The Kennedy era began with a groundbreaking moment in television--a debate between the presidential candidates, one that left little doubt about who was attuned to the new medium: Kennedy looking sharp and calm in dark blue; and Nixon fading into the set in his grey suit, looking nervous, sweating. And it ended with another kind of television landmark: a traumatized populace--still trying to comprehend the unthinkable death of its President--united electronically in a national ritual of mourning. In the Kennedy years, television not only recorded history, it made history.
The Expanding Vista offers an engaging and insightful look at American television in the Kennedy years. Mary Ann Watson demonstrates how television was woven into the events and policies of John Kennedy's presidency, not only in his unprecedented use of the medium in campaigning and image projection, but in the vigorous efforts of his administration to regulate and improve the content of network programs. She shows Kennedy making himself accessible to the public by appearing on the Tonight Show as a candidate in 1960, allowing documentary cameras to follow him in the Oval Office, and supporting Jacqueline's televised tour of the renovated White House. She examines FCC Chairman Newton Minow's campaign to uplift network programs (including his famous Vast Wasteland speech), and the outstanding documentaries, controversial dramas, and other innovative offerings that followed. In addition, The Expanding Vista offers an inside look at television's role in the epic events of these years, from the civil rights struggle, to the space race, to the Cuban Missile Crisis--when Kennedy broke diplomatic tradition by announcing on television that nuclear weapons were in Cuba, and when the Soviets transmitted their offer for a compromise through a television reporter. And Watson expores how television in the 1960s emerged as the medium we know today, from the new technology (including videotape and the first communications satellite) to the shows (such as The Wide World of Sports and The Jetsons) to the racial integration of programs and commercials.
The Expanding Vista offers a compelling look at a great moment in the history of broadcasting and American society, when television demonstrated its vast potential under Kennedy's imaginative and concerned leadership. Extensively researched and deftly written, it provides absorbing new insight into a legendary President and the evolution of American television.show more