Friday, September 20, 2019

Electronic Cajuns and Creoles: Early Television as an Americanizing Agent

I recently ran across this previously unpublished work of mine, which I wrote around 1995 for Dr. Terry H. Anderson’s Recent U.S. History course at Texas A&M University. I now publish it nearly a quarter century later on my blog site — albeit with a few slight revisions (mainly of an aesthetic nature, if only because my writing skills have, I’m glad to say, improved over the years).

Despite the paper’s narrow focus — namely, television’s impact on Cajuns and Creoles in the mid- to late twentieth century — the work in fact developed into my doctoral dissertation at A&M. And that dissertation, in turn, morphed into my 2003 book The Cajuns: Americanization of a People (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi). Indeed, nearly all references to television in that book stem from this article or the research I conducted for it.

A major difference between the article and the ensuing book, however, is that I included Creoles in the article, whereas (as the book’s title implies) I did not include Creoles in The Cajuns: Americanization of a People. A two-fold explanation accounts for my decision to omit Creoles from the book. First, while writing the article I found it difficult to locate sufficient information about Creoles. Second, I thought the scope of my dissertation would be too unwieldy if I examined both Cajuns and Creoles. (Granted, Cajuns are a type of Creole — see my musings about that subject here — but this was not clear to me in the mid-1990s, when I tended to view Cajuns and Creoles as distinct but closely related groups.)

Most of the Cajun and Creole content, I should note, falls in the article's second half. . . .

 Electronic Cajuns and Creoles:
Early Television as an Americanizing Agent

In the early 1960s visionary scholar Marshall McLuhan predicted the advent of “the global village,” a unified society brought ever closer together by the new electronic media. McLuhan viewed the prospect of the global village with some trepidation, warning readers against “the tribal consequences of unity.” He feared the homogenizing effects of the electronic media on regional cultures and the individuals who comprised those cultures.

McLuhan's Gutenberg Galaxy
(1962, reprint).

Although radio originated first, television quickly became a more powerful — arguably the most powerful — electronic medium of the twentieth century. Possessing a seemingly magical appeal for postwar viewers, it presented them with an often imaginary world they eagerly accepted and even emulated. Some scholars have argued that as life imitated art, regional cultures disintegrated and “American culture” became more bland and uniform. Television, they argued, imposed a homogenous vision of America, its ideals, its attitudes, and its values on a largely acquiescent viewing public.(1)

At best, the nationalizing effects of television can be demonstrated only circumstantially. For instance, showing that consumers enthusiastically greeted early television even in culturally insular regions — regions inhabited by ethnic groups generally considered outside mainstream America — would seem to confirm the allure of television and its ability to cross demographic lines. It would also indicate that the medium occupied a prime position to effect its nationalizing spell.

An American family watching TV
in the late 1950s.

During that era members of these minority ethnic groups first bought into the American Dream, and among the most desirable of consumer goods available to them was television. Indeed, television arguably ranks as the most desirable of postwar goods, for between 1946 and 1950 the number of American households with television jumped from roughly 8,000 to a staggering 5,030,000. By 1965 that number climbed to about 52,700,000. Americans clearly adored the new invention, and along with the rest of the country neither Cajuns nor Creoles could withstand its magnetism.(2)

Television offered largely nonliterary ethnic groups like Cajuns and Creoles enticing benefits over the various forms of print media. For instance, print obviously required reading skills, but television required only vision and hearing. To paraphrase communications scholar Gilbert Seldes, “There’s no ‘illiteracy’ in television.” First-time viewers could watch television as adeptly as any prime-time connoisseur, providing they overcame their marvel at the invention’s novelty and ingenuity to focus on the actual programming. Another benefit of television was that viewers could experience the medium communally, in the company of family and friends, whereas reading most often occurred as a solitary act. In addition, the more intense, active, and hence taxing act of reading generally occurred in relatively short installments, whereas most American viewers could watch television in frequent, sustained sittings.(3)

Television offered other benefits over print media. Books, magazines, and newspapers appealed to a minority of Americans, but television programming aimed for the widest possible audience. The new medium also allowed for a substantially more rapid diffusion of information, despite the higher cost of producing a single television episode compared to manufacturing a book volume, newspaper edition, or magazine issue. And unlike printed works, which consumers often purchased, television during those pre-cable days remained virtually free entertainment. Participating in the television experience required only the initial investment in a television set and an exterior antenna (or at least a pair of inexpensive “rabbit ears). It also required the ability to sit through (or to otherwise ignore) several minutes of commercials each viewing hour.(4)

A 1965 print ad showing a TV set
with rabbit ears.

