Segments in this Video

Film Prelude: Television in the 1960s (02:21)


In the 1960s, television becomes "the other member of the family." Television records and reports the upheaval and chaos of the decade.

Upheavals of the 1960s: JFK (03:55)

Certain patterns of history crystallize in the 1960s. Events of the Sixties shatter valued beliefs of the Fifties. Television begins to alter people's perceptions of reality. JFK is considered the first "television President".

Lee Harvey Oswald (02:31)

Identified as the assassin of JFK, Lee Harvey Oswald becomes the focus of national hysteria. Cameras capture the murder of Oswald.

Funeral and Cortege of JFK (01:22)

Dramatic coverage of JFK's funeral and cortege make lasting images in the minds of millions of Americans and people around the world. Television makes the events sadder and the myths stronger.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Civil Rights Movement (02:25)

Martin Luther King, Jr. chooses Selma for his non-violent march because it would provide footage of dramatic confrontation between police and peaceful citizens. This manipulation of public conscience gives power to the weak in a way nothing else can.

Television and Images of Vietnam (02:44)

Because of television, the Vietnam War is referred to as the "living room war." Television makes it clear to Americans leaders that American might could not make the situation right. Horrific images fuel protests at home.

Television and Moon Landing (03:29)

The television audience feels like "auxiliary astronauts" because of massive moon landing coverage. The proliferation of images makes it easier for Congress to fund more NASA programs.

Eng of Age of Innocence (01:46)

Images of the Vietnam War juxtaposed with images of the moon landing create mental and emotional upheaval for Americans. The age of innocence is over. People lose their faith in machines.

Proliferation of Computers (02:51)

Printing is an ancient and honorable craft. "Descendants of Gutenberg" find it painful to close the chapter on their art.

Muscle Power vs. Brain Power (02:55)

New inventions like computers solve problems and create new ones at the same time. Computers fulfill their promise of powering up the human mind. People envision a world in which machines serve mankind to provide more time to pursue pleasure and leisure.

Marriage of Man and Machine in Trouble (05:46)

During times of high employment and productivity of the 1960s, people begin to question the marriage of people and machines. Assembly line workers fight boredom. Craftsmanship becomes a thing of the past. People vs. robots is a fight on the horizon.

Robotized World (03:33)

In the 1960s, the price exacted by machines that do the work of people become issues. Is technology taking society towards a boring new world where work has no personal value? In a robotized world, what happens to human values?

Consumer Society of the 1960s (03:40)

Machines and automation usher in an era of massive numbers of new products and vast productivity. The treasures of possession become the American ideal. The American appetite is driven by a powerful impulse to escape the struggle for subsistence.

Consumerism and Television Commercials (03:13)

Host Bill Moyers likens the super-productivity of the 1960s to the Sorcerer's Apprentice. In 1967, America's population passes the 200-million mark. Consumerism becomes an end in itself, fueled by cleverly designed television commercials.

Woodstock Nation vs. Consumerism (01:01)

An entire generation in the 1960s rejects the values of consumerism and the "rat race" America has become. Yet, even the hippies needed technology to live. Cheap fuels and raw materials propel Americans into a culture of things and more things.

Economic Growth vs. Environment (04:00)

Human ingenuity makes the unthinkable possible--scraping Earth of her riches with no thought to sustainable growth. Machines lay waste to Nature. Soon the great debate centers on economic growth vs. the environment.

Personal Narrative (01:59)

A woman recalls the changes that have taken place since her marriage in the early 1900s.

Nature vs. Humankind (04:02)

Nature knows nothing of decades or centuries--it knows only the rhythm of life and death and each season's routine. Humans set about to tame Nature and set up habitat on the planet. The future of humankind has not yet been written.

Credits: Change, Change (01:30)

Credits: Change, Change

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Change, Change

Part of the Series : A Walk Through the 20th Century with Bill Moyers
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $149.95
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As this Bill Moyers program makes clear, television became another member of the family in the 1960s, both reflecting and influencing the era. The times were chaotic and TV whirled us into that chaos while also holding up a mirror to it: the assassination and funeral of John F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War, the Apollo moon landing, the saga of the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr. So swiftly was change upon us in the decade of the ’60s, so swiftly did the landmarks pass, that all these years later it seems a ride through great upheaval and great promise—some of which was realized and some of which was impossible to fulfill. (56 minutes)

Length: 57 minutes

Item#: BVL42073

ISBN: 978-1-62102-067-7

Copyright date: ©1984

Closed Captioned

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