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SLThomas
09-05-2008, 10:05 AM
Hello!

I need some infos on what hobbies would young people (late teens-early 20's) have in the 1930's-1940's. Considering that for some years during that era WWII was going on, I guess that some hobbies and games were fairly simple.

What board games existed during that time? Was Monopoly invented? How about MillesBornes? Which card games were popular? Marbles would be for smaller kids, no?

I know that there were some dances at some halls.

Any info would be hugely appreciated.

S-L

gypsyscarlett
09-05-2008, 10:20 AM
Hello!

I need some infos on what hobbies would young people (late teens-early 20's) have in the 1930's-1940's. Considering that for some years during that era WWII was going on, I guess that some hobbies and games were fairly simple.

What board games existed during that time? Was Monopoly invented? How about MillesBornes? Which card games were popular? Marbles would be for smaller kids, no?

I know that there were some dances at some halls.

Any info would be hugely appreciated.

S-L

card games: Gin, whist, bridge
boardgames: Monopoly went on the market in 1934
yes- marbles are for very little kids

dancing- Swing dancing to Big Band Music was popular. And Dance marathons were also extremely popular in the 30s.

waylander
09-05-2008, 12:34 PM
(Answers apply to UK)
Amateur dramatics - my mother and aunt were in a theatre group that put on shows for the troops in army camps in the area.
Music - many villages/towns had bands

Mumut
09-05-2008, 12:53 PM
Collecting stamps, collecting bugs and butterflies, whipping tops, hoops, collecting birds eggs and blowing them, darts, bagatelle.

Linda Adams
09-05-2008, 02:35 PM
Kids would have watched serials. A segment ran every Saturday at the movie theater and ended in a cliffhanger (in fact, most of cliches we see today probably started with the serial). Some are available on video tape.

Comic books. This was a big kid thing in the past, though it's changed now.

Also check out vaudeville: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaudeville

And movies and radio.

Keyan
09-05-2008, 02:42 PM
Dumb charades;
playing with dolls for young girls, making clothes for dolls for older girls;
Stamp collecting and mounting them in albums;
Collecting various kinds of things - coins, birds' eggs as someone mentioned.
Crafts of various kinds
Ludo, Snakes & Ladders and other games using dice or spinners.

Priene
09-05-2008, 02:43 PM
My dad and his friends used to go to fresh craters and collect shrapnel from German bombs.

Keyan
09-05-2008, 02:44 PM
I don't know if it caught on in the US, but carroms was a popular indoor game.

JimmyB27
09-05-2008, 03:59 PM
Books?

Higgins
09-05-2008, 04:27 PM
Books?

Lots of people played music or had record players.

Sci Fi was just getting off the ground. People drove thousands of miles to go to Fan events.

People rarely drove alone. One guy with a car would have at least 2-3 other guys with him.

Deccydiva
09-05-2008, 04:38 PM
The "Just William" novel and the rest in the series by Richmal Crompton are set in wartime Britain and were, I believe, written at the time too. William is a youngster but he has an older sister who is in her twenties from what I can remember, and the stories paint very clear pictures of social history of the time with plenty of detail of hobbies and pastimes. I was hooked on the books in the 1960's and Amazon still sell it today.
My father was born in 1925 and he used to collect cigarette cards. Stamp collecting was very popular too.

donroc
09-05-2008, 04:44 PM
Born in 1932, I can give you authentic experience aside from reading: Making balsa wood model airplanes, Lionel trains for the affluent, stamps, Captain Midnight decoder badges and decoder rings from other radio shows, collecting playing cards for their back designs, collecting baseball cards and flipping them for gambling to win the opponent's, yo-yos, marbles, bicycles, Flexis, and following the war on all front with maps and flags to pin on them when a city was taken.

Other than the big sports, popular street and playground games in San Francisco were It, tag, dodgeball, kickball, kick the can, one foot off the gutter, hopscotch and jumprope for girls, fist ball(one bounce tennis ball hit with fist played with baseball rules), touch football, musical chairs, social dancing that was taught in the 6th grde and at the playground (swing, foxtrot, rumba, samba, and waltz) and folk dancing --polka, czardas, etc.

