1950's - Books and the Cinema
A short insight to what we did back in the 1950's
BOOKSThe early years of the 50's comprised of two main books, the Rupert's and the Noddy's!
My first Rupert Annual was a Christmas present in 1952 and this became a regular present for quite some time.
The nice thing about Rupert Books was that there were so many illustrations so well painted, that you didn't have to read to follow the story!
But even that changed, because you'd start with the two lined rhymed story and progress onto the paragraph's at the bottom as your reading improved.
I used to spot Rupert type houses from my walks down the lane and out the window of the bus on the way to town.
I knew Rupert wasn't real and didn't exist, but you wished him to and that was the magic of it I think - if only real life was full of such places.
At the age of about 6 contracted Pnuemonia and was bed ridden for quite a few weeks. Every day the Nurse would come round and give me a jab of something and afterwards I'd down a glass of Lucozade which was lovely!
Anyway, for every week I was ill, I got a Noddy Book and this started with Noddy Book 1. and I think I got up to Noddy Book 6 before I was better and went back to School.
Noddy books were slightly different to Rupert because they had 'baddies' in them and I got quite scared quite often.
Nowadays 'Nightmare on Elm Street' would move a 6 year old I don't think!
Both these books were very colourful and symetrical and I can often see hints of this 'flavour' in some of the website pages!
Later on I got the
spell and would read about the
where no holiday would be without some mysterious adventure and strange going's on in the Cliff's.
The first book I read from cover to cover was 'The Rockingham Mystery' set in a large mansion type house which had some bad dealings going on down in the caves beneath it.
Besides those I would often spend time looking through some of the grown up books, especially the one's of Pictorial history.
Two of my favourites were 'Illustrated News from about 1911 to 1936 I think and the other favourite was a 'Crackerjack' book of 1912 - if only I still had them all !
But one or two Rupert Books still sit on my bookcase!
Other widely read boy's books were
Treasure Island, Davy Crockett, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Wind in the Willows, Biggle's, Jenning's, Mallory Towers
and the Annuals and Comics of
, any Cowboy story's of
Roy Rogers, Buffalo Bill, Kit Carson and The Lone Ranger.
THE CINEMAThe physical aspect of the 50's didn't change much during the 50's. It was a special treat, an event to go and watch a famous movie star or the famous story you'd be familiar with from books and so on.
You entered the Foyer, heavily patterned Axminster Carpet immaculately clean and still smelling of Carpet.
The Pay Kiosk was usually gold painted or at least colourful. The Lady behind was dressed in her smart uniform and hat and if it were an 'A' movie would always stare at you just to make sure you were old enough to watch it - any trouble and the Manager was called, who never gave you the benefit of the doubt and booted you out!
If you had a bit of extra cash you'd go to the Balcony which was always more expensive. But anywhere you sat, if you arrived after the light's had dimmed (and you'd hear the "tuts" if you did, you were shown to the Seat by the Usherette with Torch, who up until the Show started had been selling Ice Cream's at the doorway.
On very important point to make is - You never left the Auditorium until the National Anthem had finished. You would stand still in complete obedience and often you would sing it as well
My first trip to the Cinema frightened me! My parents left Julia and myself at the Granada Sevenoaks to watch 'The Wizard of Oz'. I think I was about 6.
It was always common practice then to sit right at the front and the enormity of the screen compared to our tiny TV, the colour which I'd never seen before, the sound and the story gave me nightmares for days to come.
I remember going to the Toilet about 6 times during the screening. Also, what you have to bare in mind is that the film itself was already 16 years old when we saw it
During the mid-late 50's my Father would take me occasionally to watch war film's such as 'Sea of Sand' (the Desert) and 'Titanic (one week before a Ferry trip to The Isle of Wight!!) and my Aunt would always go to watch the Newsreels in Oxford Street on a treat to London.
My favourite film's of the 50's, were 'War of the World's' and 'The Wooden Horse'. Although filmed in 1946 (I was born in the 40's!), my absolute top of the pops is 'A Matter of Life and Death' by the supremely masterful Powell and Pressinger Directors.