Popular pastimes for children in the fifties included outdoor games, board games and card games. Their parents enjoyed a weekly card party, going to movies and dances, or an occasional visit to the racetrack.
Games for Kids
In addition to baseball and softball, kids in the 1950s played tag, hop scotch, hide-and-seek, kick-the-can, jacks, leap frog, pick-up-sticks, red rover, marbles, tops, yo-yos, coin toss, horseshoes, and cowboys and Indians. Indoors they played Checkers, Monopoly, Chutes-and-Ladders, Candy Land, Yahtzee, and Parcheesi, and card games, Old Maid, Rook, Go Fish, and Crazy Eights.
Card Games for Adults
Solitaire was the most popular card game for individuals, but when players got together, Rummy, Hearts, Canasta, Poker, Whist, Bridge, Euchre, Pinochle, and Tripoley were popular.
This tile game of skill, strategy, and calculation was imported into the United States from China in 1920. The modern American version is often considered a Jewish game since the National Mah Jongg League was founded by Jewish players.
Paper punchboards, usually played at taverns, were game boards with small holes filled with paper tickets that could be punched-out with a small stylus. A patron bought a chance at the punchboard, punctured one of the holes, and retrieved the ticket. If the ticket contained a winning number the patron won a cash prize. Punchboards began to decline after the 1950s as people objected to its gambling nature and the punchboard was outlawed in many states.
Pari-mutuel betting is used in horse racing, greyhound racing, jai alai, and all sporting events of relatively short duration in which participants finish in a ranked order. Popular bets at horse racing tracks in the 1950s included: Win, Place, Show, Quinella, Exacta, Trifecta and Daily Double.
1. Win: bettor must pick the first place finisher. 2. Place: the bettor’s selection must finish in either first or second place. 3. Show: the bettor’s selection must finished infirst, second, or third place. 4. Quinella: bettor must pick the first and second place finishers in either order.
5. Exacta: bettor must select the first and second place finishers in exact order.
6. Trifecta: bettor must select the first, second, and third place finishers in order.
7. Daily Double: bettor must select the winner in both of the first two races.