Have you ever wondered how people entertained themselves in the midst of the Great Depression? What did people do to take their minds off all of the economic problems? How did the United States become a place of amusement when times were tough? During this period, people enjoyed countless types of entertainment, mostly if they could participate in these activities reasonably cheap (Art and Entertainment… n. pag.). From playing cards with neighbors, to learning to ride a bike, Americans never lost hope in this time of hopelessness.
Every day, tons of people would visit the movies. “Why did Depression America go to the movies – Escapism is what most people assume” (Hollywood and… n. pag.). Escapism was a way to help Americans let go of their problems. When people were watching movies, they could forget their troubles for a few hours (Hollywood and… n. pag.). Movies gave the nation optimism for the future. “During the Great Depression, Hollywood played a valuable psychological and ideological role, providing reassurance and hope to a demoralized nation” (Hollywood and… n. pag.). Although the theaters were a great place to getaway for a little while, there were some monetary issues that went with it. “To finance the purchase of movie theaters and the conversion to sound, the studios had tripled their debts during the mid- and late- ‘20s to $410 million” (Hollywood and… n. pag.). Theaters had to increase their ticket prices, which resulted in a reduction of audiences. By 1933, 40% of people attending the movies and industry income had decreased (Hollywood and… n. pag.). 1/3 of the nation’s theaters had to close their doors, and the industry had to trim salaries and production costs in order to survive (Hollywood and… n. pag.). Movies gave America the idea of brightness for the future.
Music was encouraging to people during this time because of the upbeat rhythms of the songs. The radio was outrageously popular, presenting several types of programs, from sermons to soap operas (Art and Entertainment… n. pag.). People liked tuning into sports and news, as well as jazz and swing music (Wessels Living History Farm n. pag.). With the radio, the world became connected. The country people were suddenly united to the news around the nation. The ‘30s were a time of big bands and swing music. Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and Glenn Miller were just a few popular bandleaders (Art and Entertainment… n. pag.). As the ‘40s approached, war songs became popular, and musical leaders such as Ellington were replaced (Art and Entertainment… n. pag.). Music raised the spirits of the nation with its melodious sound.
Spending time with people was usually a way to distract Americans from the reality of the Great Depression. “Entertainment was one way of leaving behind worries about crops, weather, and money” (Wessels Living History Farm n. pag.). Movies,...