The life and times of Australia's Baby Boomer generation


The Fads of the Baby Boomer Years


The 1950s

One of the things which most characterises the 1950s was the strong element of conservatism and anticommunist feeling in the free world. Religion and family were seen as the bastions that would stand up against and eventually beat Communism. Families worked together, played together and vacationed together, camping or caravanning at places like national parks and beaches. Gender roles were strongly held, girls played with  Barbie dolls, boys dressed up as Roy Rogers or Davy Crockett. Hula hoops and Hopalong Cassidy guns, western gear, model trains and silly putty were all the rage.
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The 1960s

Youth predominated the culture of the 1960s.  The post World War II Baby Boom had created 70 million teenagers wlorldwide for the sixties, and these youth swayed the fashion, the fads and the politics of the decade. The Californian lifesyle became a strong influence on these young people.  Barbie dolls, pattered on the Californian beach girl, became a huge success, surfing became a huge sport around the world.  Toys based on Hollywood movie and TV stars became top sellers.
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The 1970s

Mood rings, lava lamps, smiley face badges and pet rocks all captured the world's imagination during this decade. The wildest fad surely was streaking nude through very public places. The most common was disco, a whole new genre of music and accompanying dance steps that developed out of rock'n'roll of the 1960s but has influences from funk, soul music, and salsa and the Latin or Hispanic musics which influenced salsa.
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The 1980s

Nerd's became a hot commodity in the 1980s.  People like George Lucas, Stephen Wozniak and Bill Gates helped.  So did movies like Revenge of the Nerds, Lucas, Stand by Me, and Peggy Sue Got Married. Kids loved Sweetarts, Skittles, Nerds, Runts, Hubba Bubba Chewing Gum, and Five Alive.
Collectibles were big in the 80s. Smurf and E.T. paraphernalia, Cabbage Patch dolls, camcorders, video games (Nintendo, Pac Man, Game Boy), Rubik's Cube,  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Barbies (now Hispanic, Black, Asian) were the 'in' toys.
 
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Baby Boomer Central is published by Australia On CD. © Stephen Yarrow, 2010.