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A look at the 1950's

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A look at the 1950's - Page Text Content

FC: 1950's Research Project By Jillian Krokosh

1: I chose to explore this decade by taking a closer look at four topics that occurred throughout it. The first of these being fashion fads, next hit shows, Neato toys of this decade and finally information on Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States.

2: Fifties fashion for me always-related back to the popular movie Grease and although the clothing on that movie was inspired through the trends of this rock and roll decade, it is not how the everyday person dressed. One of the most notable fashions came in the form of poodle skirts. The billowing folds of fabric with the ever-present poodle sewed on the front were a trendy item that every girl must have. However, it was not the only style of skirt worn at this time. A girl’s wardrobe couldn’t be complete without a pleated or pencil skirt to be worn, with hemlines coming to the knees of just below for modesty reasons. Another way these girls showed modesty was by wearing high-rise pants and skirts, even when wearing a bathing suit they would never show off their belly button. Although women were no longer as conventional as decades before and were starting to become independent, it was unusual for a lady to wear pants except for the most casual occasion. Their femininity showed through the lovely skirts they still chose to wear contrast to that of most of today’s generation. But, with every generation it still contained that select few of the daring, which were brave enough to show up in the ever fashionable but outrageous stilettos. Ordinarily, girls wore saddle shoes at this time.

3: After all the etiquettes and different styles worn by girls during this time-period, boy's dress can be nothing but simplistic when compared. Dressed very similar, it was a huge fashion fad to wear pink, as this was a new trend that started amongst men this decade. Men all wore hats at this time with small variation to the style you could get. Pretty much anything went when it came to shoes, as long as they were polished to a shine, you couldn’t go wrong. Due to the vast popularity of western t-v shows at this time, many men and boys could be seen also sporting similar attire to their favorite star. Even though the imagine of Grease will still be one of my first thoughts when I think about this decade, I know that the dress of this decade was not quite as eccentric as that of the movie. Men and women still dressed wholesome and classy but were able to exhibit fashion trends and styles of their own.

4: This is a picture from the hit movie Grease that was based off of the 1950's. Taking part in my school production of Grease at the end of May and playing the part of a cheerleader, this picture holds particular interest for me. Showing the modesty of the time period, this picture portrays how even a cheerleader at this time dressed very concealing in long skirt and high rise shirt.

5: The polished shoe in the picture above shows what a typical man's shoe would look like at this time. This picture caught my attention because I have never polished a shoe in my life and it seems very foreign to me. To the left is an image of bathing suit during the fifties. I loved the fact that the suit showed class and modesty while still being very fashionable

6: “Ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog” is a saying that could induce screaming from any group of girls in the 1950’s as their idol Elvis Presley rose to fame. With his outrageous gyrating hips and all too good of looks, he left girls everywhere glued to television screens even against their parent's and boyfriend's scolding. Continuing with this theme, music even in the form of t-v shows was huge amongst the youth. American Bandstand was a hit show at this time. Host Dick Clark could be seen on dance floors all over the nation as teenagers danced off for the trophy and recognition of being the best. Popular shows in the comedy category included, I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners and The Families of the Fifties. For the thrill chasers of this decade drama shows pertained of Dragnet, The Twilight Zone, Superman, and Private Everywhere. Amongst kids, shows like Howdy Doody Time, Lassie, and Walt Disney Mickey Mouse Club, were enough to get any child up in the morning bright and early, positioned in front of their television screen. However, this all depended on if they were lucky enough to even own a television or not.

7: Having a television in your house had the potential to launch your status to the coolest kid on the block, at the beginning of the 1950’s. Not only did the number of televisions in households increase by the end of the fifties but the boldness of the programs being aired took a major hike as well. Different from the wholesome shows that were being watched near the beginning of this decade, these new bolder shows were instant hits. Although nothing like the racy television watched today, it still impacted the viewers in a very similar way and led us down the road to what is currently on television.

8: Dick Clark host of the popular teen show American Bandstand is shown in the picture to the right. I chose this picture mostly just out of interest to see for myself this man that so many teenagers at this time idolized. | However the man to the left needs no explanation. Elvis Presely still remembered today and i'm sure will always be remembered as the "King" left a lasting effect on the genre rock. For this reason I chose his picture as he changed a generation with his swiviling hips and amazing music.

9: Although the television in this picture is far from what a family would be sitting around today, the scene presented is one you could witness in houses all over the world. This shows that this typical way families spend time together today has not changed a whole lot since the fifties when televisions first came out.

