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American Culture in the 1950’s. Presentation by Adam Turner. Why was the decade so important?. You should walk away from this lesson understanding two basic concepts. One: That many trends of today have their roots in 1950’s culture.

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American culture in the 1950 s l.jpg
American Culture in the 1950’s

  • Presentation by Adam Turner


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Why was the decade so important?

  • You should walk away from this lesson understanding two basic concepts.

  • One: That many trends of today have their roots in 1950’s culture.

  • Two: Historical cause and effect, and the impact of the 1950’s on today.


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Some Basic Stat’s on the 1950’s

  • Population of the United States: Around 160 million

  • Average Salary: Around $3,000

  • Workforce gender ratio: 5/2 male/female

  • Price of a loaf of bread: 14 cents


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A Time of Economic prosperity

  • Growth of the Suburbs and home ownership

  • New products appear, such as Kraft Cheese slices in 1950

  • M & M’s and Trix in 1954

  • The Barbie Doll in 1959


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More free time for teenagers

  • The U.S.A. had come out of a World War and a Depression on top

  • Teenagers before had to worry about the future, and quickly found work and settled down upon finishing high school


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Trends included

  • Biker jackets

  • Coon-skin caps

  • Poodle skirts

  • Hula hoops

  • And last but not least…


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Rock N’ Roll

Rock had its roots in the blues, which was popular with African-Americans

  • One performer took African-American blues and made it popular with white audiences. His name was…


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Elvis

He shook it like no one had ever shook it before

  • Helped popularize the guitar as an instrument


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Chuck Berry

  • Also helped popularize the guitar as Rock N’ Roll’s main instrument

  • Quite energetic on stage


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Haley and the Comets

  • “One two three o’clock four o’clock rock, five six seven o’clock eight o’clock rock…”


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Last but not least, the rock death tragedy of the 50’s

  • On February 2nd, 1959, a plane crash claimed the lives of three of the great performers of the decade


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Television and its impact on American culture

  • The TV became a household item during the decade

  • People’s dress styles and purchasing decisions began to be influenced by what they saw on TV


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I Love Lucy

  • So popular it still has reruns

  • Ricki and Lucy, although married, slept in separate beds


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The Honeymooners

  • “One of these days Alice…Pow!! Right in the kisser!”


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The Mickey Mouse Club

  • “Now’s the time to say goodbye to all our company..M-I-C—see you real soon--K-E-Y—why? Because we like you! M-O-U-S-E”


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Fun trivia fact

  • Believe it or not, Britney Spears got her start on a re-incarnation of the Mickey Mouse Club


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Unfortunately, not all was peaches and cream in the 1950’s

  • Fear of nuclear attack was a constant fact of life

  • Americans built bomb shelters in the futile attempt to protect themselves


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Fear of Nuclear attack in the High Schools

  • School drills were given quite often on what to do in case of disaster

  • And now…a short presentation


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Conclusion and assessment

  • Picture yourself sitting in the exact same classroom, in the exact same seat, only it is fifty years ago. How would your life be different? How would it be the same? Using examples we have discussed here, write a short essay with the remaining time we have. Use concrete examples from the material we have covered, but feel free to bring in examples from whatever else you know about the 1950’s.


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