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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Golden Age Of Television.

The Fifties.
Also known as "The Fabulous Fifties".
What a time it was!
At least in terms of television.
Oh, I know that TV technichally got started in the late forties, but it really took it's shape,or at least the shape that it had, in the fifties.

We got to see a lot of wonderful things.
Sid Caesar, a true artist and genius, supported by the greatest writing staff for sketch comedy ever.
Jackie Gleason---It wasn't just "The Honeymooners".
He brought his entire repertoire of characters to his variety show.
My favorite was Reggie Van Gleason.
Gleason was another true artist.

Speaking of true artists, Ernie Kovacs was the great innovator.
Steve Allen brought his free-wheeling approach, where he brought some of the best comedy sketch players to his variety show.

Ed Sullivan's main gift was that he brought families together in an America where most families only had one TV set.
If you didn't like the guy spinning the plates, or the juggling unicyclist, just wait a few minutes and there'd be Myron Cohen.
And there'd always be something for "You youngsters out there".

There was Jack Paar.
I maintain that there has never been a talk show host as interesting as Paar.
By sheer force of his personality.
He was an absolutely compelling figure.

Ther were great dramatic anthologies.
Each week, there were the equivalent of at least three new plays on TV.
And they were each an event.
When the theme music swelled for "Playhouse 90", it was spine-tingling.

The common denominator to all this was that it was all LIVE.
As it was happening, you were seeing it.
This meant anything could happen, and often did.
When things went wrong, that was often part of the fun.

That element is for the most part gone, except for sporting events, and talking head news shows.

Aside from live, there was also the incomparable "Sergeant Bilko" and "I Love Lucy".

So it was quite a time.

But I'm here to tell you that the fifties was NOT the Golden Age
of Television.

And next time, I'll be here to tell you why not.


My new book, "Mark Rothman's Essays", ones that were culled from the blog and are no longer there, along with a surprise bonus, is available for purchase.
Please e-mail me at for more info.



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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."