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The Electronic Mirror: What Classic TV Tells Us About Who We Were and Who We Are (and Everything In-Between)

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Classic television: married couples in separate beds, families too perfect to be true, stories that avoid “mature” subjects, and bad hairstyles—all shown in living black-and-white. But can these programs actually teach us something about life today and how it got that way? In this collection of essays, Mitchell Hadley looks at TV during its formative years and examines how Classic television: married couples in separate beds, families too perfect to be true, stories that avoid “mature” subjects, and bad hairstyles—all shown in living black-and-white. But can these programs actually teach us something about life today and how it got that way? In this collection of essays, Mitchell Hadley looks at TV during its formative years and examines how this most personal form of mass communication reflects the culture of its time, how it has fulfilled (or failed to fulfill) its initial promise, and how TV has—intentionally as well as unintentionally—predicted the future, with sometimes disturbing results. Through it all, Hadley combines a historian’s eye with a lifelong love of television to provide a sometimes humorous, occasionally ironic, but always interesting story of how classic television indeed is an “electronic mirror” that explains our past, our present, and everything in-between.


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Classic television: married couples in separate beds, families too perfect to be true, stories that avoid “mature” subjects, and bad hairstyles—all shown in living black-and-white. But can these programs actually teach us something about life today and how it got that way? In this collection of essays, Mitchell Hadley looks at TV during its formative years and examines how Classic television: married couples in separate beds, families too perfect to be true, stories that avoid “mature” subjects, and bad hairstyles—all shown in living black-and-white. But can these programs actually teach us something about life today and how it got that way? In this collection of essays, Mitchell Hadley looks at TV during its formative years and examines how this most personal form of mass communication reflects the culture of its time, how it has fulfilled (or failed to fulfill) its initial promise, and how TV has—intentionally as well as unintentionally—predicted the future, with sometimes disturbing results. Through it all, Hadley combines a historian’s eye with a lifelong love of television to provide a sometimes humorous, occasionally ironic, but always interesting story of how classic television indeed is an “electronic mirror” that explains our past, our present, and everything in-between.

2 review for The Electronic Mirror: What Classic TV Tells Us About Who We Were and Who We Are (and Everything In-Between)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christin Haws

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    Sue Rovens

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