The 1950s does not seem that long ago. My grandma was a teenager during that time and it was only a short 66 years ago. After researching for this article, I can honestly say it seems to be one of the most important decades. Let’s stroll (stroll was a popular song and dance) down memory lane.
Fashion was starting to take a slow turn. Girls mostly wore poodle skirts with bobby socks and oxford shoes. Guys wore jeans, white shirts and leather jackets, but the letterman jackets were for the jocks. Of course, the nerds may have dressed a little different. Girls did not wear jeans and definitely not shorts unless it was a one off. Bathing suits were one pieces. Hair for girls was usually in a ponytail or a bouffant up-do and guys’ hair was gelled back or a flat top buzz cut.
Entertainment would have definitely left today’s young adults bored to tears. Some homes had rotary dial landline phones that were party lines. Party lines means that any neighbor may be able to pick up their phone and hear your conversation. Not cool. Further in the not cool area was there were no cell phones, no texting, no Ipods and no social media. Forget tablets, laptops or even desktop computers.
There was also limited television time and there were no DVDs, VCRs or rentals, let alone cable or satellite. In 1950, only 1 in 10 households had a TV but by 1959, 9 in 10 households had one. TV shows such as “I Love Lucy” and “Gunsmoke” were popular. There was no Disney, Nickelodeon or other television channels for specific viewers. Disney broadcast a show on Sunday evenings, usually a movie or Mickey Mouse cartoon. After the news each night, the television channels all went off air. The only thing you could see was either static or a still shot of a TV Tower. So no reality TV.
Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog” was the number one song of the decade. The Peanut’s comic was first printed in this decade, but not with Snoopy. Can you imagine no Snoopy? Marilyn Monroe was the top female film star and James Dean topped the male heartthrob lists. Movies costs 40 cents versus $7 before 6 p.m. in today’s time. Gas was only .19 cents per gallon, compared to a fluctuating $2.30 today, wish I could fill er’ up in the 50s! The skating rink was a
popular hangout joint, where kids would dance the “sock hop” – or dance with socks, no shoes. Kids would smoke just to be cool and parents even encouraged the habit by doing it themselves. The main running commercial during the 1950s was on getting a pack of cigs. Things like car seats did not exist. Bike helmets were not enforced, so forget having to look uncool in the 50s.
The 1950’s also saw a lot of things invented that we cannot live without, like McDonald’s, credit cards and M&M’s. Also aluminum foil, TV dinner, Barbie, Mr. Potato Head, Life Savers Candy, Corvette cars and birth control. Oh and Playboy magazine printed its first issue in 1953. And to sum it all up the average home costs $14,000.00. So all in all while lots of new things like technology have been invented since the 1950s, I would hands down prefer the cost of gas and a house over that of today.