TV in the ’50s

Always on, the ‘56 black and white Philco flickered promises
into crowded living rooms across America
A better tomorrow for working families
All it takes, stare hours at your TV screen
Let the subliminal messages do their work

Wishful thoughts, soaring away with Dinah Shore
You’re in the USA with a Chevrolet
What’s good for GM is good for America

In retrospect, we know better
Back then, what we bought was who we were

Many blamed TV for misdirecting youth
Bigger than life ideas filling their heads
Blame our Philco if you like
but there’s another side:
All those jobs in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, hanging
on whether folks bought the contraption
advertised during Phil Silvers Show

Diversion was our god, aided
by Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, the Marx Brothers
Making us laugh, rather than cry
as advertising created a nation of consumers
Having was how we found meaning

In another way, our Philcos, Zeniths
and GE TVs helped us get beyond
face-to-face sameness, filling
small towns across America
Hungry for new role models, TV provided them

For those growing up a long way
from New York City, Chicago, or Los Angeles
TV sets brought them closer
to the reality, soon changing us all
Perhaps we should be glad someone told us
even if it was Howdy Doody

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This entry was posted in Free Verse Poetry, Historical Poems, Poems about Television by Don Iannone. Bookmark the permalink.

About Don Iannone

Don Iannone is a poet, writer, teacher and photographer who lives in the Greater Cleveland area. He has worked in the economic development field for over 35 years. Don is the author of three poetry books and five photography books. He is working on a short book of photographs and poems about human trafficking. This work was exhibited at six venues in Ohio. Don holds an M.A. degree in Art and Consciousness Studies from the University of Philosophical Research in Los Angeles, where he teaches writing. His educational background also includes studies in Anthropology, Photography, Organizational Behavior, and Economic Development. Don’s website: http://www.donaldiannone.com Wisdom Work Press: https://wisdomworkpress.wordpress.com

16 thoughts on “TV in the ’50s

  1. this brought it all back
    thanks don
    i can still remember running home from scholl
    knowing that our first tv had arrived
    and i could watch the lone ranger

  2. Hey Beav,
    Ha ha! I was gonna reply with something about Howdy Doody, and then, as i got to the end, there he was! Shoulda known.
    Maybe I did….
    Reads clearly.
    Love,
    Wally

  3. Interesting allusions – I was born in 56, so just missed being able to recall that earliest TV period.

    Theoretically TV could have been such a potent force for lifting us up but it sure didn’t work out that way.

  4. Very well put. You really capture the essence.

    I am trying hard for that poetry book. But no readers for poetry. Most publisher tell me to write fiction. May be I should consider that!

    Do read my last post and you will know what I mean!

  5. Aurora: I appreciate the follow-up comment. I really want to improve my poetry, which is why I asked. And you would know with your accomplishments in the poetry field. Thanks again.

  6. Gautami: Thanks, and I will. Do both. Self-publish. It’s a dignified way to go. Look at Booksurge.com. If you self-publish, have some other poets review your work and provide you with feedback.

  7. Paul: Thanks. So you were a 56 baby, along with our Philco.

    TV was/is a potent force lifting us. It’s a tool and it’s up to us to use it to serve our goals. But you already know that.

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