Exploring our past to sort out myth from reality

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These are the voyages of the TimeShip Anachron.  
Our Mission: To boldly explore the past, dispelling
mythinformation and mythconceptions

of American History along the way.


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Meet MythAmerica Series

Pt 1     Pt 2     Pt 3     Pt 4     Pt 5     Pt 6     Pt 7     

Not So Fabulous Fifties

It is a common gripe on Facebook and Internet forums, particularly among people of Baby Boomer age, that daily life in American society in the 21st century is so inferior to what it was like in the Good Old Days of the 1950s. As a Baby Boomer myself, I have to shake my head and wonder what sort of Mass Amnesia has afflicted many in my generation. But I suppose the glowing picture they paint of the Fabulous Fifties may even make younger people nostalgic for a period…that never was. This series chronicles many of the mythconceptions that abound about how sweet and wholesome and gentle that era was.

Part 1: Duck and Cover

A brief introduction to some of the Not So Fabulous aspects of the 1950s, beginning with the Duck and Cover “nuclear attack preparation” public service films played in school classrooms..

Part 2: MADmen

An introduction to the rise in the 1950s of the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction.

Part 3: Civil Defense, Shelters…and "Emotion Management"

A brief overview of the heyday of the personal family bomb shelter.


Part 4: MAD Music

The strange saga of a new genre of pop music that sprang up in the 1950s-ballads about nuclear destruction.

Part 5: Such Happy  Days

Later generations remember the 1950s mostly from re-runs of the Happy Days TV show. If you thought The Fonz and his almost non-violent run-ins with a few inept juvenile delinquents was the typical "leather jacket" guy in the 50s, think again. This article offers a peek into the youth-oriented movies and literature of the era. Not a Richie Cunningham or Potsie to be found.

Part 6: Disneyfied Nostlagia

Having actually grown up in the 1950s, and having unlimited access now via the Internet to documentation regarding the 1950s, I find myself increasingly unconvinced it was all "Happy Days." I'm even more uncomfortable with the notion, put forth by many conservative Christians, that it was God's Decade. And that I am now living in the Devil's Decade. I fear that many of my peers, and those in my daughter's generation, are selling their own minds a bill of goods that is more based on a fantasy version of Mid-Century America, like in a Disney movie, than on the flesh and blood Americans of that time and their world. But how could this be?  Weren't the Baby Boomers actually THERE to experience it?  Well, in one way yes, and in one way-No. Where they all were … and where I was too… was in their own tiny little corner of the world of that time. And as children, they would have been quite unaware of what was going on in the "rest of the world"-maybe even in the next town or city-at the same time. This entry in this series examines some of the factors that can lead to Mass Amnesia.

Part 7: No Room in the Inn

The concluding article in this series gives a brief overview of one of the most "typical" memories for those who grew up in the 1950s-the "family road trip." What many do not realize about that phenomenon was that it was experienced entirely differently depending on the color of your skin. White Americans often traveled with the assistance of the AAA guidebooks and maps. But if you were an African American family, those would often have been useless to you. This article explains why, and introduces the Green Book that the black families of the era used instead.