Nineteen - Fifties

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Elvis Presley’s live performance of Hound Dog

(Source: youtube.com)

Children of the 50s would normally wear jeans or dungarees. It was the type of clothing that was the most comfortable for playing outside. However most of the time, little girls would dress! Even as children, they had to wear the same white gloves and petticoats teenagers wore. 

Literature

In the year 1950, Charles Schulz had the first Peanuts cartoon strip published. This comic was different because instead of featuring a super hero and strong men, it featured vulnerable children. It became a favorite that is read even up to today.  In 1957, Dr. Seuss published The Cat in the Hat, which, like Peanuts, is a favorite among many even years later. 

During the 50s, Life Magazine was known as the USA’s leading news magazine. It wrote about many of the events that went on during that era. Photographers of this magazine were noticed as some of the very best photojournalists in history. 

Vogue, too, became popular in the 50s and was read by many of the women of that era. 

During the 50s, the most influential fashion icons were usually in the acting business, as well, such as Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and mentioned earlier, James Dean. The fact that these fashion icons were also seen in movie theaters and on TV shows the big impact technology had on the youth. Not only did technology affect fashion, music affects fashion, too. A few boys from that era usually dressed up as “bikers” or “greasers” to imitate Elvis Presley. 

Boys at that time looked up to people like James Dean. He was influential at that time because he was one of the few who “understood” the youth and represented them. Men started to wear leather jackets and jeans to capture James Dean’s rebellious essence.

Toys

During World War II, instead of making toys, toy factories were making supplies for the war. So, once the war ended, toy companies started thinking and coming up with numerous toys. Some of which were: 

1. Matchbox cars (Invented in 1954) 

2. Hula-hoops (Invented in 1957)

3. Barbie dolls (Invented in 1959) 

Girls were back to wearing their pointed stilettos, while the boys began to admire James Dean.  Not only were the 50s known for the girls wearing pointed stilettos, the women of that era were best known for their dresses.  With skinny/tight tops and knee-length full dresses which petticoats often supported. For formal occasions or work, women usually wore pencil skirts.

TV Shows - Mickey Mouse Club

By the time the mid-50s arrived, almost everybody had a television in their living room. In fact, televisions were so popular, it’s been said that most children have spent more time watching TV than they had in school. An advantage of televisions was how studios could easily advertise their products.

A popular TV show that originated from 50s would have been Mickey Mouse Club, a children’s television show that consisted of musical, comedy and talent segments. It was originally used to promote the newly built Disneyland Theme Park.

Some of the popular TV shows from the 50s was The Adventures of Superman, I Love Lucy, What’s My Line?, The Honeymooners and The Twilight Zone.

People from the 50s were distracted by the Cold War, as well as the outbreak of televisions, which had caused directors to question whether they would still make enough money. As a solution, CinemaScope, VistaVision and Cinerama began as act to attract people to continue going to movie theaters and drive-ins.

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