willett, Megan. “The Evolution of the Playboy Woman’s Body Type from the 1950s to Now.” Insider, 28 Sept. 2017,

Gross, Terry. “Hugh Hefner On Early ‘Playboy’ And Changing America’s Values.” NPR, NPR, 28 Sept. 2017,

Mansnerus, Laura. “Hugh Hefner, Who Built the Playboy Empire and Embodied It, Dies at 91.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 27 Sept. 2017,

Wikipedia contributors. “Hugh Hefner.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 10 Oct. 2017. Web. 13 Oct. 2017

1950s Quiz Shows

by admin - October 12th, 2017

By Katelynn Colpitts

In the 1950s, there was a huge television boom. One of the most watched genres were quiz shows. These shows “sustained viewer interest from week to week by requiring successful contestants to return several weeks in a row to maximize their winnings, thus creating stars with substantial public followings.” (Dunar 248). Due to their popularity, producers had to find ways to ensure more and more viewers would keep watching. “Methods varied from selecting easier questions for desirable contestants to asking them “practice” questions that were later used during the actual show” (Dunar 248). These cheating methods and sketchy ways led to television’s first scandal.

“The quiz show scandals were driven by several major factors, all of which allowed dishonest behavior to be acceptable behind the scenes to both the producers of the shows as well as to the participating and willing contestants” (Venanzi).

This is a TV Guide cover featuring The $64,000 Question

One of the more popular quiz shows in the 1950s was The $64,000 Question. It became the number one show to watch just five weeks after it first aired in 1955. Of course like many other quiz shows
during that time, The $64,000 Question was full of cheating and fraud. One contestant had had enough and took his story to the press. Herb Stempel was a returning contestant on the show and his popularity was running low. Producers demanded that he purposely answer questions wrong to get booted off of the show. Stempel was unsure about this because he had known the answers to the questions and wanted to keep playing. His opponent Charles Van Doren, who was also in on the quiz show scam, ended up losing his job as the scandal story came to the surface. This led to many other game show’s cheating ways being revealed. Many of the people involved lost their reputations and popularity as a result.

At the time game shows became popular, many Americans were returning from the war. “All Americans wanted to live a better life than had their parents, who had suffered through the depression. With the surge in the number of Americans returning from war, and as a result of their readiness to quickly get on with their lives, Americans were seeking opportunities which would enable them to pursue their dreams of holding a well-paying job, getting married, buying homes and other material goods, and having children” (Venanzi). Game shows were a fun and fascinating way for people to win money. Everyone at the time wanted to have the finest things money could buy, and quiz shows were a way to get that money fast. When the scandals reached the media everything changed. The public became aware of the fraud that was taking place and everyone knew the contestants weren’t winning the money in a fair way. The creation of quiz shows led to one of America’s biggest scandals in the 1950s.

Vananzi, Katie. “An Examination of Television Quiz Show Scandals of the 1950s.” The Beat Begins: America in the 1950s, 1997,

“America in the Fifties” Andrew J. Dunar

Increasing Popularity of Sports in the 1950s

by admin - October 12th, 2017

By Amanda Babbitt

Although sports had been around long before the 1950s, many factors lead to the increasing popularity of spectator sports in this time. Since it was common for a household to own a television, sports became much more accessible to the average family. They no longer had to go to a sports game in order to watch it and they now could enjoy it from the comfort of their own home. “Sports franchises began to operate more like businesses,” (Dunar 242). Sports games became more profitable because so many more people were watching which benefited the sports franchises. Instead of playing the game just for fun it became more of a business for the companies.

Jim Brown, an African American, all-American fullback at Syracuse University. Joined Cleveland Browns in 1957.

During this time African Americans began playing a more dominant role in sports than they had in the past. Players such as Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby were African American baseball players that were able to escape the race barrier previously in the way of showing their full potential. Although discrimination still occurred making it harder for an African American to become part of the team than it would have been for a white man, “African American athletes began to transform the game of baseball in the fifties,” (Dunar 242). . African American players played important roles in the professional basketball and football teams along with the baseball teams unlike ever before. The Boston Celtics Red Auerbach and Bill Russell were basketball athletes that excelled in the sport transforming their team in a positive way. As for football, Jim Brown had a very successful athletic career despite his race which would have been an issue a decade earlier.

Baseball, basketball, and football were all popular sports and are usually still considered some of the top sports but back in the 1950s bowling was remarkably popular. “Bowling alleys sprouted up across the nation and Americans by the thousands entered local leagues,” ( making bowling the United State’s most popular participation sport. College football became more popular than pro football with teams like Ohio State as top competition. Boxing was another sport that was prominent in the ‘50s. This website goes more into depth on various sports and highlights and top players in these sports throughout the 1950s.

If it weren’t for the major increase in interest and accessibility of sports games in the 1950s, what we know and love of sports today may not have existed or existed to the extent it does. Sports generate a large amount of revenue for places like colleges and professional teams. They provide a way to connect people of a city or people from all over that support the same team as others. Sports are a major source of entertainment whether they are being watched on the television or in real life it is something many people not only in the U.S. but all over the world enjoy. Sports also provide a means of staying in shape and providing physical activity for athletes while doing something they are able to enjoy doing. The 1950s were an import time for the sports we know and love today.

Works Cited
“1950s Sports: History, Facts, MVPs & Champions.” RetroWaste. N.p., n.d. Web.

Dunar, Andrew J. America in the Fifties. N.p.: Syracuse UP, 2006. Print.

“The 1950s Sports: Topics in the News.” U*X*L American Decades. 10 Oct. 2017 <>.