The price of operating a new television set increased monthly utility bills only a negligible amount — but at what other price did Cajuns, Creoles, and other minority groups buy into this communications revolution? McLuhan observed that in the “postliterate” world of the electronic global village physical distances shrank as viewers nationwide, and worldwide, shared the same experiences simultaneously. Everything now happened to everyone at once, explains McLuhan, whether the event was the birth of Little Ricky in a 1953 episode of I Love Lucy (described as “a national event” by observers of television’s “Golden Age”), the 1954 humiliation of Joe McCarthy (“Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?”), or the 1963 assassination of JFK.(5)

It all happened on “free TV” before audiences of millions, and this simultaneous, sometimes instantaneous, sharing of experiences created what McLuhan called a tribal outlook that above all else exalted togetherness. This electronic summons to unity (no doubt heightened by Cold War anxieties demanding national consensus and conformity) in turn elevated mediocrity at the expense of the individual and the exceptional. Television was a medium for the masses: it aimed not at making art or even high-quality entertainment, but at attracting and holding the largest possible audience at any given moment. As a New York Times headline explained, “TV Shows Are Not Supposed To Be Good — They Are Supposed To Make Money.” Similarly, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and author Harry S. Ashmore aptly noted, “Put a legitimate complaint of sloppy writing, imitative plotting, indifferent acting, sleazy production, and general vulgarity against a high Nielsen rating and there is no contest.”(6)

Hirsch wrote in
Television: The Critical View (1982)

The most consistent, significant, and simple theme communicated by the medium of television, observed Paul M. Hirsch, is that “The ‘latest’ fashions in consumer goods are highly desirable and should be purchased [Hirsch’s emphasis]. This is the unambiguous message of the commercial advertisements which appear before, during, and after every program and, more subtly, in the stage sets, clothes and general appearance of most television actors and personalities." Just as anti-smoking groups today refer to the cigarette as a “nicotine delivery system,” so American television in the postwar period could be considered a “commercial delivery system.” Its sole purpose became not to teach, challenge, or deeply move the audience, but to entice consumers to watch commercials for detergents, soups, butter, milk, and cigarettes (until televised ads for tobacco products were banned in the early 1970s). By exposing viewers to tantalizing products and seductive sales pitches, television helped to draw traditionally less affluent, non-materialistic groups like the Cajuns and Creoles into the modern consumer age. In doing so, television altered those cultures: Cajuns and Creoles became more like mainstream Americans by embracing postwar consumerism.(7)

Because television networks wanted to deliver their commercial messages at once to as many viewers as possible, producers designed programming to appeal to the broadest possible audience. This programming had to cut across vast regional cultural differences throughout America. The desire to reach diverse cultural groups with the same programming accounts (at least in part if not in whole) for the blandness of much early national programming. The centralization of television production further amplified this “standardization of content” in national programming. Whether viewers resided in Illinois, Maine, Virginia, Wyoming, or south Louisiana — in rural, small-town, or urban settings — the available national programming hailed almost exclusively from studios in Los Angeles and New York. In those facilities a small group of producers designed national programs and determined the attitudes and values those programs would convey.(8)

A white-bread American family watching TV, 1949.
Note the ad's caption.

