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GGGGerald

50's Lifestyle

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We may romanticize the past but we tend to do the same with the present.  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for, and worked for, and voted for, greater civil rights for people of all races, genders and sexual orientation, but sometimes I feel like we threw out the baby with the bath when we made those changes.  Respect for our president, whether we voted for him or not, respect for older people, respect for traditional choices all seem to have gone out the window.  In spite of the civil rights movement, many  blacks live in terrible conditions.  Many women are being worked to death raising children alone.

 

I'm glad that women have more career choices now, but staying home to raise small children is still an ideal choice to me.  My mother was home with us and I was home with my child even though we were quite poor.   I see young women today, working nine hours and then going home to do all the housework my mother did, in the evening.  Is that an improvement?  I'm also appalled at the number, almost 50% now, of children being raised by single mothers with no father in sight.  So yes, I like watching the movies of the past with  a nice division of labor that had fathers going out to work and mom doing the work at home and the whole family able to relax in the evening.

 

I would love to see a return to that world, with people getting married before they had children, and the mother's career waiting until the kids are older.  Only this time the "good life," would be available to all races. It wasn't as great then as it's depicted in the movies, but it's not that great now, either.  Drugs,  mentally ill people living on the streets, gun violence, terrible public schools, all worse than in  the forties and  fifties.

 

Edited to say that I in no way support the "Make America Great Again," candidate.  I think we can be great again but it isn't going to come through a president but our own personal efforts as citizens.

Edited by AndreaDoria

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Not to politicize this, but a presidential candidate is wanting to take us back to the (idealized) 50s,

The other major candidate wants to take us back to the early 60s, with the worthless Camelot garbage and everything being compared to the civil rights struggle of that era.

 

As a non-boomer (born 1972), I'd like to advance beyond that era, thank you very much.

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That is the dog whistle that many of his supporters are hearing, hoping for, and responding to.

If you can hear the dog whistle, you must be the dog.

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Hollywood people--this is true with artists in general-- aren't generally as Prejudiced or bigoted, or backward as the general public because they're artists.

Oh, they're bigoted, all right; they just have a different set of bigotries.

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Respect for our president,

Perhaps the politicians should try having some respect for us the people.

 

They claim they're "public servants", but they act like they want to be our masters.

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Many of us put on our rose-colored glasses and wish we could go back to the Good Ol' Days. However they were also the Bad Ol' Days too. Yet you can't knock the entertainment available.

 

Lately I have been revisiting episodes of CBS' popular radio series Suspense, which ran from 1942 through 1962 and despite obvious economizing during its second decade (with fewer Hollywood stars involved and sponsors like Auto-Lite abandoning it), it and its briefer sister series Escape (which ended earlier in 1954) really continued to be an "outstanding theater of thrills". Writing, performances, music and sound effects were at a very high standard of quality that would be difficult to duplicate today. Hollywood and the golden age of radio may have been in decline, but many working in those industries were veterans with so much experience in their craft and had reached the apex of their creativity. Disney animators who started during the Depression years were now working on Maleficent's life-like (with no "cgi") dragon in Sleeping Beauty, Universal's special effects department made the impossible possible in The Incredible Shrinking Man and the Arthur Freed unit at MGM put out Singin' In The Rain and The Band Wagon and, despite a decline in musicals, still managed Gigi. Although many here see the 1960s as the "end" of that era, it was still a golden era for 16mm educational films and higher quality television from The Twilight Zone through the CBS Reports and the early National Geographic Specials... and those of us in Generation X got to enjoy these earlier programs in the 1970s when they were still widely available.

