Friday, December 7, 2012

Flashback Friday - Christmas in the 1950's

Welcome to Flashback Friday, 1950's edition! The war was long over and the fifties was a time of Baby Boomers and consumerism, the Cold War, Red Scare and bomb shelter building. Teenagers became recognized as a legitimate part of society and with that, teen idols, rock and roll and a whole lotta shakin' was goin' on. The Civil Rights Movement moved to the forefront and our country was growing older and wiser. The fifties was a time of family values and traveling in the family automobile and pop culture followed suit.

The fifties saw the invention of the oral contraceptive, the polio vaccine by Jonas Salk, the atomic clock, hovercraft, the credit card, lunar probe, nuclear power and video recorder.

Harry S. Truman was President  until 1952 and Dwight D. Eisenhower served as President from 1953 until 1961. Alaska and Hawaii became the forty-ninth and fiftieth states. America was booming!

American style on the fifties was blue jeans, poodle skirts, pony tails, flat tops, saddle shoes and sweater sets.

Television started to change society and our lives forever. TV brought a new way to market with the shows and toys to go with them. TV also fed consumerism with commercials influencing our purchasing behavior.  Popular shows of the fifties were I Love Lucy, the Twilight Zone, the Honeymooners, Micky Mouse Club, Lassie and Howdy Doody.

Rock and roll music was shaking the country. Teens and adults alike tuned-in to Dick Clark's American Bandstand and a new, controversial young man was making girls swoon with his crazy dance moves. Oh, Elvis.

Famous stars of the fifties included Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis, Robert Wagner and teen idols like: Frankie Avalon, Bobby Darin, Fabian, Bobby Rydell, Ricky Nelson ( for you mom!), Paul Anka, Troy Donahue and Elvis. The ladies with their cinched waists were Doris Day, Debbie Reynolds, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Mitzi Gaynor, Connie Francis, Sandra Dee and Annette Funicello.

1950's Facts

$100 in 1950 is the equivalent of $835.41 today.

Average new house in 1950 - $8450  and in 1959 - $12,400
Average income in 1950 - $3210 and in 1950 - $5010
Average new car in 1950 - $1510 and in 1959 - $2200
Gallon of gas in 1950 - $.18 and in 1959 - $.25

1950's Toys

This is my dad with Santa circa 1956

1952 - Mr. Potato Head - originally parts to be used on a real potato
1955 - Play Doh and Pez candy dispensers debuted
1958 - skateboards
1959 - Barbie

This is my mom with her new Radio Flyer circa 1952.
 Love the tree and of course, their pride and joy, the television!

Also from the fifties: Tonka Trucks, Matchbox cars, Yahtzee, Hula Hoops, kitchen sets and farm sets.

My mom again, a few years later and her new doll!

Christmas traditions of the fifties included bubble lights, electric color wheels to highlight your tree, aluminum trees, tinsel and lovely plastic candy containers.

Happy Friday!


All photos, other than my own found here and Pinterest.

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