MUSIC: One Hundred Years of Memories—1912-2012—Part Two


A Series in 5 Parts…Part Two—1930-1949

By: J. Marlando


There are so many wonderful songs that play in the depths of our hearts. Songs of our childhood pasts, of romance, of family and all our life’s adventures! I can still recall being a kid with my cousins Ken and Paul singing Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah at the top of our lungs in some of the happiest moments of our young lives. Allie Wrubel wrote the music and Lyrics are by Ray Gilbert.

Zippity doo dah, Zippity aye,
My oh my what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine coming my way,
Zippity doo dah, Zippity aye.

Mister blue bird's on my shoulder,,
it's the truth,
it's actual,
everything's satisfactual!
Zippity doo dah,
zippity aye,
zippity doo dah,
zippity aye!

What a make-you-happy song from—who else—Disney.

When I was a kid I was raised with songs that, I suppose, lots of younger people never heard of today. Songs like the 1800’s “Clementine.” I must have sung that song with my family a hundred times back in the 1940s.

In a cavern, in a canyon,
Excavating for a mine
Dwelt a miner forty niner,
And his daughter Clementine

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Light she was and like a fairy,
And her shoes were number nine,
Herring boxes, without topses,
Sandals were for Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

If you know the song at all, you will never have forgotten the tune. Music is like that, special songs, as said, get into our systems. This series is about those songs.


1930 began a lot of hard years for people—not only Americans but for people worldwide.

This was the year that The Lone Ranger became a popular radio show and the year when the great drought began taking its toll on American farmers. This was also the year the Artist, Grant Wood painted his famous, “American Gothic.”


This was the year that at least 400,000 depositors discovered their banks closed—well, the so-called Great Depression was on. This Billboard says it all:


Interestingly enough, a sentimental song was among the most popular that year, perhaps a deeply psychological crying out for…the good old days and when it was spring time in the Rockies. A song by Robert Baxter and Mary Hale Woolsey:

The twilight shadows deepen into night, dear

The city lights are gleaming o'er the snow

I sit alone beside the cheery fire dear

I'm dreaming dreams from out the long ago

I fancy it is springtime in the mountain

The flowers with their colors are aflame

And ev'ry day I hear you softly saying

"I'll wait until the springtime comes again"

 When it's springtime in the Rockies

I am coming back to you

Little sweetheart of the mountains

With your bonny eyes of blue

Once again I'll say "I love you"

While the birds sing all the day

When it's springtime in the Rockies

In the Rockies, far away


Life is an odd experience at best. In the U.S.1931 people, in general, were jobless and hungry, even American farmers were crying out for food. Yet, this is the year that the Empire State Building was completed symbolizing American strength and financial confidence.  Prices were attempting to stay up, however.

Bread per loaf 8 cents

A pound of hamburger 11 cents

A gallon of gas 10 cents


The average cost of house rent was $18.00 per month

A lot of people could not afford any of the above. U.S. unemployment reached 8 million in ’31 and in a single year, consumer prices dropped 17 percent. This was also the year that the Star Spangled Banner, by Francis Scott Key, became our National Anthem:

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

It seems interestting to me that it was during the "great" depression (1931) that Nevada chose to legalize all forms of gambling The truth, however, is that people will gamble more when they are in need than when the are in...plenty.

When it comes to music, however, 1931 produced a happy-go-lucky song in the midst of some of the truly hard times. Geroge Gershwin's, "I've Got Rhythm."

Days can be sunny

With never a sigh

Don't need what money can buy

Birds in the tree sing

Their day full of song

Why shouldn't we sing along?

I'm chipper all the day

Happy with my lot

How do I get that?

Look what I've got.

I've got Rhythm

I've got music

I've got my guy (or girl)

Who could ask for anything more

I've got daisies

In green pasture

I've got my guy (or girl)

Who could ask for anything more?


