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Go to the Wikispace for Part 1!. Fads and Fashions. Chlorophyll Many Americans used products containing chlorophyll because it promised to make you smell clean and fresh Sold in toothpaste, gum, deodorants, canned dog food, etc.

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fads and fashions
Fads and Fashions


  • Many Americans used products containing chlorophyll because it promised to make you smell clean and fresh
  • Sold in toothpaste, gum, deodorants, canned dog food, etc.
  • The American Medial Association explained grazing goats live on chlorophyll and still smell bad, which put an end to the fad

Barbie Dolls

  • Ruth Handler came up with the idea of Barbie while watching her daughter Barbara play with paper dolls. Barbara would give the doll adult occupations
  • Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts
  • There was controversy over Barbie for being too “ditsy” after she was claimed to say “Math class is tough”
  • over 350,000 Barbie dolls were sold the first year

Hula hoops

    • In 1958, two toy makers came up with the hula hoop
    • Only 6 months later, around 3 million kids were playing with them


    • This fad was popular among college students in the late 50s
    • The main idea was so cram as many people as possible into a small area (phone booths, stalls, etc.)
fads and fashions1
Fads and Fashions
  • Drive-In Theaters
  • Because the production of cars was booming and going to the movies was becoming increasingly popular, drive-in theaters became the latest fad
  • Families and friends could drive into the lot and watch the movie from the comfort of their own car
  • Disneyland
  • Walt Disney took his two daughters, Diane and Sharon to play on the carousel at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, but while his daughters played, he had nothing to do – he dreamed of a park where both children and adults had something to do
  • First he created an 8-acre park called “Mickey Mouse Park” which was too small
  • An 160-acre orange orchard in Anaheim, California was perfect for Disney’s new vision: Disneyland
  • Opened officially on July 18, 1955 – entrance fee of $1
  • 6,000 invitation-only-guests were invited the day before for a special preview, 22,000 extra people showed up with counterfeit tickets
  • Disneyland has had more than 600 million guests since it’s opened

Due to the terror or communism infiltrating the American society, many people turned to the conservative way of life

  • “unity to prevent the spread of Godless Communism”
  • a push for religion in hopes of containing the expansion of communist organizations within the US

This conservatism also transcended into the fashion styles of the 1950s:

  • Adult fashion was highly conservative; Women’s clothing emphasized fragile femininity and Men’s fashion was all about being prim and proper
    • Business men favored grey business suits as the ideal
    • Penny loafers were also the standard part of the “American business man”
    • Soft shoulders, stiletto heels, wrist lengths gloves, and full long skirts.
    • Pencil skirts and conservative tops as work uniforms
    • Return of corsets

Though rebellion and rises against conformity were starting to become popular amongst the youth of America, many young adults were still very conservative when it came to fashion

Male Teenage Fashion

  • Tight jeans
  • Blazers and Jackets
  • Cardigans sweater

Because of Rock n Roll influence, some boys dressed as Greasers including leather jackets, t shirts, and blue jeans.

Female Teenage Fashion

  • Long dresses with sleeves
  • Poodle skirts with cardigans
  • Rolled up jeans (considered casual)
  • Scarves

Hair styles in the 1950s varied but were mostly conservative as well

Girls Hair Styles:

  • Pony tails
  • Poodle cuts
  • Bouffant look

Boys Hair Styles:

  • The Flattop
  • Crew Cuts
  • Swooping Ducktail

Music in the 1950s had a very great impact on the American culture. As conservatism spread and adults attempted to push their confirmative ways onto their children, more and more young adults began to rebel due to increased popularity of Rock n Roll and its controversial lyrics and melodies never seen before.

Buddy Holly

  • Considered the pioneer or rock n roll

Ritchie Valens

  • Mexican American singer and song writer that transformed Mexican folk songs into rock and roll hits

Elvis Presley

  • King of rock n roll
  • Most important popularize of rock and roll
  • Pat Boone
  • he is considered to be the first rock and roll teen idol (1955)
  • Sold over 45 million albums, achieved 38 Top 40 hits and was in more than 12 Hollywood movies
  • His rendition of Fat’s Domino’s “Ain’tThat a Shame” kicked off his successful career
  • His singles were mostly R&B covers by African American singers; including “TuttiFrutti” by Little Richard, "At My Front Door (Crazy Little Mama)" by the El Dorados, and ”Don’t Forbid Me” by Charles Singleton
  • At 23 he began hosting a television show called The Pat Boon Chevy Showroom, which ran for 115 episodes
  • Bill Haley
  • The Rock and Roll Era formed when the movie “The Blackboard Jungle” featured Bill Haley and the Comets in its opening credits – their song caused teens to get up and dance in the aisles
  • Their record “Rock Around the Clock” was the first record to sell over one million copies in both Britain and Germany
  • He was also the first major American rock singer to tour Europe
  • Frank Sinatra
  • He began his fame in the swing era
  • He learned by ear and never actually learned to read music
  • Some of his most popular songs include “That’s Life”, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”, and “Fly Me to the Moon”
  • He also had a successful career as a film actor
theatre film television radio
Theatre, Film, Television, & Radio
  • Sitcoms
    • Also known as Situation Comedies
    • A comedy based around a some sort of situation that the characters must solve by the end of the episode or over a period of episodes.
      • Modern Examples: Two and Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family
      • Older Examples: Family Matters, Full House, That 70s Show, Seinfeld
    • There are also animated sitcoms like the Simpsons
    • One of the many variety of programs that played during 1950s Television programming.

