ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
BIG on samples and happy hour buffets, periodically declares he's giving up on cheese (might as well call him "anti-American" i know), LOVES his wife (remember, "wife" spelled backwards is "efiw"), is certain his son is destined to be known as "Enzo the Great," appreciates his "parents" more each day (in-laws included), still dislikes cats, greatest fear is mediocrity, has resigned himself to blatant self-promotion (hey! i amuse me), defies popularity by defining himself, and wants (would like) you to pay him lots (market-value) of money for his work.
The Essential Guide to American Adult Pop-Culture
Politics and Pop Culture
Frank Lloyd Wright
The Quintessential Bachelor Pad
Girl of the month Contests
Esquire’s Book of Etiquette
Vogues’s Book of Etiquette
Desegregation legislation contributed greatly to the integration of "white" and "black" culture, producing such things as Rock & Roll. For example, racial equality in the armed services in 1948 by President Truman.
"Ike was elected, and he began an eight year reign that marked the mood of the decade as one of the benign middle-of-the-road Republicanism."
"...in the rah-rah 50’s rhetoric he helped create."
In 1953 Secretary of Defense, Charles Wilson, stated that "What was good for our country was good for General Motors and vice versa." A year later GM announces a $1 billion expansion.
"We're about as much in favor of Communism as J. Edgar Hoover."
-Bogart and Bacall
In 1948, under the direction of Senator Joseph McCarthy, the House Un-American Activities Committee begun its witch-hunt of performers, artists and intellectuals suspected of ties to the Communist Party.
According to Guilty By Suspicion with Robert DeNiro
"In 1947 the House Committee on Un-American Activities began an investigation into Communism in Hollywood. Ten men who refused to 'cooperate' with the committee were tried, convicted and sentenced to prison terms after the Supreme Court refused to hear their case. Thereafter, no one called to testify either in public or in secret could work unless he satisfied the Committee by naming names of others thought to be Communist."
"They're looking to get their picture in the paper and Hollywood gets it there. Look, this is not about national security. It is not about loyalty. It is about power, it is about publicity." Graf to David Merril
"Thousands of lives were shattered and hundreds of careers destroyed by what came to be known as the Hollywood blacklist. People like David and Ruth Merril faced terms in prison, suffered the loss of freinds and possessions and were denied the right to earn a living. They were forced to live this way for almost twenty years. It was not until 1970 that these men and woen were vindicated for standing up -at the greatest personal cost - for their beliefs."
Add list of celebrities who were blacklisted and those who declared they were not Commie sympathizers.
in 1954, President Eisenhower modifies the Pledge of Allegiance from "one nation indivisible" to "one nation, under God, indivisible."
"Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first, the most basic, expression of Americanism. Without God, there could be no American form of government, nor American way of life."
~Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1955
1956 The official motto of the U.S. "In God We Trust" first appears.
Alinged with the witch-hunt of Senator MacCarthy, Hoover used his agency to keep a Big Brother watch over America’s entertainment industry, espcially it was primarily composed of "liberal moralless artists."
"According to his 663-page file, Elvis Presley, who ‘indulges in the wearing of all sorts of exotic dress,’ offered to spy on fellow entertainers and blamed the Beatles for laying ‘groundwork’ for the 1960s’ youthful unrest....Much of Marilyn Monroe’s 80 page file is blacked out. One censored allegation : Money from her movies ‘was finding its way into the Communist Party.’ The FBI suspected architect Frank Llyod wright of operating a ‘religious cult’ at Taliesin West, his architecture training center in Arizona. A 46-pager conludes that Lucille Ball voted Communist once-but only once-to please her socialist father. The FBI admired Walt Disney (474 pages) not because of his ability to sketh a mouse but becasue of his potential for being a Hollywood rat."Back to Top
An author himself, he had close ties to the gurus of pop culture including Frank Sinatra and his so-called Rat Pack and Marilyn Monroe. The campaign song for his run for President in 1959 was a Sammy Cahn adaptation of Frank Sinatra’s biggest hit that year, "High Hopes." At the Democratic National Convention, Sinatra, Davis, Lawford and MacClaine all pitched in to lead the "The Star-Spangled Banner."
"The Rat Pack era is renowned not only for bolstering Kennedy’s election but for binding American politics to the entertainment industry. These were the new gentlemen of leisure whose cavalier antics had sparked existential hunger in a world-weary middle class finally convinced that the ‘good life’ had nothing to do with the afterlife. All the Depression babies who had won the Big War could get at least some kind of door prize with a trip to Vegas, a stab at a slot machine and highballs to keep them fueled."
As mentioned before Camelot was a Machiavelian attempt at constructing the perfect political picture. Jackie knew this best and the recent auction of her estate in 1996 demonstrates the gullibleness of the public, Explaining why they bid $211,500 for a necklace of simulated (fake) pearls, Lynda Resnick stated "I’m a child of the ‘60s, and the John Kennedy Camelot years were the last time a lot of us were really innocent. that’s what this whole auction brings back." Considering the tragically short life of the administration, the Kennedys were probably the most photographed first family of the Twentieth century, primarily because that’s the way JFK and Jackie wanted it. Both were ultra conscience of their public image and the effect of their portrayal would have upon the lives of the masses.
The Beat Generation
Beatnik first appears as a word in 1958.
"How to live seems to them much more crucial than why. In the wildest hipster; making a mystique of bop, drugs and the nightlife, there is no desire to shatter the ‘square’ society in which he lives, only to elude it."