Regardless of the terrible economy two new products hit the marketplaces in 1932 Skippy Peanut Buttertwo(117914) and Frito Corn Chips.two(117913) The most vital change, however, is that Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President (democrat) a distant cousin to Teddy Roosevelt (Republican) voted into the White House in 1901.

F.D.R. ran on a “new deal” pledge and became the most beloved president (alongside Lincoln) in U.S. history by America’s majority of his day. Those who didn’t approve of him accused him of having ideas that were not traditionally American but the accusers were not those in breadlines two(117915)or homeless. It is no wonder that a tremendously popular song of that year was, A Shanty in Old Shanty Town:

I'm up in the world,

but I'd give the world to be where I used to be,

A heavenly nest,

where I rest the best,

means more than the world to me.

It's only a shanty

in old Shanty Town

the roof is so slanty it touches the ground.

But my tumbled down shack by an old railroad track,

like a millionaire's mansion is calling me back.


In Roosevelt’s first three months plus in office he set up an Emergency Relief Act for citizens, an Agricultural Adjustment Act and an Emergency Farm Mortgage Act; a Truth in Securities Act and a National Industrial Recovery Act.  And he began doing weekly “fireside” radiotwo(117916) broadcasts to directly communicate with the American people. For the first time in many years the majority of people began feeling cohesive and hopeful again. Entire families would gather round the radiotwo(117917) to hear what their president had to say and, it is true, Roosevelt became a father figure to a great many in those forbidding times of national poverty and unemployment. In the meantime the movie industries were growing at a rapid pace—a “hurting” people craved entertainment, some escape from their daily wounds and upsets and Hollywood supplied it. Average cost of ticket 21 cents pulling millions of dollars into the studios.

The four Marx brothers two(117918)were extremely popular but so was a young dancer by the name of Fred Astaire. Incidentally 1933 produced King Kong.


The big news of 1933 was, however, that Roosevelt ended Prohibition. It was almost as if alcohol was legalized in one moment and the gangsters were gone in the next. Actually the entire 12 year plus ordeal had been a failed attempt of some people to impose its own moral standards on others---in overview about as un-American as it can get.

In the meantime cars were modernizing. And so, as always, some people were doing just fine in the poor economy but for the many who were enduring the truly devastating poverty it seemed that the hard times would never go away. It is no wonder that a major hit of 1933 was Stormy Weather written by Saul Chaplin, L.E. Freeman, Mann Holiner, Aberta Nicolas and Sammy Cahn. A young woman by the name of Billie Hollidaytwo(117920) made it into a super hit.

Don't know why there's no sun up in the sky
Stormy weather
Since my man and I ain't together,
Keeps rainin' all the time

Life is bare, gloom and mis'ry everywhere
Stormy weather
Just can't get my poor self together,
I'm weary all the time
So weary all the time
When he went away the blues walked in and met me.
If he stays away old rockin' chair will get me.


Over the years some extremely hardened criminals evolved—Bonnie and Clydetwo(117921)John DillingerBaby Faced Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd were at the top of law enforcement’s list of wanted, dangerous men who had literally been getting away with murder. The FBI took them all out in 1934 with none of the six surviving their gunshot wounds. Bankers were relieved from coast to coast.

During this year the drought continued—Nebraska had been without rain for nearly 10 months as most of the Mid-West. It was this era that inspired John Steinbeck’s masterpiece, “Grapes of Wrath.”  Here we see a family moving to Californiatwo(117926) hoping to find work in the fields. In this second shot is a make-shift tent where a family  rests before moving on.


In the meantime Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Securities and Exchange Commission to monitor Wall Street’s activities and the F.C.C. to regulate broadcast activities. In spite of it all, however, romance was still a major theme of songs and this hit of 1934 proved it—the beautiful “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” with lyrics by Otto Hardback and music by Jerome Kern.

