The cake in the kitchen, the house in the suburbs, Mamie in her mink stole, Elvis in his pink Cadillac. It was America in the 1950s, and the world was not so much a stage as a setpiece for TV, the new national phenomenon. It was a decade of design, a time when how things looked - and how "we" looked - mattered. This text portrays a visual culture reflecting and reflected in the powerful new medium of television. Looking closely at a number of celebrated instances in which the principles of design dominated the public arena and captivated the popular imagination, Karal Ann Marling gives us an in-depth picture of the taste and sensibility of the postwar era. From Walt Disney's Wednesday night TV show, the leap was easy to his theme park, where the wildly popular TV characters could be seen firsthand, and Marling conducts us through this heady concoction of real life and fantasy. Next the text examines the picture-perfect world of "Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book" of 1950, the runaway bestseller of the decade, and shows us how the look of food, culminating in the TV Dinner, attained paramount importance. From the painting-by-numbers fad to the sensation of Elvis Presley to the sculptural refinement of the automobile, Marling explores what Americans saw and what they looked for with a gaze newly trained by TV. A study in style, in material culture, in art history at eye level, her book shows us as never before those artful everyday objects that stood for American life in the 1950s, as seen on TV, attained paramount importance.
As Seen on TV offers fresh, imaginative readings of individual artifacts, particularly "Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book" and television commercials for automobiles. Moving Beyond text to context, chapters on the ongoing spectacle at Disneyland and the one-time-only "Kitchen Debate" between Nixon and Khruschev provide suggestive rereadings of familiar topics. [The book] becomes most interesting when imaginatively leaping from one set of cultural products or practices to another. It glides from Mamie Eisenhower's New Look to the 'Chemise' or 'sack dress'.."As Seen on TV" draws on an extensive, eclectic array of sources: presidential archives, museum collections, business publications, scholarly accounts, popular histories, and even the responses of listeners to Professor Marling's appearances on radio talk shows--Norman L. Rosenberg "Reviews in American History "
This book is a real disappointment, it is an incredibly difficult book to read, it uses awkard language, and phrases that don't explain the subject mattter at all. Why couldnt it be witten in plain English, and para-phrased properly. You have to continunly read the lines over to make sense of what the author is tring to tell you. NOT WORTH THE $55.OO DOLLAR PRICE TAG. IT COULD HAVEN BEEN A REALLY GOOD BOOK IF WRITTEN IN PLAIN ENGLISH.