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Baby boomers will get a kick out of black-and-white exhibit

July 14, 2006

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Do you remember Barney Fife, the Little Rascals, "Gunsmoke," Saturday morning westerns with Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and the Lone Ranger, Mr. Wizard, Lassie and Rin Tin Tin, M-I-C K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E, or listening to the first-manned space shot over your classroom PA system?

Allison-Antrim Museum, 365 S. Ridge Ave., will host open houses on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. and on July 20 from noon to 3 p.m., with an exhibit catering to those who remember the aforementioned bits of nostalgia.

During July, the special exhibit, "Life was Different in Black and White," will cater to the nostalgic memories of baby boomers. Among exhibited items will be an early portable TV set, a console radio, transistor radio, hula hoops, vacuum tubes and 1950s TV programs.

According to a news release from the museum, America's first baby boomer, Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, turned 60 on New Year's Day 2006. She was born just one second after midnight on Jan. 1, 1946. Depending on whose statistics one wants to believe, there are between 76 million and 79 million baby boomers.

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At the end of World War II, 16 million GIs came home and within the next year, 3.4 million babies were born an unprecedented annual birthrate, at that time. In 1947, the annual birthrate increased another million. The peak year for births was in 1957 when 4.3 million children were born. The last of those who can consider themselves part of the Baby Boomer generation were born in 1964, because in 1965, the birthrate fell below 4 million for the first time since 1946, the release states.

Unless they heard it from relatives, anyone under 40 doesn't know what baby boomers mean by black and white, rabbit ears, snow, and test patterns nor do they know who said, "Aw, gee, Wally." There was the American Band Stand and Dick Clark and Clark Kent, Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane. The oldest of the baby boomers started school in the easygoing 1950s, and then experienced a wide range of political and societal events in the 60s.

There is no admission charge to the museum, however donations are accepted. For further information call the museum at 717-597-9010 or visit the Web site at www.greencastlemuseum.org.

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