Thursday, April 7, 2011

7 April 1957 “The Pajama Game and Minimum Wage”

pajamagame  I watched the 1957 Musical “The Pajama Game” the other day. It was a film adaption of the 1954 Broadway hit and that was adapted from the Richard Bissell Novel, 7 1/2 Cents. Bissell novel was based on his experiences in the garment industry. And he wrote it while he was the vice-president of his family's pajama factory located in Dubuque, Iowa.

The film version kept the principle actors from the Broadway production except they replaced Janis Paige with Doris Day. I love Doris Day and her films, so this was fine by me.

The song, 7 1/2 cents, really hit me in this film. The main plot is concerning the love interest between the new superintendent and Doris Day, a worker. The Management/worker relationship is explored here in a fun way.

Yet, this song really got me thinking about minimum wages. I recalled when back in 1955 I mentioned that the federal minimum wage had been raised to $1 in 1955 and that equaled $7.50 in 2009 money, some told me their states still don’t pay $7.50 today. I was rather shocked by that.

Have a listen to this fun song:

For fun I thought I would list the minimum wages in the times they speak of (the 10 year increments). What they hope they can buy is also entertaining to consider in this song.

1957 Minimum wage: $1.00 Adjusted for inflation for Today: $7.88

1967 Minimum wage: $ 1.40 Adjusted for inflation for Today:$9.28

1977 Minimum wage: $2.30 Adjusted for inflation for Today $8.40

Today many groceries are cheaper by comparison to the 1950’s when one considers inflation, but the cost of housing and healthcare/doctor/hospital and college is much higher. Yet, our cheaper costs on clothes and food is tied to our oil prices (as many things travel thousands of miles from other countries to get to our stores), so it is scary to think of the increased cost of things with a lower standard of living than 1950’s.

Gas was .24 cents a gallon in 1957 which is $1.89 today. In 1967 it was .36 cents or $2.39 a gallon today and in 1977 it was .65 cents which would be around $2.37. It is amazing how cheap gas got in the 1990s. It was cheaper, by comparison, to the 1950’!

Well, I am off to my sewing bee. I hope all have a lovely day and if you want you can buy the DVD in the CORNER STORE.

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