The fantastic 50s


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The fantastic 50s

  1. 1. Научно-практическая конференция «Проект Года – 2010» МОУ СОШ № 4 ИССЛЕДОВАТЕЛЬСКАЯ РАБОТА « The Fantastic 1950s” Выполнили ученицы 8В класса: Аджиева Мадина, Гладилина Юлия Руководитель: Глушатова Ольга Сергеевна, учитель английского языка Дмитров, 2010
  2. 2. ContentsIntroduction ……………………………………………………………... p. 3 I. The Fabulous Fifties: A Decade to Remember …………… p. 4 I.1. Entertainment of the 50s …………………………… p. 4 I.1.1. Music ………………………………………... p. 4 I.1.2. TV …………………………………………… p. 4 I.2. Sports in the Fifties ………………………………… p. 6 I.3. World Events and Famous People …………………. p. 7 I.3.1. Famous People ………………………………. p. 7 I.4. Home life of the Fifties …………………………….. p. 9 I.5. Technological advances and scientific discoveries … p. 10Conclusion ……………………………………………………………… p. 11References ……………………………………………………………… p. 12 2
  3. 3. Introduction The theme of our research work is:"The Fantastic 1950`s". We have chosen this theme asthe 50-s is one of the most popular and optimistic decades in American history: the SecondWorld War has ended, soldiers are coming back to the states and families are enjoying life again.The country is in a state of complete bliss; the economy is booming and Americans areexperiencing happy days. Middle class Americans have no problem spending their money yet. The objective of the research is to explore the 1950s culture: including TV, films, radio,fashion, sports, books, music and politics and make a presentation of all assigned topics. In order to achieve the objective we set the following tasks:  to study the theoretical issues on the topic in English and in Russian and make general conclusions;  to watch old films and to listen to music of fifties to understand people and their life of that period better;  to summarize the results of the work and our personal experience;  to make a booklet and a presentation on the topic for teachers, teenagers and their parents. The main part of our research work is subdivided into five sections. The first section isdevoted to the entertainment of the 50-s, the second one is about important sport events of thattime, the third section is devoted to the world events and famous people, the fourth section isdevoted to home life of the 50`s and the last section is devoted to technological advances andscientific discoveries. We used reference literature such as: The Longman Dictionary of English Language andCulture, the Britannica Encyclopedia, the all Nations English Dictionary to get scientific data.We used a lot of newspaper articles and websites to get detailed information about that period oftime to make our research work more interesting. The work was fruitful because it helped us get to know not only the history of the USA,but British and American culture as well. To make the conclusions we justified the facts from different sources looking backdeep into history. 3
  4. 4. I. The Fabulous Fifties: A Decade to Remember 1.1. Entertainment of the 50s 1.1.1. Music The decade of the Fifties gave birth to Rock and Roll. While parents were listening toFrank Sinatra their children were moving to a new music style. Young generation was twisting,thrusting and bumping to the sounds of rock and roll. The prosperity of the 50s allowedteenagers to spend money on records by their favorite bands and singers. The roots of rock and roll lay in African American blues and gospel. As many AfricanAmericans migrated to the cities of the north, the sounds of rhythm and blues attracted teens.Due to racist attitudes, none of the greatest artists of the genre could get much airplay. DJ Alan Freed began a rhythm-and-blues show on one of the radio stations. Soon theaudience grew and grew, and Freed thought up the term "rock and roll." White artists tried to sing R&B but their voices were too weak for this music style, soproducers began to search a white artist who could capture the African American sound. Andthey found Elvis Presley. He took an old style and made it his own. Within two years he becamethe most popular name in entertainment business in the USA. After African Americans were allowed to play and sing their music on radio and TV suchartists as Chuck Berry, Little Richard appeared on the stage. Rock and Roll was shocking for America. Young teenagers were against the music theirparents loved. In general, the older generation didn’t like rock and roll too and proclaimed itSatan’s music (first of all, because it was the music of ethnic groups and lower classes). It wasbanned from many radio stations and schools. But when Elvis appeared on TV with his hits LoveMe Tender and Heartbreak Hotel the rating of the show soared and rock and roll became themusic of the masses. 1.1.2. TV While TV didnt begin in the Fifties people looked to radio and newspapers forentertainment and news. In 1947 RCA mass produced a 7 inch TV and 170,000 of them sold. In1950 there were about 10 million sets in the U.S. As TV became more commonly available, people were enchanted. This was much betterthan radio. You became very popular and neat if your family had a TV. The first thing we knew about the early days of TV is that there wasnt much of it.Mostly, in the afternoons and evenings. 4
