The 1920s was a year  of changes to  a new culture in America. Book clubs,the radio,the talking picture and sports all became exceptionally popular in all of American society.  But the 1920s stood out as one of the most important periods of our nation. The decade produced a generation of  artists, musicians, and writers who were considered the most creative in the country’s history.

Of all the new inventions that came into the homes in the 1920s ,the radio had the greatest impact. Sales soared from $60 million in 1922 to $426 million in 1929. The first commercial radio station began broadcasting in 1919 when the airwaves were filled with musical verity shows and comedies. Radio became the source that brought entertainment, news,and advertisements  to  more than 10 million households by 1930.

Radio had the power to create heroes and villains very quickly such as Charles Lindbergh,  when he became the first person to fly nonstop across the Atlantic from New York to Paris in 1928. Radio brought this unbelievable accomplishment into American homes,transforming him into a celebrity over night. The phonograph also became important,  the piano sales dropped as phonograph production rose to 5 million in 1929. The popularity of jazz,blues,and “hillbilly” music  helped with the boom.

Duke Ellington wrote the first jazz compositions ; Louis Armstrong popularized the singing of funny syllables and Benny Goodman popularized the Chicago improvisation.The single most popular mass entertainment was the movies. Movie attendance soared from 50 million  a week in 1920 to 90 million in 1929. Americans spent 83 cents of every entertainment dollar going to the movies,and three-fourths of the population went to a movie theater every week.

During the early years of film making, the industry was centered in New York. By the 1920s the industry relocated to Hollywood because of its low cost land and labor force.  The Industry moved because of the varied accessible scenery, and suitable climate ideal for year-round filming, Some filmmakers moved to avoid lawsuits from individuals like Thomas Edison who owned patent rights over filming process.  Each year Hollywood released nearly 700 movies , dominating worldwide film production. By 1926 , Hollywood captured 95% of the British market and 70% of the French market.  

The popularity of movies increased as ,new kinds of movie stars appeared: Sex goddess like Greta Garbo, the hot blooded lover, epitomized by Rodolph Valentino and the flapper with her bobbed hair and skimpy skirts. New film genres including swashbuckling adventures,sophisticating sex comedies,and tales of new sexual freedom.   Cecil B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments with its “cast of thousands” and special effects. Slapstick masterpieces starring Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, enjoyed great popularity as well.

Batman, Robin, and Superman were two of our favorite serial movies. We could not wait for the weekend to arrive and school was out. It was only then that we were allowed to attend, because we had to be in early to study and get our rest.

School was very important to parents; we were not allowed to embarrass them by not knowing our lessons. Parents had much pride and felt responsible for our education. They did not leave it entirely up to the teachers to make sure we learned our ABCs. I could see the shame in the little faces of children when they were sometimes laughed at because they did not have the proper answers to their lessons in class..

Our summer days were spent outdoors playing sports until the streetlights came on or when our mothers would yell from their front porch in a   language foreign to some children that  supper was ready. We would play marbles in the dirt and catch the dickens when we went home with holes in the knees of our blue jeans. If you got into a fight with someone, the older boys made sure it was a fear fight and no one got more than a bloody nose;

Honesty and moral values were part of our culture while growing up; using four letter words was not acceptable in most circles. and children who swore were often shunned. Building character is the results of learning from good and bad experiences.   

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