The television comedies of the 1960s set in the American South epitomize American innocence. But in their original historical, social, and commercial context, their portrayals of southern life and their omissions of political events and people of color raise questions about how these television programs have been embraced, then and now. How were these shows a response to the Red Scare of the 1950s? Why did they become hits? What insights can they give us to contemporary questions about media portrayals of rural America?
Sara K. Eskridge is the author of Rube Tube: CBS and Rural Comedy in the Sixties (University of Missouri Press, 2019). As this book was published, she was a professor of history at Randolph Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. She has since been appointed as a professor at Western Governors University.
Nathan Bierma is a writer, instructional designer, and voiceover talent in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His website is www.nathanbierma.com.