Viewers thus observed not a cross-section of an authentic, diverse America, but a nationalized, homogenized image of America as conceived by these production companies on the East and West Coasts. Michael Novak observed that “Television . . . seems to conceive of itself as a national medium. It does not favor the varieties of accent, speech patterns, and other differences of the culture of the United States. It favors a language which might be called ‘televisionese’ — a neutral accent, pronunciation, and diction perhaps most closely approximated in California. Television functions as an instrument of the national, mobile culture. It does not reinforce the concrete ways of life of individual neighborhoods, towns, or subcultures. It shows the way things are done (or fanaticized as being done) in ‘the big world.’”(9)

Influenced by television, inhabitants of culturally insular regions, argued Hirsch, began to look far beyond their communities for models of entertainment, talent, and aesthetic enjoyment. They began to prefer television over their own live-performance talent, such as the local theater troupe, storyteller, humorist, gospel quartet, or honky-tonk pianist. They also began to compare local talent to performers on programs like the Philco TV Playhouse, The Milton Berle Show, Texaco Star Theater, and Gunsmoke. In addition, particularly gifted local performers chose increasingly to relocate to media centers like New York and Hollywood, further depriving communities of local live-performance talent. Those remaining at home, meanwhile, came to be regarded as anachronistic and second-rate. As Hirsch explained, “The cultural consequences of centrally produced, standardized, slick, and nationally televised entertainment . . . diminish the number and quality of local productions and performers, lowering the amount of pride and interest taken in local and regional cultures and narrowing their range. This further increases the prestige and influence of the more homogenous national popular culture.”(10)

Title sequence, Gunsmoke, ca. 1960.
(Source: Television's New Frontier)

But is this what happened in Acadiana? Television’s phenomenal early acceptance in Cajun and Creole Louisiana suggests it further “Americanized” the local ethnic population, which by the postwar period still had yet to be entirely coopted into mainstream society. Certainly the medium greatly influenced Cajun and Creole culture, from elders who spoke little or no English (but who nevertheless might enjoy the peculiar black-and-white moving images on the TV screen), to younger bilingual couples buying into the American Dream, to children who commonly spoke no French at all and who would grow up, like children across America, on a diet of Captain Video and His Video Rangers, Kukla, Fran & Ollie, and Lassie. Television introduced Cajuns and Creoles to both real and imaginary worlds outside Acadiana, and tempted them with consumer goods they previously eschewed. In addition, because all national programming was in English, the medium further reduced the perceived value of speaking French in the ethnic groups’ own eyes.(11)

The 22-parish Acadiana region. 
(Source: Author's collection)

Census data confirms that the inhabitants of Acadiana quickly embraced early television, showing a dramatic increase in the number of television sets in the twenty-two parish south Louisiana region between 1950 and 1960. In 1950 Acadiana possessed a population of about 740,000 and contained over 189,000 dwellings, less than one percent of which had a television set. By 1960 Acadiana contained roughly 923,000 residents and 239,000 dwellings, about eighty percent of which had television. In other words, for every Acadiana dwelling with television in 1950, about one hundred and twenty had television in 1960. The least populated Acadiana parish, Cameron Parish, had among its 6,200 residents in 1950 only five dwellings with television. By 1960 its population had barely increased, but it now possessed about 1,500 dwellings with television — an increase from about a third of a percent to about seventy-nine percent. On the high end of the population spectrum, Calcasieu Parish (with heavily industrialized Lake Charles as its seat) boasted about 90,000 residents in 1950, but only about 155 dwellings with television. By 1960 its population had increased by roughly a third, but claimed about 34,000 dwellings with television — an amazing increase from less than two-thirds of a percent to about eighty-seven percent. In Lake Charles itself the number of dwellings with television jumped during that ten-year period from 45 to 15,736 — a multiple of nearly three hundred and fifty.(12)

Louisiana Creoles being interviewed
by French television, 1968.

A community’s eagerness to accept the new medium may have hinged on its ability to receive a clear broadcast signal or, in those days, even a faint one. Regardless, the seat of Evangeline Parish, Ville Platte, possessed no televisions in 1950, nor did Berwick, Kaplan, Lake Arthur, Marksville, New Roads, or Vinton. In the case of Ville Platte, a broadcast signal apparently was available at that time, as indicated by the presence of televisions in several nearby communities. The town of Eunice, only fifteen miles to the southwest, had fifteen dwellings with television; Bunkie, twenty miles to the north, claimed ten; and Opelousas, twenty-five miles to the southeast, reported fifteen. (Unfortunately, the 1960 US census does not provide television data for small communities.) Despite the tardiness of some Acadiana communities to embrace television, by 1960 the percentage of dwellings with television in any given parish ranged from a low of about sixty-three percent (for Evangeline Parish) to a high of about eighty-seven percent (again, in Calcasieu), the average for all Acadiana parishes being, as stated, roughly eighty percent — practically the same number for the South in general, and only about seven percentage points below the national figure.(13)

TV schedule for Lafayette area, October 1955.
(Click to enlarge)
(Source: Lafayette, La., Daily Advertiser)

With so many Cajuns and Creoles owning televisions, more local television stations sprang up to meet the viewing demands of these new electronic consumers. By fall 1955 the Lafayette, Louisiana, Daily Advertiser was printing television schedules for five stations with signals reaching central Acadiana: WBRZ Channel 2 and WAFB Channel 28 (now Channel 9) in Baton Rouge; WDSU Channel 6 in New Orleans; KPLC Channel 7 in Lake Charles; and KALB Channel 5 in Alexandria. Although only one of these stations, KPLC, broadcasted from within Acadiana, a newcomer to the region, KLFY Channel 10 in Lafayette, was on-the-air by fall 1955. (The Advertiser, however, regarded the nearby station as a competitor for local advertising dollars and initially refused to print its program schedule.)(14)

As indicated, Paul Hirsch argues that national television programming reduced the value of local performers. It also induced the public to remain at home rather than participate in more traditional communal activities. Dormon similarly observed of Cajun culture, its music, and its tradition of the veillée (a small evening assembly that usually included dinner, conversation, and sometimes live folk music) that by 1955, “the time-worn veillée fell before the onslaught of radio and television . . . [and] Cajun music in the ‘50s came also to bear the stigma of something declassé.” Cajun folklorist Barry Jean Ancelet and his coauthors echoed Dormon when noting in Cajun Country, “Radio and later television transformed the pattern of family hospitality, but did not entirely eliminate the veillées, replacing the storytelling and singers, but not the visits.” In addition to the veillée, television no doubt affected other traditional Cajun and Creole social functions, such as the fais do-do (public dance) and boucherie (communal butchery).(15)

Cajuns at a fais do-do, ca. 1938.
(Source: Library of Congress)

Yet a survey of early television listings for central Acadiana reveals that by 1960 local stations were producing shows that catered specifically to the region’s ethnic audiences and that aimed in part at preserving and promoting Cajun (if not yet Creole) culture. (The concept of Creole pride did not fully materialize until the mid-1980s with the founding of Creole Inc. and Creole Magazine.) Notably, this trend occurred several years before the founding of CODOFIL (Council for the Development of French in Louisiana) in 1968, the symbolic date assigned to the advent of the “Cajun Revival” movement — a movement that continues to the present. It is also interesting to note that these live Cajun-music TV programs appeared over a decade before the first Tribute to Cajun Music Festival, held in Lafayette in 1974. (The Tribute now forms the core of the immensely popular Festivals Acadiens et Créoles folk celebration, which annually draws tens of thousands of visitors from around the world to central Acadiana).(16)

The Lafayette Playboys on their KLFY set.
Note the bottles and cans of Dixie 45 beer.
(Source: The Johnnie Allan Collection, UL Lafayette)

