the 1950s american popular culture through history

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The 1950s

Author : William H. Young
ISBN : 0313323933
Genre : History
File Size : 22. 5 MB
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This volume presents a nuanced look at an often romanticized yet surprisingly complex time in American popular culture.

Fad Mania

Author : Cynthia Overbeck Bix
ISBN : 9781467747936
Genre : Juvenile Nonfiction
File Size : 29. 94 MB
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College students crammed into phone booths. Couples dancing until they drop. Daredevils swallowing one live goldfish after another. Streakers dashing naked down the street. Planking and flash mobs and robotic pets. These are just some of the crazy fads that have caught hold in the United States over the last century. Where do these ideas come from and why do they catch people's imagination? Fads reflect the mood and spirit of a particular time, and they offer insight into a nation's culture. The 1950s, for example, was a time of economic prosperity and technological development. Americans expressed their delight in new inventions in many creative ways. One popular craze on college campuses was to stuff as many people as possible into a phone booth. On one campus, twenty-five people managed to squeeze into a single booth! In earlier decades, marked by the Depression and World War II, dance marathon frenzy caught on. Promoters lured couples with promises of fame and monetary prizes for those who could dance for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of hours. And great ideas never die. Almost one hundred years later, dance marathons came back. One creative variation, the flash mob dance, attracts spontaneous performances that range from flash mob wedding dances to “Gangnam Style" K-Pop flash mobs in cities all over the world. Fad Mania! explores a century of American crazes, offering an entertaining and informative look at the major historical events of each decade and the fads that defined them. As you learn more about smiley buttons and Webkinz, you may just be able to predict this decade's next craze!

With Amusement For All

Author : LeRoy Ashby
ISBN : 9780813141329
Genre : History
File Size : 35. 17 MB
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Popular culture is a central part of everyday life to many Americans. Personalities such as Elvis Presley, Oprah Winfrey, and Michael Jordan are more recognizable to many people than are most elected officials. With Amusement for All is the first comprehensive history of two centuries of mass entertainment in the United States, covering everything from the penny press to Playboy, the NBA to NASCAR, big band to hip hop, and other topics including film, comics, television, sports, dance, and music. Paying careful attention to matters of race, gender, class, technology, economics, and politics, LeRoy Ashby emphasizes the complex ways in which popular culture simultaneously reflects and transforms American culture, revealing that the world of entertainment constantly evolves as it tries to meet the demands of a diverse audience. Trends in popular entertainment often reveal the tensions between competing ideologies, appetites, and values in American society. For example, in the late nineteenth century, Americans embraced "self-made men" such as John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie: the celebrities of the day were circus tycoons P.T. Barnum and James A. Bailey, Wild West star "Buffalo Bill" Cody, professional baseball organizer Albert Spalding, and prizefighter John L. Sullivan. At the same time, however, several female performers challenged traditional notions of weak, frail Victorian women. Adah Isaacs Menken astonished crowds by wearing tights that made her appear nude while performing dangerous stunts on horseback, and the shows of the voluptuous burlesque group British Blondes often centered on provocative images of female sexual power and dominance. Ashby describes how history and politics frequently influence mainstream entertainment. When Native Americans, blacks, and other non-whites appeared in the nineteenth-century circuses and Wild West shows, it was often to perpetuate demeaning racial stereotypes -- crowds jeered Sitting Bull at Cody's shows. By the early twentieth century, however, black minstrel acts reveled in racial tensions, reinforcing stereotypes while at the same time satirizing them and mocking racist attitudes before a predominantly white audience. Decades later, Red Foxx and Richard Pryor's profane comedy routines changed American entertainment. The raw ethnic material of Pryor's short-lived television show led to a series of African-American sitcoms in the 1980s that presented common American experiences -- from family life to college life -- with black casts. Mainstream entertainment has often co-opted and sanitized fringe amusements in an ongoing process of redefining the cultural center and its boundaries. Social control and respectability vied with the bold, erotic, sensational, and surprising, as entrepreneurs sought to manipulate the vagaries of the market, control shifting public appetites, and capitalize on campaigns to protect public morals. Rock 'n Roll was one such fringe culture; in the 1950s, Elvis blurred gender norms with his androgynous style and challenged conventions of public decency with his sexually-charged performances. By the end of the 1960s, Bob Dylan introduced the social consciousness of folk music into the rock scene, and The Beatles embraced hippie counter-culture. Don McLean's 1971 anthem "American Pie" served as an epitaph for rock's political core, which had been replaced by the spectacle of hard rock acts such as Kiss and Alice Cooper. While Rock 'n Roll did not lose its ability to shock, in less than three decades it became part of the established order that it had originally sought to challenge. With Amusement for All provides the context to what Americans have done for fun since 1830, showing the reciprocal nature of the relationships between social, political, economic, and cultural forces and the way in which the entertainment world has reflected, refracted, or reinforced the values those forces represent in America.

