Those '50s/'60s Movies

Roger "Roc" LaRue - - Posted December 20, 2002
           My wife and I were watching Rebel Without a Cause, with James Dean and Natalie Wood (we love Natalie Wood) the other night. We both said the same thing "That is not what it was like in the 50's". Hollywood took a handful of teens in turmoil, put them on the big Cinemascope screen, and exploited their characters as the teen of the 50's - or at least those who watch that movie today will summize. That particular type group of teenagers, and bullies, was a very very small part of our culture back then.
           I then put "Grease" in the VCR. Now that movie, outside of the excellent acting, dancing and singing, is a big farce. It is a fun movie to watch, but not a true depiction of the 50's. The black leather jacket hoodlums, they built up as heroes, while the "Sandra Dee" type and male counterparts were minimized. That again, was not a true depiction of the 50's.
           I am not downing black leather jackets - I had one. But the black leather jacket is synonymous with trouble and motorcycle type characters as depicted in "The Wild Ones" with Marlon Brando. I believe it was that movie that popularized the leather jacket and engineer boots with the big buckle on the side. Remember now, not all were bad - but that's how Hollywood depicted them.
           As a matter of fact, when my lead man Billy Nedar, came to New York to join the band, he arrived in New York City riding a red "Indian" motorcycle (the wide wheel type), wearing a black leather jacket, a black cap, white T-shirt and engineer boots, with his girl friend sitting behind him.
           If you want to see the 50's, the way it was, with the clothes, the dancing, the music, the soda spa, etc., you only have to go as far as "Happy Days" with Richie, Joannie, The Fonz, that great character "Pinky Tuscadero" and the rest of the crowd. And of course, the intro "Rock Around the Clock" by Billy Haley and the Comets is classic 50's and the first real true rockabilly sound ever recorded. The two will forever be united.
           This new TV program, American Dream, while very good in its production style, etc., must not be confused with the 50's. This is a 60's depiction program with Dick Clark written all over it. When the first programs aired, it showed the early American Bandstand, but not one Rockabilly act was shown ... hmmmmmmmmmm. 
           I was there (in the 50's) - I know what it was like - and what it was not like. I know what we teenagers did and liked back then (some of those likes are the same today:-)). Rock 'n' Roll was the "heartbeat" of the teenagers. We danced, we fell in love, we got broken hearts over this great music. It influenced us, yes - but not in a rebellious way as some try to depict. That rebellion started in the 60's after the British invasion. "True" rock and roll was stopped forever in 1961 - never to regain the glory and excitement of its' earlier days. Enough - Merry Christmas to all - and to all a good night.

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