For instance, from 4:00 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays in 1960 the Lafayette Playboys show appeared on KLFY (Lafayette), featuring locally popular Cajun accordionist Aldus Roger and his band. Johnnie Allan’s Memories: A Pictorial History of South Louisiana Music contains a photograph of the Playboys on the program’s set: Roger proudly holds his diatonic accordion under arm, while Aldus “Popeye” Broussard wields the fiddle, and Demus Comeaux, an acoustic guitar. Rodney Miller sits at his steel guitar, and Fernest “Man” Abshire stands behind a modest drumming trap set. Importantly, cartons of canned and bottled Dixie 45 brand beer adorn the stage in front of the group, indicating that local television stations knew something the networks overlooked — that televised folk music performances could hold an audience’s attention and sell commercial products. (Dixie brand beer sponsored other Cajun music programs on both radio and television, and so well did Cajun musicians market the product that francophones and non-francophones alike often unassumingly referred to the beverage as “Dixie quarante-cinq.”) As music writer John Broven noted in South to Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous, Roger’s program helped to sell Aldus Roger himself to local audiences who patronized Cajun dancehalls and purchased Cajun music on local small-town labels like Floyd Soileau’s Swallow records of Ville Platte. “Aldus Roger,” observed Broven, “became a firm local favorite through hosting the ‘Aldus Roger and the Lafayette Playboys’ TV show over KLFY Lafayette from 1955 until 1970.” Abshire and his band even paid tribute to the station by composing and recording a Cajun waltz titled “La Valse de KLFY.”(17)

"KLFY Waltz" (“La Valse de KLFY”)

Cajun-oriented programs also appeared on KLFY’s nearest rival. In 1965 viewers could watch Acadiana Hayride on KATC Channel 3 (Lafayette) from 3:00 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays, then catch the Cajun/country music Al Terry show from 3:30 to 4:00. ABC’s nationally broadcast Wide World of Sports followed, but afterwards appeared the Cajun/country music Larry Brasseaux Show (whose singer sometimes rendered his name more phonetically as “Larry Brasso”). (Incidentally, shortly after its 1962 founding, KATC — which stands for Acadian Television Corporation — coined the term Acadiana to define the region its signal covered. It is interesting to note, however, that the Crowley Daily-Signal newspaper had used the term in print as early as 1956 to describe “things pertaining to Acadia Parish.”) By the mid-1960s KATC's on-air talent John Plauché "portrayed an avuncular Cajun fisherman named Polycarp" who hosted morning cartoons and "brought to life a world of Cajun-themed characters as familiar to the children of Acadiana as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. (See my blog article about Polycarp here.)

TV Guide listing for Polycarp and Pals,
Wednesday, 30 April 1969.

Back on KLFY, the Mariné Show (from the French amariner or mariner, meaning “to season or marinate”) appeared in 1965 on Sundays from 10:00 to 10:45 a.m. and featured Cajun/country musician “Happy Fats” Leblanc and his band of local musicians. A photograph of Fats and company on the Mariné set indicates that those musicians included favorites like Uncle Ambroise Thibodeaux on fiddle and Alex Broussard on mandolin. In that same photograph Fats wields an acoustic guitar monogrammed with the station’s call letters and channel number. As with Aldus Roger’s program, Mariné not only promoted a sponsor (in this case, sponsors — namely, a filter company, a lumber company, a car dealership, and an oil company), but helped to promote and preserve Cajun culture and music. It also helped to sell locally produced records to local audiences. In fact, the Swallow label issued a companion album to the show titled Cajun and Country Songs and Music from Mariné.(18)

Album cover, music played on Marinéca. 1965.
Note the advertisers' logos on the set.

Sponsored by Louisiana Motors, a Lafayette automobile dealership, Cajun accordionist Belton Richard and his band, the Musical Aces, hosted a television program on KLFY around 1964. Even swamp pop music, a regional rhythm and blues, country and western, and Cajun and Creole hybrid, found a place on KLFY’s weekend afternoon schedule from 1964 to ‘65, when Cajun swamp pop musician Rod Bernard hosted the youth-oriented Saturday Hop dance program from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. The program featured performances by young Cajun and Creole musicians who combined the rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues of mainstream artists like Fats Domino, Little Richard, and Elvis Presley with folk elements borrowed from traditional Cajun and Creole musicians. Bernard also hosted his own Rod Bernard show on KLFY from 1967 to ‘68, and appeared on the same station with fellow swamp poppers Warren Storm and Skip Stewart on The Shondells music program from 1968 to ‘69. Around that time Creole swamp popper Lil’ Bob hosted his own music program on KLFY, as did Lil’ Buck Senegal, another Creole rhythm and blues musician.(19)