They asked me how I knew
My true love was true
I of course replied
Something here inside
Cannot be denied

They, said someday you'll find
All who love are blind
When your heart's on fire
You must realize
Smoke gets in your eyes


President Roosevelt was hit with his first real rubber bullet in 1935. His National Industrial Recovery Act was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, his “new deal” policies provided 500,000 jobs from his Civilian Conservation Corps called C.C.C. Camps.two(117928) The Labor Department paid low wages mostly to young men to work on roads, in state parts and on bridges and so forth. two(117929)The program was criticized by some for being fascists and by others for being socialistic but it gave work and some money to a lot of people in need.

It was in 1935 that Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law. This was, in my opinion, a wonderful way of protecting citizens in their “golden years” and it has only been government mismanaging S.S. funds that have jeopardized the program. There was something else— Roosevelt created the WPA (Work Progress Administration) subsidizing countless more jobs not excluding work for artists. Roosevelt put writers, painters and other artists to work. The U.S. had never before supported its artists and some truly beautiful works evolved out of the program; works that might never been created had it not been for the WPA.

These programs however were necessitated by the rash of poverty and hunger covering so much of the U.S. at the time. Life kept moving forward of course—Indeed, Roosevelt established the R.E.A. (Rural Electrification Administration). In 1935 one out of every ten farms did not have electricity at the time. In any case, 1935 was probably the year that best reflected Roosevelt’s New Deal policies and…political views. Those policies and politics are still being debated today but in 1935 something had to be done to uplift a hungry, jobless people and he managed to do this through regulations and reforms.

This was the year that a melancholy song jumped into popularity. It was “Blue Moon.” Do you know the melody?

Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone

Without a dream in my heart

Without a love of my own

Blue Moon, you knew just what I was there for

You heard me saying a prayer for

Someone I really could care for



1936 was much the same as the last few years had been—farmers continued to suffer from the droughts. Here’s a farm house when the dust settledtwo(117930) after the storms and some farm equipment—we can’t imagine the terror of those storms and the devastation they caused the great plain’s farmers and their families

This was the year when the Olympics were held in Berlin and Jesse Owens, a black athlete, showed Hitler that his Aryans were not as “super” as he had thought. Nevertheless, the Nazi regime was building its power for a future that no one was imagining at the time.

At home, a Johnny Burke and Arthur Johnston song was a big hit as it was all about Pennies from Heaven; an uplifting song that seemed just right for the times:

Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven
Don'tcha know each cloud contains pennies from heaven?
(You'll find your fortune fallin' all over town)
(Be sure that your umbrella)
Is upside down

Trade them for a package of sunshine and flowers
If you want the things you love, you must have showers
(So when you hear it thunder) Don't run under a tree
There'll be pennies from heaven for you and me


In many ways 1937 was a tragic year that extended beyond the fact that the president had announced that “one third of the nation is ill-housed, ill-clad, and ill nourished.” For one thing after the long droughts now the mid-west was hit by raging floods that left a million people homeless and 1000 dead. In this same year the Hindenburgtwo(117936) exploded on its arrival in New Jersey. 36 human beings perished in the crash. In this same year a lovely young blues singer, Betsy Smithtwo(117938) was in a car accident just outside of Memphis but the hospital their refused to treat her because she was black. She died. There was also the Memorial Day Massacre in ’37. Chicago police shot and killed ten steel workers on strike. Indeed 18 demonstrators died during the strike.

Was there anything good to speak of in ’37…well yes—absolutely—this was the year that the famous Golden Gate Bridge opened,two(117942) still one of the most beautiful structure of America’s landscape. Also this was the year that the innovative shopping cart was introduced.

In regard to the above I find it interesting that one of the most popular songs of that year was a mystical, even haunting, Indian Love Call written by Otto Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein II, and Rudolf Friml.

