David Thorburn, professor, Literature, and Director of the MIT Communications Forum

Even in its earliest ghostly images, television reflected and shaped 1950s culture. Reviled and mocked even as it reached the largest audiences in history and displaced movies as America’s central medium for storytelling, television established itself as a mighty agent for advertising, suburban culture, and consumerism.

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The film Hairspray, playing on March 31 at 1:00 PM, brings to life in vivid color the television culture of the early 1960s.

Above: Larry Salk, TV camera and man in chair. 2009.302. Charcoal. Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf.