Ep. 2 ~ Baby Boomers – How About The 50’s

Dan The Podcaster Guy

Podcaster GuyIn this podcast I talk about the 50’s.
You can catch my podcast about
Baby Boomers on www.podcasterguy.com

Show Notes – Baby Boomer Podcasterguy.com Episode # 2

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Alaska and Hawaii

Alaska-HawaiiWhen most of us Baby Boomers were born, Alaska and Hawaii were not able to participate in our elections not until 1960 were we were able to vote for a President. That is when Kennedy beat Nixon by 17%. However, in 1956 Eisenhower was re-elected against Adlai Stevenson a former Illinois Governor. I learned from my research this was the second time Eisenhower won against the former Illinois Governor.

Interstate Road System

Eisenhower-Interstate-ExpresswayInterstates were just starting to be built. Here is some history on our Interstate Highway System. It was Eisenhower when he served in WWII he happened to experience the then implemented highway system the German’s had built which is now called the Autobahn. Eisenhower champions the effort of building our highway system with the idea that we could move troops across the country during time of war.

Disneyland opens in 1955 in Anaheim California.

disneyland-1955Walt Disney was quite an innovator. He came up with cartoons and remember Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In the 50’s he released Cinderella and Mary Poppins with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. He was also the guy who came up with the idea of Tomorrow Land. He created Disneyland and it opened in 1955.

Elvis Presley begins his rise to fame.

WElvis-1955hat can I say about the King of Rock and Roll which also came about in the 50’s. John Lennon once said “Before Elvis, there was nothing”. And in 1957 while at his newly purchased mansion in Graceland he gets drafted into the US Army. He decides not to fight the draft and even goes over seas and spends some time in Germany. He even attains the rank of Sergeant and became famous when someone photographed him getting his polio shot while in the service.

Elvis became a role model for a lot of us Baby Boomers and not many of us even considered draft dodging during the time when we were drafted. There were draft dodgers. Bill Clinton being the most famous of all of them who was pardoned by President Carter only later to become President himself.
Ref: www.snopes.com

Some of Elvis famous hits of the 50’s were “Heart Break Hotel”, “Hound Dog” and of course “ Don’t Be Cruel” – to a heart that’s true. That song held the top certified singles of all time only to be broken in 1985 by “We Are The World”.

Marylin Monroe

marilyn-monroe-1955Who could talk about the 50’s without mentioning Marylin Monroe. She was and still is an icon of an American beauty. She died in 1962 tragically, but had quite a career in the 50’s. She always seemed to play the dumb blond and probably coined the phrase. I don’t think she was all that dumb. She amassed a fortune in a very short time and probably continues to do so today. I can never forget her in the movies as a “sex symbol” at that time. In her childhood she was raised for the most part in a foster home. So this was really someone who came from nothing and became famous. It really wasn’t until she admitted posing nude for some photo’s that really made her famous. It was very controversial at that time. Nobody famous posed nude at that time in the 50’s. But she decided it was time for people to accept that sort of thing. And of course she will always be remembered for the film “Some Like It Hot” when she won a Golden Globe award for Best Actress.

And who could forget her posing in Playboy. She basically launched the Playboy empire with that one issue in 1953. If you happen to own one of those magazines with Marylin on the cover it’s now worth around $2500 for an original copy. What a deal!

James Dean dies in a car crash in 1955.

DJames Deanean is sort of a rebel at that time in his life. He even signs a contract with the movie studio he is working with to not race while filming. Seems the producers were worried about him racing while filming. So Dean goes out and buys a Porsche and calls it “Little Bastard” On the day of the crash, he was given a speeding ticket. He later hits another car in a head on collision, killing himself. He was so much like his movies and I guess that is one of the reasons he was so famous as a cultural icon of the time. He starred in movies like “Rebel Without a Cause”, “East of Eden” and of course “Giant” In all of these movies he plays a rough and tough teenager who disregards authority. Just like the day he dies in a head on, he is ticketed by an officer who I’m sure told him to slow down, which he ignores. I think this iconic figure of James Dean represents many of us today. Some of the motorcycle gangs, wearing their leather jackets and tough guy roughness started because of the iconic figure of James Dean even though he mostly raced sports cars. I was able to find some indication of Dean liking motorcycles as well. I am not sure if he ever raced a motorcycle on a track.

