The Timeless Business of Fun (Because the World is Serious Enough)
Do people still have fun?
Of course they do! Having just wrapped-up our series on Millennials and Generation Z, we’re moving on to a topic that’s seriously fun…the business of play and how the definition of leisure has changed (or hasn’t) over the past 60 years.
Each day in August (which is a month often filled with sun, travel, and a little r&r) we’ll focus on one activity that’s considered entertaining and/or relaxing and contrast how it has evolved over the past six decades. Who knows what we’ll be doing 60 years from now? But it better be fun.
To kick-off the series, here are some compelling facts and stats about goofing-off and cavorting.
What did people do for fun in 1956? (I picked that year because it’s the year I was born). That was also the year James Dean said, “Live fast…die young…leave a good looking corpse.” Very fitting.
- “As the World Turns” made its debut on television — the first long-format television serial. (NBC hatched the peacock that year too.) The American love affair with the small screen began.
- The first computer hard drive was invented by IBM. Who could imagine that less than a century later we’d be walking around with so much memory?
- Elvis Presley hit the music charts with “Heartbreak Hotel” and Doris Day crooned “Que Sera Sera.” (The future’s not ours to see.)
- Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced all subsequent circuses will be “arena shows” due to changing economics.
- Disneyland opened in 1955. Opening day was sort of a disaster. By 1956 it had 5 million visitors.
- Railroad travel was considered a fun family vacation option. Flying was expensive, dangerous, boring, boozy, smoke-filled, and racist, according to this article. (I will stop complaining about the TSA line after reading it.)
What’s considered fun today?
- Seems like we are watching a hell of a lot of TV! (2 hours and 49 minutes a day, in fact!)
- But we aspire to do a lot of other things — including knitting and rock climbing.
- We love to eat! We spend $212 billion on food.
- Amusement park attendance is on the rise.
- When we go to the movies, we still love our superheroes and cartoons, based on these stats on highest-grossing films of 2016.
- Thankfully we’re spending a whopping 38 minutes a day socializing and communicating. But sadly, Americans check their phones a total of 8 billion times a day. Probably while doing all the other things on this list!
For more fun facts about consumer spending and our definition of leisure — then and now — from nice to vice, please subscribe to our blog. And then, go out and have some fun!