Ooo  ooo  ooo  ooo  ooo  ooo
When I'm calling you  oo  oo
Will you answer too  oo  oo             
That means I offer my love to you to be your own
If you refuse me I will be blue and waiting all alone
But if when you hear my love call ringing clear
Ooo   ooo   ooo 
And I hear your answering echo so dear
Ooo   ooo   ooo
Then I will know our love will come true
You'll belong to me I'll belong to you
You'll belong to me I'll belong to you


1938 was the 9th year of the depression. It was also the year the comic-book hero Superman was introduced and the enchanting Disney Film “Snow White.”  Perhaps you recall the tune to the Dwarf’s marching song:


Well, we dig in our mine the whole day through
Dig dig dig, that is what we like to do
And it ain't no trick to get rich quick
If you dig dig dig, with a shovel and a pick
Dig dig dig, the whole day through
Got to dig dig dig, it's what we like to do in our mine, in our mine
Where a million diamonds shine
We got to dig dig dig, from the morning till the night
Dig dig dig up everything in sight
We got to dig dig dig, in our mine, in our mine
Dig up diamonds by the score
A thousand rubies, sometimes more
But we don't know what we are digging for, yeah

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho
It's off to work we go
We keep on singing all day long

I loved the movie as a child and still do today; a classic that finds its way into your heart…and stays there.

1938 was also the first year of the minimum wage law that also monitored the number of work hours per week. At the time this was important since so many people were overworked and underpaid. In addition the WPA began supporting musicians and over 2500 out-of-work musicians were hired this year. And, already, Roosevelt’s programs were supporting theater with a number of new plays that might never have seen a production, on stage. (The National Endowment of the Arts, established in the 1960s was a wonderful program for artists until it began favoring non-profit bureaucracies over the individual artist). Anyway, speaking of theatrics, this was also the year of Orson Welles “War of the Worlds” radio broadcasttwo(117944). Thousands of people believed it was real and were…scared half to death. And speaking of entertainment, the most popular song of the year was an upbeat number written by Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren: You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby.

You must have been a beautiful baby

You must have been a beautiful child

When you were only starting to go to Kindergarten

I bet you drove the little boys wild.

And when it came to winning blue ribbons

You must have shown the other kids how

You must have been a beautiful baby

‘cause baby look at you now.


There were lots of good and lots of bad, lots of happy and lots of sad in ’39. It was the year that two of America’s most memorable films were made: Gone with the Wind and the beloved Wizard of Oz.

On a less happy note the famous American contralto, Marian Anderson two(117946)was to have a special appearance at Constitution Hall but the dear ladies calling themselves The Daughters of the Revolution refused to let her sing there because—what else—she was black. This made Eleanor Roosevelttwo(117945) so angry that she resigned her membership in the organization. (Good for her but of course Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the grandest first lady’s in our historyJ

The most negative news, however, is that this is the year that war broke out in Europe with Hitler’s army invading Poland. An easy victory since some of the Polish Army was still fighting on horseback—not much of a challenge to a modern army as Hitler had. At this juncture, America planned on remaining neutral.

There was another important event…well I believe it to be important. 1939 was the year of my birth and what a cute, little tyke I was


Incidentally, a most popular song of that year was Beer Barrel Polka. Know the tune?

Roll out the barrel, we'll have a barrel of fun
Roll out the barrel, we've got the blues on the run
Zing boom tararrel, Sing out a song of good cheer
Now's the time to roll the barrel

‘Cause the gang's all here


President Roosevelt was elected to a third term this year. There were rumors about joining the war effort and the U.S. draft began this year: In a population of 131.6 million. 16 million Americans between the age of 21 and 36 were registered. This was the year that Willie Corporation introduced the vehicle which was destined to be nicknamed the jeeptwo(117948). The most popular song was a romantic country western that would stay popular for a long many years. You Are My Sunshine.

You Are My Sunshine
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You'll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away

The other night, dear,
As I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you in my arms.
When I awoke, dear,
I was mistaken
And I hung my head and cried.


Mount Rushmore was completed in 1941; the Rushmore Memorial that began in 1925 after John Borglum was commissioned. John died in 1938 before the project was completed and his son Lincoln completed it.

