Dig Deeper - "Grease" is the Word!

2000 Camel cigarette ad campaign - updating the "greaser"
2000 Camel cigarette ad campaign - updating the "greaser"

Although greasers in the 1950s and early 1960s were considered the outcasts of society, they gained popularity throughout the decades that followed through characters like Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause and Fonzie from the popular TV show Happy Days, and, of course, Danny Zuko in Grease. Outsiders no longer, greasers have become a mainstream iconic image of the rebellious American teenager.

*from North Tonawanda City School, NY classroom materials

The drills are driving, the batons are flying, and Lyric Arts is looking forward to the July 10 opening of our summer production of Grease!  Ever wondered where words like "greaser", "rumble", or "jive" came from?  Read on for more...

*What is a greaser? Greasers are a working class youth subculture that originated in the 1950s among young eastern and southern United States street gangs, and then became popular throughout the nation...Their name came from their greased back hair, which involved combing back hair with wax, gel, creams, tonics or pomade. Other popular greases used were olive oil or petroleum jelly.  The slang term also referred to young men that worked at gas stations or repaired cars or motorcycles.  The greaser style was imitated by many youths not associated with gangs, as an expression of rebellion...

Greasers had a very particular style that evolved from their working-class origins:  plain white or black T-shirts (often with the sleeves rolled up);  lots of black leather and denim like jeans with rolled-up cuffs; and baggy cotton twill work trousers (which were called baggie grays, baggie blues or sandbags). Greasers also typically wore motorcycle boots or army boots, Converse's basketball shoes; bandannas; and chain wallets.

        Cassandra Proball         Education Director

        Cassandra Proball
        Education Director