Monopoly, Ouija Board, Checkers, Chinese Checkers, Pokino, gin rummy, poker -- yes, we kids played gambling games too --

No TV and video games for us. we were either out in the street or at the playground from school out to dinner and all day on weekends whenever possible.

And in Jr. high, sneaking into garages of one of the boys and experimenting with spin the bottle and post office. Some sneaked into alleyways to smoke.

hammerklavier
09-05-2008, 05:14 PM
The boys would play cowboys & indians, cops & robbers, or war a lot. The indians might tie up some unlucky boy until the cowboys could rescue him. They would sled, build snowmen, ice skate and have snowball fights in the winter.

SLThomas
09-05-2008, 05:27 PM
Thanks for all the answers.


My WIP is set in Western Europe, so the UK answers would apply.

Deccydiva
09-05-2008, 07:05 PM
Thanks for all the answers.


My WIP is set in Western Europe, so the UK answers would apply.

..and Ireland I hope! ;) My father was British though and never left.

waylander
09-05-2008, 08:16 PM
My mother was born in 1921.
PM me if you have questions and I'll ask her.

IceCreamEmpress
09-05-2008, 08:32 PM
People who were in their late teens and early twenties in the 1930s would be going to work, unless their families were exceptionally wealthy.

In those days, there was no "cult of the teenager"--once you were over 18, you were an adult as far as society was concerned. Given that the Western world was in the grip of the Great Depression, any paid work anyone could do would be a huge help to the household; many people left school at 14 or 16 to start working full-time (if they could find the work).

Downtime hobbies would be stuff like playing cards, dancing (the "jitterbug" craze was huge in the late 1930s), working on cars, woodworking, sewing, painting, gardening, music and theater, sports, etc. Going down to the malt shop to chat with friends, a la Harold Teen (http://www.toonopedia.com/teen.htm) (who was really a 1920s Jazz Age character, but whose strip still ran in the 1930s).

People who were in their late teens and early twenties in the 1940s would be either in the military service or working in war industries. When they had downtime, the hobbies above, plus war-related stuff like scrap metal drives and entertaining on-leave military personnel at the USO and other similar clubs.

A really, really interesting book for Canadians interested in life during this era is the graphic novelist Seth's book that presents stories told by his father (who was born in 1917) about his life growing up on Prince Edward Island. It's called Bannock, Beans, and Black Tea (http://www.avclub.com/content/node/21335).

ideagirl
09-05-2008, 09:06 PM
Hello!
I need some infos on what hobbies would young people (late teens-early 20's) have in the 1930's-1940's. Considering that for some years during that era WWII was going on, I guess that some hobbies and games were fairly simple.

It would help if you specified where your characters live and what socioeconomic class they're from. Hobbies of an Iowa farm kid would be way different than hobbies of a rich kid in Manhattan or a professor's kid in a college town, etc.

Edited to add... And what IceCreamEmpress said. They'd be working in some field appropriate to where they were (shopgirl in New York, farmhand in Iowa...). They also might be getting married, though waiting until your 20s was probably the norm (a young man had to get set up--have a good job and some money set aside--to get married).

ideagirl
09-05-2008, 09:12 PM
Thanks for all the answers.
My WIP is set in Western Europe, so the UK answers would apply.

Where in western Europe? Hobbies would be very different in Nazi-ruled Berlin than on a farm in France or Ireland... And as for board games and card games, the answers you've gotten are all pretty much North America-specific. To this day different European countries have different popular games (young people into playing cards play "tarot" in France, which, no, is not the same as Tarot cards, vs. all kinds of weird card games in Germany, some of which my German housemate/bridesmaid taught me, none of which I'd ever heard of before). Unless your WIP is in the UK, I wouldn't bet on the UK answers applying.

Monopoly was invented during the Great Depression, if I recall correctly, and I highly doubt it made it over to Europe within the time period you're talking about--it's barely even there now (board games aren't nearly as big there as they've traditionally been here).

waylander
09-05-2008, 09:41 PM
Monopoly was invented during the Great Depression, if I recall correctly, and I highly doubt it made it over to Europe within the time period you're talking about--it's barely even there now (board games aren't nearly as big there as they've traditionally been here).

