I will respond to all research requests from the rehearsal period on this page.
8/14/14: Mark asked me to research attitudes towards women smoking in 1955. Here’s what I found:
According to Tobacco.org, 56.9% of males and 28.4% of females smoked in the U.S. in 1955. Medical knowledge provider BMJ.com explains that in the nineteenth century smoking by women was perceived as a moral failing, and was associated with prostitution and low social standing. But, with the advent of mass produced cigarette manufacturing in the late nineteenth century, cigarettes became more available and widely marketed to women. During World War I, women first adopted traditionally male social practices such as working outside the home, wearing trousers, and smoking. In the 1920s and 30s, women were encouraged to light up as a symbol of their independence, their emancipation, and to challenge ideas about “appropriate” female behavior. They were also quickly marketed to women as a form of appetite suppression.
By the 1950s, women smokers were widely accepted, and it was viewed as a common social practice. Cigarettes were marketed to women using celebrity, promises of glamor and beauty, and of course sexual attraction. Here are a couple of cigarette ads from the 50s.
9/1/14: Bebe asked me to research how Dubonnet would be served on ice in 1955, as well as what kind of beverage Kathy might drink in the afternoon. Here are my findings:
Dubonnet can be served a number of different ways. It can be served alone, or as the classic Dubonnet cocktail. But, if serving it on ice, the most common way to do so is with a twist of lemon peel in an old fashioned glass.
If Kathy were to enjoy a non-alcoholic afternoon refreshment, it may likely be a Coca-Cola, whose advertising campaign made it one of the most popular drinks of the decade. Here are two examples of ads targeting women, encouraging them to refresh with a Coke after a day of housework, and to purchase the beverage for their family:
If Kathy were to make herself an afternoon cocktail, according to William H. Young’s book The 1950s (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004), she may likely have a martini. Served in hotels, restaurants, bars, and homes, “a well-made martini represented sophistication and the pursuit of perfection” (109). Cocktails signaled success and aspiration for the middle class and above. Other popular concoctions included manhattans, gimlets, and old-fashioneds.
Cocktails were part of the cultural landscape, and drinking was referenced in every cultural realm. For example, here is the album cover for Jackie Gleason’s Music, Martinis, and Memories (1957), epitomizing the pervasiveness of this particular drink (and it’s consumption by women) during the decade: