Quizzing America

Television Game Shows and Popular Culture in the 1950s


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About the Book

The 1950s television game show was a cultural touchstone for the decade, reflecting the zeitgeist of a flourishing modern nation. The author explores the iconography of the mid–20th century U.S. in the context of TV watching, game playing and prize winning. The scandals that marred the genre’s reputation are revisited, highlighting American’s propensity for both gullibility and winking cynicism.

About the Author(s)

Mark Dunn is a veteran playwright, novelist and non-fiction author, and the former public access librarian at the Museum of Television and Radio. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Bibliographic Details

Mark Dunn
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 215
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6550-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3050-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

 1. Radio Daze 9

 2. Transition 23

 3. All the Little People 29

 4. A Nation of Shopkeepers and Worm Farmers 35

 5. It’s News (or History) to Me 44

 6. There Is Nothing Like a Dame 58

 7. Sound No Trumpet When Giving Alms 71

 8. Welcome to the Big Apple 82

 9. Guess Who’s Probably Not Coming to Dinner 92

10. A Beautiful Mosaic (Still Under Construction) 105

11. And Now a Mandate from Our Sponsor … 109

12. Walpurgisnacht 124

13. Jackpot! 138

14. What’s the Matter with Kids Today? 145

15. The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name 151

16. All Fall Down 155

17. They Were the Best of Times; They Were the Stupidest of Times 165

18. Future Dark, Future Bright 173

19. A Procession of Game Shows 181

Chapter Notes 183

Bibliography 197

Index 203