10: If one thing has stayed consistent over the decades, it’s the fact that kids have always needed toys or variations of entertainment to keep them busy. The 1950’s was bustling time for the toy industry just coming off of a period of time producing supplies for the second World War. During this time the companies thought up wonderful new ideas for toys that would go flying off shelves and into the homes of children everywhere. These toys included some of my personal favorites such as, silly putty, Barbie and later Ken, and of course Mr. Potato Head. Although the Barbies looked nothing like the ones I still have stuck in a box from my childhood and my version of Mr. Potato Head was more then just pieces to stick in a real potato, they still brought plenty of joy to this generation of kids. Other toys invented during this time consisted of Hula Hoops, Slip ’n Slide, Etch-a-Sketch, Lego and Matchbox Cars. All these toys are still around today and although they have been updated to today’s society, they wouldn’t be around if it wasn’t for the toy makers of this decade and the kids that inspired them.

11: When I found out what the original Mr. Potato Head looked like i was shocked to find out it was just pieces to stick in a real potato. After growing up with what I had always thought this toy looked like, it was interesting to see how much fifty years could change it. | Realizing that Barbie was created in the fifties, it was an easy choice for a picture after spending numerous hours playing with my own in my childhood. Although they now sit boxed up on a shelf, Barbie will remain one of my favorite toys from my youth, as I'm sure many girls from the fifties would agree | Due to such large popularity at this time, hula hoops were everywhere and played with by both genders. After countless hours playing with them, children got very skilled such as that being displayed by the girl in the picture opposite.

12: Franklin D Roosevelt was President of the United States of America throughout the duration of years between 1933 and 1945. He served his country through economic crisis and world war, all the while maintaining optimism that helped restore the spirit to his great nation. During his time in office, President Roosevelt was not only involved in Europe regarding World War II, but war was actually brought to his countries own shoreline, when a surprise attack was ragged upon Pearl Harbor. December 7, 1941 is a date that all Americans and most of the world will remember. However this is not all Roosevelt is remembered for during his time in office, he also set many firsts. President Roosevelt was the first to appear on television, the first whose mother was allowed to vote for him and has held the longest term in office compared to all other American presidents. He was also remembered for being a strong and great leader, even when he came down with polio. Contracting polio at the age of thirty nine after a vacation to Canada, Mr. Roosevelt succumb to his disease April 12, 1945 at the age of sixty three. During his life Franklin D Roosevelt served three terms in office for the country he loved and was loved by.

13: Top left is one of the only known pictures of President Roosevelt in a wheelchair. I thought it was important to show this great man at his worst instead of his best, because that is when you see who they truly are. To the right of that is a scene of horror that took place at Pearl Harbour during Mr. Roosevelt's time in office. It shows the hardships his country and himself had to endure. Last is a memorial set up to honour him and remember a great president who had served his country.

14: Websites Used's_paralytic_illness toys


16: Discussion Learning about the 1950's I discovered many things that without this opportunity I might otherwise have not taken the time to look at. Not only did I just find out facts about this time period such as clothing fads or what the hit shows on television were at this time, but I also discovered some very interesting information through my research. Devouring the Little House on the Prairie series at a very young age, I would never have thought that the book's author and main character could be related to the thirty-second president of the United States of America. However, this is exactly what I discovered along with other interesting facts about this man's relatives. Franklin D Roosevelt married Eleanor Roosevelt on March 17, 1905. This may seem like just another ordinary event except for the fact that the bride's last name never changed.

17: His wife's name was and remained Roosevelt, as that was her maiden name before, making the two of them cousins. However, Franklin D Roosevelt was not the only famous person I came across in my search. You can't read about the "King" himself without digging up some interesting facts. Elvis was admired by all girls and their admiration was proven when girls would go as far to break up with their boyfriends due to protests of them going to see his concerts. Sticking with the theme of trendy items, the show I Love Lucy was a hit racy, popular show at this time. No matter how out there it was however, the producers would not allow the show's stars to sleep in the same bed even though they were playing a married couple. The morals of the show would not be compromised for such a risky scene to be shot. Just like shows at this time, movies were taking off in the level of quality produced. The first 3D movie was created at this time. This fad although at first amusing and entertaining to its viewer, soon lost its novelty and the movie industries first attempt at producing 3D movies was a bust. All these facts I learned throughout this project, captured my intrigue as I learned about this distant decade.

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  • By: Jillian K.
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  • Title: A look at the 1950's
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