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James Perloff - 1950's TV Had a Moral Purpose

April 28, 2018

Left, Almost every story presented a right-or-wrong choice for Beaver (and/or his brother Wally).

1950s television was a carefully set trap. 
To lure a mouse into the trap, 
you've got to insert some cheese.

America society was prevailingly Christian then. 
To get television into those households required presenting it 
as a purveyor of Christian morals, however repugnant 
that may have been to studio heads' true feelings.

by James Perloff
(abridged by

What made 1950s television shows so appealing was their morality.  They permitted no cursing or sex scenes; any violence wasn't graphic. Furthermore, most shows' plots ended with a positive moral lesson. Honesty, respect for others, "doing the right thing," self-control, and other virtues were upheld. Superman began every episode reminding children that Superman fought for "truth, justice, and the American way."

On 50s TV, crime couldn't pay. (Alfred Hitchcock had a uniquely clever way of circumventing this rule on his show; the criminals would often "get away with it," but in his epilogue, Hitch would dryly remark that they were later caught and paid their debt to society.)

Although Leave It to Beaver became, in recent years, a favorite target for ridicule by jaded comedians, when I attended elementary school my classmates avidly watched it. Almost every story presented a right-or-wrong choice for Beaver (and/or his brother Wally). Temptation usually came from Wally's friend Eddie Haskell, and sound advice from the brothers' father, Ward Cleaver. 

In retrospect, Eddie and Ward seemed to loosely symbolize the counsel of Lucifer and God. I find it interesting that, in real life, actor Ken Osmond (Eddie) went on to become a Los Angeles policeman, and actor Hugh Beaumont (Ward) held a Master's Degree in Theology and was licensed to preach by the Methodist Church.1 The cast clearly included some righteous dudes.

So why did all this change? It certainly wasn't because Americans demanded that cursing, sex, and gore be added to their TV diet. As a journalist for three decades, and student of "the New World Order" for four, I've realized that 1950s television was a carefully set trap. To lure a mouse into the trap, you've got to insert some cheese.

In this case, the "cheese" was television's façade as a positive tool that would teach your children integrity and uplifting life perspectives. And that's just what it did (even though it occasionally pushed messages a bit to the left of America's center). I believe the nostalgia Americans generally feel for the 1950s is based largely on the values society held, and that television was, in fact, reinforcing those values by presenting strong role models.

If you watch The Honeymooners, the show was hilarious, but Ralph would almost invariably learn a life lesson along the way, classically hugging his forgiving wife with the closing words, "Baby, you're the greatest!"

Even with the conniving Sergeant Bilko (1955-59), the earlier episodes usually ended with a heartfelt message--such as Bilko expressing regrets at having cheated someone--whereas by the final season everything was strictly for laughs at the sergeant's cunning and greed; the ratings dropped and the show was canceled.

America society was prevailingly Christian then. To get television into those households required presenting it as a purveyor of Christian morals, however repugnant that may have been to studio heads' true feelings...


OK, so how did television go from model citizen to deadbeat?; from Bible and family values to today's sex, gore, foul language, political correctness, ridicule of Christianity, and even satanic occultism? The answer: they pulled one of the oldest tricks--"boil the frog." It's said that if you want to boil a frog, you can't just toss him in boiling water. Instead, you put him in lukewarm water, and gradually turn up the heat. That way, the frog never realizes he's been boiled. This is what television did to Americans.

No degradation could have been introduced in the mid-1950s because half of America's households still didn't have a TV yet. I believe substantive change did not begin until 1963, when home ownership of televisions reached 91.3 percent or near saturation. At this juncture, the fish was baited, and studio heads could start tweaking content. Television sets were expensive then, so no one was apt to throw theirs away over minute, progressive content alterations.

I personally remember TV's different feel in the fall of '63. Leave It to Beaver and Dobie Gillis were suddenly gone; ABC stopped showing reruns of Father Knows Best. The Outer Limits premiered, introducing a new level of creepiness. My Favorite Martian made aliens (who many of us understand to be demonic) very human-friendly. Sure, it was mild stuff, but that's how you boil the occult frog, starting with cuteness--as Bewitched did with witchcraft in 1964 and I Dream of Jeannie with magic in 1965.

On June 17, 1963, the Freemason-dominated Supreme Court had ruled that reading the Bible in public schools was suddenly "unconstitutional." (Hugo Black, William O. Douglas, Tom C. Clark, Potter Stewart and Chief Justice Earl Warren were all members of the Craft, ensuring a 5-4 majority of men who apparently held their oath to the Brotherhood above their oath to the Constitution.) Coupled with the Court's previous decision banning school prayers, God had now been officially expelled from classrooms.

Kennedy's assassination was itself, I believe, a reflection of the spiritual pivot of 1963, and on its heels came the Beatles and the Vietnam War. The Powers that Be wanted America converted from a Biblical culture to a Talmudic, Kabbalistic one; from a Leave It to Beaver society to a drugged-up, free-sex, no-God Woodstock society. They succeeded; it took only six years (1963-69). And television played its part, incrementally boiling Christian values out of the frog soup.