  5. 5. The second thing we knew is that it was black and white. Actually, it was various shadesof gray. And there wasn’t any remote control. The earliest TV shows were quite successful. One of the popular shows for teenagers wasAmerican Bandstand. Dick Clark, the star of the show, got more than fifty thousand fan letters aweek. They thought watching this show was more important than doing their homework.Teenagers loved American Bandstand. Among the first TV there were about 120 Westerns. Mostly in black and white, cowboysset the standards of right and wrong and taught people about heroes. In 1956 some scientists did a study on how much kids ages 10-16 watched television.The results showed that an average kid watched six hours of television a day which was equal tohow long they went to school everyday. Television was groovy. 5
  6. 6. 1.2. Sports in the Fifties People in the Fifties loved sports. They had more free time and enough money to go infor sports, more and more Americans participated in different athletic activities or were fans ofall types of sports. Unlike many areas of society in this decade, athletes were a diverse group.Their popularity wasn’t based on social statues, but only on their own abilities. All Americansports such as baseball and football gave opportunities for the rise of stars like Jackie Robinson,Roy Campanella, Henry (Hank) Aaron, Juan Marichal, Jim Brown, and Frank Gifford. Greatwomen athletes played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. As television became more popular, other sports found a lot of fans. College football andprofessional golf became very popular. That time there was an idea that to succeed in businessyou needed to play golf. In 1950 women created Ladies Professional Golf Association and joinedmen on golf courses all over America. People watched the Olympics 1952 and 1956. Track andfield athletes like Bob Mathias (decathlon) and Bobby Morrow (relay) were favorites. Sports liketennis, basketball and boxing were also popular in the fifties. Althea Gibson was the firstAfrican-American to play in the U. S. Lawn Tennis Nationals at Forest Hills, NY. Major namesin basketball were Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson and Dolph Schayes.Another favorite, boxing, gave opportunities to great athletes, Sugar Ray Robinson and RockyMarciano. 6
  7. 7. 1.3. World Events and Famous People The world was recovering from the Second World War. People were building houses,plants and factories. The American economy was growing faster and faster. But 1950s weren’tpeace and quiet for the American society. That time the Cold War – the state of political conflict,military tension and economic competition between two superpowers the Soviet Union and theUnited States - started and played the whole decade. The result of the Cold War became the warin Korea. The Soviet Union was to aid the Northern part of Korea, and the United States to helpthe South. In the long run Korea was divided into two parts: the northern part was under theSoviet Union control and the second one was under the control of the USA. During the 1950s the USA also participated in some local wars and internal conflicts suchas Arab-Israeli conflict, Algerian and Cuban revolutions. The process of decolonization started in 1950s. Most of colonies became independent andthe British Empire collapsed. In 1953 the US tested their first hydrogen bomb on Marshal Islands. Hawaii became the 50s state of the US. In the field of science the first IBM computer was made: DNA structure was discoveredand NASA was established. 1.3.1. Famous people There are many famous and influential people who came from different fields and becamefamous in 50’s generation. This is a short list of famous people from different walks of lives whomake their mark in 1950s. Harry S. Truman: Harry S. Truman was born on May 8, 1884 in Lamar, Missouri. Hebecame the 33rd President of America and held the prestigious office from 1945 to 1953. In1950s most American did not expect that Harry Truman would become one of their most highlyregarded presidents. It was during the World War II he became famous in history for droppingatom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9, 1945. Following that Japansurrendered on August. Truman did so to defeat the Axis power. Marilyn Monroe: Marilyn Monroe (real name Norma Jeanie Mortenson or Baker) wasborn on June 1, 1926 in Los Angeles, California. She was an icon of women’s beauty andHollywood films of that time. The 1950s proved to be a good decade for Marilyn Monroe. Shebecame famous in 1950s for her films “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953), “How to marry aMillionaire” (1953) and “Some like It Hot” (1959).She was married to baseball legend JoeDiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller. She died due to an overdose of sleeping pills. 7
  8. 8. Elvis Presley: Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in Mississippi. He was anAmerican musician and actor. A cultural icon, he’s widely known as “The King of Rock andRoll”. Presley is regarded as one of the most important figures of 20th-century popular culture.He had a very good voice and sang and played in many genres, including country, pop ballads,gospel, and blues. He is the best-selling solo artist in the history of popular music. Nominated for14 Grammys, he won three, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36. Arthur Miller: Arthur Miller was born on October 17, 1915 in New York city and was aleading American dramatist who is best known work “Death of the salesman” won the PulitzerPrize. In 1956, Miller was awarder honorary Degree at the university of Michigan. 8
