Photo Credit: Paul Lowry
If you wanted a coffee and piece of cherry pie, you went to a diner. A symbol of optimism in popular culture the prefabricated American diner is an independent alternative to the fast food restaurant. The classic diner shape was that of narrow and stretched, in-keeping with their historical roots of having been dining cars on trains. Redundant wagons were often employed as a cheap and stationary restaurant after service. In the 50s diners were all stainless steel, terrazzo floors and neon signs. Stocked with a juke box and frequented by the likes of Sandra D. and the Fonz, why wouldn't you slurp a milkshake at a diner?
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After a coke and a burger at the diner where next for you and your sugar-pie honey-bun? The Drive-In of course. Hugely popular in the late 50s the drive-in movie theatre was actually created in the early 30s in New Jersey. It quickly caught on though and proved to be particularly popular in more rural areas. Loved by the 'delinquent' teenager due to the privacy afforded they quickly garnered a less than appetising reputation, something which was exasperated by their decline in the 70s as they proffered ever more explicit and exploitative content. Nevertheless even this unsavoury demise can't detract from the drive-in's 50s heyday.
Photo Credit: Cauldron Graphix
If you were going to a diner or drive-in theatre you needed wheels. The classic and well known muscle cars of yester year America tend to come from the late 60s, however their genesis was firmly set in the 50s. Automobiles of the time were all tail fins and chrome, the muscle car refined this and added some real guts beneath the hood. Arguably the first true muscle car was the '55 Chevy Classic V8. It was a beast with killer looks.
Photo Credit: 200MoreMontrealStencils
If youth in rebellion could only have one poster boy, James Dean would be it. An icon of the discontented young, the wild and the restless, in a post WWII culture of consumerism and plenty Dean exploded to screens and held the gaze of a nation. As if by destiny James Dean sadly remained forever young, dying in a high-impact collision whilst driving his racing Porsche 550 Spyder. It is for his role in the film Rebel Without A Cause that he is most remembered. Released only a month after his death in '55 the film frames Dean as Jim Stark a frustrated, angry and directionless force, "You're tearing me apart!" He was, and still is, the epitome of cool...
Janet Stevens runs the blog Valentines Gifts 2012 which aims to be an independent gift guide and the new home of romantic ideas for Valentines Day.