Boomers, part 2: in which Beaver decides to be fab…

America’s First Family, Boomer parents’ edition

The Boomers are the first TV generation. We’ve been intimates of television since its infancy as the mass medium of choice for Americans.

Because of television’s limited options in those days, most Boomers, at least as children, lived with fewer than 6 channels and only 3 networks (although there were nascent public television systems, many viewers were unable to receive their signals).  There was also the old Code of Practices for Television Broadcasters. This set limits on the material presented on TV – and also served, good or ill, as a unifier of messages.

We Boomers learned a lot from television. TV was  quasi parent/sibling/best friend during the maturation of the majority of Boomers.  Families watched TV together – and the messages of television programming were designed with families both as subject – and as message.  The early years of Boomer television watching were dominated by shows with wise (if often exasperated)  fathers, nurturing ( if occasionally scatter-brained) mothers, and children who learned lessons. Boy Boomers and Girl Boomers received different lessons – both from the shows’ texts and from their subtexts. But lessons there always were.

Gee, Wally…. Continue reading