Tonight Starring Steve Allen

Tonight-Show-Steve-AllenThe show “Tonight Starring Steve Allen” first aired in 1955. This show would later become famous as “The Tonight Show” later having Johnny Carson as a host. That story if for another time. So Steve Allen and his Tonight Show really pioneered the idea of a late night TV show. It aired for about an hour and became pretty successful. Now we were just kids at that time and it gave our parents some time to watch a show that was really geared toward them and not the children. I know now why my parents wanted me in bed early.

The Ed Sullivan Show

Ed-Sullivan-Elvis-PresileyAnother popular late night show in the 50’s was the Ed Sullivan show. It was sort of a vaudeville show for TV. Stars like Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were regulars on the show. There was circus acts, comedians, ballet dancers and opera singers just to name a few. When Ed introduced Elvis Presley he received a lot of trouble from the press because of the way Elvis moved when he sang. He would move his hips in a very suggestive way. So when Ed introduced Elvis he said Elvis was a real fine boy. I do remember the controversy around Elvis being on the show and If my memory serves me right, he was nearly banned and had to be filmed above the waist when he sang.

I Love Lucy airs for the first time on CBS

TLucille Ball And Desi Arnaz In 'I Love Lucy'he I Love Lucy Show was the first show to air with a bi-racial family. At the time, this was a real challenge for the network to make the show acceptable to the audience they were responsible to and their advertisers. And then Lucy who is really married to Desi Arnaz on the show and really married in real life gets pregnant. Well this causes all kinds of problems for the network. They weren’t allowed to use words like pregnant or pregnancy because of the way shows were censored at the time. Let’s not forget this was the time of McCarthyism. People in show business in particular were asked “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist party?” So you can only imagine the restrictions placed on TV Shows at this time in history. But we were there and it was our generation that went out and fixed this censorship problem.

Joseph McCarthy era

TJoseph-McCarthyhe time of the 50’s brought about a fear of communism. Many people were brought before Congress and asked “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist party?” People who served in the government, movies and other various people were always being challenged by this. This is why I think censorship was so strong at this time. McCarthyism was real and prevalent at that time. He claimed, Joseph McCarthy, that he had identified 205 card carrying members of the communist party to President Truman. What a time it was for Americans. So glad we have moved on from this.

Tournament of Roses Parade

Tournament of Roses Parade 1954It was first aired nationally in color in 1951 (not sure about this). It was really the first time something was broadcast nationally in color. The thing that I find interesting about this time is that no one really had a color TV at that time unless you knew someone who had a lot of money to buy one. I can remember quizzing my friends to find out if anyone had a color TV. Never did find someone with one. I just remember it being a big deal if you had one. A color console TV sold for about $1000 dollars at the time when cars sold for about $1500. Today you would have to pay about 2/3 the price of a car to match what someone had to pay for a color console TV with a round color tube that was about 20 inches wide at the time. But it was a great piece of furniture.

How about that portable record player

Tportable-record-player-1950he last thing to end the podcast with is the record player. Remember at that time we had 78’s 45’s and 33 and 1/3rd’s. For a log time the 45 was used mostly for singles and the 33 and 1/3rd were for albums because you could put lots of songs on them. The 78 had a really wide groove and spun very fast and mostly a large needle was used. The 33 1/3rd had a finer groove, played at a slower speed and used a more refined needle technology. What about all the record shops where you could go and buy 45’s. I remember my parents and grandparents using the old 78’s as singles. Along came the 45 which was a lot easier to carry around than a 78. It was also a lot of fun to take some of the 45’s to a friends house to share. Sometimes we would also trade them with our friends once we became bored with the ones we had. We could trade for ones we wanted.

In closing

We could go on and on about the 50’s. At some point I have to finish the podcast. Hope you enjoyed it. I enjoyed researching it. Please feel free to like, share, pin and comment at podcasterguy.com. I would appreciate you also supporting the sponsors of the show. Thanks so much for taking the time to listen. Hey! I am Dan the Podcaster Guy on www.podcasterguy.com. Take care and God bless.

Podcast ~ Baby Boomers ~ It's All About The Fifties
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Podcast ~ Baby Boomers ~ It's All About The Fifties
Epi 2 ~ For Baby Boomers Only ~ We talk about the 1950's. Elvis, Marylin, James Dean, Disneyland, Ed Sullivan and Steve Allen are covered in this episode.
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