Teenage Thunder - A Front Row Look at the 1950s Teenpics (paperback)
“Man, I believe the older generation doesn’t want the younger generation have any fun,” complained one Arizona high school student in the midst of what has often been called “The Fabulous Fifties.” For the first time in history, thanks to a booming post-war economy and an emerging middle class, teenagers had money to spend. They developed their own culture, language and fashion and by 1957 it was their music coming out of the radios and the jukeboxes, and their movies that were out-grossing the big block-busters. This exercise of new power was seen by the old guard as a threat to the social fabric of America. They declared war on everything the kids liked, claiming that everything they liked was turning them into juvenile delinquents.
"[F]ascinating factoids and archival quotes. Generously illustrated with relevant posters and stills, TEENAGE THUNDER is a must-read for fans of '50s genre fare."
- THE PHANTOM OF THE MOVIES' VIDEOSCOPE
Shock Cinema says:
It was in the 1950s that American teenagers really began to exert their control on pop culture — from the music, to fashion, to their choice of films. Mark Thomas McGee takes us back to that lively cinematic period of alienated kids, juvenile delinquency, young romance, and a shocking new music fad called rock ‘n’ roll in this entertaining volume, which covers everything from major studio efforts like REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, JAILHOUSE ROCK and A SUMMER PLACE, to low-budget drive-in fare such as RUNAWAY DAUGHTERS, THE COOL AND THE CRAZY and TEENAGE CAVEMAN. Following a lengthy forward in which McGee distills the time period and this cinematic sub-genre into a tight, informative 33 pages, the remainder of the book consists of an A-to-Z compendium of these wide-ranging features — from sappy melodramas to harder-edged fare that tackled crime, drugs and urban poverty — with each entry offering a breakdown of the film’s plot and cast, often with deeper analysis and archival comments from the filmmakers, stars, exhibitors. and critics of that era. There’s a pre-stardom Steve McQueen battling THE BLOB, Carol Lynley getting knocked up in BLUE DENIM, Albert Zugsmith’s rockin’ drug-exposé HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL, and let’s not forget about the beatnik brilliance of Roger Corman’s A BUCKET OF BLOOD. McGee also tosses in a few overseas additions, including the British COSH BOY and VIOLENT PLAYGROUND, plus Luis Buñuel’s THE YOUNG AND THE DAMMED [Los Olvidados]. Featuring such iconic stars as Sal Mineo, Tuesday Weld, Pat Boone, Sandra Dee, and even Jerry Lewis (in THE DELICATE DELINQUENT), this is an invaluable reference guide for anyone drawn to that wonderfully rebellious era.