1950 was 66 years ago and started on a Sunday. The Second World War Two had ended only five years before; that sailor was still running around Times Square assaulting strange women in black in white. It was a long time ago.
Rationing was still enforced in the UK, although you could say that about the eight years following 1950, as well. Paul Robeson, a US citizen born in America, was still not allowed back into the country because he was a Commie, although you could say that about the eight years following, as well.
The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, which connects the southernmost tip of Manhattan to a terrible neighborhood in Brooklyn, was opened. Previously, there had been no way to cross the East River other than swimming or the pulley-barges, which regularly got swept upstream and into Hell’s Mouth, killing all involved. There had been a pontoon bridge for a short while, but everyone in Brooklyn was all, “Whadda dey call you? Pontoon? Pontoon? Hey, Jimmy: look at dis fuckin’ guy. Thinks he’s a pontoon.” That went on for a couple days and the pontoon bridge lost its self-esteem and drowned itself.
Apartheid was getting into high gear in 1950. For the younger Enthusiasts, Apartheid was South African racism. TotD, the young scamps are saying, there was racism everywhere. Shut the fuck up, I will say, and then continue to mention that there was indeed racism everywhere–still is–but the South Africans wrote it down and gave it a name. South Africans were so good at racism: when South Africa was in 3rd grade, it was racist at a ninth grade level. ’50 was the year the Group Areas Act passed, which created an officially segregated society; the West was appalled and immediately stopped doing business with South Africa 35 years later.
The very first charge card was used in 1950. Diners Club was for swells and fancy fuckers, and there were a lot of them in the post-war boom. True to its name, it was originally just accepted at restaurants, but soon expanded to other places fancy fuckers hung out in 1950: Turkish baths, and jazz clubs, and private detectives’ offices. A charge card was not a credit card, in which you can carry a balance while paying the interest, or a debit card that takes money from your bank account: a charge card is settled in full at the end of the month, with a little interest. American Express used to be a charge card, but now Amex is every kind of card because they’ll take your money any way you’d like to give it to them.
The very first seeds of the Vietnam War were planted in 1950, at least in the American part of the garden. Supplies, and advisors from the OSS (the precursor to the CIA) arrived to help the French keep hold of their rubber plantations. Communism was spotted, however, and America was compelled to chase it through the jungle for the next 25 years.
The very first Microbus rolled off the line in Wolfsburg, West Germany. It was sturdy, reliable, and affordable transportation that could be maintained easily and repaired cheaply. It was a car of the people, but made by Capitalists, so it was a decent vehicle. The Communists right across the border made cars for The People, and they were the worst pieces of shit you could dream of, plus you had to wait three years for the right to suck off a party official to get one.
It was a long time ago, 1950, and the world isn’t like that any more. The Post-War Years are over; the 20th century ends in 2016. No more Communism, and no more land wars in Asia, and no more Apartheid, and no more Microbuses.
And no more Vin Scully. He called his final game tonight; he called his first in 1950, which was 66 years ago and started on a Sunday.