Historian Sara Eskridge examines television’s rural comedy boom in the 1960s and the political, social, and economic factors that made these shows a perfect fit for CBS. The network, nicknamed the Communist Broadcasting System during the Red Scare of the 1940s, saw its image hurt again in the 1950s with the quiz show scandals and a campaign against violence in westerns. When a rival network introduced rural-themed programs to cater to the growing southern market, CBS latched onto the trend and soon reestablished itself as the Country Broadcasting System. Its rural comedies dominated the ratings throughout the decade, attracting viewers from all parts of the country. With fascinating discussions of The Andy Griffith Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, and other shows, Eskridge reveals how the southern image was used to both entertain and reassure Americans in the turbulent 1960s.
About the Author:
Sara K. Eskridge is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of History at Randolph Macon College. She lives in Quinton, Virginia.
Published by University of Missouri Press, hardback, 2019. 254 pages.