By: Charles M. Schulz
Date: November 16, 1952
Source: Schulz, Charles M. Peanuts comic strip. Syndicated by United Features. November 16, 1952. Reprinted in Charles M. Schulz. Peanuts Revisited: Favorites Old and New. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1955.
About the Artist: Charles M. Schulz (1922–2000) was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and attended art school there. His comic strip Li'l Folks first appeared in The St. Paul Pioneer Press in the late 1940s and was later picked up by the United Features Syndicate in 1950 and renamed Peanuts. Shultz wrote and and drew Peanuts for fifty years, and it became the most well-loved comic strip in history. Schulz also developed a musical, "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," and numerous books and animated TV specials based on his comic strip characters.
"You're a Good Man, Charlie Schulz"
By: Barnaby Conrad
Date: April 16, 1967
Source: Conrad, Barnaby. "You're a Good Man, Charlie Schulz." The New York Times Magazine, April 16, 1967, 33–35, 42–49, 52–53....
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"New York: Nightmare"
Date: December 14, 1953
Source: "New York: Nightmare." Newsweek, December 14, 1953, 29–31.
About the Publication: Newsweek was founded in 1933 by Thomas J.C. Martyn. It was purchased by the Washington Post company in 1961. Headquartered in New York City, Newsweek had a circulation of four million in 2003. The news magazine mixes text and images in its coverage of the previous week's events.
The first American newspapers existed even before there was a United States of America. One famous early American newspaper publisher was Benjamin Franklin, who published the Pennsylvania Gazette starting in 1729. One of the leading radicals in the colonies was Samuel Adams, who published his Journal of the Times in Boston. It, and other newspapers like it, spread the ideology of the American Revolution in colonial cities in the 1770s. During the American Revolution, one advantage that the colonists had over the British was that the colonists destroyed the printing presses of many of the Loyalist newspapers and controlled many of the surviving newspapers.
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Celebrity Deaths in the 1950s
"James Dean, Film Actor, Killed in Crash of Auto"
By: The New York Times
Date: October 1, 1955
Source: "James Dean, Film Actor, Killed in Crash of Auto." The New York Times, October 1, 1955, 10.
"Services for James Dean"
By: The New York Times
Date: October 9, 1955
Source: "Services for James Dean." The New York Times, October 9, 1955, 87.
"Iowa Air Crash Kills 3 Singers"
By: The New York Times
Date: February 4, 1959
Source: "Iowa Air Crash Kills 3 Singers." The New York Times, February 4, 1959, 66.
About the Publication:...
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News is a Singular Thing
By: Marguerite Higgins
Source: Higgins, Marguerite. News is a Singular Thing. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1955.
About the Author: Marguerite Higgins (1920–1966) was one of the most highly publicized news reporters during the 1950s. Although she had also reported on World War II, she gained her fame largely in Korea as a war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune. In 1951, her book War in Korea became a best-seller, and she won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. She later covered and wrote books about Vietnam and the Soviet Union and reported on the civil war in the Congo. In 1966, she died of a tropical disease she had contracted in Vietnam. In recognition of her war reporting she is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
The role of women in public life has long been a controversial issue in the United States. As America began to prosper in the nineteenth century and a middle class developed, women were moved out of the work-place and into the home. According to the "cult of domesticity" that developed, women existed to make the home a safe and moral place, and they possessed special skills for that role. Women were supposed to be kept, for their own protection,...
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Alan Freed Popularizes Rock 'n' Roll
By: Alan Freed
Date: December 1956
Source: Freed, Alan. "Alan Freed." Photoplay, December 1956. Available online at www.alanfreed.com (accessed March 24, 2003).
"What Alan Freed Really Thinks About Rock 'n' Roll"
By: Alan Freed
Source: Freed, Alan. "What Alan Freed Really Thinks About Rock 'n' Roll." Interview by Anita Behrman. People Weekly, October 1958, 20–26.
About the Author: Alan Freed (1922–1965), a disk jockey from Cleveland, helped to make that city an early center of rock and roll. He was one of the first white DJs to popularize rhythm and blues music, at first in Cleveland and then on a national radio program. In 1954 Freed moved to New York, where he was a disk jockey for a radio station there. Freed lost his job in the 1959 radio payola scandal, in which he was accused of accepting money from record companies in return for playing their records on the air. He slipped into anonymity, dying after an extended illness some six years later.
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"What Killed Collier's?"
By: Hollis Alpert
Date: May 11, 1957
Source: Alpert, Hollis. "What Killed Collier's?" The Saturday Review, May 11, 1957, 9–11, 42–44.
About the Author: Hollis Alpert (1916–) is best known as a film critic, but he has written and edited a variety of articles and publications. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II (1939–1945) and has written for a number of magazines, including Woman's Day and The Saturday Review. He is the author or editor of more than a dozen works, including two screenplays, a biography of the Barrymore family, and The Life and Times of Porgy and Bess.
Mass-market magazines, designed to be sold to the entire country and to have a wide reach, developed in the late 1800s. One of the first was Ladies' Home Journal, which aimed to appeal to all women. The Saturday Evening Post, founded in 1871, emphasized small-town and traditional values in an attempt to attract readers across the United States. Collier's, founded in 1883, covered the news and culture of the day.
