In the 1950’s I remember the older kids who were “Greasers” My cousins were among the many, my one cousin he wore shit tee-shirt sleeves rolled up high with a pack of lucky strikes and my other cousin had a boyfriend who who did the same. You weren’t cool if you didn’t! I went to Wikipedia search out some background history about the style and below is some of what I found.
In the 1950’s, there were the greaser’s with their cloths and hair styled in an outstanding way, The most notable physical characteristic of greasers was the greased-back hairstyles they fashioned for themselves through use of hair products such as pomade or petroleum jelly, which necessitated frequent combing and reshaping to maintain.
Males sported coiffures adopted from early rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly performers such as Elvis Presley among them the Folsom, pompadour, Elephant’s trunk, and Ducks Ass, while females commonly backcombed, coiffed, or teased their hair.
In the early 1950’s, there was significant greaser interest in doo-wop a genre of African-American music from the industrial cities of the Northeast that had disseminated to mainstream American music through Italian American performers. Greasers were heavily associated with the culture surrounding rock n’ roll a musical genre that had induced feelings of a moral panic among older middle-class generations during the mid-to-late 1950’s.
The first cinematic representation of the greaser subculture was the 1953 film The Wild One! the music group, Sha-Na-Na- formed in the late 1960’s’ models their onstage presence on New York City greasers (the band members themselves were mostly Ivy Leaguer’s.
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So interesting!! Very well researched, brought back a few memories!
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This is a great post, Bob and educational about a very important aspect of Social Culture in the 1950’s! In college I had a boyfriend who was in West Side Story and we used to joke that he was a “Greaser” because he played one of the Jets! It was 2007 so there weren’t many real Greasers anymore but it was funny!
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Thanks! I remember going to the movies when the “West Side Story” came out in the early 60’s, a great film and the musical! It’s cool you knew a cast member.
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