Class of '53

The Graduating Class of Summer 1953 - Clothes change, styles change - attitudes change. The Human spirit; same as it ever was and always will be.

The Great Radio Documentaries – “The Class Of ’53” – Justice William O. Douglas – 1953 – Past Daily Pop Chronicles.

Class of '53
The Graduating Class of Summer 1953 – Clothes change, styles change – attitudes change. The Human spirit; same as it ever was and always will be.

Class of ’53 – Narrated By Justice William O. Douglas – CBS Radio Network – 1953 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Continuing our month of milestone documentaries, this third in a series of Unit One programs for CBS Radio entitled Class of ’53 and narrated by Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.

Like the other documentary in this series, “38th Parallel U.S.A.” Class of ’53 goes on a trip across the U.S. examining the lives of American teenagers, particularly those graduating high school and on the cusp of heading into adulthood from coast to coast. The object was to give the listener a feel for what the average teenager was like, during what were, in 1953, stressful times.

The Korean War was not yet at the truce stage, fighting was still going on – and subsequently one of the great concerns was the drafting of those 18 year olds into service to go overseas; the ones from this graduating class. There was also the issue of Communism; we were knee-deep in the Red Scare – there was a very real fear of Atomic War and the possible eradication of all life on earth. Juvenile delinquency was on the rise – teen pregnancies were increasing at an alarming rate. Alcohol and an increasing use of drugs were spreading across the country – and all of these were concerns of Parents and authority figures and the question was whether or not America was heading into a crisis among its youth. And would we survive?

That was 1953 – a period so distant from 2022 that the fashions, problems and issues of such overwhelming concern seem somewhat quaint and innocent by comparison.

But it serves as a reminder that, no matter how much things on the surface change – how fashion and Popular Culture and even patterns of speech change – the core of who we are as people – that deep-down human experience, is the same now as it was then and before that and before that and after this and still after this.

We will, without a doubt, listen to the trials and tribulations of growing up and coming of age from 2022 sometime around 2053 – how Social Media has put us on a crash-course to oblivion – how we were doomed and that we were at the end of days. Only to laugh and shake our heads and wonder what the big deal was – much as we listen to the trials and tribulations of growing up in America in 1953 and roll our collective eyes.

Always been that way – always will be.

For a glimpse at what had us happy and worried in 1953, take a listen and spot the similarities – there’s a lot more than you imagine. Believe me. Those kids in the photo are you.

Here is Class of ’53 from CBS Radio, as it was broadcast in June of 1953.

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