2005-02-10

Books for boys

Evidently fashions for what boys are expected to read have changed
since I was growing up in the 1950s.
Back then there were several series of books
that were specifically targeted at young boys just like myself,
which I thoroughly enjoyed reading, dragging my grandfather
(who, like many another grandfather, indulged his grandson)
off to the town bookstore at least once a month
to see what new volumes in these series had been published,
and of course he generally generously bought many of them for me.
As I recall, they cost $1.95 each, in the late 1950s.

I credit them with giving me practice in reading skills.
Although I was hardly a superstar at reading, I did reasonably well,
well enough to get a 711, as I recall, on the Verbal SAT.
Again, I credit this respectable, if not stellar, result
not only to the good teachers I had,
but also to those books.
They were on topics that interested me, and reading them was a pleasure,
not a chore.

I think it might be worthwhile to recall what those series were:

The Hardy Boys, of course.


Rick Brant


Tom Swift, Jr.

Tom Corbett, Space Cadet






Also, some classic television shows from those days.



There were two main genres:



Tales of adventure, often featuring good guy/bad guy conflict:







Heroes with airplanes were a popular theme:






For adventure from the Old West, there was:



with its back-story:



And a playlist of theme music
from various Western television shows and films:

The above playlist emphasizes Westerns
whose theme music I found especially worthy,
which were not necessarily the most popular Westerns.
Surely among those were Gunsmoke, Maverick, and Bonanza.

For a sample of the quality of writing, acting, and cinematography
we enjoyed in that pre-PC era of 1962,
watch HGWT "Genesis"
(with its fast-moving start;
be sure to notice that Richard Boone plays both Paladin and Smoke!
Anyone else see a resemblance to
the Obi-Wan Kenobi/Luke Skywalker relationship?):

(This comment from "Inura Facititia" corrects the video's title:
"This episode IS NOT the "Pilot". It actually aired 15 September 1962.
It was Episode #193 of a total of 225 episodes.
...
The FIRST Episode of this series aired 14 September 1957
and [was] entitled "Three Bells to Perdido."
THIS Episode is a "Memory" - not a Pilot.
Palidan simply recalls his 10-years earlier situation."
And you might find interesting the reviews at IMDB.)



Police work was portrayed in the popular series



Slightly later we had






Then there were space-themed shows:

Tom Corbett:


Flash Gordon:


Buck Rogers (actually a 1939 movie serial, sometimes shown on TV):






Stories about family life

Emphasizing wholesomeness:



A playlist of 200 episodes! :







Humorous views of family life in the 1950s included:



And for boys, a most-desired gift was always:



Also emphasizing humor, but more aimed at teen-agers was:





For pre-schoolers, pre-Sesame Street, a standard choice for my generation was:





Somewhat later came:



and much later came:

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