Twenties Fashions, Major Advances in Technology with many of the inventions still in use today, The growth of the movie industry, Start of the Mass Production of cars, Radios For The Home and Popular Culture, The Twenties were a time of radical change caused by the many changes happening in technology with new advancements, discoveries, and inventions.
The 1920’s are often referred to as the Roaring Twenties or the Jazz Age. Jazz symbolized the decade’s spirit of liberation. Female musicians like Bessie Smith emerged during this period of post-war equality, paving the way for future female artists. New dance styles also emerged in this time, involving spontaneous body movements and closer physical contact between partners. Public dance halls, clubs, and tea rooms opened in the cities.
The 1920’s were Broadway’s prime years, with over 50 new musicals opening in just one season. Record numbers of people paid up to $3.50 for a seat at a musical. It was also a decade of incredible artistic developments in musical theater.
There were three major inventions that made popular music more accessible than ever before: the phonograph, radio, and the record player. Piano sales sagged as phonograph production increased from 190,000 in 1923 to 5 million in just six years! The popularity of jazz and blues music fueled the phonograph boom. A few of the most popular musicians during the time were George Gershwin, Al Jolson, Louis Armstrong, and Eddie Cantor.
The movie industry in the Roaring Twenties really blossomed and expanded. The 1920’s was the start of the studio and the birth of “stars”. Most people are unaware that the greatest output of feature films in the US occurred in the 1920’s and 1930’s – averaging about 800 film releases in one year. By the mid-20’s, movies were big business with a capital investment totaling over $2 billion! Some theaters even started to offer double features during the end of this time.
Even the earliest films were organized into genres. The major genre emphasis was on swashbucklers, horrors, and melodramas. The transition to sound-on-film technology occurred mid-decade with the talkies, or “taling pictures” developed in the mid 20’s, after about a decade of experimental techniques. The two studios that were crucial in the development of technology of sound in movies were Fox Studios and the Warner Brothers.
In the earliest years of the motion picture industry, production, distribution, and exhibition were separately controlled. It wasn’t until the industry’s rapid growth that these functions became integrated to maximize profits. By the end of the decade, the “Big Five” were set to rule and monopolize the film-making industry for the next 50 years. The Big Five Studios were: Warner Bros. Pictures, Famous Players-Lasky Corporation (Later became Paramount Pictures), RKO Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Fox Film Corporation (Later became 20th-Century Fox).
Directors were finally able to break out of the norm in the 1920’s. They received more recognition than ever before as they used their own personal stylistic signatures on their films. Many believe that this is a reason why so many movies were being produced during this time. Without the limitations of movie directing, the director’s role dramatically changed.
In the 1920’s came the first Academy Awards, first talking picture, and the first musical. The film industry was dominated by comedy and adventure with films like The Three Musketeers, Robin Hood, and The Black Pirate. The three movies that won Oscars in the 1920’s were The Broadway Melody, Sunrise, and Wings. Here is a list of the 10 most popular films in the twenties!