Click to go to other BBHQ pages
This week’s story: To the Moon!
    privacy | contact us | FAQ | member services | BBHQ newsletter | this week’s essay | site navigation
Click here for great pictures, posters & autographs

BBHQ Boomer Essays:

The Fifties

Our Boomer-In-Charge here at BBHQ, Hershel Chicowitz, writes frequently about current events... from a boomer perspective. He is sometimes funny, sometimes provocative, sometimes a little of each. We hope you get a kick out of our Boomer Essays.

The excitement and turmoil of the 60s tends to hide the 50s in the shadows. But the 50s does not belong there. Most boomers were born in the 50s; and whether we realize it or not, the 50s made a huge impression on us. It is a part of who we are today... though, perhaps, too small a part.

Am I the only living person in the world who remembers the 1950s?

When we think of the “boomer years,” we usually think of the 60s and 70s. The excitement and turmoil of the 60s tends to put the 50s in the shadows. But the 50s does not belong there. Most boomers were born in the 50s; and whether we realize it or not, the 50s made a huge impression on us. So I’d like to take brief look back at the 50s... mostly in pictures. Please come along with me. It’ll be fun.

I am one of the earlier boomers. But I have to work hard to remember much from the 50s. But if I can rewind past Woodstock, the Beatles, John Kennedy, and the Vietnam War, there is a lot of neat stuff back there. It was a great and fascinating time!

As far as most of us boomers can remember, TV has always been there. And jet airplanes. And space travel. And Disneyland. And rock and roll. And portable radios. For most of us, the word polio has never made us shudder. But all of those things, and many more, came into the mainstream in the 50s.

The Beatles, the Stones, Temptations, and on and on... they are rock and roll. But they all admit that they got their inspiration from 50s rock and roll pioneers: Buddy Holly, Elvis, the Everly Brothers, the Platters, Little Anthony, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bobby Darin, the Fleetwoods, Fats Domino. Yeah; rock and roll was born in the 50s:

Our war was the Vietnam war. But to our Uncle Harvey, the war was in a place called Korea. That war did not last as long as did the Vietnam war; and it claimed fewer U.S. casualties. But we were on the brink of war with the Chinese in the early 50s. Had they entered the war on the side of North Korea — and that was a distinct possibility — well, things would have been drastically different for all of us.

By the mid 60s — after the Cuban Missile Crisis — we were reasonably sure that the Soviets were not going to pick a fight with us. At least not a big one. But in the 50s, the Cold War was hot! Both sides were puffing their chests by exploding nukes on deserted islands and beneath the sea. These are still-shots of film documenting how well we had become at incinerating a building:

I do not remember the “duck and cover” air raid drills. But I do remember an air raid siren that the government tested every Monday at 12:15 p.m. I have no idea what we were supposed to do if it went off at some other time.

Do you remember flying in a prop plane? No, I do not mean a crop duster. I mean a commercial passenger propeller-driven plane? I do. They were still around when many of us were kids. The first passenger jet plane service began in 1952 — it was a flight from London to Johannesburg, South Africa.

Flying in a plane (as if there is some other way) was a rarity in the 50s. In 1956, Elvis was still traveling between cities by train.

But... that was then...

Before Disneyland, there were amusement parks — mostly cheesy, kiddy rides and bad food. Walt Disney changed all that, and everyone else has been playing catchup since. (OK, so the food is still not the best; but it’s better.) If it were not for Walt Disney, there would be no Six Flags, no Busch Gardens, no Sea World. My, what a change we have witnessed... and enjoyed!

Walt Disney could not build Disneyland today — the environment nazis would not allow it.

Oh yeah... the 50s had their sex stars. There were fewer of them. But the biggest of them was bigger than Madonna, Britney, Lady Gaga, and... whatever else you got... all put together. This is Marilyn Monroe appearing before about a jillion soldiers in Korea in the 50s:

The great sports cars of the 60s that we remember all followed in the tracks of the great cars of the 50s. This is a version of the 1958 Corvette:

GM could not build that car today; the government would not allow it. But that might explain why nobody is as excited about cars today as we all were 50 years ago.

In the next decade, boomers will be buying enormously sophisticated and comfortable RVs. Well, our parents got the ball rolling. This was their idea of roughing it in the 50s. (Note that dad was wearing a suit and tie, though that may have been for the benefit of the camera.)

And for the enlightenment of those of you who believe that we invented nuttiness in the 70s, I offer this... creation... from the 50s:

Nope; I have no earthly idea. But it came from Paris. Staggers the imagination, does it not?

So there is a quick look at the 50s. When I have time, I’ll reach back there again. Life was not perfect in the 50s; but it was a lot of fun; and, most of the time, a lot more pleasant.

essays available
      to everyone

We're Not the Bad

 Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD/1 DVD)
"Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD/1 DVD)," 55 songs: 2 CDs and a DVD from their 2003 concert tour.
Click here to order this great collection.

Click here for great pictures, posters & autographs

If you want a reply from us, include your name and e-mail address:

(Your message will not get to our staff unless you include your name and e-mail address.
But we will never share your e-mail address with anyone.
Our statement on privacy is here.)


Hershel's kinda-like-a bio:
 Click here for a quick explanation about the philosophy behind these essays

The Boomer Essays - On Being a Boomer:

The BBHQ Freedom Series

(Mouseover to preview each story)

essays available to everyone

  Declaration of Independence
        What is Says; What it Means

The Boomer Health Care Series
    (Mouseover to preview each story)

The Midlife

Crisis Series

Middle Age &

the Mazdamobile

The Teach, Preach and Nag Series
    (Mouseover to preview each story)

    (Mouseover to preview each story)

essays available to everyone

Hell No; We Won't Go!

    What Will We Do?

    Do Not Go Gentle

The Boomer Money Series
    (Mouseover to preview each story)

The BBHQ Vacation Series
(Mouseover to preview each story)

Please help us by buying stuff through our link to

Search:   All Products   Books   Videos   Toys   Electronics
        Popular Music   Classical Music a whole lot more than just books!
Enter keyword(s):
Please check our Library or Video selection, or use this form to buy stuff from We need all the help we can get! Thanks.

The BBHQ Feature Album is "Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD/1 DVD)," by Simon & Garfunkel. If you were fortunate enough to see them in concert in 2003, I do not have to sell you. The concert was terrific! This album collection includes 55 songs, plus their new recording, "Citizen of the Planet," and one of the songs sung by the Everly Brothers during the concert. The DVD was recorded during their concert in Madison Square Garden in 2003. For any S&G fan, this is a must have! But then, you knew that already, didn't you?  Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD/1 DVD)

The BBHQ Feature Book is "Behind the Aging Face," by fellow baby boomer Angil Tarach-Ritchey. This is first a touching story of the author's life-long commitment to caring for people, and second a deep look into how the elderly look at life, and their advice to the boomer generation (who will, like it or not, join the ranks of the elderly). Ms. Tarach-Ritchey also chronicles the current status of health care for the elderly, and offers a wise and thoughtful approach to how we can improve the lives of those who have lived so long. This is an extremely useful book for anyone who deals with or will deal with older people. (And doesn't that include all of us?)

Click here for a closer look at the printed version of the book, or here for the e-book version.

  Click to go to other BBHQ pages
  BBHQ Frequently Asked Questions    For BBHQ Members: the BBHQ JukeBox
  For BBHQ Members: Hundreds of Lyrics    Events of the Boomer Years

Copyright © 2014, Baby Boomer HeadQuarters - WWW.BBHQ.COM - All rights reserved.