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chelle21689's avatar

Why were spouses sharing a bed censored on TV?

Asked by chelle21689 (7405points) December 10th, 2015 from iPhone

I don’t get why it was a huge deal back then, I find it extremely odd. TV had to show married couples in separate beds due to morals. I mean, if you’re married shouldn’t it be okay back then? Why was it such a taboo to just show a husband and wife sitting in bed talking?

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15 Answers

Pandora's avatar

Because that is where they drew the line for morality. True kids knew and adults knew that these people on tv were not married in real life but two people in the same bed was where they drew the line. Couples back then didn’t really kiss either. Most tv shows had them kissing each other on the cheek. Later a quick peck on the lips was ok for tv, but they took into account that tv was usually a family event. They had to keep things rated G at all times. Remember, when Elvis came out shaking his hips, that was probably rated R back then. Today it his movies would be rated G. Just a little over 100 years ago,women were not allowed to show their legs in public.

zenvelo's avatar

A lot of that stuff is from the Hays Code that was applied to movies. The network censors used that as a guideline for TV shows.

Remember Rob and Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke show had twin beds?

filmfann's avatar

So did Lucy and Ricky, which begs the question: Where did Little Ricky come from?

Buttonstc's avatar

And I can’t believe that it even caused raised eyebrows when Betty Ford insisted upon one bed for herself and the Pres. together stating that she and Jerry had shared the same bed for the entirety of their married life and she had no intention of changing it just because they were now in the White House :)
She was quite an outspoken lady on many issues and a refreshing breath of fresh air.

She didn’t shy away from being equally frank and open about her battle with breast cancer and later on alcoholism/addiction and I’m sure many lives were saved because of it.

She was a unique and great lady.

JLeslie's avatar

My parents had two singles pushed together when I was a kid. My grandparents had two singles separated by a small night stand. When I’m in Europe sometimes the king is two singles together. It wasn’t that uncommon I’m guessing for married couples to use single beds.

As far as the morals, the actors usually were not really married, so maybe part of it was to allow the actors to maintain their own morals. Plus, it’s just what was acceptable then on TV and cinema. Just like certain curse words still aren’t ok for G ratings, being in bed together fell into that category.

msh's avatar

Not only were they not allowed to be in any but their own made up twin-sized mattress, but if they happened to be hugging, talking, on one ( gasp) bed -one foot was to be on the floor at all times. They always had someone there on set or on lot to enforce decency.

Little Ricky and Richie (Rob and Laura’s son) both had episodes where while Lucy and Laura were running the vacume cleaner in their separate homes. Suddenly there were bright lights and doves everywhere! And Ka-Boom insty-kids!
Watch the reruns! It happened!

Our parents explained it to us, when questioned, that some parents had twin beds so they could have contests to see who could jump higher.
Yet, when I got caught jumping on the bed, I got in big trouble!
Sooo unfair!

jca's avatar

Remember that what happened 60 years ago may not seem logical to us, may even be incomprehensible to us, but things were very different back then in many ways. It’s hard to take our standards and morals and apply them to things that occurred long ago (and although 60 years ago is “long ago,” it’s not that long ago in the scheme of things.

When I was in high school (about 30 years ago), people would drink and drive and unless you were drunk, like drunk drunk, a cop would let you go. Now, we can’t imagine that happening.

When I was in high school (about 30 years ago), it was not uncommon for people to make Irish jokes, Polish jokes, Italian jokes, jokes about black people, jokes about Jewish people, etc. Now we can’t imagine that.

My point is, my examples are from only 30 years ago and those things are shocking.

I was looking at old newspaper clips on microfilm. Newspaper clips from the mid-1960’s. The local paper had a section where they talked about people in the town who were in the hospital or getting released from the hospital, and what kind of illness they had. Imagine? “Jane Smith returned home today after six days in ____ Hospital. She had pneumonia.”

JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

Keep in mind that this was a case of self-censorship (as evidenced by The Munsters getting away with having Herman and Lily sleep in the same bed—and even earlier, Mary Kay Stearns and Johnny Stearns on Mary Kay and Johnny). It’s not so much that television had to be as safe as it was, but that it chose to be that safe to avoid the potential ire of both the FCC and the audience.

Cruiser's avatar

@filmfann “Where did Little Ricky come from?”

From the back seat of the car at the drive in! That’s where all babies came from in the 50’s!

elbanditoroso's avatar

Censorship continues today.

You never hear the ‘F’ word on commercial TV (although you do on cable). Even less offensive words (ass, damn, shit) are bleeped out.

You never see bare breasts in the US (although you do on commercial TV in Europe).

You never see penises on commercial TV, and almost never on cable, and they’re never erect.

For a long time, you couldn’t have interracial love relationships, although now it seems you can.

Gay relationships were treated as aberrations or something to be ridiculed until the last 15–20 years.

And so on.

ibstubro's avatar

If you still have any doubt about this, @chelle21689, please read @zenvelo‘s link to the Hays Code.

Particularly hilarious today is the notion that ” The Supreme Court had already decided unanimously in 1915 in Mutual Film Corporation v. Industrial Commission of Ohio that free speech did not extend to motion pictures.”

Coloma's avatar

Because it was considered immoral to portray people actually, possibly, being sexually active. The stork brought the babies you know. haha

flutherother's avatar

This was on British TV 40 years ago.

Bill1939's avatar

@flutherother the best thing England did for its culture was to export their Puritans to our continent.

chelle21689's avatar

Thanks everyone

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