Poster for Saturday Hop, ca. 1965.
Note the sponsorship by Dr. Pepper.
(Source: Author's collection)

In addition to his Sunday program, Happy Fats Leblanc appeared in 1965 at 6:00 a.m. on Mondays, just prior to KLFY’s daily morning program Passe Partout (inexplicably named after the Louisiana French term for a large two-handled saw). This program offered news, weather, farm reports, and interviews in both English and Cajun French, interspersed with Cajun, zydeco (modern accordion-based Creole music), and swamp pop music performances. Testifying to its appeal, Passe Partout airs to the present, as does KLFY’s similarly long-running daily afternoon program Meet Your Neighbor, which, though broadcast in English, reaches out to viewers in smaller communities where Cajun culture and Creole culture particularly thrive. Around 1964 KATC even offered syndicated French-dubbed episodes of Gunsmoke under the title Police des plaines (The Plains Police). Although intended for French Canadian audiences who spoke a somewhat different dialect than Cajuns and Creoles, the program enjoyed a prime-time slot in the station’s weekly schedule. Unfortunately, the dubbed episodes were never meant for US distribution, and licensing problems forced KATC to withdraw the program after about a year despite its popularity with Acadiana viewers.(20)

Pierre Jalbert as "Caje" the Cajun GI
in the WWII action series Combat!
Company Headquarters Combat! fansite)

While local broadcasters offered programs geared toward Cajuns and Creoles, the networks, and mainstream America in general, remained largely unaware of the existence of these two ethnic groups until the 1980s (when, thanks to yuppyism and its demand for the new and exotic, all things Cajun and Creole became extremely trendy across the U.S. and abroad — even as Creole culture was often wrongly subsumed by the term “Cajun”). One exceptional program that helped to introduce Cajuns to mainstream America was the popular World War II drama series Combat!, which first appeared in 1962 on ABC. Combat! offered a surprisingly positive portrayal of “Caje,” the Cajun foot soldier and platoon interpreter. French Canadian actor Pierre Jalbert, however, portrayed the thick-accented south Louisiana GI. A few actual Cajuns did appear on national television during the medium’s Golden Age, but viewers generally were unaware of their ethnicity. For example, swamp pop musicians like Rod Bernard, Joe Barry, and T. K. Hulin, whose Americanized music appealed to listeners outside Acadiana, performed on, or had their records played on, programs like Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show. Unlike Cajun and zydeco musicians, most swamp poppers used Anglo-American stage names, a practice that further veiled their ethnicity.(21)

Book by the former Cajun child actor
who played Little Ricky on I Love Lucy.

Oddly enough, the child actor and drumming prodigy who played Little Ricky on I Love Lucy was a Cajun from Lafayette named Keith Thibodeaux. Born in 1950 amid the rapid Americanization of Cajuns, Thibodeaux exhibited no signs on television of his ethnicity, such as the tell-tale “Cajun accent.” His handlers went so far as to adopt for him the Anglo-American stage name Richard Keith, and it is this name that appears in the credits of the 1956-57 episodes of I Love Lucy. As with swamp pop artists, Thibodeaux’s use of a pseudonym did not diminish his fame in the eyes of most fellow Cajuns. Indeed, he made a triumphant return to Acadiana by guest hosting Meet Your Neighbor on KLFY, which, as the region’s sole CBS affiliate, also broadcast I Love Lucy to local viewers.(22)

Slide advertising weather in French,
KLFY-TV 10, Lafayette, Louisiana, ca. 1960.
(Source: Author's Collection)

