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Girls in long, polka-dotted dresses, hair perfectly curled, and bright red lipstick painted on their lips. Boys with slick-back hair, plain white t-shirts, and strong black leather jackets. Music boomed from the speakers, bouncing off the walls. Elvis Presley’s voice filled everyone’s ears as girls and boys danced through the night. The 1950s: a whirlwind of Rock N’ Roll, Peace, and Love. A time period filled with laughter, good music, and a booming economy. The 1950s are considered the “Greatest Time Period In America.” With the Korean War ending and soldiers returning home with money in their pockets to spend, the economy boomed, prices lowered, and housing became available to middle-class Americans. Thousands of inventions were thought of, built, published, and created into things that changed America forever. Music was one of the most iconic cultures for the United States in 1950s. Rockabilly, a cross between soft, sweet tunes and the great lyrics of rock and roll. These events, and many more, made the 1950s an era in America that will never be forgotten.
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In the early 1900s, America and thousands of soldiers fought to help our ally gain freedom. The Korean War ended on July 27, 1953. The war took place on the Korean Peninsula. The US assisted South Korea in the war against its neighbor: North Korea. American officials worked to fashion a sort of armistice with North Korea. They feared that the war would widen with Russia and China– some feared, World War III. Five million soldiers and civilians died during the war. The North Korean army had 135,000 men; South Korean had 95,000 in the 1950s. In total 1,500,000 Chinese and Koreans were killed in the war. 85,720 American troops were sent to aid South Korean. The War costed the United States $30 billion in 1953; $341 billion in modern currency (2011). Once the war ended in July of 1953, thousands of soldiers returned home for Korea with money in their pockets to spend. During the war, suburbs were first introduced. Along with housing prices decreased, homes were purchased, families moved in, and America became a wealthy and happy country. Because the economy was stable, many families decided to have children. 70 million babies were born between 1950-1959. The Korean War was great for the US economy. The Korean War was a tragic event, with thousands of soldiers injured and killed. However the war gave America a large economy boost, giving thousands of families homes and peace.
Hundreds of inventions are created every year. During the 1950s, many things were created that changed America forever. Cars had begun to fill the streets, dozens of different kinds of automobiles. One kind of car that was on the road was the 57’ Chevy. This iconic model was created by General Motors. The car was released in September 1956. There were three automobiles released: the upscale “Bel Air”, which is considered an auto-icon. The mid-range “Two-Ten”, and “One-Fifty”. The ‘57 Chevy is a classic, luxury car. The automobile had many special features including: surround sound, seat belts, and many more. The ‘57 Chevy was called “street machine” or “hot rod”, a 1957s term. The car, restored, is worth $100,000 (1990). General Motors produced 62,751 of the ‘57 Chevys. Millions of Americans have a credit card. There are hundreds of thousands of different credit cards. The credit card was invented by Edward Bellamy in 1887. In 1950, the first modern credit card was introduced. In 1949, Frank X. McNamara thought of a way for customers to have just one credit card that could be used at multiple stores. McNamara talked with two colleagues and created Diners Club Credit Card Company. Diners Club Credit Cards were given out in 1950 to 200 people (most were friends and acquaintances.) They were accept in fourteen restaurants in New York. The concept grew quickly; when 1950 ended, there were 20,000 users of the Diners Club Credit Card. The Television was one of the best inventions ever created. It helped modernize America. Colored programing was invented by John Logie Baird. On June 25th, 1951 CBS broadcasted the very first commercial color tv program. No-one could watch it on their black and white televisions. The first color program was a variety show called “Premiere.” The show featured celebrities like Ed Sullivan, Garry Moore, Faye Emerson, Arthur Godfrey, Sam Leverson, Robert Aida and Isabel Bigley. The ‘Premiere’ aired from 4:35 to 5:34 pm. It only reacher four cities: Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington D.C. The colors were not true to life. The program was a success. On June 27, 1951, CBS began airing the first regularly-scheduled color tv series, “The World Is Yours!” With Ivan T. Sanderson. He was a Scottish naturalist. The program was about Ivan discussing artifacts and animals from travels. ‘The World Is Yours!’ aired from 4:30 to 5:00 pm. On August 11, 1951 CBS aired the first baseball game in color. The game was between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves in Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York. There were hundreds of wonderful inventions created in the 1900s.
One of the most iconic things from the 1950s was the music. Elvis Presley; the face of Rock ‘N Roll. Elvis was born on January 8, 1935. His full name was Elvis Aaron Presley. He is also known as “the King of Rock and Roll” or just “the King.” Elvis Presley is considered the most significant cultural icon of the 20th century. Elvis was a singer and an actor. He grew up in East Tupelo, Mississippi. As a teenger, the Presleys moved to Memphis. Elvis was a self-taught musician. In 1956 “Heartbreak Hotel” became the King’s first number one hit. He became a national sensation. Elvis was then drafted in the military (G.I) until 1960. Elvis Aaron Presley, or the King, died on August 16, 1977; Elvis was 42 years old. Dancing was one very iconic part of the 1950s. Most dancing was swing-like. Many dances copied kids in Philadelphia when Dick Clark convinced ABC to broadcast his show nationally, becoming American Bandstand. The program was a show that televised teenagers dancing and popular teen music. The Stroll was one of many popular dances during this time. It was a form of line dancing, like most of the dances in the 1950s. The Jitterbug, Cha-Cha, and Lindy Hop were other types of dancing that were popular in this era. There were dozens of dances, including ones from the classic musical Grease. During this time, there were many famous dances; including The Andrews Sisters, Eddie Fisher, and Elvis Presley. 1950s music and dancing was very rebellious and independent. Some people refer to it as “dirty dancing.” Dancing was a huge part of the culture in the 1950s. Rockabilly was one of the earliest styles of Rock and Roll. This style of music was created in the 1950s in the United States, especially in the south. Rockabilly had a western musical style. Rockabilly’s genre was a mix of country with rhythm and blues leading to what is considered “classic” rock and roll. Rockabilly was described as a blend of bluegrass style with rock ‘n roll. Artists like Elvis Presley, Little Junior’s Blue Flames, The Maddox Brothers and Rose, along with many other groups were considered members of the Rockabilly genre. Music and dancing were a very large part of the culture of the 1950s. They defined teenagers, culture, and the 1950s.
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The 1950s was a whirlwind of good music, happiness, and love. The war in Korea had finally ended; American soldiers returned with money to their wives and families. Houses were turned to homes, couples were turned into families, and the country of America was glowing with glory. This is an era considered “The Greatest Decade in America”. The 1950s were a marvelous time for the United States. Hundreds of thousands of people would agree. My grandmother and grandfather are two wonderful people that met in the 1950s, and have been together ever since. The 1950s was an amazing time period in America; the Greatest Era of all.
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