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1960’s Trivia, Did you Know?

Culture | October 6, 2017

Image Credit: NASA

The 1960’s was a considerable time of change for the United States. Some good, and some not so good. Current political events during that time included the counterculture movement, civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and the Cuban Missile Crisis, just to name a few. Sadly, President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King were both assassinated during this era. Many good things occurred as well, for example, landing a man on the moon, strides in civil rights, the first weather satellite was launched and the first Walmart opened! 

Graphic artist Harvey Ball created the original smiley face icon in about 10 minutes in 1963.

The 1960’s was the birth of the classic smiley face as we still know it today. That round, yellow circle with 2 black dots for eyes and a turned-up arch for a smile. These smiley faces showed up everywhere, including hats, t-shirts, buttons and just about anything else. This clearly was a sign of the times indicating that people were ready for some lighthearted fun. Hippies were popping up all over the country in an effort to promote harmony and the smiley face was a symbol of happiness. While the general consensus among young people was that this was (supposed to be) a time of peace, love and rock and roll, I guess it depended on who you talked to.  

Despite the political upheaval in the United States during the 1960’s, life went on. The first ever Super Bowl was played in 1967. Some popular dances of this era were the Twist, the Jerk, the Swim, the Mashed Potato, the Monkey and the Watusi! World population was somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.039 billion people and the average life expectancy was 69.7 years old. Nearly 90 percent of American homes now had televisions and, dare I say it… the birth control pill was introduced!

The 1960’s are also attributed with some inventions that we now take for granted. Although, the United States cannot take credit for all of them, below you will find a list of some inventions spawning out of this era:

  • Lasers
  • CCDs
  • LEDs
  • Optical Disk (n.k.a. CD/DVD)
  • Tape Cassettes
  • Video Games
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Electric Fuel Injection for Cars
  • Hand Held Calculators
  • Microwave Ovens
  • Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)
  • Communication Satellites
  • Computer Mouse
  • Fiber Optics
  • Heart Pacemakers
  • Hypertext
  • Internet
  • Kevlar 

The 1960’s also bragged some great literary classics. Chances are pretty good that you remember one or more of the following books that were published during this era:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Psycho
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • Dr. Strangelove
  • Oliver!
  • A Space Odyssey in 1968
  • Spartacus
  • Planet of the Apes
  • Sound of Music
  • Cool Hand Luke 

It is far from a secret that our economy has changed over the years. As long as I can remember, I have heard people complaining about inflation. During the 1960’s, minimum wage was $1.00 per hour and the average yearly salary was $4,743.00 (keep in mind that most households only had one income). Just to give you some more perspective, below are some interesting average economic statistics from this era:

  • Gasoline - $.025/gallon
  • Coal - $14.95/ton
  • First Class Postage Stamp - $0.04
  • A Pack of Gum - $0.05
  • A Soda - $0.10
  • A New House - $12,700.00
  • A New Car - $2,600.00
  • Women’s Skirts - $5.00
  • Men’s Shoes - $12.95
  • Men's Pocket Watch - $9.44
  • Electric Can Opener - $8.88
  • Electric Blanket - $9.94
  • Oranges - $0.89/2 dozen
  • Baby Food - $0.25/3 jars
  • Eggs - $0.49/dozen
  • Ice Cream - $0.79/half gallon
  • Ground Beef - $0.45/pound
  • Ham - $0.39/pound
  • Bacon - $0.79/pound
  • Fast Food Hamburger - $0.20

It has been said that life is about change. Over the past (almost) 50 years, we have most definitely seen many changes validating that statement. It is interesting to imagine what the next 50 years will bring!

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Rebeka Knott

Writer

Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.