chapter  5
22 Pages

The Cartoonist Versus the Television: 1947 1974

ASK BABY BOOMERS ABOUT growing up and they might tell you about crouching under school desks, home bomb-shelters, and Sputnik. The 1950s fanned fears of Cold War confrontation. They also engendered cynicism. Playing counterpoint to “I Like Ike,” the first campaign slogan many boomers cut their teeth on Mad, a humor magazine that titillated the postwar generation’s acerbic wit. Television became a major fixture in every household; there was Howdy Doody, Dragnet, Ed Sullivan, and the nightly news. And the news was not good. As the 1950s became the 1960s, bad news took the form of Castro and the Bay of Pigs, the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas, the escalating war in Vietnam. The changing times witnessed a pervasive listlessness in the ranks of American cartooning. New energy and new approaches would be needed if the political cartoon was to continue as a force for change in the television age.