Tulsa 1957: Here to stay?

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Man-on-the-street interviews from the March 11, 1957, Tulsa Tribune on the subject of rock 'n' roll's staying power. I'm guessing these comments were gleaned somewhere in downtown Tulsa, from the presence of a Central High School student and the fact that Mrs. Dearston is adorned with a very lovely hat -- the sort one would wear to go shopping in the city. Note the scarves -- must have been a windy day.

Curbstone Opinion
Rock 'N' Roll Losing Popularity?
Majority Quizzed Here Say Not

Young people are going to keep on "rocking and rolling," believe a majority of this week's Curbstoners. They see -- and hear -- no let up from the teen-age craze.

The question: Is rock 'n' roll on the way out? Experts say it is beginning to get ragged around the edges."

Tribune-19570311-Curbstone.JPG

Miss Glynna Eastering of 1144 S. Troost Ave., a nurse: "No, I don't think it is. My friends and I still love to listen to it, and it seems to me it is just as popular as ever. I certiainly like it as much."

Mrs. Imogene Coats of Salina, Okla., a teacher: "I don't think rock 'n' roll is dying out; not from the reaction in our school. When we have assemblies, that's all the students want. Our school has a little combo, and the boys and girls will sit and listen to them play those songs for hours."

Dan Coco, of 215 W. Tecumseh St., a Central High School student: "Yes, I do think it's going out. It's not the fad now it was because it's all turning into the same thing. Every song sounds alike. Some of the students are still crazy about it, but most of the ordinary girls and boys are losing their enthusiasm for it."

Mrs. Howard Dearston of Bixby, housewife: "I hope so. It doesn't look as if it is, however. I think it is just a phase as the charleston was with us."

Mrs. George Graff Jr., of 4107 S. New Haven Pl., housewife and teacher: "I have a teenage daughter, and I don't really think it is ending. The young people just like it too well. After all, it's an outlet for their anxieties and emotions."

Charles Harris of 3919 W. 8th St., seaman stationed with the Coast Guard in Alaska: "Yes, I think rock 'n' roll is on the way out. The charleston always is making a comeback and fading out, ever since the '20s, and I think this music will do the same. The waltzes and rhythm tunes are coming in again now. Rock 'n' roll is really losing its popularity in Alaska."

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2 Comments

manasclerk said:

If you think about it, rock and roll did die out, only to return with the british invasion.

Neat pull. But I just got to ask: why in the world were you in 1957's microfilm?

That's an interesting point, and you could also ask whether anyone is playing true rock 'n' roll these days. Are there certain musical features that characterize rock music, or is it by definition whatever the music of American youth culture happens to be at any given point in time? For example, is heavy metal a form of rock 'n' roll or a completely separate genre? What about new wave or punk or trance music?

The 1957 microfilm is part of BatesLine's centennial year history project -- Tulsa 1957. (Here's the post that introduces the idea.) As I have time, I'm grabbing and posting material that reflects what life was like here 50 years ago, when pre-war Tulsa was still visible, but Tulsa's future was already taking shape. The year conveniently coincides with Oklahoma's semi-centennial and the time capsule that'll be unearthed this June. There's more material that I've scanned or photographed; I just need to post it.

My hope is that what I'm posting from old newspapers and documents will stir the memories of people who were around in 1957. I'm not so much interested in the big news stories, except as context. I want to capture what it was like to live here fifty years ago.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 15, 2007 6:19 PM.

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