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GGGGerald

50's Lifestyle

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I remember watching a Loretta Young noir flick from 1951

called Cause for Alarm. It had an almost perfect 1950s

middle class, suburban vibe with the housewife, her

well ordered house, the neighborhood kid, and the

friendly if talkative mailman, and her husband somewhere

in the mix. To audiences of the day, this environment

likely faded into the background, but sixty years later,

that aspect stood out for me, like an unintentional period

piece. It's pretty good as a sunshiny noir too.

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I remember watching a Loretta Young noir flick from 1951

called Cause for Alarm. It had an almost perfect 1950s

middle class, suburban vibe with the housewife, her

well ordered house, the neighborhood kid, and the

friendly if talkative mailman, and her husband somewhere

in the mix. To audiences of the day, this environment

likely faded into the background, but sixty years later,

that aspect stood out for me, like an unintentional period

piece. It's pretty good as a sunshiny noir too.

I got that DVD in my Too Late for Tears packet.

 

Watching that, it reminded me how I used to ride my bicycle throughout the neighborhood and different neighbor ladies would invite me in for cookies and things like that. Then when it was time for me to sell Girl Scout cookies, they would always buy from me.

 

It was a very realistic scenario that you see in a lot of old movies.

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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. 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

 

Gerald -- I cook the same things that my mother cooked and unless it's something extravagant I can have it done in 30 minutes or less, easily.

 

AND who told you there were no fast foods? McDonald's wasn't on every corner but everybody knew where they could find one in their section of town. Even better, local families had their own hamburger joints/ or greasy spoons on quite a few corners and they were excellent. Big hamburgers or small hamburgers and they could throw them at you fast on your lunch hour.

 

And the laundry wasn't that big of a deal. My mother had a washer & a dryer-- and she had to put it in and take it out but it wasn't like going to kill her or anything.

 

But she did have to do ironing for hours at a time. I still didn't feel that sorry for her because she's watching As the World Turns and the Secret Storm while she's ironing. LOL

 

 

BTW-- In all fairness to your aunt, I do remember when I was a preschooler and my mother didn't have a dryer. She had to Lug that stuff out to the back yard and put it on the clothesline. But the clothesline quickly faded as people went into the late fifties and early sixties-- also that's when people started getting color TV and Frozen TV dinners. We really thought we were modern sitting in front of our color TV watching Bonanza and eating a Swanson frozen TV dinner.LOL

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I got that DVD in my Too Late for Tears packet.

 

Watching that, it reminded me how I used to ride my bicycle throughout the neighborhood and different neighbor ladies would invite me in for cookies and things like that. Then when it was time for me to sell Girl Scout cookies, they would always buy from me.

 

It was a very realistic scenario that you see in a lot of old movies.

Some movies from the 1950s seem to display more of what we

think of as the hallmarks of that era than others of course, and

Cause for Alarm is one of those to me, though there are many

others. The Next Voice Your Hear shows a fairly stereotypical

1950s family. No Down Payment is meant to be taken seriously, but

I crack up every time I watch it.

 

My mother preferred to hang her clothes outside when the weather

allowed, something about that fresh air thing. When I was old enough,

she made me do some of the ironing. I had stereo speakers in the

basement, so I did it there and listened to my albums.

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Gerald -- I cook the same things that my mother cooked and unless it's something extravagant I can have it done in 30 minutes or less, easily.

 

AND who told you there were no fast foods? McDonald's wasn't on every corner but everybody knew where they could find one in their section of town. Even better, local families had their own hamburger joints/ or greasy spoons on quite a few corners and they were excellent. Big hamburgers or small hamburgers and they could throw them at you fast on your lunch hour.

 

And the laundry wasn't that big of a deal. My mother had a washer & a dryer-- and she had to put it in and take it out but it wasn't like going to kill her or anything.

