What Did People Do for Fun in the 1950s?

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In the 1950s, people enjoyed going to local dance establishments, movie theaters and skating rinks or simply gathering around their television sets while the children played nearby. Many people of this decade lived in the suburbs of the post-war housing boom and found their entertainment close to home.

Rock music captivated the younger set, although their elders disapproved. Elvis Presley entered the living room through the Ed Sullivan variety show, which was broadcast in black and white. RCA first broadcast color television in June, 1951, but it was not yet available to the masses. “I Love Lucy,” “Leave It to Beaver,” and “The Twilight Zone” are examples of popular shows at the time. Children celebrated their birthdays with parties at skating rinks. Hula Hoops, Barbie dolls and electric train sets are representative toys of the 1950s. All ages enjoyed dancing and dancing lessons.

Many people took their entire families to drive-in movie theaters. Favorite films of the era included “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Giant”. Musicals such as “South Pacific” and “Gentlemen Prefer Blonds” were also hits. James Dean and Marilyn Monroe are iconic stars of the 50s. Children preferred the matinee westerns shown at local theaters starring Gene Autry or Roy Rogers. Much of the fun of the 1950s was family oriented and centered around the children of the post-war baby boom.