Bar patrons celebrate the end of alcohol prohibition in the US. Dec 5, 1933

19 photos that prove just how cool the 1930s really were

best1930spics

The 1930s were a difficult time in the United States and around the world. After the stock market crash in 1929, roughly 25% of Americans found themselves unemployed, many people had very little cash to spare, and the economy ground to a halt. But that doesn’t mean that people couldn’t have a little fun during the Great Depression – in fact, the people suffering through the worst depression in modern history often sought out forms of entertainment that would help them to mentally escape the tough times they were facing.

Radio and live music such as Swing and Big Band, and films such as gangster films and comedies became more popular than ever, offering the population a tiny bit of reprieve from grim reality. Prohibition was repealed in 1933, letting people take the edge off and party down without worrying about legal consequences. Literature adapted to reflect the struggle of everyday people, resulting in something of a merge between “high” and “low” culture.

The people of the decadent 1920s might have let loose simply because they could, but the people of the 30s let loose because they needed to be occasionally distracted from the troubling times. Let’s take a look at 19 photos that show just how cool the 1930s could be, proving that humanity’s ability to smile through tough times is a remarkable and wonderful thing.

GARD Pro Not Registered

Bar patrons celebrate the end of alcohol prohibition in the US. Dec 5, 1933

Bar patrons celebrating the end of alcohol prohibition in the US. Dec 5, 1933

 

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A couple of English women knocking back drinks, 1934

Lindy Hoppers (1939) At the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, New York

Lindy Hoppers at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, New York, 1939

Acrobats

Acrobats performing at the top of Empire State Building, August 21, 1934

Mardi Gras revelers, New Orleans, Louisiana 1938

Mardi Gras revelers in New Orleans, Louisiana, 1938

Roller skating to class, 1930 University of Chicago.

Roller skating to class at University of Chicago, 1930

Louis and Lil Hardin Armstrong, Hollywood, c.1930

Louis and Lil Hardin Armstrong, Hollywood, c. 1930

New Year’s Day, 1933

Celebrating a new year. New Year’s Day, 1933

A jitterbug competition, December 16, 1939

A jitterbug competition, December 16, 1939

Two ladies riding an 1895 Crank Drive and a 500 New Imperial Twin, November 29, 1935

Two ladies riding an 1895 Crank Drive and a 500 New Imperial Twin, November 29, 1935

GARD Pro Not Registered

Red Cross nurses playing soccer, 1939

Red Cross nurses playing soccer, 1939

Fair

Having fun at the fair , 1938

Albert Einstein riding his bicycle in Santa Barbara, 1933

Albert Einstein riding a bicycle in Santa Barbara, 1933

Making the world’s largest omelette in 1931

Making the world’s largest omelette in 1931 (with bacon strapped to her feet, of course)

Mickey Mouse’s first float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, NYC, 1934.

Mickey Mouse’s first float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, NYC, 1934.

GARD Pro Not Registered

Girl doing the Lambeth Walk, popular dance craze of the late 30s

Girl doing the Lambeth Walk, popular dance craze of the late 30s

Miss Cilly performed in the circus with tigers from 1931-1938

Miss Cilly, who performed in the circus with tigers from 1931-1938

Dali and Harpo Marx, 1936

Salvador Dalí and Harpo Marx, 1936

Walter Nilsson in the Monowheel, 1933

Walter Nilsson in the Monowheel, 1933

So many smiling faces! Which of these photos from the 1930s was your favorite? Let us know below.

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12 replies
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      It’s inherently unstable. They fall over, in other words. Too much weight over your head, you have no way to properly counteract any tendency to fall. People still build them for fun, but they serve no useful or even recreational purpose,

      Reply
  1. tar and feathers
    tar and feathers says:

    Not sure the little kid who looks like they’re about to fall head first is “having fun at the fair”

    Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Looks to me like they are getting out of the ride, so I doubt he/she is falling. It just appears that way.

      Reply
  2. jaycee
    jaycee says:

    i love old photos, i could stare at them for hours, getting lost in my thoughts about the people in the photos and what life was like in their era, and inevitably my mind always wanders back to…wow, these people had no idea about this thing we call the internet, and no idea that millions of people would be viewing their photos, people born a long time after them, they had no idea how affected some of us would be by these simple photos.

    Reply
  3. Adam
    Adam says:

    Great old photos, they also show how much our societies have fallen away from our civilized values of yesteryear.

    Reply

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