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Duke Ellington was one of the most famous singers of the 1930s. His band played a great variety of music.

During the 1930’s America was facing a thorny financial situation; the Great Depression. With mostly everyone, facing severe financial troubles, spending money on entertainment was out of question. Since people needed forms of entertainment to keep their minds off of the troublesome moments the country was facing, the government helped those whose jobs centered on performing and entertaining others. The government derived programs to help the artists, and in return, many shows were created, that served as free entertainment for the people.[1 ]



Many different types of arts and shows spurred up as amusement for the Americans during the 1930’s. One of the new types of entertainment that became rapidly popular were big bands and bands that played swing.[1 ] One of the most famous bands of the time was one lead by the legendary Duke Ellington. His band played many different genres from blues to gospel to jazz and many more.[2] He was mostly known for his Jazz music, one of his most successful songs was titled, “It don’t mean a thing.” Music became a fantastic way for America to be entertained with little or no cost, and be diverted from their dilemmas.


In addition to the wide spread of music, many films, that are still highly recognized to this day, were created during the 1930’s. During that period of time, Walt Disney,considered one of the most prestigious entertainers of all, produced films and cartoons that kept the minds of Americans off of the depression. One of his most known cartoons was the tale of “The Three Little Pigs.” This cartoon was originally produced in 1933, and has made its way through generation after generation. Walt Disney’s creation provided entertainment for all ages and became a part of the American culture. Half a century later, his productions are still famous and displayed frequently. Another of his eminent pieces during that time period was, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” [3]

Comedy films were some of the most popular during the 1930s; a good laugh eased the mind and brought great joy in a time of adversity. Along with comedy films, films that showed how America was fighting against the Great Depression became popular as well. Towards the late 1930’s, movies from other countries began to play in American theatres, because of the difference of languages, subtitles in English were used.[3]


Also, listening to the radio became a trendy source of entertainment for America. The radio stations had a little bit of everything for all ages, old and young. One of the most common radio shows for the young children was called, “Little Orphan Annie.”[4] The show was about a young girl named Annie who had a dog just as intrepid as her by the name of Sandy. Together, Annie, and Sandy, would try to solve mysteries. The show was so loved by children that soon they began to purchase small items of merchandise such as pins, which would advertise Annie.”[4] The adults could listen to different soap operas and news casts via radio as well.


Overall, entertainment during the 1930’s called for wild imaginations and creative measures. The government was very supportive in finding inexpensive ways for America to be entertained.[1 ] The efforts made to keep the country from dwelling on the depression were said to be successful, and a great contribution to the American entertainment.


from a researcher in boston.

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