Bad Girl, Good Business

The Timeless Business of Fun (Because the World is Serious Enough)

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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.

Play is good for your brain. Psychologists say so. We all play as kids (hopefully) and it’s an important aspect of how we evolve.  In fact, it’s considered a basic human right!

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!


One Comment

  1. […] August 5th, many of our TV-watching hours (2 hours and 49 minutes, on average) will be spent viewing the Summer Olympics. How many other […]


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