Entertainment History Essay
Within this essay it describes the popular and most common entertainment in Britain, from radio to the movies, in the beginning of the 1930’s. It reveals key feature of entertainment in the early 1930’s, for instance how it started, what were their intentions and what they involved. The radio plays a huge amount in our lives that’s why when it first began it was a phenomenon for the public and became a big success for the nation. It was formed on 18th October 1922, by a group of leading wireless manufactures.
Its founder, John Reith, believed that the BBC should educate, inform and entertain the public, he states this when he says ‘Broadcasting should bring … all that is best in every department of human knowledge, endeavour and achievement’. Reith enforced many regulations for instance; rude jokes were not allowed; he banned light entertainment on Sundays; and presenters had to speak properly so accents or dialects were not allowed. He felt that the BBC should provide popular programmes, however he also wanted BBC to be educational and enlightening experience. Which the BBC accomplished, it broadcast all over the U.
K and was able to entertain and inform those in their own home, which brought families together. Though the radio had its rivals such as newspapers, and magazines it managed to overcome this by reaching out to all types of the public for example male, female, all classes, the educated and the illiterate. It became even more popular when the new wireless sets were invented; this was a great delight to all homes in Britain, it was very accessible in letting families enjoy listening to the radio. As well as putting across the news around the world the BBC also aired other kinds of interest such as dance music and comedy.
This was a great improvement for singers and band leaders because it made them a vast amount of recognitions by the public because it caused their sales of their records to increase hugely. Band leaders such as Jack Payne and Henry Hall were very popular also common programs for example ‘Bandwagon’ went unmissed. As a result, radio was a family orientated source of entertainment and became a way of spending the night in, whilst enjoying yourself, rather than spending your night out. Another big source of entertainment was the cinema. Just as the radio allowed families coming together the so did the cinema, though it was more a family outing.
The film industry grew rapidly, however at first the British film industry couldn’t compete with the American film industry. It wasn’t as technically advanced as the American films and the British public preferred to watch more films from America which didn’t created a bigger obstacle for the British film industry. Consequently in 1927 the government passed an act ensuring that at least 5% of the total number of films should be shown in cinemas had to be British. And during that year sound movies was introduced this was a set back for the British film industry economically the silent movies were no match to the ‘talkies’.
Such film like ‘The Jazz Singer’ starring Al Jolson was the first sound movie to be shown though the first ten minutes of the film really had sound. Sound became a sensation; people were able to engage in the films for low prices. This was a way of bringing many forms of relationships together such as, couples, friends and families. It was seen as a safe, comfortable and relaxing environment for everyone to enjoy an evening and because one ticket could be used for the whole day, people could spend the entire day in the cinema.
Also Tennis became very popular, tennis clubs emerged increasingly and tennis courts were built in public parks by the local council. Though tennis was very popular it was quite expensive therefore it mainly attracted the middle and the upper class. Also because of its uniform it generally appeals to women, there dresses were shorter and movable as a result women could play much more comfortably. Cricket was a further type of entertainment that attracted the middle and upper class. This was an extremely popular sport, it grabbed a lot of attention especially the men.
Matches were filled with people mostly the men. And the success of Don Bradman, who was the one who sailed through nearly every match, initiated cricket hitting headlines. Football was a tremendously popular sport that was also male dominated, however it generally drew the attention of the working class. Because this was a new sport, and the prices were very cheap crowds of 50,000 to 60,000 attended the first division matches. It was so crowded people were literally on the field, although during the early 1930’s, since this was a fresh new sport the men weren’t as rowdy and uncontrollable as the men are today.
Even football pools were produced, this suggests the popularity of football and how the people of the 1930’s were influenced by this sport. In contrast to these sports greyhound racing was very popular as well though it weren’t as positive as the others. It attracted the working class and made them spend money to get money, although it didn’t work like that for the majority of people; it increased gambling; dept and led to addiction. The unemployed gambled as much as the working class but just spent less money, all of this reflected the fact of entertainment rising in the early 1930’s.
Music halls were an additional strong type of entertainment in the early 1930’s, however as grey hound racing was a negative type of sport so was music halls. It was where a selection of entertainment was staged in a large hall with tables at which drinks were served. It presented a variety of entertainment involving a mixture of popular songs, performing animals, acrobats, male/female impersonators, and comedians. It also assists in many acts becoming popular such as Flanagan and Allen, Gracie Fields, Max Miller, and George Formby.
The halls mostly attracted the working class because of its cheap prices; it was a place to socialize; and the availability of alcohol was one of the music hall’s attractions. People really came to music halls to unwind and have a lively time. Therefore, because the hall encouraged heavy drinking among both men and women, it didn’t appeal to families seeing as it wasn’t a place for children. Music halls went into a gradual decline after the introduction of talking films, Jazz, Swing, Big Band dance music and cinema. It’s restriction on the range of audience, which limited their customers, was another reason of their failure.
Musicals were similar to the music halls as they were both centered on music and performances; however because of the two different audiences it was incredibly different as well. Because of it sophistication musicals mainly attracted the middle and upper classes, the result of this meant that there was no competition. Therefore they carried on being successful. To conclude entertainment was a break through in allowing people to overcome to effects of the depression. Therefore it gave a rise to the upcoming of entertainment and how it affects our lives today.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 7 July 2017
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