In April of this year 400,000 coalminers had been striking for higher wages and finally were given an additional one dollar raise. For a great many this meant earning $7 a day. (My dad was a coalminer so this history is quite emotional for me). What I believe is extremely vital to this time in America’s past however, is Roosevelt’s call for four freedoms:

The first is freedom of speech and expression everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom for every person to worship God in his own way everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want everywhere in the world

The forth is freedom from fear anywhere in the world

The less than subtle point was that if/when America went to war it would be in the cause of “freedom.” Near the ending of this year—1941—on December 7th, the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese occurred. On December 11, we declared war on Japan and Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S. The war years were to produce some of the most romantic and beautiful songs in world history. In 1941 a hit tune was You Made Me Love You, music by Percy Venable and Louis Armstrong. The song had actually been published was back in 1913!

You made me love you
I didn't wanna do it
I didn't wanna do it
You made me want you
And all the time you knew it
I guess you always knew it

You made me happy sometimes
You made me glad
But there were times
You made me feel so bad


The war went immediately hot with some serious defeats by the U.S. against Japan—our forces surrendered at Bataan, the major battle at Coral Sea had not ended with a major victories and a lot of people were dying on all sides. At home women were being called upon to fulfill what had traditionally been male jobstwo(117950) and both food and materials were being rationed. As for food, meat, sugar, coffee and butter were among the many food items either rationed or impossible to get such as cheese and chocolate. Gas, nylon, rubber and tin were high on the priority list of military needs and even cigarettes were on the ration list. Americans didn’t mind, this was the most popular war in our history because Americans felt bitter against the enemies on both fronts.

Even with a few early mishaps, by the end of this year America’s military was on the aggressive while people at home kept them in their prayers and in their hearts; just about everyone had someone fighting over there.

Two wonderful movies arrived in 1942 that still touches the minds and hearts of people today. Yankee Doodle Dandy with James Cagney playing Geroge M. Cohan and Casablanca starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Both are masterpieces of storytelling and movie making.


(The policeman in the shot is the incredible actor, Claude Rains).

In essence Casablanca is a wartime love story and, as said, World War Two was one of the most romantic times in all history especially when it comes to the music. Yet, I’ve chosen to remember one of the most fun and most spiritual songs of that decade—Deep in the Heart of Texas lyrics by June Hershey and music by Don Swander. If you don’t know the tune it’s almost for certain that someone in your house will.

The stars at night are big and bright

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

The prairie sky is wide and high

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

The sage in bloom is like perfume

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

Reminds me of the one I love

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

The coyotes wail along the trail

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

The rabbits rush around the brush

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

The cowboys cry, "Ki-yip-pee-yi"

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

The doggies bawl and bawl and bawl

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

(Lots of families cheered themselves sup singing this song during the war years).


The American Army was advancing in 1943—the Japanese were defeated at Guadalcanal and in the Aleutians….Rommel had been stopped in North Africa as we marched into Italy with our Allies. Even this early in the war years President Roosevelt is meeting with other leaders of the allies to talk about post war strategies known as the Teheran Conference:

In the meantime it was the women who kept the cogs of American industry and business going. Interestingly enough a 1915 song written by Johnny Black was amidst the most popular of the year. Well, there were a lot of “Dear John” letters written during the war. Here’s Paper Doll.

I’m gonna buy a paper doll that I can call my own

A doll that other fellows cannot steal

And then the flirty, flirty guys with their flirty, flirty eyes

Will have to flirt with dollies that are real

When I come home at night she will be waiting

She’ll be the truest doll in all this world

I’d rather have a paper doll to call my own

Then have a fickle-minded real live girl



The war raged on and American citizens were encouraged to have what were called Victory Gardens. My grandmother always had a great garden in the summeTWO(117956)r when I was a very little boy and all our neighbors had victory gardens too. Victory gardens was to help prevent waste and to grow our own food so the soldiers would continue to have plenty. We also had chickens and rabbits so we ate well during the entire war years.