 

But she did have to do ironing for hours at a time. I still didn't feel that sorry for her because she's watching As the World Turns and the Secret Storm while she's ironing. LOL

 

 

BTW-- In all fairness to your aunt, I do remember when I was a preschooler and my mother didn't have a dryer. She had to Lug that stuff out to the back yard and put it on the clothesline. But the clothesline quickly faded as people went into the late fifties and early sixties-- also that's when people started getting color TV and Frozen TV dinners. We really thought we were modern sitting in front of our color TV watching Bonanza and eating a Swanson frozen TV dinner.LOL

 

I didn't mean there were no fast foods at all. Just that they weren't as prevalent as they are today. My godmother had a wringer and would hang her clothes out to dry in the 70's. My aunt used to drop starch cubes in the wash, then iron the shirts with the starch to get them pressed. Remember, just because the new technology existed, some clung on to old ways. Probably why my mother always had the newest device or appliances. She didn't any of those old days.

 

Bonanza was very popular in our home. That was one of the few times all of us would be in the same room getting along  :P 

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No Down Payment is meant to be taken seriously, but I crack up every time I watch it.

I'm glad you brought up No Down Payment. It's a movie I have serious problems with, since it comes across as people trying to check items off a list of issues they want to bring up regarding the suburban developments and the changing culture.

 

And yet, I've seen quite a few reviews that basically boil down to, "It's great because it questions the suburban lifestyle." I see the same thing with reviews of Douglas Sirk movies. Sirk is making the right pointed commentary about American suburban culture; therefore the movie is good.

 

BTW: You don't need to hit the return key until you want a new paragraph. The board software does wrap posts when they actually show up, even if the software is borked in the composing window. (Of course, the board admins have been adamant about the idiocy of newest posts first, so this will never be fixed, either.)

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Gerald is correct about fast food chains.  A&W started up in 1923, and WHITE CASTLE in '21.  Others STARTED in the '50's, but didn't permeate the scenery until later.

 

Incidentally, I still have a bag of clothespins that once belonged to my grandmother, and the house I'm currently renting still has the clothesline poles and clotheslines and we've used them on occaision. 

 

Except for the nine years I lived in Southwest Detroit, I've always lived in a suburb.  Didn't notice much difference in the lifestyle between the two except the location.  And the tax rate.

 

Some might look at the '50's as being "idyllic" for a variety of reasons.

 

They were younger then and their lives were simpler.

 

WHITE PEOPLE were the only people in their neighborhoods.

 

Just think....someday some old gasbags will be sitting around recalling how GREAT the "good old days" of the 1990's were!  ;)

 

Sepiatone

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Some movies from the 1950s seem to display more of what we

think of as the hallmarks of that era than others of course, and

Cause for Alarm is one of those to me, though there are many

others. The Next Voice Your Hear shows a fairly stereotypical

1950s family. No Down Payment is meant to be taken seriously, but

I crack up every time I watch it.

 

My mother preferred to hang her clothes outside when the weather

allowed, something about that fresh air thing. When I was old enough,

she made me do some of the ironing. I had stereo speakers in the

basement, so I did it there and listened to my albums.

Ironing while listening to Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. Life was good.

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I'm glad you brought up No Down Payment. It's a movie I have serious problems with, since it comes across as people trying to check items off a list of issues they want to bring up regarding the suburban developments and the changing culture.

 

And yet, I've seen quite a few reviews that basically boil down to, "It's great because it questions the suburban lifestyle." I see the same thing with reviews of Douglas Sirk movies. Sirk is making the right pointed commentary about American suburban culture; therefore the movie is good.

 

BTW: You don't need to hit the return key until you want a new paragraph. The board software does wrap posts when they actually show up, even if the software is borked in the composing window. (Of course, the board admins have been adamant about the idiocy of newest posts first, so this will never be fixed, either.)

It does seem to tackle a lot of disparate issues of the post war boom,

not always in the most engaging way. And the soap operaish tone of

much of the movie detracts from those themes. Maybe it's that

mishmash of the two that makes it so humorous to me. Just taken

as a movie of its time, it's not too bad, but is' no classic either.

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Ironing while listening to Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. Life was good.

All you need to know about the 1960s is right there. I have to

confess Gary Puckett was absent from my record collection.

It's funny what one remembers, but I recall that I played the

Axis: Bold as Love album quite a bit while ironing.

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All you need to know about the 1960s is right there. I have to

confess Gary Puckett was absent from my record collection.

