Television: 1959-60

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  • See entry on JFK on TV and theories of the simulacra (on the page "Theorizing 1959-1960")

  • Groucho, Chico & Harpo Marx's final TV appearance together - on G.E. Theater with host Ronald Reagan.

  • Bonanza debuts.

  • Twilight Zone Season One began in 1959 and ran from 1959-60. The opening: "There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone."
  • The Second Season ran from 1960-61: "You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead — your next stop, the Twilight Zone.

  • The Rebel ran from 1959-61. Synopsis from wikipedia: "The series is about the adventures of young Confederate Army veteran Johnny Yuma (played by Nick Adams). Haunted by his memories of the war, Yuma roams the American West in search of inner peace. Yuma keeps a journal of his adventures and fights injustice where he finds it with the help of a double-barreled shotgun having a sawed-off stock and barrel." Apparently Nick Adams committed suicide in 1968. Johnny Cash replaced Elvis to sing the theme song, later the instrumental version was used.
Nick Adams

  • Danger Man was produced 1960-2 and was an attempt to bring James Bond to television: lots of beautiful women, exotic travels and espionage. Hilarious descriptions of the episodes on wikipedia . My favourite aired October 16, 1960 and was called "The Girl in Pink Pajamas:" "A strikingly lovely blonde is found wandering in a dazed condition along a lonely road in a Balkan state and provides John Drake with a clue to the mystery surrounding the attempted assassination of the country’s president." Also released later in USA under a different name.
From the opening credits

  • TV had been introduced to Italy in 1954 and played a crucial role in solidifying post-war (imported American) conformism and consumerism during the cold war period. It infiltrated the rural communities (largely southern) with the values of the increasing urban centres (largely northern). It also completed linguistic assimilation and shifted social relations and formations: socialization in town piazzas and bars was replaced by increasing viewing of the television in the home.
  • There was a single channel which was controlled by the Christian center-right party.
  • Game shows were very popular and covered in the daily newspapers. 'Lascia o Redoppia' (Leave it or Double it) was a game show that greatly increased the popularity of the new technology.
  • Advertisements took place at the end of the shows. These were essentially short programs that were avidly watched. One entitled 'Carosello' was introduced in 1957, and was the most popular show by 1960. This points to the role television played in importing consumer culture into Italy.
  • See: Stephen Gundle, Between Hollywood and Moscow: the Italian Communists and the challenge of Mass Culture 1943-1991. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2000. Especially 77-80.