Golden Age of Television
The Golden Age of Television in the United States began sometime in the late 1940s and extended to the late 1950s or early 1960s.
Evolutions of drama on television 
As filmed series, such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Twilight Zone, began to dominate during the mid-1950s and early 1960s, the period of live TV dramas was viewed as the Golden Age. Although producer David Susskind, in a 1960s roundtable discussion with leading 1950s TV dramatists, defined TV's Golden Age as 1938 to 1954, the final shows of Playhouse 90 in 1961 and the departure of leading director John Frankenheimer brought the era to an end.
As a new medium, television introduced many innovative programming concepts, and prime time television drama showcased both original and classic productions, including the first telecasts of Walt Disney's programs, as well as the first telecasts of Mary Martin in Peter Pan, MGM's classic The Wizard of Oz and Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. Critics and viewers looked forward to new teleplays by Paddy Chayefsky, Horton Foote, Tad Mosel, Reginald Rose, Rod Serling, WIlliam Templeton, Gore Vidal and others.
Most of these programs were produced as installments of live dramatic anthologies, such as The Philco Television Playhouse, Kraft Television Theatre and Playhouse 90. Live, abridged versions of plays like Cyrano de Bergerac, with members of the cast of the 1946 Broadway revival recreating their roles, were regularly shown during this period.
Limitations of early television 
Early television broadcasts were limited to either live or filmed productions (the first practical videotape system, Ampex's Quadruplex, wasn't available until 1956). Broadcasting news, sports and other live events was somewhat of a technical challenge in the early days of television but live drama with multiple cameras was extremely challenging. A live, 90 minute drama might require a dozen sets and at least that many cameras. Major set and other changes had to occur during commercials and there were no "second takes." The cast and crew operated with the awareness of as many as 10 million people watching and any mistake went out live. After the adoption of videotape in 1957, many live dramas were shot "live to tape," still retaining a "live" television look and feel but able to both preserve the program for later broadcast and allowing the possibility of retakes (still rare since videotape editing required a razor blade and was not done unless absolutely necessary). The pressures of live dramatic television gives a tension that is not present in filmed or videotaped broadcasts.
Response to television's popularity 
Television did not quite play the role in people's lives in the 1950s than it does now. However, by about 1958, it had become the dominant form of home entertainment, depleting audiences in movie theaters. It was the fear of this that drove movie studios to begin using widescreen and 3-D processes in 1952, an effort to lure audiences back with technical innovations they could not see at home (such as color, which was not common in television until the mid-1960s). Widescreen became a permanent feature of film; 3-D's popularity was shorter-lived and would not become widespread until the 2000s.
Cultural milestones 
High culture dominated commercial network television programming in the 1950s and 1960s with the first television appearances of Leonard Bernstein and Arturo Toscanini, the first telecasts from Carnegie Hall took place during this era, the first live American telecasts of plays by Shakespeare, the first telecasts of Tchaikovsky's ballets The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker and the first opera specially composed for television, Amahl and the Night Visitors. The Bell Telephone Hour, an NBC radio program, began its TV run, featuring both classical and Broadway performers. All of these were broadcast on NBC, CBS and ABC, something that would be unheard of today. Commercial networks now concentrate on more popular items. The networks then had their own art critics, notably Aline Saarinen and Brian O'Doherty.
Many programs of this era evolved from successful radio shows that brought polished concepts, casts and writing staffs to TV. This is one reason why quality was so consistently high during this period. Even an original show like I Love Lucy drew heavily from radio, since many of those scripts were rewrites from Lucille Ball's late-1940s radio show My Favorite Husband. Shows like Our Miss Brooks, The Burns and Allen Show and The Jack Benny Program ran concurrently on both radio and TV until television reception reached beyond the major metropolitan areas in the mid-1950s. By the early 1960s, about 90% of American households had a television set. At that point sitcoms and dramas dropped out of radio and became wholly the domain of television, as did Westerns like The Lone Ranger and Gunsmoke. At the same time, shows such as Playhouse 90 ended their run.
United Kingdom 
- British television had a head start on American TV, with the BBC Television Service beginning regular broadcasts in 1936; however, these ceased in 1939 (as did the production of television receivers) – resuming in 1946 after World War II.
- The golden age of British TV enjoyed its peak around the same time as in the United States, ranging from approximately 1949 to 1955 – although the term has been used to describe the period right through until the 1970s.
