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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The 50s

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In the 50s it was a wonderful time to be a child. Born after the war and brought up in an age of wealth, most boys and girls enjoyed the 150s to the fullest. Especially in the new suburban neighborhoods filled with young families, the sounds of playing children filled the air. Girls for the most part loved jacks, hopscotch, and jumping rope to the little chants of “Teddy bear, teddy bear,” or “Icka backa, soda cracker.” Boys played cowboys and Indians, or transformed themselves into space men who fought in fierce space battles. For parents who had grown up in the Great Depression years, even the noisiest fun was sweet music to their ears.


Baby Boom


Baby boomers are those born between 146 and 164. Which means in this year of 00 baby boomers are from the ages of and 57. There are about 76 million boomers in the United States. This is % of the United States population. In Canada Baby Boomers are known as Boomies (there are 6 million baby boomers there.) The term is used to define the boom in births after World War II. The 160s is the decade that defined the boomers. The music, events, and the social changes made a permanent impression on us. There were so many changes in the boomer decades that how old you were during the decades greatly affected how you turned out.


The Suburbs


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Levittown was the first suburb to be built and was built in the 50s decade. Levittown was built by William Levitt using the most up-to-date building methods. Levittown was originally called Island Trees. It offered affordable housing to returning GIs and their families, in the form of small, single-family houses. From the start, Levittown appeared as much a creation from a dream as one made of wood and plaster (brick clay). William Levitt was a master publicist, and he understood that to make his community work, he needed to make it look like a new American Life. To do this, Levitt did more than make cookie-cutter homes off the parkways leading from New York City. The accusations against Levittown from the first focused on the cramped areas in the inside, and the unfinished quality of its landscape. The critics were judging from an older, more powerful point of view. Theirs was a suburb devoted to upper-middle-class conservatism. Levittowners, however, understood their new houses compared to the ones they were leaving which were multi-unit brick, stone or frame apartment complexes. The nature of Levittown as a community was a major attraction. William Levitt understood that his suburban area was too big to work as a neighborhood and so he built it as a new form of an American community, and a longer cluster of neighborhoods with village centers to hold them together. His Levittown wasnt so very different from the plan of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, designed during the war by the architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings, Merrill, a community itself made in part after the TVA communities of the Depression-era utopian Roosevelt planners. Over time Levittown came in to being.


50s Prosperity


In the 50s there was a population of 151,684,000 people in America and ,88,000 were unemployed. The average salary was $,. Things turned around after the Great Depression mostly because there was the high level of economic prosperity enjoyed by many Americans during this time. A housing boom, increasing numbers of bought goods, little unemployment, public funding and large projects, and advances in technology created strong economic growth. The standard of living rose rapidly during the 150s. The gap between the rich and the poor actually increased during the postwar years, but in many ways the country seemed to be overflowing with abundance, especially compared to the non productive wartime years and the Great Depression of the 10s. The 150s saw the circulation of an amount of consumer goods that had not been experienced before and the advancement of the modern advertising industries and marketing technologies (which was closely linked to the development of television). This is not to say that the people of postwar America were especially greedy or more materialistic than previous generations. But they were far more likely to be able to afford manufactured goods (like appliances and processed foods) and to have a wide selection of manufactured goods from which to choose. People in every part of the country were crazy about the hula hoop or were dipping potato chips into a mixture of sour cream and freeze-dried French onion soup. And this trend did not pass uncriticized. Writers like Updike, social critics, and artists expressed grief for the rise of consumer culture and the reign of the product.


Air Travel


On May , 15 British Overseas Airways Corporation began the worlds first commercial jetliner service with the de Havilland DH 106 Comet 1. The 6-seat passenger jet flew from London, England to Johannesburg, South Africa, at speeds up to 500 miles per hour. Airlines around the world quickly beat a path to de Havillands door. On January 10, 154 a de Havilland Comet departing from Rome plunged into the ocean killing all passengers and six crew members. Three months later, another Comet bursted apart in flight. An exhaustive investigation revealed the Comets fatal weakness which was metal fatigue. On June 0, 156 a TWA Super constellation and a United Airlines DC-7 collided 1,000 feet over the Grand Canyon, killing all 18 people aboard both planes. This disaster, the worst in U.S. history up to that point, led to new safety measures and the establishment of the Federal Aviation Agency. On October 4, 158 the newly redesigned Comet 4 premiered with service between London and New York. De Havillands new jet, though, can only accommodate 67 passengers, while the forthcoming Boeing 707 could seat 111. Britain lost its dominance in commercial aviation to the Americans. On October 6, 158 Boeings first jetliner, the 707, makes its class flight for Pan Am, traveling from New York to Paris with 111 passengers. Boeing took the lead in manufacturing passenger jets as commercial airlines discovered that jets are more reliable and profitable than piston-driven planes. On March 1, 15 French aircraft manufacturer, Sud Aviation, delivers the Caravelle to Air France. Innovative in its design, the Caravelle is the first commercial jetliner to have its two jet engine positioned at the rear of the aircraft. On September 18, 15 Douglas Aircraft entered the jet manufacturing competition with its first jetliner, the DC-8, which begun commercial service for both United Airlines and Delta Air Lines.


Jet Aircrafts


Up until the 50s, air travelers flew in piston-driven stratocruisers. While they had a certain amount of charm, the flights were extremely long, noisy & turbulent. Jetliners, which were developed during World War II, could make the trip in half the time and carry twice as many passengers.


Two events in the 50s signaled the beginning of the jet age....the maiden flight of Britains Comet in 15, and the launch of Boeings 707 in 158. Airplanes became the preferred method of long-distance travel, surpassing both trains and ocean liner.





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