4′ x 4′, Glue, Paper on Masonite
In the early days of television, no one really knew what to do with this new technology. So programmers did what they knew best, which was radio. They simply transferred radio variety shows to television. Shows like “The Milton Berle Show” and “Amos and Andy” got their start on radio and were among the first television hits in the 1940s.
In the 1950s and 1960s, while variety shows remained popular, situation comedies, dramas and westerns started to fill prime time hours. Quiz shows also had a run in the 50s, but those were undone by cheating scandals. “I Love Lucy” was the first monster sitcom, running from 1951-1957. “Gunsmoke,” originally a radio show, came to TV in 1955 and didn’t stop for 20 years, making it the longest-running drama in TV history (“Law and Order” would later tie it, but with nearly 200 fewer episodes).
Today, there are estimated to be over a billion television sets around the world. One can still see most of all of the old television shows on stations which show the classic reruns, and America continues to watch them with a passion.
In the last fifty years, television has evolved and grown into one of the most important forms of communication. Television links our homes to the latest news events around the world as well as many other viewings. What would we do without it?