What were the three most important things to a teenager in the '50's? Right. Your friends, your "wheels" and your music .... pretty much in that order.
If you weren't at the soda shoppe sipping a cherry Coke and eating French fries with plenty of catsup, you were probably at the A&W. Nothing promoted A&W faster than teenage mobility ... the drive-in was "the place" to meet and hang out with your friends. Oh ya! Fine as wine in the summertime!
How about those wheels! The auto manufacturers were all trying to compete for the teenage dollar with that special look.
The cars were classy! I loved all the chrome, but what a killer to polish every week! You must admit though, a '57 Chevy convertible was really bitchen! Our family car was a turquoise and white, '57 Nomad Station Wagon. Sure wish I still had that car -- it was cherry.
Even my girlfriends and I could tell the difference between a Chevy, Ford or Plymouth. To know whether it had four on the floor or was an automatic -- that might've been asking too much. With all those crinolines in the way, it was hard to even get IN the car. Right gals?
1957 Chevrolet, Bel-Air Convertible
1957 Ford, Galaxie 500
1957 Plymouth, Fury
How many of you remember hurrying home from school to watch the kids from Philadelphia. I sure do. There was Patty, Carmen, Justine & Bob, Arlene & Kenny (Oh, Kenny - now he was fine!), and of course, the incomparable Dick Clark. Does that guy every get any older?
Growing up in Michigan, the youngest of four, I couldn't even date a boy unless my older brother "checked him out" first. Now that I think back, that was pretty cool. Thanks, Sonny.
My dancing partner was my sister, Susie. For some reason, I always had to lead. Remember those great dances like the Chalypso, Chicken and the Hop! Or who can forget The Diamonds singing The Stroll.The lyrics were a little hokey, but what did we know? You wonder, how did all of that euphoric music get started?Come let's go, Stroll across the floor.
Said, "come let's go, Stroll across the floor."
Now, turn around baby and Stroll some more.
Feel so good, take me by the hand.
Said, "feels so good, take me by the hand."
Let's go Strollin' to wonderland.
Allen Freed was the original high-energy, shout-along-with-the-record AM screamer, and his show -- along with rock 'n' roll music -- attracted a huge following. A rock 'n' roll show Freed promoted at Cleveland Stadium had to be cancelled when the joint was overrun by something like 80,000 fans.
By 1954, Freed had moved to a late-night show on WINS in New York City where he duplicated his earlier success. On April 12, 1954, Bill Haley and the Comets recorded "Rock Around the Clock," a teen anthem that is generally credited with making rock 'n' roll a worldwide phenomenon. Initially the tune did poorly, but when it was chosen as the theme for the film Blackboard Jungle, it became a monster smash in just about every country where the movie played -- selling 22 million copies in all.
Meanwhile, down in Memphis, Tennessee a country boy by the name of Elvis Aaron Presley ... but then you know the rest.
To round out the Nifty '50's, were the movies, sports and politics brought to us every week by Life magazine. Q: Remember Look magazine's slogan? A: Bigger than Life.
In 1957, I was 11 years old, but even at such a tender age, those events left a lasting impression. Thanks for taking a nostalgic stroll with me. If it brought a smile to your face, I'm happy.Adelaide Stevenson, Mickey Mantle, Dwight D. Eisenhower and the unforgettable Marilyn Monroe -- Marilyn, that's one John you should have stayed away from!
Those Nifty '50's are forever gone and can never be duplicated, but will always be ...2 good
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