The 1950’s saw the television’s rise in popularity. “By the end of the 1950’s, nearly nine of ten American families owned a TV set.” This drastically changed American life. People started using the TV as a source of information. The job that once belonged to strictly the newspapers was moving on to other formats. America also began using TV as their number one leisure activity. They would watch shows like The Goldbergs, The Honeymooners, and Leave It To Beaver. However, the biggest impact that television had was through its advertisements.
Advertisements were now being seen on a mass scale, due to the amount of TV that was being watched across the country. Without Tivo most people would actually sit through the commercials, and some even found them entertaining. Jack Straus, the chairman of the board of Macy’s said, “The luxuries of today are the necessities of tomorrow.” What this means is that people are starting to think they need goods that were once considered luxuries. America started shifting into a consumer country. People were being “brainwashed” to buy all sorts of things. Items such as Levi’s or Coca-Cola were once items of the rich. Now, the entire population was buying everything they could. They were taking out loans, and buying on credit, both things that were not done before. The TV and advertisements really shifted the way Americans behaved. Above is a clip of a handful of television commercials from the 1950’s and 1960’s. I found them quite interesting. I hope you do as well.