It's funny what one remembers, but I recall that I played the

Axis: Bold as Love album quite a bit while ironing.

Didn't make it into mine either.

 

Didn't do any ironing back then, but if I did, I'd have likely been listening to THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION.  But, when I think about it, the clothes would STILL have looked as if they HAVEN'T been ironed!  ;)

 

 

Sepiatone

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All you need to know about the 1960s is right there. I have to

confess Gary Puckett was absent from my record collection.

It's funny what one remembers, but I recall that I played the

Axis: Bold as Love album quite a bit while ironing.

You should have played Ironing Butterfly and Ironing Maiden while ironing.

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You should have played Ironing Butterfly and Ironing Maiden while ironing.

 

Yeah, then BLACK SABBATH would have written a SONG about you!

 

( groan! )  IRONING MAN! :wacko:

 

Imagine the  irony!

 

Sepiatone

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You should have played Ironing Butterfly and Ironing Maiden while ironing.

Or if you wanna get away from heavy rock while ironing, there is Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney's "Ebony and Ironing".

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This is fun....

 

If you prefer "oldies", there's THE CRYSTALS'

 

"Da-Doo-Iron, Iron Iron".

 

Sepiatone

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Alanis Morrissette would like to tell you that ironing is like ten thousand spoons, when all you need is a knife.

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As Colonel Nicholson asked, "What have I done

 

Or if you wanna get away from heavy rock while ironing, there is Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney's "Ebony and Ironing".

As Colonel Nicholson asked, "What have I done?"

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All this talk about ironing reminded me of something funny....

 

A buddy of mine's son, when the kid was 17 or so, told him one day that their clothes dryer wasn't working right.

 

"I put it on the "permanent press" setting, and all my clothes still came out WRINKLED!"  :D

 

 

Sepiatone

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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.

 This is actually an example of how our FDA, and the wise woman who was running it at the time, saved us from the many sad thalidomide births in Germany, Australia and the UK.  It was never legalized here.  Our only cases were from when American women were in other countries while pregnant.  Those women were prescribed the drug by their doctors to treat morning sickness, they weren't "hooked," on anything.

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As an artist & historian, my viewpoint may be very different from typical. I see fashion, trends, attitudes to be pretty cyclical and dependent on the economy. Post WW2 was the first big push of consumerism, there was money to be made because there was a lot of money in circulation.

 

Cars originally were only BLACK and by the mid 50's, colors- even two tone- went wild! Appliances started coming in colors too. This marked the first time perfectly useful things would be discarded because of going "out" of fashion. 

 

Populations moved to the suburbs, the middle ground between city crowding and isolated rural areas. But they were still communities. Segregated communities. 

 

People still had a decent chance to build independent businesses and succeed. Hard work paid off. Being decent & kind was rewarded. People actually interacted seller to consumer.

 

The 70's-80's, the first inkling of the "chaining of America" became noticeable. Consumers wanted consistency in food (especially) and hotels when they traveled. They also wanted convenience & consistency for their buying experience. Grocery stores are an excellent example of how American's buying habits changed. 

Big chains gained power by buying bulk for multiple stores, and undercutting prices. This won over consumers and the chains got even bigger, offering more variety. This trend is still evolving, with department stores like Target, now carrying groceries.

 

Remember local banks? Local TV stations? They've gone by the wayside because Americans spoke (supported) with their dollars.

 

Before anyone thinks I'm lamenting the "good ole days", realize that you actually do have a choice to support the things you like and don't support the things you don't like. Sadly, some of your choices can disappear because the majority supports them.

 

For many years I was Managing Editor of a magazine called Roadside, which focused on classic owner operated businesses associated with independent travel- diners, amusement parks, tourist attractions, hotels etc. We had several "barter" subscriptions with Ale Street News, Simple Cooking, The Friendship Letter, etc. showing there is a healthy population of Americans uninterested in the "chain" experience.

 

The internet not only changed publishing, but is actually bringing those like-minded folk together in a different way. (message boards of like minded movie lovers) Consumers now look for every little thing their heart desires on the internet and often, stores lose out to INDEPENDENT vendors who carry the oddball unique item. Sometimes, these unique items are even vintage or hand made!

