If Happy Days taught us anything, it’s that life was better in the fifties.
On Friday I attended a Celebration of Life party at the Museum of Vancouver for a neighbour’s mom who just passed away.
With beautiful photos of her life rotating on a big screen and smooth jazz playing in the background (later a live Cuban band) it seemed she was in her element in the 1950’s. So how appropriate that the 50’s interactive exhibit was in the room adjacent to us (and open for us). I thought it would be interesting to post some photos I took. Here’s looking back….
People left their door unlocked at night, kids respected their elders and a guy who lived above his best friend’s garage could still be cool so long as he owned a leather jacket. Well, turns out The Fonz didn’t lie: despite the racism, and homophobia, the fifties were a pretty good time to be alive.
In Hollywood, setting something in the fifties brings forth things like ‘nostalgia’ and ‘optimism’. But, how do you measure optimism?
Beginning in 1935, Polling Company AIPO spent decades ringing strangers up and asking them how happy they were—a move that actually yielded usable data. According to this, the fifties saw a surge of people claiming they were very happy, peaking between 1955 and 1960 at around forty percent. That’s the highest it’s ever been. Remember this isn’t just ‘happy’ but ‘very happy’—as in nothing could possibly be better.
In 1957 the murder rate bottomed out at four people per 100,000 the lowest in fifty five years.
It sure seemed like a more peaceful, less complicated time than living now in our more fast-paced, stressed out era. But life is still good, worth living and you can have your own reality show…..for even more than 15 minutes!
fyi – hula hoops have made a comeback and they’re a great exercise…..if you can swing it.