Lucky Strikes And A Three Martini Lunch

Author : Danielle M. Stern
ISBN : 9781443844079
Genre : Performing Arts
File Size : 68. 50 MB
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Lucky Strikes and a Three Martini Lunch: Thinking About Television’s Mad Men explores the attributes of the AMC series that allow it to be such a popular and vital contribution to contemporary cultural discourse. Set in the 1960s in New York, the Emmy and Peabody-winning series Mad Men follows the competitive, seductive, and oftentimes ruthless lives of the men and women of Madison Avenue’s advertising agencies. Many alluring and captivating qualities constitute the Mad Men experience: the way it evokes nostalgia, even from those who did not live in the era being portrayed; its interrogations into identities, and how these interrogations of the past illuminate viewers’ concepts of the present; the compelling (and often heartbreaking) relationships between characters who are trying to make their way in an ever changing and increasingly complex world; the titillation of the characters’ discovery of the powers of mass mediated communication and its abilities to allow learning, information sharing, manipulation, and connection; and, of course, the striking differences in sex roles and sexuality in the workplace that simultaneously celebrates and challenges views of gendered progress in contemporary times. Twenty-six authors – most coming from academic posts but others from practitioner, administrator, or cultural critic positions – come together to explore these themes through eighteen engaging and thoughtful essays and an illuminating introduction, each unique to this collection and exploring a particular aspect of the series through a different academic lens.

Pop Goes The Decade The Fifties

Author : Ralph G. Giordano
ISBN : 9781440844720
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 65. 27 MB
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Covering significant historical and cultural moments, public figures and celebrities, art and entertainment, and technology that influenced life during the decade, this book documents the 1950s through the lens of popular culture. • Presents a balanced perspective on the decade that debunks the popular myth that the 1950s was uniformly a happy, carefree time of wholesome fun and "the good old days" • Documents the suburban transformation that drastically changed American society • Provides data that shows television viewing statistics and viewer ratings that helps readers see the influence of television media in the 1950s • Includes a section that explores how the changes within the 1950s have a legacy that continue to affect our current cultural climate

The Vietnam War In Popular Culture The Influence Of America S Most Controversial War On Everyday Life 2 Volumes

Author : Ron Milam
ISBN : 9781440840470
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 24. 4 MB
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Covering many aspects of the Vietnam War that have not been addressed before, this book supplies new perspectives from academics as well as Vietnam veterans that explore how this key conflict of the 20th century has influenced everyday life and popular culture during the war as well as for the past 50 years. • Addresses an especially eventful time in American history with long-lasting consequences—a period that has parallels with more recent events involving military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan • Provides coverage of Norman Lear, creator of the popular 1970s sitcom All In The Family, including information from a recent interview • Includes viewpoints from Vietnam combat veterans regarding how film and television portrayed the war they participated in and lived through • Supplies a chapter on the Vietnam veteran biker movement