  9. 9. 1.4. Home life of the Fifties Family life was very different in the Fifties. For starters, most probably it was a two - parenthousehold. Both a mother and a father. Divorce was not a common thing. First of all because of societal pressure. You had to get marriedand stay married, regardless of how unhappy you were. Divorce was a stigma. People spent more of theirlives married than they do today due to lower divorce rates and earlier ages at marriage. People just didn’t live alone. Only 9.3% of homes had only a single occupant in 1950.Today that number is over 25%. Most of the women were single that time. As it was postwartime and a lot of men were killed at war. Divorced women also suffered more than a 45% declinein their economic status. It was even worse than nowadays. Today a woman can get a well-paid job but back in the Fifties she could only work intraditional women’s jobs such as a secretary, a teacher, a nurse, a librarian and so far. So it wasan economic motive to stay married. Men also felt a societal pressure. A good man had to have a wife and kids. His boss likedit. His neighbours and family expected it. In 1950s there were 385,000 divorces in the USA, contrast that with 1,135,000 in 1998. Itmeans that only 2.6 people out of 1,000 were divorced in 1950, whereas it climbed to 4.2 out of1,000 in 1998. People married younger in the Fifties. The median age for a first marriage was 22 yearsold for men and 20 for women. In 2000 the median age at first marriage was 26 years old formen and 25 years old for women. On 50s there was a tradition to sit down to eat together. Mom cooked because it was herjob. In 1950s there were 40,174,705 employed men and only 15,559,454 employed women.Most of the women worked at home as a housewife and didn’t get money for their work. After dinner the family would watch TV if they had one, which by the end of the decadewas likely. The whole family watched the same show, because there was only one TV in thewhole house. Kids spent their free time listening to their own record player or transistor radio. Theyoften visited with one another to talk to each other. In those days they could walk home at nightwithout ending up on a milk cartoon. Older children usually went to a soda shop or diner afterschool and hung out there. But there weren’t any malls, cell phones, stereos and computers. 9
  10. 10. 1.5. Technological advances and scientific discoveries. Great steps were made in American science during the 1950s. Important discoveries werealmost daily events. Scientists got much money for their researchers, their labs became well-equipped and people turned to scientists to solve their problems more often than before. There were massive military projects with large group of scientists who worked with eachother toward a specified research goal. The example is the production of the atomic bomb. It is difficult to separate the achievements of science and technology of the 1950s fromthe other aspects of life. Here is only some of them.  Credit cards became widespread during the decade.  The first copy machine was made 1950 also.  In 1954 Bell Telephone labs produce solar battery.  Polypropylene was invented in 1954.  In 1955 Jonas Salk invented a polio vaccine which was given to more than seven million American students.  A surprise came in 1957; a 184 pound satellite was launched by the Russians. They named it Sputnik 1. The space race begins 4 months later the United States launch a smaller satellite. I  In 1958 the first plastic Coke bottle appeared. 10
  11. 11. Conclusion The decade of Fifties gave a powerful incentive to economic growth, rise of production,and birth of new trends in American culture and fashion. A new music style called rock’n’roll appeared in the USA and brought success to newartists such as Elvis Presley, Bill Haily, Jerry Lee Lewes and others. They were not just ordinarypopular singers of that time; they were idols for the teenagers of the fifties. During the 1950s, television became the dominant mass media as people broughttelevision into their homes in greater numbers of hours per week than ever before. People in the Fifties loved sports. More leisure time and greater general prosperity led togreater participation in athletic activities and added large numbers of fans to all types of sports. On the one hand there were advances in medicine, science and technology but on theother hand the USA tried to show its power in different war conflicts they participated in. American society in the 1950s was geared toward the family. Marriage and children werepart of the national plan. Large families and stay-at –home moms were common for that time. In conclusion, it is worth noticing that the 50s provided transition period for people torecover from the chaos of World War II before the social and political transformations thatwould become the 1960s. 11
  12. 12. References1. The History Channel at: The Fifties Web at: 1950’s Wikipedia Encyclopedia at: Web Generation 1950’s Music, Fads, Entertainment, Personalities, Memories at: 1950’s Fashion, hair, style, clothing and grease in the 50’s at: InfoPlease-Interstate History at: 12