The worm is turning and the Mauls are hurting although I still see "sameness" in teens & twenty somethings taste in appearance & entertainment.

 

As for restaurants & food, most are realizing their $20 dinner at Ruby Tuesdays is frozen just like Wendy's...that's your "consistency". A recent interview on NPR reminded me how different food was in the 50's...gelatinous salads, liver & onions, soupy fatty cassaroles and the like. (ew)

 

The good old days? Maybe, in some ways.

But I'm sure happy living in my diverse community, knowing my neighbors of all colors/ages/nationalities. I can be an independent woman living alone running my own business, aspects of "today".

 

But, like the past, kids still play on the block, I've watched many grow up. When going into my bank/grocery store/bakery, there's employees I know by name. 

Lifestyle can be your choice (and I don't own a dryer!) 

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 This is actually an example of how our FDA, and the wise woman who was running it at the time, saved us from the many sad thalidomide births in Germany, Australia and the UK.  It was never legalized here.  Our only cases were from when American women were in other countries while pregnant.  Those women were prescribed the drug by their doctors to treat morning sickness, they weren't "hooked," on anything.

I was making a generalization of society as a whole and probably that situation was NOT a good example to list.

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Interesting dissertation down there TIKI.  I lived through much of that evolution and transformation you mention.  Yeah, while there WERE supermarkets(A&P, WRIGLEY and such) in the city I grew up in and STILL call home, we still had the smaller "mom and pop"  stores on the main drag through town.  My aunt used to own/operate one of them.  A small market sort of place that was mostly "deli" counter where she was the local KOWALSKI meats cold cuts outlet. 

 

Next door to her was WEEKER'S BAKERY where my grandmother(who often helped my aunt out in HER place, and who lived about two blocks around the corner from the two) bought bread each morning.  They also sold the REAL cheesecake.  NOT that "tongue-fusing"  stuff called "New York" cheesecake you only get these days that's more CREAM CHEESE PIE than any sort of cake, and requires a half pot of scalding coffee to make one able to talk after it gets in their mouths.  AND requires one to scrape it off their fork with their teeth in order to GET it OFF the fork!  I HATE that crap!

 

On the stretch of Fort St. between Arlington and Warwick streets were:  A REXALL drug store, next to it was a TRUAN'S  ice cream and candy store, THEN my Aunt's place, next to a BUTCHER SHOP, which was next door to the CAREER GIRL  hair salon, then an insurance office, then a LAW office with NORTON'S DRUGS on the corner.

 

The Rexall store was replaced by a book store for a long time and is now an independent pharmacy, the Truan's ice cream place is now a second hand resale store, my Aunt's place is a shop that specializes in "African hair weave", the butcher shop now sells discount cigarettes, the hair salon is gone and currently vacant.  Only the LAW office is still there, and that corner drug store that was once NORTON'S is now a bar.

 

But, I think this thread originally was trying to tackle the topic of what the PERCEPTION of the '50's lifestyle was in movies as opposed to the REALITY.  It was the same with television.  I've been watching old TV shows lately on ANTENNATV and ME for a while now, and it always tickles me.  For insance, how many of y'all remember LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, which premiered in the late '50's and continued to the mid '60's, and in which older brother WALLY would be off to a party wearing a SUIT AND TIE?  I was only about 7 yeas old when the show started and didn't go to many parties at the time, but older family members who WERE teen-aged in those days told me THEY TOO thought the idea of going to a party wearing a suit and tie was funny.  and in their cases WASN'T true!

 

Sepiatone

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As an artist & historian, my viewpoint may be very different from typical. I see fashion, trends, attitudes to be pretty cyclical and dependent on the economy. Post WW2 was the first big push of consumerism, there was money to be made because there was a lot of money in circulation.

 

Cars originally were only BLACK and by the mid 50's, colors- even two tone- went wild! Appliances started coming in colors too. This marked the first time perfectly useful things would be discarded because of going "out" of fashion. 

 

Populations moved to the suburbs, the middle ground between city crowding and isolated rural areas. But they were still communities. Segregated communities. 