Today, news broadcasts are purveyors of a Matrixed "reality" which America's concealed oligarchy want viewers to believe in.

Satanist Anton LaVey, LEFT, the founder of the Church of Satan, affirmed what I have been saying about television's gradualism, and even noted that TVs were intended to replace family altars:

"The birth of TV was a magical event foreshadowing its Satanic significance. The first commercial broadcast was aired on Walpurgisnacht, April 30th, 1939, at the New York World's Fair. Since then, TV's infiltration has been so gradual, so complete, that no one even noticed. People don't need to go to church anymore; they get their morality plays on television. What began modestly as rabbit ears on top of family TV sets are now satellite dishes and antennas pridefully dominating the skyline, replacing crosses on top of churches. The TV set, or Satanic family altar, has grown more elaborate since the early 50s, from the tiny, fuzzy screen to huge "entertainment centers" covering entire walls with several TV monitors. What started as an innocent respite from everyday life has become in itself a replacement for real life for millions, a major religion of the masses. . . . The clergy of the TV religion are those entertainers, newscasters in particular, who nightly spread the Word from their cathode-ray pulpit."

What the Golden Age's brief glow did prove, however, was that television, like any artistic platform, be it literature, theater, music, or the graphic arts, can be a force for integrity, faith, and society's good. How I wish it could experience a renaissance.

James Perloff is the author of Truth Is a Lonely Warrior and other books.

Scruples - the game of moral dillemas

Comments for "James Perloff - 1950's TV Had a Moral Purpose "

Mark said (April 29, 2018):

The problem isn’t that the Supreme Court banned the reading of the Bible, it’s that there are “public schools” in the first place. Even the term “public schools” is deceitful, they are Government Indoctrination Centers. Note the decline in that institution. One hundred years ago an eighth-grade education prepared a person to go into the world with a sense of what the world was like. Now, people with post-graduate degrees can even perform basic, logical reasoning...let alone write a coherent paragraph that doesn’t have multiple grammatical errors.

Of course, government doesn’t want God in its schools, it hates competition. Government is to be your god. And, for many, it already is. Much like the Pharisees chanting they had no king but Caesar, today’s masses have no god but GovCo.

V said (April 28, 2018):

Tell-A-Vision was just one of the many tools that the cultural Marxists used to subvert the masses from a society of Christian who raised nuclear families with morals to a godless un-Christian society where the nuclear family is dwindling.

What I found the most interesting is how quickly this happened thanks to The Frankfurt school, Columbia University, Tavistock Institute and many other alphabet groups. The clean-cut Beaver in the 1950's in a short span of ten to 15 years turned to the long-haired, drugged-out hippie in the 1960's.

Cultural Marxists and their 'critical theory' dogma have subverted the youth and society.

From an internet website:

Vladimir Lenin once said, “Give me just one generation of youth, and I’ll transform the whole world.”

The groundbreaking TV show for me was 'All In The Family'. 'Old fashion norms' by Archie Bunker were challenged daily by his daughter and her Polish (meat-head) husband. The old world was disappearing ad the new world was beginning and Archie Bunker was caught in the middle of it but always stood his ground on his beliefs and morals.

BK said (April 28, 2018):

I was telling my neighbors about this exact same thing the other day.

Add to it that the tv is, in fact, the largest hypnotizer in the world - It's loaded with both visual and verbal subliminals.

Now add to it the possibility of high tech frequencies being emitted from tvs, phones, computer monitors, etc., that match the natural frequencies of our brains and what you have are gadgets that create a subconscious connection with our brains.

If the last statement is true (I have no hard data) then I can't underscore 'how powerful a tool' the NWO monkeys have in their hands!

Dr. Milton H. Erickson pioneered what has become known as 'conversational hypnosis' - He would have a conversation with someone and they would leave his office never knowing that he had put them into an 'eyes open trance' - He never mentioned 'closing the eyes' or even the word 'relax'.

The first step of his technique was to establish a 'subconscious connection' with his client - After that, all he had to do was to 'lead' his client to the outcome they desired.

JG said (April 28, 2018):

It's as if it were a different planet in the 50's. This all changed when the devil was let out of the bottle in the late 60's.

I lived through those years and we have kind of been hell bound boiling frogs ever since 1968.

The Marxist invasion of America was allowed to take place somehow and its results were disastrous.
Television's sitcoms today are worthless garbage.

They're so pathetic that the old 'Married With Children' episodes seem not that bad by today's standards.
It just keeps getting worse with every wretched evil being attempted to be promoted as society's norm by use of these sitcoms and now even the cartoons.
We're in big trouble here and I don't even think James West could get us out of this one.

Gary said (April 28, 2018):

Look how many people are dropping their cable. It has been my observation that young people don't watch much television anymore. They don't read newspapers or magazines either. They are more into video games which possibly are worse. My grandson lived with me for over a year and I didn't once see him watch TV. He said he and his friends have no interest. I haven't watched TV for many years, actually I can't watch it. Can't stand the bullshit, and there are lots of people like me. So how are the powers that be dealing with this?

Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at