1950s Pop Culture

Category: Entertainment

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1950s Pop Culture :

1950s Pop Culture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=st21NE6HWkk


Reflection! How did that video make you feel? Write non-stop for 1 minute.

Consumer Culture:

Consumer Culture Consumerism – The spending culture that defined the 1950’s. The economy was booming and people were now buying the luxurious and non-essential products they saw on television and advertisements. The 1950’s saw a 37% increase in the economy overall, giving citizens 30% more purchasing power. Minimal inflation Employment down to 4.5% Baby Boomers - Post WWII birthrate explosion. At the height of the baby boom, a child was born every 7 seconds.

Consumer Culture (cont):

Consumer Culture ( cont ) Reasons for bolstered economy More large corporations led to more white-collar jobs The G.I Bill Technological advancements (Amount of TV’s went from 3 million to 55 million from the beginning to the end of the decade.) TV advertisements America’s consumed 1/3 of the world’s product, while they only accounted for 6% of the population.

Information Industries:

Information Industries During the 1950’s information industries were defined by television, movies, and the radio. These industries are the mediums in which information was disseminated. With the television becoming the most influential medium from this era, popular culture was depicted in almost every household. This led to the youth gravitating towards celebrities, and domestic life turning to consumerism. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt3f0by8qVQ


CHECKPOINT Do you think modern America is still dominated by a consumer culture? How? What do you think has changed from 1950’s consumerism and American family values today?




Television https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nx6BsYIvU4 Over 2/3’s of America had a TV set The biggest selling periodical in the 1950’s was the TV Guide Situational comedies dominated the era. With exceptions of I Love Lucy, minority Americans were rarely depicted on television shows. Television became the leading advertising medium in America. Sponsors were leaving the radio for the television.

Rock and Roll:

Rock and Roll Rock and Roll music hit mainstream when Bill Haley’s “Rocking Around the Clock” hit #1 on the pop charts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgdufzXvjqw Rock and Roll Music was the combination of Black musical styles like gospel and jazz with a country style of music. Elvis Presley was by far the most influential and popular musician during this time. He had over 149 top 100 songs over his career. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COFHGFZxtnY


Checkpoint After viewing the reactions to this music, are there any modern musicians that have the same impact? Rank the top 3 most influential musicians in today’s music in your opinion.

Art in the 1950’s:

Art in the 1950’s Pop Art – Originated in Britain and became popular in New York City in the 1950’s. Bright colors, drawn from popular media and products, included celebrities. Andy Warhol defined the genre

1950’s Youth:

1950’s Youth With television, the youth was now able to get a much better picture of what popular culture looked like. Teenagers became heavily influenced by this, leading to a counterculture defined by rock and roll, dancing, drugs, and going to TV-Drive-ins, all which were much more rebellious than previous cultures. Because of this divide, the gap between the older generation and the youth generation widened, as the older generation reacted rapidly by banning songs, shutting down school dances, and a heavy increase in rules in the household and at school. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7r3mRDDRFrM


Suburbia Levittowns – Defined suburban homes. Name of 7 suburban housing developments outside of major city that were built for returning soldiers of WWII. 1400 homes were purchased within the 1 st 3 hours. The Federal Housing Authority limited residents to the “Caucasian” race.

The Inner City in the 1950’s:

The Inner City in the 1950’s Inner City – As white, affluent families moved from the city to the suburb, the inner city began to decline. The inner city soon was characterized by crime, unemployment, poverty, and drugs. In 1956, the National Interstate and Defense Highway Act was passed, linking the entire country with highways. As people moved out of the inner city, businesses within the city either moved out of the city or failed. Because Levittowns and suburban developments were mainly created for whites, the Inner City was characterized by minorities that were unable to move away. The city conditions continued to dwindle as businesses and major corporations moved out of the city.

Discrimination in the 1950’s:

Discrimination in the 1950’s The Civil Rights Era in the 1960’s was born out of the discrimination in the 1950’s. Brown v Board of Education – Eliminated “Separate but Equal” While this is considered a Civil Rights milestone, many people opposed this and discrimination was far from over. Many southern families pulled their children out of school and put them in “all-white academies.” In 1956, over 100 Southern congressmen signed a “Southern Manifesto” asserting they would do all they could do to continue segregation. Rosa Parks sparked a 13 month boycott of city’s bus systems after she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat for a white person. Economic discrimination in housing and employment led to a growing gap between minorities and whites.

The Red Scare:

The Red Scare The Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States heightened. Communists were referred to as “Red” because of the red Soviet flag. The House Un-American Activities Committee investigated and branded people as “red” killing their careers as propaganda labeled communism as evil. http://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/red-scare


Reflection Who do you think benefited the most from the 1950’s economic boom? In modern society, are the effects still felt today?

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