Another wave of popular and successful mass market magazines arose in the 1920s, most notably Time, which was launched in 1923. During that...
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"Common Sense and Sputnik"
Date: October 21, 1957
Source: "Common Sense and Sputnik." Life 43, October 21, 1957, 35. Reprinted in Voices of the American Past: Documents in U.S. History, vol. 2. Raymond M. Hyser and J. Chris Arndt, eds. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1995, 200–202.
About the Publication: Life magazine was launched in 1936 by Henry Luce, the publisher of Time magazine. A weekly news and picture magazine, Life was popular for several decades and was best known for its photography. The magazine has been credited with inventing the photo essay. The weekly ceased publication in 1972, but semiannual special editions of Life were published until it was re-established as a monthly in 1978.
The United States long felt safe due to its geographical isolation from the rest of the world. In 1823, the country issued the Monroe Doctrine, which stated that it would oppose any further colonialism in the Americas on the part of any European power. This policy led many Americans to regard all of North and South America as the domain of the United States. The Monroe Doctrine was reinforced with the idea of Manifest Destiny, which held that the United States was destined to sweep...
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Leave It to Beaver
"A Gift From the Children"
By: The New York Times
Date: December 8, 1957
Source: Golbout, Oscar. "A Gift From the Children." The New York Times, December 8, 1957, sec. 2, 14.
"Busy 'Beaver' and His Brother"
By: The New York Times
Date: October 30, 1960
Source: Shepard, Richard F. "Busy 'Beaver' and His Brother." The New York Times, October 30, 1960, sec. 2, 15.
About the Publication: Founded in 1850 as The Daily Times, The New York Times was originally a relatively obscure local paper. By the early part of the twentieth century, it had grown into a widely known, well-respected news source, and has remained such since.
Newspapers were the main form of media in the United States during the nineteenth century. However, even the farthest-reaching newspapers did not reach most of America. Newspapers were primarily a local media and were expected to reflect the influence of that area. Radio changed that somewhat, as some broadcasts were heard nationwide and some stations could...
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The Huntley-Brinkley Report
"Mileage in Morality"
By: Robert Lewis Shayon
Date: December 28, 1957
Source: Shayon, Robert Lewis. "Mileage in Morality." The Saturday Review, December 28, 1957, 24.
About the Author: Robert Lewis Shayon was a radio and TV critic for The Saturday Review from 1950–1970 and the Christian Science Monitor from 1950–1951. He also wrote TV scripts, and was a producer and director for CBS in the 1940s and NBC in the 1950s and 1960s.
"The Evening Duet"
Date: October 19, 1959
Source: "The Evening Duet." Time, October 19, 1959, 92.
About the Publication: Time was founded in 1923 by Henry Luce. It quickly became one of America's most widely read news magazines, remaining popular into the twenty-first century.
Early in American history, if one wanted to get a point across, or if there was news to be spread, one either used the town crier or printed a pamphlet. Following pamphlets, and still well before the American Revolution, came...
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Communists in the Media
"9 More in Entertainment World Refuse to Answer on Red Ties"
By: The New York Times
Date: June 20, 1958
Source: Porter, Russell. "9 More in Entertainment World Refuse to Answer on Red Ties" The New York Times, June 20, 1958, 1, 12.
"Statements on Dubin Case"
By: The New York Times
Date: June 20, 1958
Source: "Statements on Dubin Case." The New York Times, June 20, 1958, 12.
About the Publication: Founded in 1850 as The Daily Times, The New York Times was originally a relatively obscure local paper. However, by the early part of the twentieth century, it had grown into a widely known and well-respected news source, and remained so into the twenty-first century.
In the late 1940s and into the 1950s, television began to compete with radio and newspapers as America's most popular source of news and entertainment. During that same time period, the United States began to compete with the Soviet Union for world pre-eminence. These two countries had been wary allies during World War...
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"Ed Sullivan—Ten Years of TV"
By: John P. Shanley
Date: June 22, 1958
Source: Shanley, John P. "Ed Sullivan—Ten Years of TV." The New York Times, June 22, 1958. sec. 2, 11.
About the Author: John P. Shanley (1950–), popular playwright and screenwriter, grew up in the Bronx where he encountered some of the rough-and-tough types of characters found in his plays. His dramas feature eccentric, working-class characters and explosive dialogue. Moonstruck, Shanley's first produced screenplay, was a surprise hit and won an Academy Award for best original screenplay. Joe versus the Volcano marked Shanley's film directing debut. He also wrote screenplays based on novels and several televisions scripts.
The early entertainment and news in America came from the newspapers, which had existed since colonial times. Newspapers boomed in the late 1800s, as paper costs dropped and readership surged because many in the middle class had much more leisure time. The news and information presented in newspapers was mostly local; even though national news syndicates existed, local editors controlled what went into each paper. The introduction of radio gave Americans a more immediate source of news and entertainment, but in its early...
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Dick Clark's American Bandstand
Dick Clark Hosting American
Bandstand; Dick Clark in Record Library
By: Associated Press
Date: June 30, 1958; February 3, 1959
Source: Dick Clark Hosting American Bandstand. June 30, 1958; Dick Clark in Record Library. February 3, 1959. AP/Wide World Photos. Available online at http://www.apwideworld.com (accessed March 24, 2003).
In the 1950s, television became America's first truly national mass medium. Newspapers were the first major media in the United States, but a single newspaper did not reach all of America. Radio was more of a mass medium, as all of America could hear a broadcast at one time, but it lacked the impact of visual information. Movies combined sound and pictures, but people could not afford to go to the movies every day. Unlike its media predecessors, TV could bring sound and pictures, news and entertainment, right into American homes every day.
In the 1950s, most of America had only three television channels and so programming space was limited. People also were concerned that only "proper" things be shown on television, and censors had to approve scripts. For instance, Lucille Ball's character on the I...
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Charles Van Doren and the Quiz Show Scandal
"Reaction to the Van Doren Reaction"
By: Hans J. Morgenthau
Date: November 22, 1959
Source: Morgenthau, Hans J. "Reaction to the Van Doren Reaction.." The New York Times Magazine, November 22, 1959, 17, 106.
About the Author: Hans J. Morgenthau (1904–1980) was a prominent political scientist who studied foreign policy. He was trained at the University of Frankfurt and emigrated to the United States in 1937. He was one of the first to oppose to the Vietnam War and wrote over twenty books, among them being Politics among Nations and The Decline of Democratic Politics. He taught at a number of universities, including the University of Chicago.
"More Reaction to Van Doren"
By: The New York Times Magazine
Date: December 6, 1959
Source: "More Reaction to the Van Doren." Letters to The New York Times Magazine, December 6, 1959, 35.
The advent of radio as a mass media in the 1930s and 1940s had a huge impact on American entertainment. Radio required the immediate attention of the listener....
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Love, Alice: My Life As a Honeymooner
By: Audrey Meadows
Source: Meadows, Audrey, with Joe Daley. Love, Alice: My Life As a Honeymooner. New York: Crown Publishers, 1994, 25–31.
About the Artist: Actress Audrey Meadows (1925–1996) had her first important role in the Broadway show Top Banana. She got her break in television with The Bob and Ray Show, for which she was awarded the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 1954. She is best known, however, for her role opposite Jackie Gleason in The Honeymooners. She later starred in The Jackie Gleason Show, appeared in several movies, made guest appearances on TV, and had a regular role in the 1980s sitcom Too Close for Comfort. After her success as Alice Kramden, however, she was often typecast as a housewife.
The early 1950s saw the advent of television sitcoms (situation comedies), many of which were based on radio shows. A number of these shows, such as the Ozzy and Harriet Show and Leave it to Beaver, reflected an idealized view of what suburban life was like. Other shows had a more blue-collar setting. One of the best-known and most popular of the latter type was The Honeymooners, in which Jackie Gleason played a New York...
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"The Politics of Race: An Interview with Harry Ashmore"
By: Harry Ashmore
Date: January 15, 1995
Source: Ashmore, Harry. "The Politics of Race: An Interview with Harry Ashmore." Interview by Scott London. Insight and Outlook radio program transcript. January 15, 1995. Available online at http://www.scottlondon.com/interviews/ashmore.html; website home page: http://www.scottlondon.com (accessed March 20, 2003).
About the Author: Harry Ashmore (1916–1998) was one of a group of newspaper editors who took pride in speaking for a New South and in pushing for racial tolerance during the 1950s and beyond. Born in Greenville, South Carolina, Ashmore graduated from Clemson College in 1937 and served in the Army infantry during World War II. After working for the Charlotte News and other papers, he joined the Arkansas Gazette in 1947 and remained there until 1959, eventually becoming editor-in-chief. In 1958, the paper won a Pulitizer Prize for its coverage of the desegregation of Little Rock schools, and Ashmore won a Pulitzer for his editorials. After leaving the Gazette, he was editor-in-chief for Encyclopedia Britannica, among other posts.
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By: Lucille Ball
Source: Ball, Lucille. Love, Lucy. With Betty Hannah Hoffman. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1996, 204–210.
About the Artist: Lucille Ball (1911–1989) began working in films in 1933. She appeared in dozens of movies, with lead roles in a few, but never achieved movie stardom. In 1940 she met and married Desi Arnaz, a Cuban bandleader. She got her break in radio in 1947, with My Favorite Husband. In 1951 the radio show was moved to television, with significant changes, as I Love Lucy. The show was wildly popular and ran for six years, making Ball a television icon. Ball divorced Arnez in 1960, and in 1962 she bought out his interest in the couple's joint production company, Desilu Studios. She ran Desilu Studios from 1962 to 1967 and also starred in three other TV sitcoms, all based on a version of the original Lucy character: The Lucille Ball Show (1962–1968), Here's Lucy (1968–1974), and the short-lived Life With Lucy (1986).
With the rising popularity of television in the 1950s, the national networks needed to create more programs to to put on the air. They turned to radio as a source of programming ideas. Many early television...
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