American History Week 29 If I visited the 1950’s

Prompt: “What would you miss the most if you had to go back to 1955, as in Back to the Future (1985)? What would you miss the least?” 

If I were to travel to the 1950’s I would miss the diversity of the modern world. I’m part of the LGBT community, so I would be very sad to see a world which doesn’t understand or accept gender identity, sexuality, or non traditional self expression. The hetero normative views and standards of the 1950’s would be hard to witness.

But I am a big animation nerd, and I would love to witness the making of the newly blossoming cartoons of the era such as Tom and Jerry, Bugs Bunny and Felix the Cat. My favorite era to travel to would be the 1920’s and 30’s, purely to witness the birth of animation as we know it. What I’d give to spend a day watching Max Fleischer draw toons hopping outta the inkwell. If I were to travel to the 1950’s I think I’d spend most of my time touring animation and film studios. Maybe I’d find Grim Natwick and see what he was up to, or perhaps I’d see if I could catch a peak at Mae Questel recording her lines for the Saturday morning show Winky Dink and You.

Another aspect of the 1950’s that interests me is the nature. The idea of a family camp out in the mostly unspoiled redwood forests of California sounds absolutely superb. Everyone piling into the oldsmobile, packing up a picnic basket and a few tents into the back, and trucking out into the wilderness singing songs all the way. There’s something so wholesome about the thought, a novelty in the lack of technology. Just family, a loyal dog, and a sprawling forest that seems to endlessly blanket the countryside in idyllic natural beauty. Yes that is the life.

In conclusion the 1950’s had many beautiful aspects, but it also had many not so great aspects. If the 1950’s embraced diversity and self expression it may have been a paradise. But a time which excludes and shames people for their sexuality, race, gender, or for exploring their identity is not a time I would ever want to live in. Visiting it would be another story. I would be absolutely thrilled to meet my animation heroes and see the beauty of the national parks.

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