TV in the ’50s

Always on, the ‘56 black and white Philco flickered promises
into crowded living rooms across America
A better tomorrow for working families
All it takes, stare hours at your TV screen
Let the subliminal messages do their work

Wishful thoughts, soaring away with Dinah Shore
You’re in the USA with a Chevrolet
What’s good for GM is good for America

In retrospect, we know better
Back then, what we bought was who we were

Many blamed TV for misdirecting youth
Bigger than life ideas filling their heads
Blame our Philco if you like
but there’s another side:
All those jobs in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, hanging
on whether folks bought the contraption
advertised during Phil Silvers Show

Diversion was our god, aided
by Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, the Marx Brothers
Making us laugh, rather than cry
as advertising created a nation of consumers
Having was how we found meaning

In another way, our Philcos, Zeniths
and GE TVs helped us get beyond
face-to-face sameness, filling
small towns across America
Hungry for new role models, TV provided them

For those growing up a long way
from New York City, Chicago, or Los Angeles
TV sets brought them closer
to the reality, soon changing us all
Perhaps we should be glad someone told us
even if it was Howdy Doody