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February 17, 2009 7:08 AM   Subscribe

All things 50s filter: I am throwing a 50s inspired party and would like advice on how to make it very fifties fun.

So please provide me with your favorite, memorable, funny, sweet and climactic 50s food recipes, songs/bands and fashions (for me and the husband).
posted by barrakuda to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
You need to wear a poodle skirt with saddle shoes, which can be ordered here. Put your hair in a high ponytail if it's long enough.
posted by carmicha at 7:34 AM on February 17, 2009


For food, take a look at the Gallery of Regrettable Food. Music ought to be fairly simple - check out any of the chart lists out there. T-shirts, jeans, slicked-backed hair, poodle skirts, etc. See if you can catch an episode of Happy Days.
posted by jquinby at 7:36 AM on February 17, 2009


Only the best music ever played on the history of the planet - DOO-WOP!
posted by Brettus at 7:40 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


You better have either something made out of jello with bits of something that doesn't belong inside a jello mold, or a fruit cake.

For fun, you can have a "duck and cover" drill in the middle of the party.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:51 AM on February 17, 2009


You must serve a jello salad made tiny marshmallows, and either a chicken casserole made cream of mushroom soup or the classic tuna noodle casserole (potato chip topping not optional). Mad Men provides the fashion sense. If you can find 8 oz Coke bottles, that would be a plus.
posted by theora55 at 7:53 AM on February 17, 2009


Well, what kind of '50s do you want? Square '50s, or hipster/beatnik '50s? Square '50s is so played out.

Berets. Black turtleneck sweaters. John Coltrane. Freestyle poetry.
You could have a whole lot of fun with this.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:56 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Civil_Disobedient, I was thinking the same thing! In middle school we did "Decades" projects and my group had the 50's...we staged an a-bomb drill in the middle!

You could also have a hula-hooping contest!

Food from the 50's is disgusting. Do you have a copy of the Joy of Cooking?

I just watched an episode of Unwrapped that featured "retro" foods, and the Jell-o people said that in the 40's and 50's was when big towering Jell-o molds took off, with all sorts of chunks of stuff in it.
posted by radioamy at 7:57 AM on February 17, 2009


Watch this. It's all about the contest near the middle. Also the vaugely racist singing.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 8:16 AM on February 17, 2009


Get some vintage 1950s Mad Magazines (like this) and leave them around for your guests to look at.
posted by frobozz at 8:20 AM on February 17, 2009


nthing the Jello mold thing. If you have a bunt cake pan, use that as the mold, and be sure to perch stuff on top of it as well as inside the jello itself.

Be sure that you are familiar with a variety of dances, and have a small group of friends who will be happy to help teach the party-goers moves they never knew or have forgotten, like the hand jive and the jitterbug.

Have a separate cool room filled with smoke where everyone is ironing their hair and listening to Ginsberg records.
posted by Mizu at 8:22 AM on February 17, 2009


Is it sit-down or buffet style?

Any dish containing less than six ingredients, with the main sauce/flavor coming from a can of Campbell's soup (most common: mushroom or chicken).

I find most main dishes from the 50s revolting except for Meatloaf. Entertaining at home became more of a thing again, so appetizers got more attention; these are still pretty tasty (all my relatives still serve them at family parties and they go fast):
Hawaiian meatballs. Meatballs with some kind of sweet glaze containing pineapple tidbits.
Bacon-wrapped scallops brushed with bbq or sweet cocktail sauce (I'm cheap and use water chestnuts)
Cheese puffs. I cannot stress this enough- cheddar or blue cheese.
Deviled eggs. This is THE first thing I think of when 50s food comes to mind.

This site has tons of suggestions for every decade, given in social and political context of the time. Here's their suggestion for a "Hawaiian buffet luncheon or supper"
For table decorations, use lemon leaves, ferns, pineapple, bananas. Flowers (including lei for each guest) would be everywhere. Soft strains of Hawaiian music lend atmosphere: Tropical fruit salad, (avocado sections, orange slices, whole ripe olives...on bed of shredded lettuce) with lime or lemon dressing, chicken curry, browned rice, toasted whole almonds, french-cut green beans, sauteed banana quarters, Hawaiian pineapple cake.

This sounds like so much fun.
posted by variella at 8:32 AM on February 17, 2009


Have a 50s teen angst movie playing in the background. Men wear white undershirts with slicked back hair. Stage a rumble.

Or even if you don't like that vibe, there's all sorts of iconic-type movies you could have on (even silently) to give some whatever 50s ambiance you're looking for: some of the first well-known disneys, scifi horror, Marilyn Monroe movies...or even episodes of the Honeymooners or Dragnet.
posted by frobozz at 8:36 AM on February 17, 2009


Forgot to add: if you know anyone who plays the piano, accordion, ukelele or guitar, ask if they'd be willing to play a little; my mom could play most popular music by ear and told me she always ended up playing at parties, as did her brother on ukelele (this would have been about 1956).

If you have a large, empty space a hula-hoop contest could be fun. Also: mahjong. Not necessarily for people to play but set up the tiles between dishes on a side or buffet table. Giving you suggestions is way too much fun.
posted by variella at 8:38 AM on February 17, 2009


Also, no 50s party is complete without martinis. While drinking martinis and mingling, bring up news stories from the 50s as if they were happening today and ask for people's take on the 'current situation.'

Get 1950s style costume eyeglasses for yourself and your husband.

All right, that's all from me.
posted by frobozz at 8:51 AM on February 17, 2009


There's a serises of books you should check out (from the library?) such as Retro Fiesta. There are at least a dozen books in the series that with various themed party planning for 50's and 60's, such as Retro Luau...other titles in 'Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought'.
posted by dawson at 8:54 AM on February 17, 2009


Name it a Sock Hop ?
posted by ijoyner at 9:05 AM on February 17, 2009


Oh, in Germany you may not find these with ease. Sorry! Perhaps a Cuban theme with period music? Seems better to have a more narrow theme than 50's, something that swingin' 50's couples woulda thrown for their hipster gals and pals.
posted by dawson at 9:05 AM on February 17, 2009


Lots of kidney-shaped ashtrays, and plenty of mild, good-tasting cigarettes!
posted by applemeat at 9:21 AM on February 17, 2009


If you are white, Pat Boone's covers of Little Richard's songs is a must. Few white people had ever heard of Little Richard, but they all knew Boone's covers of them.
posted by Danf at 9:33 AM on February 17, 2009


nothing here helped? :(
posted by dawson at 5:51 PM on February 17, 2009


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