Television in the early 1950s

by James K. Sayre

My first memory of seeing a television set was in the late 1940s in Ridgewood, New Jersey. We visited a neighbor who had a new round gray-screened television set. (Many years later, when I was in my teens, I remember that my father had an oscilloscope for his electronics hobby, and it looked like a smaller version of that early television set).

My family didn't get a television set until 1952, when I was ten years old. In retrospect, that was fortunate, so that my young mind was not warped by the so-called "idiot box." What was on television back in the early 1950s? Not much. The Howdy Doody Show, I Love Lucy, the GOP and Democratic political conventions in 1952: I Like Ike. (Compared to the vicious vile Republicans in the 21st century: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, McCain, Rove, et al ad nauseum, President Dwight David Eisenhower was positively genial...). Later, there were the Senate Hearings on the vicious right-wing bully Senate Joe McCarthy, who was finally censured and his power was thereafter broken...

What else was on? Kukla, Fran and Ollie: a great puppet show. Zoo Parade. Of course, back then, before cable TV, Satellite TV, etc. there were three networks, ABC, CBS and NBC and the beginnings of public television.



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