Not so.
Monopoly first appeared in the UK in 1934 and was an immediate success
http://www.wopc.co.uk/waddingtons/index.html

Higgins
09-05-2008, 10:30 PM
Born in 1932, I can give you authentic experience aside from reading: Making balsa wood model airplanes, Lionel trains for the affluent, stamps, Captain Midnight decoder badges and decoder rings from other radio shows, collecting playing cards for their back designs, collecting baseball cards and flipping them for gambling to win the opponent's, yo-yos, marbles, bicycles, Flexis, and following the war on all front with maps and flags to pin on them when a city was taken.

Other than the big sports, popular street and playground games in San Francisco were It, tag, dodgeball, kickball, kick the can, one foot off the gutter, hopscotch and jumprope for girls, fist ball(one bounce tennis ball hit with fist played with baseball rules), touch football, musical chairs, social dancing that was taught in the 6th grde and at the playground (swing, foxtrot, rumba, samba, and waltz) and folk dancing --polka, czardas, etc.

Monopoly, Ouija Board, Checkers, Chinese Checkers, Pokino, gin rummy, poker -- yes, we kids played gambling games too --

No TV and video games for us. we were either out in the street or at the playground from school out to dinner and all day on weekends whenever possible.

And in Jr. high, sneaking into garages of one of the boys and experimenting with spin the bottle and post office. Some sneaked into alleyways to smoke.

All this was true even in the early 1960s...oklay no Captain Midnight but most of the rest...

hammerklavier
09-06-2008, 01:07 AM
Thanks for all the answers.


My WIP is set in Western Europe, so the UK answers would apply.

In that case, they probably played knights along with their war games.

Mike Martyn
09-06-2008, 01:10 AM
Born in 1932, I can give you authentic experience aside from reading: Making balsa wood model airplanes, Lionel trains for the affluent, stamps, Captain Midnight decoder badges and decoder rings from other radio shows, collecting playing cards for their back designs, collecting baseball cards and flipping them for gambling to win the opponent's, yo-yos, marbles, bicycles, Flexis, and following the war on all front with maps and flags to pin on them when a city was taken.

Other than the big sports, popular street and playground games in San Francisco were It, tag, dodgeball, kickball, kick the can, one foot off the gutter, hopscotch and jumprope for girls, fist ball(one bounce tennis ball hit with fist played with baseball rules), touch football, musical chairs, social dancing that was taught in the 6th grde and at the playground (swing, foxtrot, rumba, samba, and waltz) and folk dancing --polka, czardas, etc.

Monopoly, Ouija Board, Checkers, Chinese Checkers, Pokino, gin rummy, poker -- yes, we kids played gambling games too --

No TV and video games for us. we were either out in the street or at the playground from school out to dinner and all day on weekends whenever possible.

And in Jr. high, sneaking into garages of one of the boys and experimenting with spin the bottle and post office. Some sneaked into alleyways to smoke.

Like Higgins said, the same applied in the 1960's. Since I grew up in a cold climate, I'd add playing hockey on an outdoor rink that your dad made in the back yard.

Snow showing was considered a very social activity in the northern US and Canada in the '30's and '40's.

Add square dancing to the list plus smoking corn tassle fromn a corn cob pipe. (How Norman Rockwell is that!)

Kathie Freeman
09-06-2008, 01:36 AM
What about Mille Bourne? I think that'show it's spelled. It's the European version of "Touring".

Oops, just checked. Didn't come in until the '50's.

SLThomas
09-06-2008, 05:40 PM
Yeah I thought about Milles Bornes; you're right it came in the early 50s.

I'll keep the downtime hobbies on the generic side, since it's not the most important thing in my plot.

Thanks to all answers.

Priene
09-06-2008, 07:22 PM
Another one I remember my father telling me about: his elder sister used to get him to paint gravy on her legs so it'd look like stockings. The seam was particularly important.

Ken
09-06-2008, 09:36 PM
homemade, gas-powered, toy, wooden airplanes.