Archive for September, 2013

Television in the 1950s

by admin - September 27th, 2013

During the 1950’s many things had changed but perhaps the thing that changed everything the most was the television. It brought a big change to how people lived their lives back then. More and more people were beginning to use television as a way to keep connected to the culture of the fifties.

Not only were people using television to watch the news but they were also using it to see what was popular at that time. People, young adults especially, would watch television shows that would showcase the latest talent. Now they could watch an artist from their own home if it was not possible to go to see them in person. Also many television sitcoms were gaining popularity. Continue reading →


by admin - September 27th, 2013

The first time I watched Lilo and Stitch I didn’t realize how big of a role Elvis Presley played. Lilo was trying to teach her alien, pet Stitch how to behave like Elvis Presley, referring to him as a “model citizen.” He could dance, sing, play guitar, and was a teenage heartthrob. But that wasn’t it for Elvis. He had an incredible work ethic and was easy to work with. He was rebellious, but respectful and polite. He acquired incredible fame and changed the style of music. Elvis Presley was unlike other rock stars that followed him. Continue reading →

Some Pop Culture Thoughts

by admin - September 24th, 2013

It is quite exciting that we are now talking about the music, the television, and the culture of the ‘50s. As much as the country was struggling with being in and out of wars, and having worries about foreign policy, we had an iconic pop culture forming. I believe this is what people are referencing when they reminisce about how wonderful the ‘50s were. Continue reading →

Radio’s Effect on Stereotypes

by admin - September 24th, 2013

Segregation is a topic that is usually thought of in visual terms. When I think of segregation, I imagine a United States history textbook with photographs showing the barriers between black and white bathrooms. Or, I flashback to a documentary on the Little Rock Nine. Yet, until reading chapter 9 of Dunar’s book and analyzing Halberstam’s article, I had not thought about the segregation of music that existed within the 1950s. Continue reading →

Reminder: Reading for Monday 9/23

by admin - September 23rd, 2013

A reminder – Monday’s reading is part of Dunar Chapter 8 – from p. 232-249.

And… since we’re now adding new content in the form of blog posts (please add your thoughts and comments to the posts as they show up!), I’ve copied the info for each unit into a tab on the navigation bar above: Unit 1, Unit 2 and so on. That way it won’t get displaced as easily by the high-volume posting from the class (see our first 3 posts below).

Have a good weekend!

Some Baseball History from the ’50s

by admin - September 23rd, 2013

So far in our 1950’s class we have learned mainly about political issues concerning and influencing the time period. So for my blog post, I have decided to lighten the mood a bit. In honor of baseball’s upcoming post-season, I have chosen to post about a few historical figures in America’s favorite pastime. Continue reading →

Music in the 1950s

by admin - September 23rd, 2013

Whenever I think of music in the 1950s, I cannot help but imagine a bunch of high school boys in leather jackets with their hair slicked back, or high school girls in poodle skirts. Most of the time in my imagination they will be singing, “Grease Lighting” or “You’re the One That I Want”. For most people my age, it is hard to imagine music during that time, but even harder getting us to explore the music. We have this gut feeling that the music back then was boring and un-relatable, but all of this is untrue. What we do not understand is that today, modern music is closely related to the music of the 50s. In fact if it were not for the music of the 50s, many genres of music today would not exist. Continue reading →

Postwar Civilization

by admin - September 17th, 2013

The 1950’s was a great era. Although we have only been in class for about two weeks I have already learned so much. I can honestly say that I was surprised to hear about some of the topics we were discussing. I have always thought of the 1950’s as an amazing time to be living in America. Thinking of the 1950’s I would think of Marilyn Monroe, cute furniture and similar home décor, and of course dancing in poodle skirts and sharing milkshakes with friends. I knew in general about most of the subjects we have talked about such as the atomic bomb, the wars, and scares of communism but I didn’t really know much about the details or how it had affected the people and us today. To be honest I never really placed any of those serious issues with the 1950’s. I know all this happened around that time but I guess I just never put two and two together. I saw the 1950’s as a happy thriving time and so I put all the political/government issues and frightening parts of the 1950’s in a different thought. I separated the good from the bad, but know I can put it all together and I see the truth of the 1950’s. Continue reading →

Unit 1: The Way We Were (Or Not)

by admin - September 12th, 2013

Readings and reminders for our first unit:

Mon 9/9 Roots of Change – Before the Fifties (Dunar Ch 1)

Wed 9/11 Fair Deal and “News of the Fifties (Dunar Ch 2) – see the Newspaper tab

Fri 9/13 The Luckiest Generation (Hine, “Luckiest Generation” PDF on Blackboard)

Links from today’s class:
“Family Date” instructional film (1950)
“Two Ford Family” commercial
Betty Crocker cake mix commercial
Opening scene of “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit” (1955) – fantastic movie, by the way
“I Love Lucy” Season 2, Episode 4 (job switching episode)

Mon 9/16 Wikipedia Workshop. Bring your laptops, and ahead of time take a look at this Wikipedia entry on the US in the 1950s

Wed 9/18 The Nostalgia Trap (Coontz, “What We Miss” PDF on Blackboard)

Fri 9/20 The Postwar War (Dunar Ch 3). H-Lab #1 on the Wikipedia entry is due in class.

Fifties Timeline and Update for Week 2

by admin - September 6th, 2013

On Friday we worked in a Google doc collaboratively. It’s found here.

PS – where’d I get that hipster filler text? Here

For Monday Sept 9th, reminder: read Dunar, Chapter 1, perhaps applying some of the textbook reading strategies we talked about today. On Monday I’ll do as close to a college lecture as you might get in this class, giving some background and context to the 1950s by talking about the immediate postwar period in the US. Have a great weekend, enjoy the sunshine!

I have posted the publishing schedule for the class blog up on Blackboard, so if you need to be reminded when your date is – check there.