Entertainment of the 1920's

Chapter 24, Section 3
“The Jazz Age”
Jump in Entertainment
• More leisure time for Americans as working
hours shortened (8 hour days) and laborsaving appliances for homes became
• 1929 Americans spent 4 billion on
• 100% jump in ten years!
• How were they “entertaining” themselves?
• First commercial radio station was
KDKA in Pittsburgh in 1920 which
broadcast the presidential election
result (Harding won)
• 1921 World Series broadcast
• By 1930 60% of families had a radio
• First shows included news, weather,
sports, music, and political speeches
• Later broadcasts included dramas,
soap operas, comedies, and
children’s shows (just like the shows
that eventually would be on TV)
Early Movies
• 1891 Thomas Edison files for
a patent on his motion-picture
• In 1907 there were about
4,000 small “nickelodeon”
cinemas with films
accompanied by a pianist
• First blockbuster full-length
movie was “Birth of a Nation”
in 1915 (contained racism and
depictions of the KKK after the
Civil War)
• Became a boomtown in the
1910s and 1920s for the
movie business
• The sleepy village outside of
Los Angeles grew to be the
largest film-producing
location in the world
• Shops, restaurants, hotels,
and neighborhoods grew to
support the rich and famous
residents and visitors to the
Silent Movie
• Comedy – Charlie Chaplin
as “the Tramp”
• “America’s Sweetheart” –
Mary Pickford
• “The King of Hollywood” –
Douglas Fairbanks
• The three along with director
D.W. Griffiths (“Birth of a
Nation”) combined to create
United Artists production
company to make their own
Movies in the 1920s
• Movies were silent until 1927
• In “The Jazz Singer” in 1927
Al Jolson famously looks into
the camera and thrills
audiences by saying “You
ain’t heard nothin’ yet.”
• 1910: 5,000 Theatres in US
• 1930: 22,500 Theaters in US
• 1929: 125 Million Americans,
80 million movie tickets sold a
Impact of Radio and
Movies on 1920s Society
• They brought images and ideas
to them that they would not get
at home (could dream of doing
different things with their lives)
• This created a national popular
– They copied language from
movies and radio (slang)
– They copied hairstyles and
fashions from movies
• They became more informed in
national and international news
Sports Baseball:
• George Herman
“Babe” Ruth
• Considered the
greatest player
to ever play
• Records:
– 714 Career
– 60 homeruns
in a season
• 60th Homerun
• Celebrity Status
Sports: Boxing
• Jack Dempsey –
World Heavyweight
Champion from
1919 to 1926
• “Manassa Mauler”
• 60-7-8. 50 KO’s
• Dempsey vs. Willard
(the fight he first
won the title in)
Sports: Football
Jim Thorpe
• Native American
(from Sauk and Fox tribes)
• Perhaps the greatest multi
sport athlete ever
• Won gold medals in
Olympics (decathlon and
• Played professional
baseball & football as well
• Overview of his
Charles Lindbergh
• As a 25-year-old U.S. Air
Mail pilot, Lindbergh
emerged from obscurity to
virtually instantaneous
world fame
• 6 well-known pilots failed
to make the first solo nonstop flight across the
• Lindbergh did it in 1927 by
flying from New York to
Amelia Earhart
• In 1928 Earhart was the
first woman fly solo across
the Atlantic Ocean
• She set many other
records, wrote best-selling
books about her flying
• During an attempt to make
a circumnavigational flight
of the globe in 1937, she
disappeared over the
central Pacific Ocean