 

People still had a decent chance to build independent businesses and succeed. Hard work paid off. Being decent & kind was rewarded. People actually interacted seller to consumer.

 

The 70's-80's, the first inkling of the "chaining of America" became noticeable. Consumers wanted consistency in food (especially) and hotels when they traveled. They also wanted convenience & consistency for their buying experience. Grocery stores are an excellent example of how American's buying habits changed. 

Big chains gained power by buying bulk for multiple stores, and undercutting prices. This won over consumers and the chains got even bigger, offering more variety. This trend is still evolving, with department stores like Target, now carrying groceries.

 

Remember local banks? Local TV stations? They've gone by the wayside because Americans spoke (supported) with their dollars.

 

Before anyone thinks I'm lamenting the "good ole days", realize that you actually do have a choice to support the things you like and don't support the things you don't like. Sadly, some of your choices can disappear because the majority supports them.

 

For many years I was Managing Editor of a magazine called Roadside, which focused on classic owner operated businesses associated with independent travel- diners, amusement parks, tourist attractions, hotels etc. We had several "barter" subscriptions with Ale Street News, Simple Cooking, The Friendship Letter, etc. showing there is a healthy population of Americans uninterested in the "chain" experience.

 

The internet not only changed publishing, but is actually bringing those like-minded folk together in a different way. (message boards of like minded movie lovers) Consumers now look for every little thing their heart desires on the internet and often, stores lose out to INDEPENDENT vendors who carry the oddball unique item. Sometimes, these unique items are even vintage or hand made!

The worm is turning and the Mauls are hurting although I still see "sameness" in teens & twenty somethings taste in appearance & entertainment.

 

As for restaurants & food, most are realizing their $20 dinner at Ruby Tuesdays is frozen just like Wendy's...that's your "consistency". A recent interview on NPR reminded me how different food was in the 50's...gelatinous salads, liver & onions, soupy fatty cassaroles and the like. (ew)

 

The good old days? Maybe, in some ways.

But I'm sure happy living in my diverse community, knowing my neighbors of all colors/ages/nationalities. I can be an independent woman living alone running my own business, aspects of "today".

 

But, like the past, kids still play on the block, I've watched many grow up. When going into my bank/grocery store/bakery, there's employees I know by name. 

Lifestyle can be your choice (and I don't own a dryer!) 

Wearing wet clothing can be a turn-on.

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Noticed last night that MeTV has Our Miss Brooks at 5:00 AM AM followed by Donna Reed, Mr. Ed and Lucy. Brooks was from '53 and Reed from '58.  Perry Mason comes on at 9:00.  Each of these would give you a window into the '50's and early '60's.

Lots of these old TV shows now being shown on the new "over the air" HD stations, many of which are on cable as well.

The fast food restaurants when I was growing up were drive in restaraunts - hot dogs, hamburgers, etc.  Midway through high school we got our first modern fast food - Hardee's.  

We did have a Piggly Wiggly, but supermarket competition with mom & pop grocery stores really began when I was beginning high school (1960).  I got a job working in independent drug store, but friends got jobs as bag boys at A&P and later Red & White.  They made more than I did because the "chains" had to pay minimum wage and many independent stores did not.

Local paper had an article this week on local car dealerships before 1960.  All were either family owned or by one individual.  Now most dealerships are actually owned by conglomerates, but have a "local" or "family" name on the sign.

Many people don't realize that in the 1950's and before, you generally ordered a new car rather than purchasing one off the lot.  That's why the old dealership buildings were so small.  Only needed room for a few demonstrators, few used cars and a couple of cars in the showroom.  And there was no transferring cars between dealerships.

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Those women were prescribed the drug by their doctors to treat morning sickness, they weren't "hooked," on anything.

 

I got so off track, I wanted to respond to that!

 

I had a 16mm home movie digitally transferred recently. It was taken at Christmas 1961. 

Watching the movie at a family gathering, my brother commented on how svelte my Mother looked & how erratically she was playing with the kid's toys.

Mom said she had complained about feeling fatigued to her Dr and he had subscribed her some pills to help her feel better!

 

We had a good laugh teasing my Mom about being high on "uppers".

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