Saturday Evening Post Time Capsule: February 1950

The Saturday Evening Post’s coverage in February of 1950 included the communist threat, Ingrid Bergman, and…roller derby?

Family admires a Studebaker station wagon

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In February 1950, Joseph McCarthy hunted down communists, the atomic bomb terrified Americans, and scientists marveled at the “mechanical brains” of computers. The Saturday Evening Post was there to report it all.

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  1. You can view the Time Capsule video and articles for free. The Saturday Evening Post magazine (6 issues a year) and complete online archive from 1821-present are available to members for $15 a year. Go to our “Subscribe” page.

  2. I was 17 in 1950. both writers had a very positive comments about that year, but forgot one ugly episode
    for 1950- The Korean war- KIA 35,000

  3. I was two years old in the year 1950. Too young to remember 18 cent gas, but I do remember gas in the low 20 cent range by the mid 60’s.
    It was a big deal to have a vehicle that could get 20 miles to the gallon. All the gas stations were full service. They would check your tire air pressure, check your motor oil, and wash your car windows
    I remember getting a nifty red plastic fireman’s helmet when Dad would buy FireChief gas from Texaco.
    I was only afraid of the A-Bomb, Polio, and Rabies, in that order. Walt Disney, put the fear of Hydrophobia in me, good with the movie “Ole Yeller.”
    Gene Autry, was great singing “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”
    I definitely didn’t like needles, but dutifully received one of the 1st batch of the miracle Polio vaccine.
    Dr. Jonas Salk, saved me from winding up in one of those scary “Iron Lungs.” I remember all this stuff, but can’t remember where I put my car keys! haha
    Where’s my time machine? I want to go back!!

  4. This time capsule is a clever expansion of the Post video series you’ve been doing. There’s not much you could do about the modern vehicles reflected in the windows, but it’s okay. They’re so bland they’d even blend into the background of ‘The Favourite”, set in the 18th century, so you’re fine!

    People were already watching 4 hours of TV in early 1950? That’s a lot! Never forget TV was/is an advertising medium first and foremost, with the programs/shows only there to keep you watching it so you’ll watch all the commercials. It would make Collier’s magazine its first (of the big 4 general-interest magazines) victim in 1956, LOOK its 3rd in 1971 and force The Post and LIFE (2nd and 4th to fall) to re-formulate and reinvent themselves to be less ad dependent for revenue.

    I didn’t know roller derby was so popular then! I knew boxing was largely from ‘I Love Lucy’ with Ricky and Fred. Lucy sold SO many millions of TV’s it’s not even funny. Ironically the first episode from October 1951 centered around a stunt gone wrong she pulled, looking terrible on the cover of LOOK, then being on the cover (as herself) the month before it folded in October ’71! Unfortunately she also sold a lot of cigarettes back then too.

    Senator Joseph McCarthy came perilously close to shutting her show down in 1953, but wasn’t as clever as Desi Arnaz who saved the day proving Lucy was no Communist. Ironically, McCarthy died on 5/2/57 and the final I Love Lucy aired 5/6/57—20 days before I was born. That might make for a good future time capsule video. Definitely that June! You know, the month that sleek, finned Plymouth Belvedere coupe was buried in Tulsa, OK. then unearthed with disastrous results in 2007? Don’t watch it on YouTube; it’s awful. Please don’t look. Promise?

    It makes sense the beginnings of the digital age had their roots back then. I want to read that story, but I’m still in the 1820’s with the archives, Jeff! The fact refrigerators could hold twice as much as their pre-war counterparts is very interesting too. Okay, I’m checking out those February ’50 issues this week! My curiosity’s got me tonight.

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