Say "the '50s," and it'll usually bring up images of happy, oblivious Americans wearing 3D glasses or swiveling Hula Hoops around their midsections. In truth, life in the 1950s wasn't all ease, comfort and plenty -- though it probably seemed that way after the grim headlines, food rationing and casualties of World War II. However, this decade is far more complex than we give it credit for.
Need proof? During this decade, America executed two of its own citizens for passing atomic secrets to the USSR. We sent troops to Korea, to serve in a long-running conflict that was, in some ways, a proxy war with our ideological enemy, the Soviets. And while average Americans were enjoying light-hearted, silly inventions like "Mr. Potato Head" and the Hula Hoop, there was a lot more going on, intellectually. Did you know that the FORTRAN computer language was developed in the 1950s? So was the answering machine, though it didn't catch on until the late 1970s. That's right -- in the 1950s, if the party you were calling wasn't home, there was no way to leave them a message! You actually had to keep calling back until they answered! Likewise, in the 1950s, you had to watch a television program WHEN IT AIRED. Brutal -- though things would change; the earliest video recording device for television was invented in the 1950s, just like the answering machine.
Are you ready to take a nostalgic trip back to this complex decade? Let's go!