Camp TV of the 1960s
In an article published in the March 2018 Journal of Popular Television(6.1), “Gilligan and Captain Kirk Have More in Common than You Think: 1960s Camp TV as an Alternative Genealogy for Cult TV,” we identified a number of 1960s American primetime programs that seemed to not just allow, but encourage viewing practices that transcended the infantilized conceptualization of that era’s television audiences. We argued that such programs constitute a significant and previously un–historicized set of predecessors to Cult television.
The “Camp TV” programs of the 1960s we considered share a loose set of textual and narrative characteristics generally associated with camp strategies; examples include the satire of Get Smart (1965–70), the exaggerated clichés of Batman (1966–69), the surreal humor of Green Acres (1965–71), and the anarchic character of The Monkees (1966–68). In addition, and arguably more importantly, these programs possess a political edge that facilitated and encouraged audience interpretive and participatory activities. Such aspects appealed specifically to a youth audience (separate from the juvenile audience these programs targeted) and lent themselves to multiple readings and viewing practices.
We are looking to expand the scope of that study and the scholarship on Camp TV in a panel at this year’s SCMS conference in Seattle. Specifically, we are wanting to include other critically overlooked or underestimated 1960s American primetime programs, such as Rocky and His Friends/The Bullwinkle Show, F Troop, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Addams Family, The Beverly Hillbillies, and The Munsters. In addition, novel readings of The Monkees, Batman, Gilligan’s Island (etc.) in relation to a developing genre of Camp TV are also welcome.
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Last edited Thursday, July 12, 2018