 

The 1950s would have been a great decade, lifestyle-wise, had there not been a Cold War and, worse, politicians like Joseph McCarthy. Yes, he experienced a spectacular downfall in 1954 but the damage was done. This was a decade when everybody was paranoid when they weren't Just Like Everybody Else. No wonder the Civil Rights movement, the Revolution of 1968 and the Me Decade of the Seventies resulted, since nobody wanted a repeat of The Suburbanite fussing over the crab grass in his look-alike lawn. Yes, the Suburb was a definite improvement over the old inner city tenement building and all of the 1940s shared living conditions because of the war, but every house was virtually the same. I have heard so many stories of children back then struggling to find their house on the way home from school. Everybody bought the same things regardless whether they wanted them or not.

 

Of course, television was something everybody wanted and it is easy to understand why. Too bad so much TV was judged (by 1961) as a "vast wasteland". Sadly everybody depicted on screen, even in commercials, was essentially the same skin-tone. There is a 15 year gap between Amos & Andy leaving CBS's primetime line-up in 1953 and the arrival of Diahann Carroll in Julia on NBC in the fall of 1968 (by then, "living color" had been available on all three networks and these words took on greater significance). Between those landmark shows, you had Nat King Cole's variety show briefly and Bill Cosby's I Spy in-between but not much else. Virtually no Asian Americans on air. The Mickey Mouse Club was whiter than Wonder Bread.

 

Another interesting thing you notice when you look at the Kodachrome slides and vintage snapshots of America during the Eisenhower era is how new all of the cars on the roads were. Looking at a Technicolor FitzPatrick Traveltalk of the 1930s and 40s, you see a hodgepodge of old and new vehicles because only a small percentage of people could afford a new set of wheels. Later in the seventies you again to see a hodgepodge of older '50s and '60s models interspersed with the newer makes. These days it is harder to tell since car styles have been more consistent. Yet there was a period when the average American scrimped and saved in order to get the latest model, then sell it "used" in order to get a newer model. 1958-59 must have been an especially difficult period of car shopping when General Motors once again gave their vehicles another "face lift" in an attempt to emulate rocket-ships with those big fins in the back and a slimmer body.

 

What is sad for me, revisiting the vintage ads in print and on screen and radio, was the high percentage of Americans addicted to cigarettes and over the counter medication. Part of this was obviously due to many men especially getting nicotined as soldiers in WW2 and Korea. Also the need to be like everybody else and take what they are taking. The thalidomide baby deformity catastrophe that ended in 1962 was a rude awakening of just how hooked the country was with pills in general.

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The Hollywood "Elite" are the most bigoted, uninformed, self-righteous group of intolerant toads. No one dares to condemn them for fear of retaliation.

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I often sort of joked about the term "the good old days" as to not knowing exactly WHEN that was supposed to be.

 

I'd generally use the 20th century as referrence.  Going decade by decade....

 

The FIRST part?...

 

Child labor, The Spanish influenza epidemic?  WWI?

 

The 1920's?...

 

Prohibition and bootlegging and gangland warfare that also killed thousands of innocent bystanders?

 

The 1930's?....

 

The "Great Depression", thousands losing every cent they had, millions out of work, bread lines and "Hoovervilles?"

 

The 1940's?....

 

WWII...Pearl Harbor, hundred of thousands widowed and orphaned, gas, sugar rationing and thousands of displaced returning veterans?

 

The 1950's?....

 

Korean war, Communist witch hunts, juvenile deliquency, Cold war and nuclear fallout PSA's on TV, CON-L-RAD settings on the radios?

 

The 1960's?

 

Racial unrest, cities burning during race riots, anti-war unrest, Viet Nam, the rise in drug abuse, rampant racism, sexism, and even CLASSISM?

 

Just when WERE these "good old days"?

 

Sepiatone

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The seventies, Sepiatone. Only nobody thought so at the time. When Ronald Reagan asked in 1980 if TV viewers watching the debate were better off today than four years ago, the answer was "no" and many voted for him. Yet the more horrible you think "today" is, the better it gets in the future. Once the Vietnam War subsided and only the wacky were joining Jim Jones' cult, it was a pretty groovy decade with Land of the Lost on Saturday mornings, Schoolhouse Rock interrupting those horrible TV commercials, Super Grover ("and I am cute too") on Sesame Street, pet rocks, shag rugs, paperback books, Leonard Nimoy's In Search of..., Wild Wild Wild World of Animals (both TV show and the Time-Life books you could not afford), lava lamps, mood rings and awful Barry Manilow music. Also everybody did their own thing since it was The ME Decade. As Mister Rogers told us, EVERYBODY is special.