Otherwise, Cajuns and Creoles appeared only in Acadiana on local programs designed to appeal to members of these ethnic groups. As shown, most of these programs featured regional music, which along with cuisine forms a cornerstone of Acadiana’s largely nonliterary culture. These shows first appeared in the late 1950s and early ‘60s, years before the “Age of Ethnicity” arose in the late 1960s and early ‘70s. In fact, in autumn 1965 KLFY and KATC together aired 8.25 hours of local, ethnic-oriented programming per week, at least 3.25 hours of which featured local Cajun/country music. Yet, as shown, some scholars condemn television for its nationalizing, homogenizing effects. They regard it as a negative medium that dissolved local ethnic cultures and absorbed their members into a new America that celebrated blandness and mediocrity in the name of togetherness. Although these scholars correctly ascertain the power of national programming to produce a homogenizing effect, they fail to consider the role of local programming. Acadiana’s example reveals that its local television stations responded early on to demands for programming that appealed to its regional ethnic groups. Local performers need not have picked up roots and moved to major media centers like Hollywood or New York to appear on television, but could have merely gone to the nearest network affiliate studio. Through local programming, television could serve as a tool for preserving and promoting local ethnic cultures. In this manner the medium could actually serve to temper “the tribal consequences of unity” predicted by McLuhan as an adverse consequence of the new electronic global village.(23)


(1)Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962), 31-32.

(2)Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970, Part 2, Bicentennial ed., (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce/Bureau of the Census, 1975), 796.

(3)Gilbert Seldes, “Communications Revolution,” in Edmund Carpenter and Marshall McLuhan, eds., Explorations in Communication: An Anthology (Boston: Beacon, 1960), 196.


(5)Marshall McLuhan, “Introduction,” in Carpenter and McLuhan, Explorations in Communication, xi; Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows, 1946-Present, 3rd. ed. (New York: Ballantine, 1985), s.v. “I Love Lucy”; Elaine Tyler May, Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era (New York: Basic Books, 1988), 146; Richard M. Fried, Nightmare in Red: The McCarthy Era in Perspective (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 138-39.

(6)McLuhan, “Introduction,” xi; Harry S Ashmore, “The Mournful Numbers,” in Stanley T. Donner, ed., The Meaning of Commercial Television: The Texas-Stanford Seminar, 1966 (Austin: The University of Texas Press, 1967), 7.

(7)Paul Hirsch, “The Role of Television and Popular Culture in Contemporary Society,” in Horace Newcomb, ed., Television: The Critical View, 3rd. ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), 292, 294; Paul Goodman, “The Social Perspective,” in Donner, Meaning of Commercial Television, 72; Ashmore, “Mournful Numbers,” 5.

(8)Hirsch, “Role of Television and Popular Culture,” 290-91, 294.

(9)Hirsch, “Role of Television and Popular Culture,” 294; Michael Novak, “Television Shapes the Soul,” in Newcomb, Television: The Critical View, 341.

(10)Hirsch, “Role of Television and Popular Culture,” 292, 294; Brooks and Marsh, Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows, s.v. “Gunsmoke,” “The Milton Berle Show,” “Philco TV Playhouse,” and “Texaco Star Theater.”

(11)Brooks and Marsh, Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows, s.v. “Captain Video and His Video Rangers,” “Kukla, Fran & Ollie,” “Lassie.”

(12)1950 U S. Census of Population, Vol. 2, Characteristics of the Population, Pt. 18, Louisiana, Table 42, pp. 18-78 to 18-81; 1960 U.S. Census of Population, Vol. 1, Characteristics of the Population, Pt. 20, Louisiana, Table 28, pp. 20-91 to 20-95; 1950 U.S. Census, Housing, Vol. 1, General Characteristics, Pt. 3, Louisiana, Table 20, p. 18-24; Table 23, pp. 18-33 to 18-36; 1960 U.S. Census of Housing, Vol. 1, States and Small Areas, Pt. 4, Louisiana, Table 16, p. 20-27; Table 30, pp. 20-66 to 20-70.

