Slice Of Life

While players aren’t expected to rattle off Midwest population figures from 1947, there are some differences between life now and life sixty years ago that should be addressed. What your characters know and take for granted isn’t familiar to people living today.



In the 1940s, only about 30% of rural households had telephone service. It was much more prevalent in suburban and urban communities, however. The details of dialing a number aren’t important, but what is important is that for most phones, the only way to actually call anybody was to talk with an operator first. Phones didn’t have their own dial device. All long distance calls had to be handled manually by an operator. By 1947, area codes were only just starting to come into service.


If you had an urgent message to send, a telegram was the best way to do it. You could stop by the local Western Union, or if one wasn’t nearby, call one, and have your message sent over telegraph lines. By 1945, Western Union was replacing its poles and wires with microwave transmissions.



Most radio shows were performed live. NBC and CBS even banned pre-recorded shows altogether. This only started to change in 1947 with the advent of magnetic tape reels, although the practice of using “canned” shows wasn’t prevalent until 1950. Radio wasn’t just music, but also variety shows, comedies, dramas, adventures, quiz shows, and news. Radio was essentially the television of today.


There were all of three networks available for viewing: ABC, DuMont, and NBC. (CBS didn’t start broadcasting television until 1948). Only one in ten households owned a television. The most common thing to see on a television was the test pattern. Most stations didn’t air any shows until late afternoon.


The popularity of rodeos was on the rise in the 1920s, and continued to increase into the 1940s with the increasing popular of things associated with the American West. It began to grow into a professional sport by the 1940s.

Most information taken from Lisa’s Nostalgia Cafe (link goes off-site)

Slice Of Life

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