This was the year of other victories for Americans too.   France was liberated from the Nazis. General MacArthur and German Advances were virtually stopped during the Battle of the Bulge with this battle was the beginning of the end for the Nazi Regime. Not all news was good news however: One of America’s most beloved bandleaders, Glenn Miller, who had given up his successful civilian life to play with the Air Force band. In December of this year he took a flight from England to Paris with his plane going down in a storm. American’s mourned!

In 1944 something that was no doubt unconstitutional occurred that, to this day, is resented especially by right-wing advocates against Roosevelt. He declared private enterprise under government control—this included the highly successful Montgomery Ward department and mail order store, given over to the Army’s full control. The Chairman, Sewell Avery, was so irate that he refused to get out of his chairTWO(117961)The Army helped him. However this government takeover of private enterprise will remain a key point to the Republican and Conservative stance against Democratic philosophy no doubt as long as we have the two-party system.

In the meantime those sentimental war songs kept hitting the top of the charts. At the top of the charts was “I’ll Walk Alone” by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn:

I'll walk alone
Because to tell you the truth
I'll be lonely
I don't mind being lonely
When my heart tells me you are lonely, too


In 1945 while General Patton was leading his troops across the RhineTWO(117958)Ally leaders Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin had already met at Yalta to discuss how they would “Carve up the Word or, in other words, divide it between themselves and allies. It was in this same year that Franklin D. Roosevelt died (The nation wept) and Harry S. Truman stepped into office.

Victory in Europe came first with the defeat of Hitler and his vast military machine. What followed was the devastation of Japan’s Hiroshima and Nagasaki—the war officially ended worldwide on Sept 2nd, 1945.

A most popular song of that year was, Sentimental Journey by Les Brown, Hen Homer and lyricist Arthur Green:

Gonna take a Sentimental Journey

Gonna set my heart at ease

Gonna Take a Sentimental Journey

To renew old Memories

Got my bags, got me reservations

Spend each dime I could afford

Like the child in wild anticipation

I love to hear that, “All aboard.”


Roosevelt had signed the G.I. Bill in 1944 so when all the Janes and Johnnys came marching home it was home life that just about every single person was yearning for. And, the GI bill all but assured every honorably discharged service person a low-interest loan to buy a home with.

These became the years of Home, Mom and Apple Pie and a national commitment to God, Home and Country. Americans were clearly aware of what could have been lost. Marriage and family life was the Great American Dream during the post war years and a gratitude for simply being alive was everywhere across the nation. Indeed, at the top of the charts was this happy song written by Irving Berlin. “I’ve Got the Sun in the Mornin’ and the Moon at Night.
Taking stock of what I have and what I haven't
What do I find?
The things I got will keep me satisfied
Checking up on what I have and what I haven't
What do I find?
A healthy balance on the credit side

Got no diamond, got no pearl
Still I think I'm a lucky girl
I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night


In 1947 life was feeling normal again—Americans were going to work, paying their bills and having their babies. The big social fear at the time was communism and the financier, political adviser Bernard Baruchtwo(117963) gave us a new term for that fear—“Cold War.”

During this time, however, most Americans  paid little attention to the threat since the feeling was that World War Two was probably the last major war to happen. Nevertheless, tensions were “heating up” between the two world powers.


In the meantime, the Marshall plan was being put together by Secretary Marshall. Here’s President Truman signing the bill to create it. The Marshall plan was how America would Aid Europe in her recovery after the war. Here is Germany but devastation, hunger and homelessness was everywhere in Europe that was struggling to recover and heal its war wounds. A basic idea for doing this was not only to assist people in regaining a life for themselves but to restore a strong western economy.