(13)1950 U.S. Census, Housing, Vol. 1, General Characteristics, Pt. 3, Louisiana, Table 23, pp. 18-33 to 18-36; 1960 U.S. Census of Housing, Vol. 1, States and Small Areas, Pt. 4, Louisiana, Table 16, p. 20-27 (Calcasieu Parish); Table 30, pp. 20-66 to 20-70; 1960 U.S. Census of Housing, Vol. 1, States and Small Areas, Pt. 1, United States Summary, Figure 2 (Regions and Geographic Divisions of the United States), Table 7, pp. 1-28 to 1-29. The 1960 U.S. Census defines “the South” as: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

(14)Lafayette (La.) Sunday Advertiser, 9 October 1955, 23; William A. Patton, former general manager of KLFY (1954-55) and KATC (1962-83) television stations, telephone interview by author, 29 April 1996, Bryan, Tex., to Lafayette, La., interview notes.

(15)Dormon, People Called Cajuns, 77; Ancelet et al., Cajun Country, 49.

(16)Ancelet et al., Cajun Country, xxi, 40, 160; Dormon, People Called Cajuns, 82-88; James H. Dormon, “Louisiana’s ‘Creoles of Color’: Ethnicity, Marginality and Identity,” Social Science Quarterly 73 (September 1992): 622-24.

(17)Allan dates the photograph of Aldus Roger and the Lafayette Playboys at “KLFY-TV” as circa 1954; the station did not exist, however, until 1955. “La Valse de KLFY,” as rendered in 1990 by Cajun fiddler Michael Doucet (of acclaimed Cajun band BeauSoleil) appears on Various Artists, The Best of La Louisianne Records, compact disc LLCD-1001, La Louisianne, 1990; Lafayette (La.) Daily Advertiser, 7 October 1960, 12; Johnnie Allan, comp. and ed., Memories: A Pictorial History of South Louisiana Music, Vol. One: South Louisiana and East Texas Musicians (Lafayette, La.: Johnnie Allan/JADFEL, 1988), 52; Patton, interview by author; John Broven, South to Louisiana: Music of the Cajun Bayous (Gretna, La.: Pelican, 1983), 278-79.

(18)Daily Advertiser, 1 October 1965, 14; 3 October 1965, 20; Allan, Memories, 109; Broven, South to Louisiana, 42-43, 56-60, 266; Patton, interview by author; Shane K. Bernard, The Cajuns: Americanization of a People (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2003) , 104.

(19)Broven, South to Louisiana, 209, 238, 320; Allan, Memories, 59; Shane K. Bernard, Swamp Pop: Cajun and Creole Rhythm and Blues (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1996), 180, 181; Daily Advertiser, 23 October 1964, 20; 24 September 1965, 8; 3 October 1965, 20; 22 April 1967, 6; 2 March 1968, 10; 16 November 1968, 10; 24 May 1969, 10; 20 December 1969, 8; 17 January 1970, 10.

(20)Daily Advertiser, 1 October 1960, 19; Patton, interview by author.

(21)Brooks and Marsh, Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows, s.v. “Combat!”; Biographical sketch of French-Canadian actor Pierre Jalbert (“Caje” on “Combat!”), Jalbert.htm1> [non-functioning link as of 23 September 2019], first distributed by the ABC television network in 1966; Jo Davidsmeyer and Loraine Wingham, “‘Combat!’ The Big War on the Small Screen,” Military Trader (January 1996), n.p., reprinted at g War.html> [non-functioning link as of 23 September 2019]; Bernard, Swamp Pop, 148, 166; Shane K. Bernard, “A Swamp Rock ‘n’ Roller Remembers: Rod Bernard and ‘American Bandstand,’” Goldmine, 31 March 1995, 64, 66, 129, 132, 138.

(22)Bart Andrews, The “I Love Lucy” Book, rev. and exp. (Garden City, N.Y.: Dolphin/Doubleday, 1985), 182-84; Brooks and Marsh, Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows, s.v. “I Love Lucy."

(23)Dormon, People Called Cajuns, 80; Daily Advertiser, 1 October 1965, 14; 3 October 1965, 20; 4 October 1965, 14; 5 October 1965, 8.


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