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Another interesting thing you notice when you look at the Kodachrome slides and vintage snapshots of America during the Eisenhower era is how new all of the cars on the roads were. Looking at a Technicolor FitzPatrick Traveltalk of the 1930s and 40s, you see a hodgepodge of old and new vehicles because only a small percentage of people could afford a new set of wheels. Later in the seventies you again to see a hodgepodge of older '50s and '60s models interspersed with the newer makes. These days it is harder to tell since car styles have been more consistent. Yet there was a period when the average American scrimped and saved in order to get the latest model, then sell it "used" in order to get a newer model. 1958-59 must have been an especially difficult period of car shopping when General Motors once again gave their vehicles another "face lift" in an attempt to emulate rocket-ships with those big fins in the back and a slimmer body.

The Great Depression and WW  II prevented many people from purchasing "newer" cars so they had to make the old ones last longer.  No cars were made during WW  II, so there was a huge demand by '46. Plus the old ones were just flat worn out.  Detroit did begin to emphasize styling and feature changes along with classier advertising.  Some of it for movie theaters.

Actually some of those old cars in the Fitzpatrick series aren't that old, just that the styling and monochomatic colors look dated compared to later.

Cars of the late '50's were longer, wider, lower, but by no means "slimmer."  Actually Chrysler Corp. started the big fin craze in '57.

Dealers also began to really push loans for cars and the banks were quick to jump in.

 

As for the '50's in general, human nature sees the past better than it was.  But in a lot of respects it was better.  Housing may have been similar, but it was good, affordable housing in good areas.  At least for white people as discrimination still existed.  New schools were built, new businesses created, new factories and jobs.  Again for whites mostly.  But there was some trickle down to minorities.

Aftermath of the Great Depression, WW  II and Korea, as well as America's thrust to be the leader (and dominator) of the Free World created huge number of jobs throughout the country.  DEMAND was huge in US.  The federal government had supported unionization, higher wages and better working conditions for workers.  Workers had money to spend.

Not to downplay the problems that did exist, but it was a release after 25+ years of stagnation, denial, no money and fear.

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The seventies, Sepiatone. Only nobody thought so at the time. When Ronald Reagan asked in 1980 if TV viewers watching the debate were better off today than four years ago, the answer was "no" and many voted for him. Yet the more horrible you think "today" is, the better it gets in the future. Once the Vietnam War subsided and only the wacky were joining Jim Jones' cult, it was a pretty groovy decade with Land of the Lost on Saturday mornings, Schoolhouse Rock interrupting those horrible TV commercials, Super Grover ("and I am cute too") on Sesame Street, pet rocks, shag rugs, paperback books, Leonard Nimoy's In Search of..., Wild Wild Wild World of Animals (both TV show and the Time-Life books you could not afford), lava lamps, mood rings and awful Barry Manilow music. Also everybody did their own thing since it was The ME Decade. As Mister Rogers told us, EVERYBODY is special.

Are you saying the '70's were better or the '80's?

Regardless, you seem to be overlooking the Reagan Recession of '82, huge bank failures, unemployment, etc. lasting for years.

For '70's, there was gas rationing, super inflation, unemployment, etc.

Every period has its good and bad points.

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Actually some of those old cars in the Fitzpatrick series aren't that old, just that the styling and monochomatic colors look dated compared to later.

 

Actually they were quite colorful in Technicolor. Not so much black and white as you would think in many black and white films. Especially in the Mexico reels he made around 1942... all brand new models featured. One aspect of both the Traveltalks and the Crime Does Not Pay short subject series (also for MGM) is just how many cars are shown. While the '50s might have seen many style changes, the '30s were even more dramatic. This is especially true when you watch the films in chronological order with 1934 starting the dawn of the upside down bathtub look (post Chrysler Airflow).

