The 1930's

By: Micki Hirschhorn

The 1930s were a time of true sadness due to the depression, the dust bowl and much more cruelties in America. Yet even in the worst times people tended to distract themselves to truly be happy. Movies, board games, books and even just crowding radios to hear about the Yankees were all very popular ways of almost running away from the truth. The economy began to destroy the hopefulness of the once so brave-hearted, free American's. The average wage was altered by a 40% decrease and one quarter of the Americans were employed by this time due to not only the depression, but also the instability from world war I.

The Wizard of Oz was produced by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer media company January 1, 1939. A quick summary of the all time classic would be of Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto get caught up in a menacing Kansas tornado that lifts their house up and plops them down in the land of Oz, a magical land full of munchkins and other interesting creatures. Determined to get back home to Kansas, she sets out on a quest to see the all-powerful wizard who can hopefully help her get back home. Along the way she enlists the help of a Scarecrow, a Tin Man and a Cowardly Lion, who become her allies in her quest to see the wizard and avoid the Wicked Witch of the West, who wants Dorothy's ruby slippers. Eventually the four manage to get to see the wizard, who grants Dorothy her wish and sends her home to Kansas. There are a multitude of theroies behind the 'true meaning' of the journey to Oz.

The clip above is from the movie The Wizard of OZ. The Wizard of Oz was made January 1, 1939 produced by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer media company. "Over the rainbow" is a renown song familiar to many ears through the generations. The popular song is still sung today by many musical artists, performed by bands and even seen on familiar shows like The Voice and American Idol. Proof that a true legendary song never dies.

The above song is a classic from th3e 1930s. Baby please don't go by Big Joe Williams, or his legal name Joseph Lee Williams, is one of the most played bluesy, rock song even to this day. Williams recorded this classical song October 1935 in Chicago with bluebirds record. Big Joe is commonly known for the musician who used a nine string guitar in his blues music. Williams left Chicago in his teens to venture out, work then eventually ending up in Chicago where his music career was eventually influenced to take off.

The images above are symbolic to the 1930's depression and crash of the stock market. The heartbreaking image of the children holding signs that are questioning why their parents aren't working and why they have to starve truly gives one an understanding of how difficult life was then. The other touching picture shows the incredibly long line out the doors of the "Free soup, coffee and doughnuts for the unemployed" building. The number of men lined up for food due to unemployment is ridiculously long and terrifyingly heart-rending.

Irving Berlin was a remarkable artists from the 1930's. From teaching himself how to play piano to the way he composed popular melodies that everybody was interested in he was a natural composer. A few of Berlin's most popular songs were "Puttin’ on the Ritz," "Heat Wave" and the final version of "Gold Bless America" was written as well. To add on to his success, Berlin composed of songs for seven movies during the 1930's. Broadway to Hollywood Irving Berlin had an intense passion for what he did and for the country he lived in.

Fun facts of the 1930's

-1935: The rhumba becomes the most popular dance.

-1935: John D. Rockefeller dies at age 98, leaving an estate worth nearly $1 billion.

-1938: The Jefferson nickel goes into circulation.

-1939: College fads include knock-knock jokes, roller skating and Chinese Checkers.


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