In overview 1947 was a year of hope and happiness for most people in the U.S., employment was up, homes were affordable, the farms were in a very positive recovery and the Baby Boom was on. American’s own country music was hitting the pop charts as well. This fast paced number was extremely “hot” on the 1947 charts. Blue Moon of Kentucky!

Blue moon of Kentucky, keep on shining
Shine on the one that's gone and left me blue
Blue moon of Kentucky, keep on shining
Shine on the one that's gone and left me blue
It was on one moonlight night
Stars shining bright
Whisper on high
Love said goodbye
Blue moon of Kentucky keep on shining
Shine on the one that's gone and left me blue

(If you’ve never heard this song—find it and give it a listen—It’ll perk you up!)


A lot of historical importance occurred during this year. This was the year that the United States recognized Israel and the same year that the Soviets began putting up the Berlin Wall. The year that the Supreme Court outlawed prayer in schools and the year that the beloved baseball star Babe Ruth died. And, the year that at long last the armed forces were integrated. 

This was the year that the first McDonaldstwo(117966) was open in San Bernardino, California. The new concept gave no car hop service and no choices for the burger—a McDonald hamburger was a McDonald hamburger. Some thought the concept would never work…hmmm?

This was the year that Truman won the presidential election against a much respected John Dewey. In fact, some people were so sure that Dewey was going to win “hand’s down” that the Chicago Tribune printed a Dewey win before the election returns were in. Here’s a photo of the result. Truman awakened the next morning to read this headlinetwo(117967) but to celebrate his unexpected victory.

As for the music of that year, this happy tune was the big winner in American hearts: Written by Mort Dixon with music by Harry M. Woods we all stared looking over a four leaf glover:

I'm looking over a four-leaf clover

That I overlooked before

One leaf is sunshine, the second is rain

Third is the roses that grow in the lane

 No need explaining, the one remaining

Is somebody I adore

I'm looking over a four-leaf clover

That I overlooked before


1949 was most basically a quiet year for the nation in that  life itself seemed stabilized and routines of work and play had returned to Americana—cars had modernized rapidly after 1946. Here’s a 1946 ford,two(117970) getting streamlined and the streamlined 1949.two(117968) (My first car was a used 1949 Ford. I thought I was sooooo cool driving it).

Television was slowly weaving itself into more and more of American life. Our first one looked like this (I was 14 years old by then) and the shows (as I recall) included The Hit Parade…The Lone Ranger…I love Lucy and others. We were mostly amazed by the media until we got used to watching TV as opposed to listening to radio. I had grown up in the radio era so I still miss the radio shows to this day—shows like The Shadow……Amos and Andy…Author Gofrey’s Talent Scouts…Fiber McGee and Molly…so many of them…so many great memories:

Not all was home and apple pie, however. This was the year that the Russians detonated a nuclear bomb—In September of ’49 a second superpower had raised a mighty fist in the world and life for everyone was going to change.

Indeed, a most popular song of that year was, Sentimental Journey:

Gonna take a Sentimental Journey,
Gonna set my heart at ease.
Gonna make a Sentimental Journey,
to renew old memories.

Got my bags, got my reservations,
Spent each dime I could afford.
Like a child in wild anticipation,
I Long to hear that, "All aboard!"


                                                                 Part       Two

The 1930s and 1940s were trying years for the United States and the world; hard years. The crash that caused the so-called Great Depression created enough difficulties not excluding extreme unemployment and then the terrifying and destructive dust storms. While the war years had helped to create a financial face-lift for the economy, poverty continued to weigh down the many. No one probably suspected the “golden years of the fifties” were going to unfold. We cannot relish in the mythologies, however. While there was a large and extremely secure middle class, there were greater numbers of extremely poor folks struggling in that deep valley looking up at the extreme wealthy. In regard to it all, however, American-ism remained strong and that grand old flag was held in the highest esteem. There was a cohesiveness of the people and pride after the war…and that particular American closeness seemed to be just about everywhere—in the mind, the heart and yes…the music.

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