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Are you saying the '70's were better or the '80's?

Regardless, you seem to be overlooking the Reagan Recession of '82, huge bank failures, unemployment, etc. lasting for years.

For '70's, there was gas rationing, super inflation, unemployment, etc.

Every period has its good and bad points.

 

Oooooohhhhh don't jump to such tight conclusions. Gawd... I did hate the eighties. Yet part of it was my awkward phase in life. I was not a fan of Reagan except in Kings Row.

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Actually, Reagan inherited a Jimmy Carter blase economy. But please, everyone, continue. Don't let reality interrupt your Cinemascope Todd-AO Technicolor world!

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I'm curious to see the house behind the car in the first picture.

 

I'm reminded of the beach house in A Summer Place where Richard Egan and Dorothy McGuire go to live. There's some 50s style!

Actually the beach house in A SUMMER PLACE is the Clinton Walker House in Monterrey California and was built in 1948.  While the movie is supposedly occurring on the East Coast much of it was filmed on the West Coast.  As for the 50's and 60's and a look back through rose coloured glasses, Why Not?  I ask myself.  For many of us watching TCM...isn't that the reason we watch?  those nice rose coloured glasses provided by Louie Mayer, the Warner Bros. and other transplanted exiles. 

 

My childhood took place in the late 40's and 50's when my Mom was home, our house was small but the neighbourhood big and a friendly place where kids played outside all day, rode to the corner store for a soft drink and re-coupe my 5 cent deposit and the ice cream man rode a three wheel motorcycle with his ice cream treats tucked in a cooler between the back wheels. I walked to school (interestingly enough not uphill and not always in the snow) and walked home for lunch.  I "ducked and covered", knew where the CD shelter was and listened to Joe McCarthy rant and rave on the radio.   My parents discussed politics at the dinner table and I learned a lot just listening.  We listened to OZZIE and HARRIET as well as Don McNeil's Breakfast Hour and Arthur Godfrey's Talent Show.

 

My mother wore slacks in the morning to clean house and a skirt and blouse in the afternoon and through out the evening hour.  My Dad came home, had a drink (he fixed it himself) read the paper (PM Edition) and made us tell him about our day and show us what we did in school.  Reading was for the evening with the radio in the background and bed-time story (in chapters) was always present. 

 

Yes it is rose coloured glasses and I am glad I am able to still look through them.  I LIKE IKE.

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Oooooohhhhh don't jump to such tight conclusions. Gawd... I did hate the eighties. Yet part of it was my awkward phase in life. I was not a fan of Reagan except in Kings Row.

During the eighties I was nostalgic for the 70s - and I was still a kid in the eighties... hated that time.

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During the eighties I was nostalgic for the 70s - and I was still a kid in the eighties... hated that time.

 

I think it was the age we were. Especially when you are a teen and have all of that peer pressure. The decade of Rambo was very testosterone driven.

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I often sort of joked about the term "the good old days" as to not knowing exactly WHEN that was supposed to be.

 

I'd generally use the 20th century as referrence.  Going decade by decade....

 

The FIRST part?...

 

----------------------

 

The 1940's?....

 

WWII...Pearl Harbor, hundred of thousands widowed and orphaned, gas, sugar rationing and thousands of displaced returning veterans?

 

 

 

What ever you do, don't TOUCH THE SWEETS! :D

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I think it was the age we were. Especially when you are a teen and have all of that peer pressure. The decade of Rambo was very testosterone driven.

Yes, but for me it was pop culture changes, too. One example - TV went from shows like The Odd Couple to Silver Spoons.

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Well, OK.