- Writers such as Nigel Kneale and producers like Rudolph Cartier produced classic programming such as The Quatermass Experiment and Mystery Story (of which no recording exists).
- Other notable programs include serials by the producer Francis Durbridge and classic children's programs such as Muffin the Mule and Andy Pandy.
- Canada's Golden Age of Television timeline is very similar to the US's, but there is an overall 5 year delay because of the constraints of economic and physical geography.
South Africa 
- South Africa was one of the last nations in the world to have TV; the apartheid government resisted TV broadcasting until the mid-1970s, with experimental broadcasts only beginning in 1975 and nationwide service starting in January 1976.
- The development of TV in South Africa can at least be considered in NZ or Australian context – although the social and political constraints limit the length of the 'Golden Era' in this nation.
See also 
- King, Susan (2009-11-28). "'The Golden Age of Television'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- "'Golden Age' of Television Drama". The Museum of Broadcast Communications. 2005-10-24. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- Serling, Rod (1955-01-13). "About Writing for Television". ROD SERLING FOUNDATION. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- "Cyrano de Bergerac". The Broadway League, Inc. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- "Cyrano de Bergerac (#1.15)". IMDB.com, Inc. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- The History of the BBC: 1970s (BBC)[dead link]
Further reading 
- Averson, Richard (1971). Electronic Drama: Television Plays of the Sixties. Boston: Beacon Press, 1971. ISBN ISBN 0-8070-6178-6
- Bergmann, Ted; with Skutch, Ira (2002). The DuMont Television Network: What Happened? Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-4270-X
- Brooks, Tim; with Marsh, Earle (1981). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows: 1946–Present. New York: Ballentine. ISBN 0-345-29588-9
- Gianakos, Larry James (1992) Television Drama Series Programming A Comprehensive Chronicle, 1984–1986. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-2601-1
- Gitlin, Todd (1994). Inside Prime Time. London: Routledge ISBN 0-415-08500-4
- Hawes, William (2002). The American Television Drama: The Experimental Years. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 0-7864-1132-5
- Herskowitz, Mickey (1990). The Golden Age of Pro Football. Dallas: Taylor Publishing Company. ISBN 0-87833-751-2
- Hess, Gary Newton (1979). An Historical Study of the DuMont Television Network. New York: Ayer Publishers. ISBN 0-405-11758-2
- Kindem, Gorham (1994). The Live Television Generation of Hollywood Film Directors: Interviews with Seven Directors. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 0-89950-986-X
- MacDonald, J. Fred (1994). One Nation Under Television: The Rise and Decline of Network TV. Chicago: Nelson-Hall. ISBN 0-8304-1362-6
- McNeil, Alex (1996). Total Television: The Comprehensive Guide to Programming from 1948 to the Present. New York: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-024916-8
- Menta, Richard (2005-10-24). "Can iTunes Resurrect Old Time TV?". Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- Minor, Worthington; with Schaffner, Franklin (1985). Worthington Minor. Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-1757-8
- Newcomb, Horace (2007). Television: The Critical View. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-530116-8
- Patton, Phil (1984). Razzle-Dazzle: The Curious Marriage of Television and Professional Football. Garden City, NY: The Dial Press. ISBN 0-385-27879-9
- Powers, Ron (1984). Supertube: The Rise of Television Sports. New York: Coward-McCann. ISBN 0-698-11253-9
- Rader, Benjamin G. (1984). In its Own Image: How Television Has Transformed Sports. New York: The Free Press. ISBN 0-02-925700-X
- Skutch, Ira (1989) I Remember Television: A Memoir. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-2271-7
- Stemple, Tom (1992). Storytellers to the Nation: A History of American Television Writing. New York: Continuum. ISBN 0-8264-0562-2
- Sturcken, Frank (1990). Live Television: The Golden Age of 1946–1958 in New York. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 0-89950-523-6
- Wicking, Christopher; with Vahimagi, Tise (1999). The American Vein: Directors and Directions in Television. New York: Dutton ISBN 0-525-05420-0
- Wilk, Max (1999). The Golden Age of Television: Notes From the Survivors. Chicago: Silver Spring Press. ISBN 0-916562-49-2
- Studio One (September 29, 1952): Westinghouse spokeswoman Betty Furness explains UHF and demonstrates the UHF adapter
- The Paul Pert Screen Collection