As Seen on TV: The Visual Culture of Everyday Life in the 1950s

As Seen on TV: The Visual Culture of Everyday Life in the 1950s

by Karal Ann Marling
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674048822

ISBN-13: 9780674048829

Pub. Date: 08/28/1998

Publisher: Harvard University Press

It was America in the 1950s, and the world was not so much a stage as a setpiece for TV, the new national phenomenon. It was a time when how things looked—and how we looked—mattered, a decade of design that comes to vibrant life in As Seen on TV. This book captures a visual culture reflecting and reflected in the powerful new medium of television.…  See more details below

Overview

It was America in the 1950s, and the world was not so much a stage as a setpiece for TV, the new national phenomenon. It was a time when how things looked—and how we looked—mattered, a decade of design that comes to vibrant life in As Seen on TV. This book captures a visual culture reflecting and reflected in the powerful new medium of television. Looking closely at a number of celebrated instances in which the principles of design dominated the public arena and captivated the popular imagination, Karal Ann Marling gives us a picture of the taste and sensibility of the postwar era. From Walt Disney's Wednesday night TV show, the leap was easy to his theme park, where the TV characters could be seen firsthand, and Marling conducts us through this heady concoction of real life and fantasy. She takes us into the picture-perfect world of Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book of 1950, and shows us how the look of food, culminating in the TV Dinner, attained paramount importance. From the public fascination with the First Lady's apparel to the television sensation of Elvis Presley to the sculptural refinement of the automobile, Marling explores what Americans saw and what they looked for with a gaze trained by TV. A study in style and in material culture, her book shows us those artful everyday objects that stood for American life in the 1950s, as seen on TV.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674048829
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
08/28/1998
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.42(w) x 9.58(h) x 1.14(d)

Table of Contents

Prologue1
1Mamie Eisenhower's New Look8
2Hyphenated Culture: Painting by Numbers in the New Age of Leisure50
3Disneyland, 1955: The Place That Was Also a TV Show86
4Autoeroticism: America's Love Affair with the Car in the Television Age128
5When Elvis Cut His Hair: The Meaning of Mobility164
6Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book: The Aesthetics of Food in the 1950s202
7Nixon in Moscow: Appliances, Affluence, and Americanism242
Afterword284
Notes289
Illustration Credits319
Acknowledgments321
Index323

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