 

For ME, there was good and bad in each decade of my life.  Being born in 1951, I spent my early childhood in the '50's, my memory going back only as far as the mid point of that decade.  Of COURSE, life for a kid at that young of an age is good DESPITE which decade.  Me and my older brother were, for the first 7 years of my life, raised by a single Mother who had the knack(and with some help from our grandmother) to never make us feel we were deprived of anything. 

 

She remarried in 1959, and our stepfather, a really nice guy, kept it going.  By the 60's, I was at first at the threshold of my teen years, The Kennedy years and "Camelot" were at hand, and by the time I entered Jr. high, my life was on par with most of my peers.  By the LATTER part of the '60's, Our family situation was pretty much the same as everyone else's.  My being rebellious and all the same crap everyone else was putting their folks through and like that.

 

By the 70's, I reached adulthood, started my employment at GM, and also started my OWN family.  In spite of the oil embargo, some economic uncertainties, I was working steady, had my own home and life was for the most part good.  But there also were some personal hiccups I won't bore any of y'all with, so THAT decade was far from perfect also.

 

Same with the 80's.  That decade saw my divorce from my first wife, the split-up of my family and erosion of my nuclear "safety zone".  But also, the meeting and marrying of the woman I'm now married to and who was both "lifesaver" and philosophical savior.  We married in 1988, and IF I had to pick any decade as "the good old days", it would be the 90's, as that was the period BEFORE my health troubles, and hers and her strokes that made her life more undeservedly difficult.  My opinion is, if ANYone DIDN'T deserve what she's going through now, it's HER!

 

No "what guy was president" at the time, nor what the MUSIC was like is really important to me when thinking about all this.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Yes, but for me it was pop culture changes, too. One example - TV went from shows like The Odd Couple to Silver Spoons.

 

Silly me. I thought the Odd Couple, All in the Family, Sanford and Son type of shows were all there was. I never knew those days would end. I was still waiting for shows of that quality and frankly I still am because you can't even make shows like that anymore. They aren't PC !

 

When I watch classic film, I accept the times as they were. I have no problem with this. But, in my mind I take the good and leave the bad and imagine what I would come up with.

 

There is a give and take about it. Back then the sets were more elaborate but, there was no thought to the animals being harmed. Today its CGI but, no one is harmed.

 

I fear that those who dream of the 50's in reality would be bored to tears. No smart phones nor net. And having to wait 30 mins to an hour to eat because of no microwaves. You would have to spend all day at home to make a meal.  No fast food around the corner like today. House wives took pride in feeding the family and would be insulted if you brought home food to often.

 

Today , its mostly push button. My aunt explained to me how it was just to wash the laundry in those days. There is a reason all my older female relatives had strong arms  :o

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Silly me. I thought the Odd Couple, All in the Family, Sanford and Son type of shows were all there was.

Haha, yeah! Me too! :)

Then again, thanks to today's world, you can bury yourself in classic movies and shows all day and night. No more waiting for that one time a year to see The Wizard of Oz. Want to relive the 1950s? Go to the Internet and surf some websites.

 

Sometimes I think the world can't get any worse, but there's never been so many ways to escape it, either. ;)

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Actually, Reagan inherited a Jimmy Carter blase economy. But please, everyone, continue. Don't let reality interrupt your Cinemascope Todd-AO Technicolor world!

But the Reagan tax cuts caused the recession, along with his multiple deficit budgets and raising the national debt.  However, he was very good for those of us in the military.  Pay raises and we couldn't spend the money fast enough.

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Yes, but for me it was pop culture changes, too. One example - TV went from shows like The Odd Couple to Silver Spoons.

 

Actually television wasn't too bad in the eighties. Golden Girls can hold its own against I Love Lucy, Bewitched and All In The Family. Part of this was because the humor wasn't dated and the cast was less prone to fashion trends like Murphy Brown's hair.

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There is a give and take about it. Back then the sets were more elaborate but, there was no thought to the animals being harmed. Today its CGI but, no one is harmed.

 

Even the cute little lemmings in Walt Disney's White Wilderness had it tough.

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