Popular entertainment

  • The 1920s, also known as the Roaring Twenties, was a time of significant cultural and economic change in America.
  • This period saw a boom in popular entertainment. Several factors contributed, including a massive rise in consumer goods, increased leisure time and greater access to new technology.


  • Film played a central role in popular entertainment, with the USA dominating global cinema.
  • Silent films reached their pinnacle, and the introduction of ‘talkies’, the first films with synchronised sound, revolutionised the industry.
  • Hollywood became a cultural icon and movies became a mainstream part of American culture, with stars like Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford attracting huge national and international audiences.


  • Music flourished and diversified with Jazz becoming the defining musical trend, popularised by musicians like Louis Armstrong.
  • The Rise of the ‘Jazz Age’ coincided with the widespread use of radios, allowing music to reach a larger audience.
  • The invention of phonographs and mass production of records expanded the music industry, as did the establishment of nationwide radio networks.


  • Sports became an important leisure activity, with baseball and college football attracting huge crowds.
  • Babe Ruth was the iconic hero of this era with his record-setting career in baseball making him a national celebrity.
  • The 1920s also witnessed the first Winter Olympic Games, adding to the popularity of sports as a form of entertainment.

Flappers and Dancing

  • The iconic image of the 1920s is the flapper, women who defied traditional norms with their revealing clothes and carefree attitudes.
  • Dancing became a popular form of leisure activity. Dances such as the Charleston, a fast-paced dance accompanied by Jazz music, became associated with the flappers.
  • These changes in popular entertainment underlined the social and cultural transformation that marked America in the 1920s, making it truly the “Roaring Twenties”.