Selling Air Power

Author : Steve Call
ISBN : 1603440917
Genre : History
File Size : 45. 4 MB
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In Selling Air Power, Steve Call provides the first comprehensive study of the efforts of post-war air power advocates to harness popular culture in support of their agenda. In the 1940s and much of the 1950s, hardly a month went by without at least one blatantly pro-air power article appearing in general interest magazines. Public fascination with flight helped create and sustain exaggerated expectations for air power in the minds of both its official proponents and the American public. Articles in the Saturday Evening Post, Reader's Digest, and Life trumpeted the secure future assured by American air superiority. Military figures like Henry H. "Hap" Arnold and Curtis E. LeMay, radio-television personalities such as Arthur Godfrey, cartoon figures like Steve Canyon, and actors like Jimmy Stewart played key roles in the unfolding campaign. Movies like Twelve O'Clock High!, The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell, and A Gathering of Eagles projected onto the public imagination vivid images confirming what was coming to be the accepted wisdom: that America's safety against the Soviet threat could best be guaranteed by air power, coupled with nuclear capability. But as the Cold War continued and the specter of the mushroom cloud grew more prominent in American minds, another, more sinister interpretation began to take hold. Call chronicles the shift away from the heroic, patriotic posture of the years just after World War II, toward the threatening, even bizarre imagery of books and movies like Catch-22, On the Beach, and Dr. Strangelove. Call's careful analysis goes beyond the public relations campaigns to probe the intellectual climate that shaped them and gave them power. Selling Air Power adds a critical layer of understanding to studies in military and aviation history, as well as American popular culture.

Rock Music In American Popular Culture Iii

Author : Frank Hoffmann
ISBN : 9781317957607
Genre : Art
File Size : 83. 32 MB
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Rock Music in American Popular Culture III: More Rock ’n’Roll Resources explores the fascinating world of rock music and examines how this medium functions as an expression of cultural and social identity. This nostalgic guide explores the meanings and messages behind some of the most popular rock ’n’roll songs that captured the American spirit, mirrored society, and reflected events in our history. Arranged by themes, Rock Music in American Popular Culture III examines a variety of social and cultural topics with related songs, such as: sex and censorship--“Only the Good Die Young” by Billy Joel and “Night Moves” by Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band holiday songs--“Rockin’Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee and “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole death--“Leader of the Pack” by The Shangri-Las and “The Unknown Soldier” by The Doors foolish behavior--“When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge and “What Kind of Fool” by Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb jobs and the workplace--“Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by The Police and “Dirty Laundry” by Don Henley military involvements--“Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” by the Andrews Sisters and “War” by Edwin Starr novelty recordings--“The Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley and “Eat It” by Weird Al Yankovic letters and postal images--“P. S. I Love You” by The Beatles and “Return to Sender” by Elvis Presely In addition, a discography and a bibliography after each section give further examples of the themes and resources being discussed, as do extensive lists of print references at the end of the text.

The 1990s

Author : Marc Oxoby
ISBN : 0313316155
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 71. 53 MB
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The last decade of the millennium was, in many ways, the most diverse and fascinating in the history of American culture. Alternative subcultures gained unprecedented exposure, manifest in such phenomena as grunge music, "gansta" rap, hip-hop fashion, raves, extreme sports, and the art of Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano. Twelve narrative chapters depict the United States as brought to you by Generation X--a culture busting out in new and unforeseen ways.

Popular Culture In The Fifties

Author : Frank A. Salamone
ISBN : UOM:39015053179175
Genre : History
File Size : 30. 93 MB
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In this book, Frank A. Salamone looks at the United States in the 1950s through its popular culture. He examines movies, transportation, television, advertising, music, fads, and all other aspects of the period. Its famous celebrities are placed in context and examined from that perspective. Popular Culture in the Fifties becomes a social history of the fifties, one which examines the culture with a loving but critical eye.

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