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The 1950's
Star-Gazing - Entertainment in the Fifties



Star-Gazing - Entertainment in the Fifties
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.5

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    angst, drive-ins, execs, hard-pounding, hey-day, hip-swiveling, pajama-clad, subliminal, undisputed, flocked, sitcom, wholesome, melded, out-dated, sensuous, dating
     content words:    Dirty Thirties, Love Lucy, Milton Berle, Ed Sullivan, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, James Arness, James Garner, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz


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Star-Gazing - Entertainment in the Fifties
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     The 1950s made you feel there was nothing as important as fun. From cars with fins to skirts with poodles, the whole decade seemed to have a breezy air about it. "The '50s they seem to have taken place on a sunny afternoon that asked nothing of you except a drifting belief in the moment and its power to satisfy," said one writer.
 
2     What put the '50s era in a mood to party? The answers were simple: money in the bank and the end of WWII. Fears of not having a home or enough to eat had been left behind in the "Dirty Thirties." The grim, war-torn 40s had ended with an Allied victory. As the '50s dawned, people plunged into fun as if it were a refreshing pool on a hot summer day.
 
3     TV took over as the favorite form of amusement. U.S. families began the decade with ten and a half million TV sets. They cruised into the sixties with forty times that number. Week after week, people laughed at sitcoms like I Love Lucy and Ozzie and Harriet. They also tuned in to variety shows hosted by the likes of Milton Berle and Ed Sullivan. '50s kids spent more time in front of their TVs than in school.
 
4     The actors people saw on the small screen every week became stars. The earliest TV stars appeared on variety shows and in westerns. Roy Rogers and Gene Autry made the switch from films and joined James Arness and James Garner in TV westerns. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz became stars in their weekly sitcom, as did Ricky Nelson and his family. Elvis Presley hit the big time with his appearances on TV variety shows. Presley's hip-swiveling, sensuous delivery of rock n' roll songs alarmed TV execs, however. In a 1957 visit to The Ed Sullivan Show, Elvis was filmed only from the waist up.

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The 1950's
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