Program Details

From Gunsmoke to Laugh-In: The Best of 1960s TV

Margery Marcus, Ed.D.
Video Catch-up

Course Description

In 1961, Newton Minow, the then Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, famously referred to television as a "vast wasteland," antagonizing both viewers and tv executives. Writer Sherwood Schwartz was so incensed that he named the ill-fated ship on Gilligan's Island the S.S. Minnow. The FCC chair advocated for more documentaries rather than cartoons, sitcoms, and westerns which dominated the small screen throughout the 1950s. However, Minow's words weren't heeded by programmers catering to public tastes. Join Dr. Margery Marcus for an examination of the Neilson-rated #1 television shows of each year of the decade, from "Gunsmoke" in 1960 to "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-in" in 1969. Dr. Marcus looks at why these shows were so popular and what they reveal about the era's culture. This lecture includes a colorful PowerPoint with video clips.

About the Instructor

  • Margery Marcus, Ed.D., retired from Broward County schools after a long and successful career teaching English. Well known for her storytelling ability, her topics run the gamut from book censorship to the British Royal family. She is a frequent presenter at OLLI programs on the campuses of FAU Boca Raton, Jupiter and, Brooklyn College. Her career has been guided by a deep love of learning which began when she read the very first page of "Charlotte’s Web" as a child. Marcus earned a bachelor's degree in English from The College of New Jersey, a master’s degree in education from the University of N.C. at Charlotte and a doctoral degree in education from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale.