Popular Entertainment

Overview of Popular Entertainment

  • During the 1910-1929 period, popular entertainment was greatly influenced by advancements in technology and significant societal changes.
  • Cinema, radio, and jazz music became hugely popular, providing mass entertainment for the first time.

The Rise of Cinema

  • The 1910s and 1920s saw the rise of Hollywood as the world centre of film production.
  • Silent films were initially popular, but by 1927, ‘talkies’ or films with sound, were introduced, leading the larger audience. The first sound film was ‘The Jazz Singer’ in 1927.
  • The introduction of a major motion picture rating system in 1922, the Motion Picture Production Code, moderated the content of films.
  • Famous stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Clara Bow emerged, and the concept of ‘movie stars’ became a cultural phenomenon.

Jazz and Dance

  • The period was known as the Jazz Age due to the wide acceptance and popularity of jazz music.
  • Jazz music often associated with African-American culture, with key figures like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington becoming noteworthy.
  • The 1920s also saw the rise of new dances like the Charleston, influenced by the flapper culture.

Radio and Broadcasting

  • Radio became a vital part of daily life with millions of Americans owning radios by the end of the 1920s.
  • The first commercial radio station, KDKA, started broadcasting in 1920.
  • News and popular programmes were broadcasted nationally, making it a popular source of entertainment for families.

Sporting Achievements

  • Sports such as baseball, boxing, and college football dominated popular culture, with noteworthy athletes becoming national heroes.
  • Babe Ruth in baseball and Jack Dempsey in boxing were among several sportsmen whose achievements were greatly celebrated.

Impact on Society

  • These forms of entertainment played a role in establishing American cultural dominance and impacted societal norms and values.
  • They allowed for greater shared experiences and a sense of collective identity in a time of rapid societal change.