PAUSE: A photographic history of people staring at screens

Television is sixty years old. Think about that for a moment. In all likelihood, if you are reading this, you were not alive then. Hell, you probably weren’t even alive when the band Television started up.

LIFE’s just posted some archival photographs of people watching TV, and they’re riveting. There’s something oddly meditative about looking at people frozen in time, watching them watch something else. Our favorite image might be the first of this slideshow, with a couple watching a football game in the snow, overlooking a highway.


Upon its invention, prominent social theorist Marshall McLuhan dubbed TV a “cool” medium-one that actively engaged with multiple senses simultaneously. Judging by these images, that’s more than true. Here’s to hoping that one day, somebody digs up some equally beautiful photos of kids playing Atari that makes us all sit back and think.

-Drew Millard