On January 16, 1920 the eighteenth amendment to the constitution made it illegal to sell alcohol in the United States. Supporters of prohibition expected that sales of clothing and household goods would skyrocket, and rents would rise. Theater producers expected new crowds as Americans looked for new ways to entertain themselves. Instead, there was a shrinkage in amusement and entertainment industries, and the effects on the economy were largely negative. In fact, prohibition cost the government 11 billion dollars in lost tax revenue, because the government could no longer put a tax on alcohol.
Prohibition in the United States caused abundant organized crime regarding alcohol. One example of organized crime was Rum Runners; people who smuggled alcohol into the United States from Canada and Mexico. Some more examples of organized crime regarding prohibition are Moonshiners, and Speakeasies. Moonshiners were people who distilled their own alcohol at home, and speakeasies were illegal drinking bars where people could go to get alcohol. By 1925 there was over 100,000 Speakeasies in New York alone. An additional type of organized crime was organized crime brought about by gangsters. Gangsters were very widespread and powerful during this time; there were some in every city. To further demonstrate the power that gangsters held The mayor of Chicago was under the influence of gangster John Torrio in the 1920's. Some other well-known gangsters from this time include Al Capone, Dion O'Barrion, Dutch Shultz, and Chester La Mare.
Pop culture in the 1920's revolved a round a number of new mediums. These included film, and the catalog. The movie industry in the 1920's skyrocketed with the growth of Hollywood and Downtown theaters. In fact, the greatest output of feature films in history occurred in the 1920's and 1930's; there were about 800 films released a year. The 5 biggest film studios at the time, some of which are still popular today were Warner Bros. Pictures, Famous Players-Lasky (Paramount Pictures), RKO, Metro Goldwyn Mayer, and Fox Film Corporation. The use of the catalog was popularized by Sears, Roebuck and Company who claim that in 1925 over a million families purchased items from their catalog. Some not so new types of pop culture that also flourished in the 1920's were fashion in music. Average women soon adopted very similar styles to that of the "Flapper" many of these were the latest styles from Paris. The most popular type of music in the 1920's was Jazz music, and the dances that went with it. Along with Jazz music being popular, so were the clubs that played it.