Dancing, Bongos, People Kissing - Outrage in Venice, of all places.

Hipsters, Squares And Cornballs – Slice Of Life Where The Debris Meets The Sea – 1959 – Past Daily Pop Chronicles.

Dancing, Bongos, People Kissing – Outrage in Venice, of all places.

– Los Angeles Area news – various Radio and TV stations – Early September 1959 –

No one will ever convict Los Angeles of being the Capital of All Things Dull. For most of the last half of the 20th century and well into the 21st, Venice California has been witness to an almost continuous revolving door of movements, groups and individuals, all looking for that element of freedom to do, think and act in ways not normally condoned by genteel society. Especially since Venice was the epitome of what Southern California represented to people who had never been to the West Coast.

In the 1950s we had Beatniks; a group of people; mostly young, who emphasized freedom of thought and action, even to the point of annoying the hell out of everyone else, but who almost single-handedly established a cottage industry out of self-parody. If the vestiges of later-day free-thinking by way of Punks, Surfers and Hippies, whose fashion and lifestyle were largely approximated and copied by the rest of the world, Beatniks probably represented the first mass marketing of a concept that was by and large dreamed up by people who saw an opportunity and not very well adhered to by those it claimed to represent.

Things that offended people, especially those characterized as “straight” was part of what growing up in the postwar years and into the 1960s was all about.

The 1950s were a decade of wild contrasts in rehearsal to what surely was going to come in the 1960s. In the 1950s, a gathering of people to hang out, make music and pretend to be “hipper than thou” was a big red flag to those terrified of Communism and non comformity. Naturally, anything that veered from the acknowledged norm or challenged it was protested by the then-conservative majority of City Hall. And since it was Los Angeles, it had to be splashier and more headline grabbing than its neighbor to the north who had a historic capacity for tolerance of these kinds of shenanigans.

Listening to these newscasts, which spread over a period of a few days in September of 1959 offer some glimpse into where mainstream America was, by and large, at the time. That outrage over what we would consider downright silly now give you some idea of the atmosphere we lived in during the time. The snarky comments by some newscasters only illustrate just how absurd all of this was – whether it was the truly strange protests by the “Beatniks” and self-proclaimed Hipsters or the truly odd reactions by the community, it promised to be a harbinger of what was to come. The wild rides were about to begin.

Here is a sample of what Los Angeles was listening to and seeing in September of 1959 by way of several Radio and TV outlets in the city.

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