• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"The impact of Elvis Presley on US society during the 1950s was more the result of TV coverage of his performances than of his music." Use the sources, and your own knowledge, to explain whether or not you agree with this view.

Extracts from this document...


Q.6. "The impact of Elvis Presley on US society during the 1950s was more the result of TV coverage of his performances than of his music." Use the sources, and your own knowledge, to explain whether or not you agree with this view of the career of Elvis Presley. Elvis Presley would almost certainly not have made such an impact on US society without the television coverage of his performances. During the years 1945 to 1970, American citizens were experiencing unprecedented prosperity, as rapid growth of the economy provided middle-class Americans with comfortable lifestyles. Due to many more people becoming affluent, television sets, along with countless other high-tech goods previously considered luxuries and rarely affordable, became necessities for ordinary people. By 1960, 90% of homes contained a TV set, and Elvis' first major TV appearance provoked an unprecedented response, as shown in Source B. Elvis Presley's impact was largely due to how controversial his performances were. Adults disapproved strongly of his suggestive, animalistic "grunt and groan antics", which horrified them but delighted teenagers. Elvis' behaviour as well as his music was something American society had never seen before and was not considered acceptable. Even the prominent evangelical preacher, Billy Graham, was moved to comment after Elvis' first TV performance: "Elvis isn't the kind of boy I'd like my children to see". ...read more.


It shows that even with all of the bad press Elvis got from his TV performances earlier in the year, he was still the performer people most wanted to watch. In fact, Elvis' bad reputation in adult newspapers and magazines would have helped him increase the shows ratings, because people would have wanted to make up their own minds about how appalling he was. Source B, C and E are all influenced by the television coverage of Elvis' performances. If he had not made his shocking appearance on the Milton Berle Show, both B and C would be different, or would not have been written at all. Source B is describing how disgusting and crude Elvis was, and this opinion is due to his television performance, as are the opinions in Source C. In Source G, Billy Graham's comment was probably made after seeing Elvis on TV - he talks about his daughter, referring to the scenes broadcasted of a similar nature to those in Source F, a photograph of Elvis performing live showing young girls that seem to be screaming and going wild. The same is also true of the statement from the Ku Klux Klan member and from the Congressman Emmanuel Celler. ...read more.


Also, the fact that Elvis was then booked shortly afterwards to appear on a TV programme (which would have been done to boost ratings) shows he was already successful. Despite having this early success, TV does appear to be mainly responsible for Elvis' impact, as Source H shows that in 1956, the year Elvis first started appearing on TV, four of the top five selling singles that year were by him, whereas the year before none were his, even though he had been a recording artist and professional live performer since 1954. In conclusion, Elvis Presley's impact on society in the 1950s was more the result of TV coverage of his performances than of his music. Elvis attracted many young people because of how controversial he was - because "he looks so mean" and "he peddles dope" (these explanations of his charm disgusted and worried parents). His shocking nature would never have been revealed to the older generation however without his TV appearances. As well as this TV made it impossible for adults to control what teenagers were exposed to: parents could have stopped their children from going to see Elvis, but it would have been harder to the broadcasts being sent directly into their own homes, that were so outrageous to the old and appealing to the young. Alistair Divorty ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Television section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Television essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Describe the impact of television in the 1950s and early 1960s.

    5 star(s)

    People no longer went to the cinema because films could be seen on the television, within the home. Cinema numbers fell from 28m to 11m between 1947 and 1959. Radio numbers also fell because television was preferred. However, television had an impact on education because students could watch excellent documentaries helping them with schoolwork and expand their knowledge.

  2. The Impact of Digital TV on audiences and TV companies

    However, the cheapest free view set-top-box presently is as low as �25.00. Another advantage is that digital TV could allow the audience to pause record their programmes without the use of tapes. It is also said to be quicker and simpler process than the old VCR.

  1. Rationale - The texts I am studying are The Edge, by Dick Francis (Novel), ...

    He has an inquisitive nature. Being an undercover operative, he has the ability to be in a crowd without being noticed. He is very cluey. He can guess that certain things are going to happen before they do. He's your typical "good guy".

  2. Each day, the average American TV set is turned on more than 7 hours ...

    Television has been famously accused of promoting violence in society. Television, however, is not the only medium accused of this. Since the beginning of time, storytellers have been telling and retelling violent stories. Pulp magazines and movies in the 1920's, radio in the 1930's, and comic books in the 1950's have all been branded instigators of violence.

  1. Do Sources E and F support the evidence of Source B about the impact ...

    to draw much higher numbers of viewers than the show would usually expect (people wanted to watch him). This supports the evidence Source B gives that Elvis is already making a big impact. The newspaper extracts in B were aimed at the older generation, so it is possible that Source

  2. Reality TV is a huge success to the television industry in the 1990s.

    (Dovey, 2000: 80) These elements are helpful in interpreting the origins of reality programmes and in understanding its sub-genres and new development. Only by bearing these elements in mind can we make reference to relevant programmes when we trace back history to discuss the evolution of reality TV.

  1. African Americans and TV Shows

    This is a reason why networks would stay away from creating a drama with a full cast of African Americans. "The industry has not accepted that people are different", says Louis Carr, executive producer of Black Entertainment Television (BET)(Hall 12). BET has done a lot for African Americans on Television.

  2. Television industry is experiencing significant growth in the UK.

    The UK TV market overview, September 2003). According to the Independent Television Commission Forecast for the future of digital television, its growth between the years 2003 and 2007 should be from 58% to 78%. THE OVERVIEW OF THE UK TELEVISION INDUSTRY.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work