Slideshow: LIFE watches TV

Joao Costa
The Newsroom

Watching Jill, 1953

Television gets a bad rap. As early as 1961, President Kennedy's FCC chairman, Newton Minow, famously characterized most programming as a "vast wasteland." Today, everyone from pediatricians to self-designated protectors of public morals point to TV as a cause of ... well, you name it: childhood obesity, political apathy, high murder rates, low literacy rates. Every societal ill, it seems, is in some way tied to the tube. Whatever. Here, on the 60th anniversary of color television sets being made available to the public, LIFE.com celebrates the real national pastime: watching TV.

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Gordon Parks/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

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