I was raised by TV moms and dads in the 50s
Television in the 1950s and 1960s was far more positive in helping families to raise their children in a moral and respectful manner. But as society’s parental structure deteriorates television has deteriorated with it and probably today contributes to the growing turmoil plaguing our younger generation
By Ray Hanania
The Christmas and New Year season always remind me of how much fun it was to grow up in the 1950s and 1960s.
It wasn’t easy. Mom and dad worked a lot, dad as an accountant at Sinclair Oil and then later Northern Trust bank, and mom at the Solo Cup factory on 95th Street near Pill Hill.
We’d get home from school at 3 but our parents would get home at 6. So, we spent a lot of time with the “substitute parents” given to us by television.
Back then, television had a more positive impact on families than a negative impact.
My substitute moms and dads were: Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball, “I Love Lucy”); June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley, “Leave it to Beaver”); Danny Williams (Danny Thomas, “The Danny Thomas Show”); Steven Douglas (Fred MacMurray, “My Three Sons”); Jim Anderson (Robert Young, “Father Knows Best”); Ozzie Nelson (Ozzie Nelson, “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet”); teacher Connie Brooks (Eve Arden, “Our Miss Brooks”); Alice Mitchell (Gloria Henry, “Dennis the Menace”); Sheriff Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith, “Mayberry R.F.D.”); Samantha Stevens (Elizabeth Montgomery, “Bewitched”); Donna Stone (Dona Reed, “The Donna Reed Show”); and, Ellen Miller (Jan Clayton, “Lassie”).
How could you not grow up to be nice, respectful and decent with those substitute moms, dads and teachers?
Say what you want about the failures of that era, but you can’t say TV didn’t offer the best examples of what families could and should be.
Television made holidays like Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving more of a focus on families and goodness, rather than on spending money.
Last week, I wrote about how TV and movies have pushed aside the ingenuity and power of our imaginations by giving us CGI (computer generated imagery), which pushed aside our ability to imagine by doing the work for us.
You understand, right, that the less we do something, the less adept we are at it. Imagination is about using our minds and brains. Without it, our minds and brains slowly deteriorate, or numb-up.
It wasn’t that we covered up the ugly and the crime. We had shows like “The Naked City,” which featured crime, vice and violence.
But most of our minds were defined by good influences we saw every day on television.
There were edgy programs, like “The Twilight Zone.” But the bulk of the TV programing — our after school “baby sitters” — were dominated by family themes, moral lessons, respect for adults, law enforcement and doing the right thing for the right reasons.
Compare that with the garbage we have on TV today. Sure, we’re human and we are easily manipulated into embracing entertainment that is violent garbage.
Audiences today are herded like cattle by big money which backed programs that replaced goodness and morality with shock, fear, and profits.
Profiting from crime, anger and hate required more exposure, which is one reason why TV News programs rapidly grew. News segments were only 15 minutes in the 1950s, expanding to 30 minutes in 1963.
Today, news — bad news — is continuous, thrown at us in several three-hours blocks each day on TV and by 24-hour news programs like CNN on cable.
Crime, anger and hate sell far more than goodness, empathy and compassion. That means huge profits for the people who pull our emotional strings.
It’s a reflection of society’s deterioration. How easily we are lied to, from the most complicated things to the ephemeral. I mean, it was years before we were told that President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) lied to us about the alleged Communist attack on American ships at the Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam in 1966.
What else are they lying about? The JFK assassination? To protect the disreputable and their unsavory conduct and hate which contributed to the atmosphere that played a role in JFK’s murder.
We are also lied to about simple things. There are no native Buffalos in North America. What they call “buffaloes” are actually Bison. Yet, they gave us “Buffalo Nickels” (1913 until 1938), Buffalo Bill Cody at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, and moving songs like “give me a home where the buffalo roam?” Buffalo are native to Asia, where they actually roam. They don’t roam in America.
We Americans are so easily manipulated by lies and propaganda today. We just sit back and take it, because sometimes believing the selfish lie of today is better than embracing the goodness of the past.
I wish the younger generation could understand how much more there is besides the everyday garbage thrown at us in a world where money means more than empathy and morality.
(Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and political columnist. This column was originally published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group in the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers. For more information on Ray Hanania visit www.Hanania.com or email him at email@example.com.)
Subscribe to Ray’s Columns
I have three eNewsletters that each focus on different topics and issues.
- The first is on Mainstream American politics, local, national and international.
- My second eNewsletter focuses on issues facing Arab Americans in Chicagoland, the Midwest and the country.
- My third eNewsletter focuses exclusively on Orland Park, a suburban community located just Southwest of Chicago, the largest city between Chicago and Joliet.
You can subscribe to one or all by using the links below:
Mainstream American Politics Columns
Arab American focused columns
All Orland Park topics
Read my Archived eNewsletters
View Mainstream eNewsletter Archive
View Arab American eNewsletter Archive
View Orland Park eNewsletter Archive
Watch/listen to former Congressman Bill Lipinski and columnist Ray Hanania
rip into the headline stories the rest of the media ignores. Click to view on YouTube
A Message from Ray Hanania
Subscribe to my free email eNewsletters and get my columns early before they are published.
I will also include links to my audio podcast “Ray Hanania on Politics” which expands the column topics on Chicagoland and Suburban politics.
You will also get details on where I am scheduled to speak publicly. (Always free to attend and no charge.)
Use the form below and enter your full name (or just your initials, or the community where you live), and add your email address. You will still receive an email requesting confirmation.
If for some reason the form doesn’t work for you, send me your name and email and I will add it … firstname.lastname@example.org
A Big Thank You for supporting my writings. Your subscription means a lot to me.
- Kennedy needs support to get on Kansas ballot - February 24, 2024
- New study reveals which are the most selected lottery numbers - February 23, 2024
- One firefighter injured in Orland Park fire Tuesday morning - February 20, 2024