"Like so many others of my time and place, I fell in love a hundred times, went into psychoanalysis, tried to write a novel, and listened to jazz musicians...going from glittery midtown music meccas like Birdland to crowded, smoky village haunts like the Five Spot."
"Swinging-single culture is an urban phenomenon that arose out of a unique set of socioeconomic circumstances. For the first time, a sizable group of young people who were college-educated were not immediately getting married and having families. Instead they were embarking on careers that enable them to accumulate enough money to have what has been labeled a 'disposable income' after all the bills had been paid. Not only was there excess income, but there was time enough to spend it."
Although not meant to give a pleasing picture of family life in the 1950s, Chandler's protagonist Phillip Marlowe paints a fairly good picture of Middle America in the Long Goodbye. "...if I had I would have stayed in the town where I was born and worked in the hardware store and married the boss's daughter and had five kids and read them the funny paper on Sunday morning and smacked their heads when they got out of line and squabbled with the wife about how much spending money they were to get and what programs they could have on the radio or TV set. I might even get rich-small town rich, an eightroom house, two cars in the garage, chicken every Sunday and the Reader's Digest on the living room table, the wife with a cast-iron permanent and me with a brain like a sack of Portland cement. You take it friend. I'll take the big sordid dirty crooked city. " p.249
"The average American male stands five feet nine inches...158 pounds, prefers brunettes, baseball, beefsteak, and French fried potatoes, and thinks the ability to run a home smoothly and efficiently is the most important quality in a wife. [The average American woman]...is five feet four, weighs 132, [and] can't stand an unshaven face." ~ Reader's Digest, 1954
Trains evoke memories of parting or returning soldiers. Unlike the busses of the 1960’s and Vietnam.
"What a mess! Cups upset-sticky fingermarks everywhere. Lucky the mother whose table is FORMICA topped. No need to scrub-one wipe with a damp cloth and its clean. It’s almost like magic the way this modern laminated plastic banishes work and brings beauty and ease into your home. The gem hard surface doesn’t chip or crack-won’t stain; resists heat up to 310 deg. F.; stays new and clean for years. No wonder you can’t have enough of it."
~Thomas De La Rue & Co. Ltd.
World War II affected lives in several ways, not all bad. One of the positive results of our wartime efforts was development of synthetic materials which served as substitutes for the short supply of the real thing. Textiles were especially effected, because the import of raw materials came to a virtual halt. At the end of the war in 1946, England hosted an exhibition called "Britain Can Make It" which demonstrated the application of wartime technology to the production of domestic goods.
Some of the new or improved materials to appear included aluminum, polyethylene, polystyrene, rayon, nylon, vinyl, Melamine, Dacron, Orlon and Banlon and linoleum, which was actually composed of all natural products such as linseed oil, pine resins, wood flour, ground cork, pigments and jute. Nylon was especially useful because it became essential to producing such sundries as women’s stockings and hairspray. Moreover, these synthetic products resulted in iron-free clothing, with such ammenities as strong "knife" pleats to skirts and men’s trousers and body-molding material for the soon to appear skin-tight stretch trousers.
Furniture manufacturers proved to use these advancements the most. With new construction techniques like moulding, designers were liberated to create popular fiberglass chairs which looked more like art pieces than furniture. Particularly important to this new wave of furniture design was formica, which being heat-resistant, child-proof, and coming in a wide-range of designs and colors, became the standard kitchen top table during the 1950s.
With the introduction of a slew of new materials, design took on a revitalized meaning. Soon during the 1950s the sleak, streamlined look took over everything from furniture to automobiles to kitchen cabinets.
Considered one the best machine age industrial designers whose designs of the late 1940’s and early 50’s were the apogee of the streamline modern style, Heywood-Wakefield has recently seen renewed interest in its product line and is showcased at many design furniture stores in the metropolis area.
Some of the other important designer names, houses and companies included:
Dieter Rams (Germany)
Otl Aicher (Germany)
Hans Gugelot (Germany)
Charles and Ray Eames (United States)
Raymond Loewy (United States)
Florence Knoll (United States)
Eero Saarinen (United States)
Marcello Nizzoli (Italy)
Ettore Sottsass Jr. (Italy)
Gino Sarfatti (Italy)
Achille Castiglionni (Italy)
Periacomo Castiglionni (Italy)
These, amongst several other famous names, turned to producing sleek, simplistic and original pieces which easily distinguished them from their predecesors and permaently left their impressions upon design history. After the importance of the effect of design on consumerism and art history was realized, several associations were established around the world in such countries as Germany, Italy, Japan and France, dedicated to setting standards for the industry and preserving their contributions to society.
Some of the patterns which emerged included use of primitive motifs, the Italian Commdia dell’Arte, the Orient, and thin tubular legs which thinned out at the base. Space age designs were especially prominent, for with the tremendous advances in science, with the harnesssing of atomic power to produce electricity, the use of radioisotopes in medecine and industry, and the discovery of the molecular structure of DNA during the 1950s, the masses were introduced to the world of science. "These breakthroughs were echoed in design with molecular patterns appearing on items as diverse as fabrics, lampshades and magazine covers."
Lucille Ball was the Chesterfield Cigarette Girl prior to her TV stardom.
"A lady doesn’t leave her escort, It isn’t fair...It isn’t nice.
A lady doesn’t wander around the room and blow on some other guy’s dice...."
Luck be a Lady