Daily newspapers, the weekend edition, AM – FM Radio and magazines were common communication and sales mediums during the years of generation X. These don’t cover it all, but they were primary mediums of Gen X. Standing out among these, however, the constantly improving video-based mediums were more likely to grab the attention of this generation that increasingly gravitated to an empty indoors.
Home television sets had been a revolution of access to the most exciting news and entertainment. By the time Generation X popped onto the scene, TV technology had advanced through black and white to color and otherwise made such strides that news and entertainment became a more affordable, everyday thing for almost everyone. Not only did Generation X hear or read the news, they watched, heard and read the news simultaneously, to a much greater degree than generations before them had been able.
Was Gen X being prepared, or preparing themselves, to be a “lost” or “forgotten” generation as many would claim them to be?
Like unwitting Gen Xers, Hollywood and the entertainment industry at large were greatly enhanced– and otherwise affected– as technology advanced. During the early 1960s, Boomers and Gen Xers would adjust to a new Hollywood without it’s studio system. Flowing through to change that landscape were newly-endowed independents with their less family-oriented, renegade underground theater outputs.
While movie theaters had been a draw for a ripe public who were ready for entertainment again after WWII, the movie industry continued to verge on this new artistic license that held promise for the continued attendance of naturally progressive, younger post-war audiences. The subsequent Gen X age of media represented an ever-increasing demand for acceptance, by younger Americans who needed to make a way of their own in a brand new landscape, and therefore television entertainment was often on the cutting edge.
Raised on Film, Video, Analog and Digital
Generation X are generally quite fond of cinema and television. Born on the tale of these technologies at their height, Xers were well-exposed by parents and grandparents to these forms of entertainment. Television was a technological advancement that brought families together, en masse at generally the same times every day. People were shown a world of information as TV and cinema bloomed during these years following a mass return of soldiers from war, when people (mostly working adults) were adjusting to the schedules and economy of industry.
A Day in the Life of a Gen Xer
After activities finished up at school or work, Generation X took care of social business (playtime, neighborhood activity or extracurricular activities like UIL, sports or music depending on day of the week) and had dinner. Then, their parents’ shows were their shows, their movies, etc. Movies were often a weekend bonus and, depending on the town, you might get an entire mall visit out of a movie trip (if, one had proximity to these venues).
The movie theater was a real entertainment venue then. This was before mobile phones and game apps; a movie-house lobby was typically studded with life-size video arcade games and other attractions. Today, such vintage attractions can be found again in many theaters intent of providing something extra. Kids all ages would gather ’round these games to spend some quarters for a chance to blast away a giant Centipede or gobble up neon-colored ghosts before being eaten alive themselves. Xers were there to meet up, blow off steam, work up an appetite, hit the movie concession for Cokes, Sprites, Suicides and huge tubs of buttery popcorn before finally getting on to a movie release.
Was Gen X being prepared, or preparing themselves to be a “lost” or “forgotten” generation, as many would claim them to be? The 1960s- 80s marked a unique time of social learning and adaptation before the internet would bring on a whole new perspective all over again. The Generation X media age would work to quickly influence our expanding societies . . . first Generation X and their older Boomer leaders who’d take part, then Generations Y, Z and the Millennials.