The Impact of Television in the 1950s

Short Paper 2 – The Impact of Television in the 1950s
I. Choose one of the following popular 1950s television family
situation comedies (sitcoms) and watch at least 2 episodes:
 “Father Knows Best” (1954-1960)
 “Leave it to Beaver” (1957-1963)
 “The Danny Thomas Show – Make Room for Daddy” (1953-1964)
 “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” (1952-1966)
 “The Donna Reed Show” (1958-1966)
II. Conduct outside research on the American family of the 1950s.
III. Discuss the show’s impact on American society by considering
the following questions:
 What did the show’s family look like?

  • As far as its race, socioeconomic status (wealthy, middle
    class, poor), level education, number of members, dual or
    single parent household, etc. is concerned.
     How were the men, women and children portrayed in the episodes?
  • What were their roles, behavior, relationships, etc.?
     What types of issues or problems did the family encounter?
     What message or messages do you think this show trying to
    convey to Americans about family life?
     Lastly, how does the 1950s American family compare to the
    American family of today?
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