FilmQ07c_Ch.27: Happy Daze of the 1950s
How to Use Video as a Source
Step #1: Familiarize yourself with film questions prior to viewing the film. By reading the questions and understanding the vocabulary contained within, you allow yourself the luxury of viewing the film without having to look at the questions continuously.
Step #2: View and Listen Attentively. Unlike a book, a video provides information via visual images and audio. Both forms of data are ‘more valuable together’ than separately. For example, turn the volume off on your TV during your favorite program. Then, raise the volume while ‘blacking out’ the image. Under which conditions was the data most richly delivered? Always make sure that you have unobstructed viewing of a film and that the sound is audible.
As you view the video, pay attention to visual and/ or audio cues that reflect the issues raised by the questions below. Your responses should refer to video content as well as your current knowledge and understanding of history.
Step #3: Organize Your Thoughts. Unlike a book, the data from a video is often delivered at a constant rate. With a book, you can slow your reading speed when you encounter a particular segment that is complicated. You can also turn back to a previous page to review information. A film is a bit different in that you may not always have the option to use ‘slow motion’ or ‘rewind’. Therefore, maintaining focus on the imagery and sound is important. Targeted Notes will reduce the amount of time you’re looking away from the film. By writing quick and simple phrases of a few words each, you maintain greater attention to film events.
Targeted notes use key words/ phrases that will ignite a thought or idea when you read them later. There is no concern for grammar or spelling while doing this. After the film has ended, you look at your targeted notes and manipulate the data to compile responses in complete sentences.
Organizational Tip: Vertically divide your sheet of paper (where you’ll write your responses). On the ‘left’ half, take targeted notes for each question given. After viewing the video, use the targeted notes to compose complete responses to each question (on the ‘right’ half of the sheet).
The election of Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 ushered in one of the most prosperous eras in American history. The shortages of the war were a distant memory as consumers rushed to spend their wartime savings on the new homes, cars and appliances that were now abundant. The nuclear family as the haven from political and atomic anxiety depended on rigid gender roles and consumption, and television provided the images of themselves that Americans wanted to see. But beneath the complacency of the era lurked the indicators of a society waiting to rebel, and the realties of a nation divided by racial and class conflicts. This episode examines the “Happy Days” of the 1950s and the major events of those years such as the Baby Boom, suburbanization, the advent of television, Civil Rights, Brown v. Board of Education, youth rebellions and the fears of a society enmeshed in a cold war.
SOURCE: “Happy Daze”. The Century: America’s Time. [14 min per episode (3 parts), 42 min. Total.] A Video Series at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLC8D9DC28C3EC5223
Context: United States, 1950s, Eisenhower Administration
1. Dwight David Eisenhower enjoyed immense popularity when he was president between 1953 and 1961. What was Ike’s appeal? Why was he so popular?
2. The 1950s witnessed the most prosperous economy in American history. How did this prosperity transform the country?
3. Discuss gender roles in the 1950s. Why were these roles so rigid? How have these roles changed? How have they remained similar?
4. Television became part of almost every American home in the 1950s. What was the impact of television on 1950s culture?
5. Why was television so popular? How has the role of television in American society changed? How has it remained the same?
6. Rock-n-roll debuted in the 1950s and caused consternation among some of the older generation. Why were traditionalists so concerned about the effects of rock-n-roll?
7. Discuss the impact of Elvis Presley on American culture and American music.
8. Discuss the impact of the Baby Boom. How did this boom fuel rock-n-roll and the youth culture of the 1950s?
9. What is an icon? Discuss the impact of some of the icons of the 1950s.
10. African-Americans chose the 1950s as the decade to change the system of segregation. How did Martin Luther King, Jr. become the leader of this Civil Rights Movement?
11. Discuss the events that happened at Central High School in Arkansas. What was the impact for the rest of the nation?