America's love for all things from the 1950s
The 1950s were an era of their own. From Elvis to poodle skirts to Ed Sullivan, times were changing for the American family - especially for teenagers.
Teens in the 1950s desired to be different. New and exciting things were being revealed each year: new cars (hot rods as we call them today), new movies, new television shows, new music, new clothing styles, new employment opportunities for women and don't forget, new hairstyles.
All these changes are what make the 1950s such a lovable time. Nostalgia for that era can be found in the hearts of millions of Americans today.
During the 1950s, television was introduced to many households throughout America. Although there were only a few shows at the start, it didn't matter because having a television in your living room was so "cool". Popular 1950s television shows included American Bandstand, a music and live dance show hosted by Dick Clark.
It is estimated that Dick Clark received more than 50,000 letters from fans each week. Other popular shows were I Love Lucy, Mickey Mouse Club, Walt Disney, Private Everywhere, Twilight Zone, The Honeymooners, Ed Sullivan Show and Dragnet.
Most shows were categorized as comedy, variety or suspense. Movies were another popular form of entertainment in the 1950s.
Popular toys of the 1950s
This era is known for creative toy inventions that are still loved by kids today.
For girls, there were dolls and board games. Barbie dolls, Hula Hoops and Etch-a-Sketch were among the favorites.
For boys, there were matchbox cars, Legos, Silly Putty eggs, and trains by Lionel. Slip'n Slide was a fun outdoor item.
Driving in the 1950s
Some great cars were released during the 1950s. Teens liked "cool cars" that could go fast. Chevrolets were very popular - especially the Corvette, which was released in 1953.
It satisfied the need for an American sports car. The Ford Thunderbird was introduced in 1954. It was a two-seater sports car for three years, and then in 1958, became a four-passenger car.
New technologies were introduced in the 1950s that we still use today. The television was a major development as was the first copy machine. A solar battery was created by Bell Telephone labs in 1954. Fiberglass was first used for the body of a car; the Corvette was the first car with an all-fiberglass body. In 1954, polypropylene was invented, and in 1955, a vaccine against polio became available.
A solar-powered watch was invented in 1956. There was also the "race to space" between the United States and Russia, which began in 1957. Last, but not least, the first plastic Coke bottle appeared in 1958.
Music and Hollywood idols of the 1950s
There were many teen "idols" in the 1950s, born from Hollywood movies and television as well as the music industry.
Some of the most famous people of that day were Ricky Nelson, Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Darin, Fabian and Elvis Presley. Movies and songs were written to please the crowds and stir a sense of being "different" among the young generation.
Leisure activities come to life
The 1950s also marked the beginning of many leisure activities in America. Families and individuals had more money and time to spend doing things together after the war. This opened a door of opportunity for companies to provide many different types of activities for enjoyment. Theaters and drive-in movies opened in many towns.
Disneyland opened in California in 1955. Broadway entertainment produced "Bye, Bye Birdie" and other famous shows. Shows and live entertainment became commonplace in some of the big cities.
Some dark times still lurked
Though the 1950s brought about much entertainment and fun, there were serious issues as well. Civil rights became an issue even after slavery had been abolished in America. Even into the early 1950s, there was still much segregation of blacks and whites, especially in the south. However, in the late 1950s this began to change for the better in many areas.
The Cold War and the Korean War were other events that affected the morale of American citizens. Americans were horrified of communism after coming out of World Wars I and II. The threat of communism and a possible nuclear war caused many citizens to fear during these conflicts.
Many Americans today who did not live during the 1950s do have that era pictured in their minds using many of the people, events and products described above. That's why this time in history lives in millions of hearts more than 50 years later.