Did I do that?

theatre film television radio1
Theatre, Film, Television, & Radio
  • Soap Operas
    • Daily Series melodrama that originated in the US
      • It is considered one of the few original American Art forms.
    • Was originally broadcasted on radio and became popular on daytime television.
      • It is called a soap opera because these operas were normally sponsored by soap manufactures
      • Modern Examples: All My Children and One Life to Live

Don’t ask me how I know this… I hardly know anything about soaps. <.<

theatre film television radio2
Theatre, Film, Television, & Radio
  • Popular Shows
    • I Love Lucy: Ran from 1951 to 1957
      • Starred the actors Lucille Ball as Lucy Ricardo and DesiArnaz as Ricky Ricardo
      • Produced, written, and directed by Jess Oppenheimer
      • Followed the comical adventures of Lucy and Ricky and their friends.
      • This was the pioneer of all Sitcoms conventions to come in the 1960s all the way to the 2000s.
        • The show was recorded on several cameras and normally filmed in front of a live audience.
from i love lucy
From I Love Lucy

Doesn’t this scene look familiar?

theatre film television radio3
Theatre, Film, Television, & Radio
  • Popular Shows
    • The Guiding Light: Ran from 1936 to 2009
      • One of the few soap operas that made it to the 2000s but unfortunately was cut in April 2009. It was ended because of low ratings.
      • Originally broadcasted on CBS radio before being moved to the CBS network in 1952.
      • Radio broadcast: 1934
      • Television broadcast: 1952
      • Series was created by Irna Phillips, who gave birth to a still-born baby at the age of 19 and created the series to comfort her. It was based on real life experiences.
theatre film television radio4
Theatre, Film, Television, & Radio
  • Popular Plays
    • Death of a Salesman: First showed on 1949
      • Written by Arthur Miller who won a Pulitzer prize for the show
      • Showed the last days of Willy Loman, a traveling salesman who believed popularity was the way to wealth.
      • Much of the play takes place through Loman’s mind and memories.
      • It was very popular, not only in the USA, but internationally and has been given praise for it creative structure.
sports rocky marciano
(Sports) Rocky Marciano
  • Born in 1923 in Massachusetts Professional boxer who went undefeated throughout career
  • Dropped out of school after 10th grade and served in U.S. Army during WWII and later began boxing professionally
  • Boxing was one of the most popular sports throughout 50’sand 60’s
  • Heavyweight boxing champion from 1952 to 1956
  • Considered one of the best boxers of all-time
  • Syllvester Stallone said Marciano is one of the people who inspired him to make the film Rocky
sports roy campanella
(Sports) Roy Campanella
  • Considered to be one of the greatest catchers in baseball history
  • Played for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1948-1957
  • Helped break the color barrier in Major League Baseball
  • Played in Negro Leagues before making his debut for the Dodgers in 1948
  • Played with Jackie Robinson who was first African American to play in Major League Baseball
inventions and discoveries
Inventions and Discoveries
  • Hydrogen Bomb
    • Created to be even more powerful than the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
    • Used a hydrogen isotope called Tritium and is 3 times as heavy as the original hydrogen molecule
    • Was tested on a small southern pacific island and completely vaporized everything on the island
    • Was tested in USA, Russia, and China.
  • Color Television
    • By the end of the 1950s, almost 46 million households owned a television.
inventions and discoveries1
Inventions and Discoveries
  • Color Television
    • Advertising played greatly in Television programming.
      • Television advertising influenced consumer habits because the advertisers could reach the consumer at home.
      • Television Star advertisements were highly affective for the sponsor’s product.
    • Several types of programs could be chosen.
      • World Series, Sitcoms such as The Honeymooners or I Love Lucy, Variety Programs, Quiz Shows, and serious dramas.
inventions and discoveries2
Inventions and Discoveries
  • Polio Vaccine
    • In the 1940s, a large polio epidemic hit the US.
      • 60,000 Americans were hit with the disease by 1952.
      • Many of the Americans who were hit were children
      • Hospitals were filled to the brim with polio patients
    • John Salk was the first to develop a successful vaccine.
    • The vaccine greatly reduced the number of patients and ended the epidemic all together.
    • As the vaccine was improved, the number of polio cases dropped.