Crazy Fads

A Flashback into Crazy Fads of the 1950s

Fads reflect the mood and spirit of a particular time, and they offer insight into a nation’s culture. Over the last many decades, the U.S witnessed numerous crazy fads such as,

  • College students cramming into phone booths
  • Couples dancing until they drop
  • Daredevils swallowing live goldfish one after another
  • Streakers dashing naked down the street
  • Planking and flash mobs and robotic pets

These are just some of the crazy fads that have caught hold in the United States over the last century.

The 1950s, for example, was a time of economic boom and technological development. This period of economic prosperity culminated in jubilant mood as Americans expressed their delight in new creative inventions and crazes. According to reports, one popular craze on college campuses was to stuff as many people as possible into a phone booth.

Campus students crammed in phone booth
Campus students crammed in phone booth. Photo courtesy of Fans in a Flashbulb Opens in new window

On one campus, twenty-five people managed to squeeze into a single booth! In earlier decades, marked by the Great Depression Opens in new window and World War II Opens in new window, dance marathon frenzy caught on. Promoters lured couples with promises of fame and monetary prizes for those who could dance for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of hours.

And great ideas never die. Almost one hundred years later, dance marathons came back. One creative variation, the flash mob Opens in new window dance, attracts spontaneous performances that range from flash mob wedding dances to “Gangnam Style” K-Pop flash mobs in cities all over the world

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