Sunday, August 10, 2014

THE FIFTIES

There is nothing here I didn't experience in the early fifties, beginning in 1950, the year I graduated from High School, and enrolled  at Illinois State University

 --  juke boxes, pay phones, ten cent bus rides, cutting class, freshman 15-pound weight gain, convertibles, kissing in the cold, dorm parties, fifty cents minimum wage, term papers, quartets, fifty dollars semester tuition, a capella choir, drive-in movies, going steady, cute guys who could sing, straight skirts, 4-digit phone numbers, Studebakers, pixie cuts, graduated pearls, pop quizzes, knit dresses, clip-on earrings, curfews, roommates, mittens --


and probably some things I forgot (or failed) to mention


-- like the music.  Oh, the music.  The music and dancing were unbelievable -- sock hops, swing bands, crooners, jitterbugging, slow dancing --


-- and the movies --  war movies where we always won, romantic movies where everybody lived happily ever after, and musicals that made our hearts sing and our feet keep time 



They say the fifties were the years of doing nothing,  probably because the sixties were the years of doing everything. Why would we have wanted to do anything in the fifties but have fun?  The second "war to end all wars" was over, the boys and girls came home.  We were starting over.  Well, I did join one protest in the fifties, to have later dorm curfews.

If you watched the 'yet again fund raiser for PBS,'  you know they played fifties music on Sunday.  I'm always running into my own thoughts in someone else's head, but nevermind.  I began to think of doing this post when I was driving home last week and had one of those CD's of golden oldies.  It was playing Teresa Brewer singing 'Ricochet Romance.'   I had to backtrack and play it again.  

I looked up some singers and dancers to see when they had their heydays by looking up birth and death years.  Some are still living -- Doris Day, Debbie Reynolds, and Tony Bennett -- in fact I found a treat for a recent Tony Bennett duet with one of my favorite singers, but that comes later.  

           Fred Astaire -           1899-1987 
           Bing Crosby -            1903-1977
        Perry Como -             1912-2001 
        Les Paul -               1915-2009
        Frank Sinatra -          1915-1998
        Dean Martin -            1917-1995
        Jo Stafford -            1917-2008 
        Cyd Charisse -           1922-2008 
        Doris Day -              1922-
        Mary Ford -              1924-1977
        Sammy Davis Jr. -        1925-1990 
        Tony Bennett -           1926-  
        Johnnie Ray -            1927-1990
        Rosemary Clooney -       1928-2002
        Teresa Brewer -          1931-2007 
        Debbie Reynolds -        1932- 


REMEMBER THESE? 
CLICK ON THE SONG TITLES TO HEAR OR SEE RECORDINGS

Teresa Brewer    MUSIC! MUSIC! MUSIC!       RICOCHET ROMANCE


Doris Day      SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY       TILL THE END OF TIME 


Rosemary Clooney    COME ON-A MY HOUSE     MAMBO ITALIANO


Johnnie Ray   LITTLE WHITE CLOUD THAT CRIED and CRY


Dean Martin   EVERYBODY LOVES SOMEBODY     SWAY


Tony still singing the first song he recorded, in 1951, and his signature song. 

Tony Bennett   BECAUSE OF YOU     I LEFT MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO

Mary Ford's harmony is with herself

Les Paul and Mary Ford     VAYA CON DIOS 



A DANCING TREAT

If you've ever walked or taken a buggy ride through Central Park, NYC --- 
1953 in the movie "BAND WAGON"
CYD CHARISSE AND FRED ASTAIRE       DANCING IN THE DARK

This wasn't in the fifties, but it's Ginger Rogers doing everything Fred Astaire did but backwards and in heels in 1935 .  I suppose you've heard that before. 
GINGER ROGERS AND FRED ASTAIRE    SWING TIME

AND MY FAVORITES -- 


Tony Bennett and K D Lang    BECAUSE OF YOU

                                                                    and           BLUE VELVET

-- don't forget Elvis Presley (1935-1970) began his career in the late 50's.  I don't know how to get rid of this white line, so please think of it as just one more gift from me to you.  Do with it what you will.