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The Cat's Meow: 1920's History - InfoBarrel
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The Cat's Meow: 1920's History

By Edited Aug 7, 2015 0 0

Those jazzy 1920's created a time that is probably as revisited as the 1960's. A swanky fashion, created by liberated women such as Coco Chanel was matched by gangster fashion inspired from the one and only Al Capone. The prohibition of alcohol didn't stop the youth from having a good time, instead speakeasies flourished. A flapper sub-culture became legend thanks to the Ziegfeld Follies. In short, the 1920's was the cat's meow.

Numerous words were said with a knowing tongue-in-cheek attitude:

  • bump off - to murder, kill
  • cheaters - eyeglasses
    1920's fashion
  • copacetic - wonderful, fine, allright
  • hoofer - dancer
  • gams - a woman's legs
  • heebie-jeebies - the jitters
  • keen - attractive or appealing
  • pinch - to arrest.
1920's history even included the introduction of the popular Chinese game, Mahjong.

New Morality

Although folks were singing the Blues, mainly laments about a mate, there was a new, looser morality going on. Cars with a combustion engine (rather than a steam engine) had been introduced, so more people were driving the more affordable cars. The increase in consumer products made for more affordable pricing. There was an emphasis of youth culture over the older generation. This was a sort of coming out from a stricter generational view of society.

Relationships in the dating sphere changed. Dating became informal - no chaperones. Couples went out and the man paid for the night out. Singles broke away from parental authority and enjoyed an emerging independence. Let's imagine a dating scene. Jo picks up Sally in his automobile, and they drive through some newly invented traffic lights to a speakeasy. Sally is dressed fashionably with a feather boa adorning her flapper dress. They order hair of the dog (shot of alcohol), and maybe even indulge in some Indian hop (marijuana). Then they become hoofers to a jazz singer's soulful tune, or maybe some ragtime piano music. They can do the shimmy, turkey trot, and bunny hug. Once Jo's dough (money) is spent, they take off in his car and maybe park for awhile, since they realize they are stuck on (having a crush on) each other. See how this new morality looked in the 1920's?

Bee's Knees - phooey

It wasn't all the bee's knees (extraordinary, the ultimate). They didn't write self-help books about making up like nowadays. Certainly the new morality led to trouble, infidelity and sorrow for some. One famous actress of the 1920's history was Evelyn Nesbit. Her affair ended with her husband murdering her lover. It was quite a big story at the time, and not exactly the cat's meow.

Along with the inventions mentioned, penicillin and band-aids can be added. This was great, because baseball players like Babe Ruth of the New York Yankees needed to stay well to hit 60 homeruns in 1927. So did Charles Lindbergh with his first successful transatlantic flight. No doubt those two fellows did some talking to the Sky Boss with their great endeavors.

There were five major movie studios; Warner Bros., Paramount, RKO, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and 20th Century Fox. One of the more famous films was "The Jazz Singer" with Al Jolson acting in it. He didn't win any awards at the time, however. Here's a link to a short video about 1920's history, enjoy, and Don't take any wooden nickels!
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