Growing up in the 60s

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I grew up in the 70s and 80s and loved growing up in a time where so many changes were taking place. The rise of marketing departments and ad agencies also influenced how we purchased products and there were endless supplies of new products hitting the shelves every month.

While there were a lot of failed products, there were just as many products that become part of our lives. Because of television advertising, every kid wanted that “new thing” they saw on television commercials. The following 34 things rocked your world if you grew up in the 60s and 70s and you’ll remember them forever.

2) Atari let you enjoy video games at home for the first time ever and it rocked.

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4) When you wanted to call somebody, this is how you dialed their number.

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5) It was a treat when your parents let you stay up late to watch Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update with Roseanne Rosannadanna and Jane Curtain.

8) Old soda cans had a pull tab and if it broke, you were out luck.

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It worked most of the time and here is how it looked when you pulled it off.

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10) You just added water in hopes of hatching your own family of sea-monkeys.

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13) You always looked forward to watching Donnie and Marie’s hit show.

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14) Without Google or Wikipedia, encyclopedias are how we’d start a search.

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17) Madge from the Palmolive commercials told you that it would soften hands while you do dishes.

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18) Every teenage girl had Lip Smackers.

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21) Pretzels and potato chips were delivered to your door in large tin cans.

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23) You “shaked it” like a Polaroid picture with one of these.

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24) You couldn’t wait to wash your hair with this.

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25) You thought your parent’s station wagon with the wood trim was the coolest car ever.

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27) We drank Kool-Aid and loved it.

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28) You watched every episode of ‘The Brady Bunch’ and always sang along to the theme song.

31) This was our version of virtual reality.

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33) You knew Christmas was right around the corner when you got your hands on the Sears Christmas Wish Book.

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If you were a boy, your bike most likely looked like this.

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H/t: LifeBuzz

Isn’t it great to take a trip down memory lane? Please share these awesome things you’ll remember if you grew up in the 60s or 70s with your friends and family.

Charlie Fleischer once said, “If you remember the ’60s, you really weren’t there,” but here’s a random list of items that might jog your memory of growing up in Britain in the 1960s… which ones do you remember like they were yesterday?

Peter and Jane Books

Published by Ladybird, most primary school children learned to read using the Peter and Jane series of books. The stories of lovely day trips in the motor car, helping to pick apples in the orchard or riding ponies on sunny days made life seem idyllic in Peter and Jane’s world… and let’s not forget Pat the dog.

Bathrooms and Other Mod Cons

In the real world, things were not always as idyllic. For some, the ’60s brought indoor toilets, bathrooms and hot water, but for many, going to the toilet still meant a trip outside in all weathers – toilet paper or ripped up newspaper in hand – and having a bath meant sitting in front of the fire in a tin bath filled up with water boiled on the stove. Or, for a treat, a hot bath could be had at the local public swimming baths.

Some homes now had a twin tub washing machine and a vacuum cleaner, but others still washed everything by hand and made do with a carpet sweeper.

Getting the washing dried generally meant having clothes hanging in front of the fire on rainy days, and with the coal fire providing the only heat in most homes, frost was a common feature on the inside of windows during the winter – and much fun was had drawing shapes in it. Who remembers getting out from under heavy bed blankets (no duvets) in the morning and getting dressed for school with teeth chattering?

Music, Movement and Mime

Many schools had central heating in the ’60s, making them warmer than most homes, but daily exercise in the form of regimented PE lessons or vigorous playground games made sure no one felt the cold.

A popular physical activity in primary schools was “Music, Movement and Mime”, a radio (or wireless) broadcast provided by The School Broadcasting Council.

A voice on the radio gave instructions such as, “Now children, begin as a seed and grow… grow into a tall tree… and now sway like trees in the wind…” and boys and girls in school halls all around the country would crouch, leap and sway with arms in the air as they followed the instructions in their own style of interpretive dance – often in bare feet and wearing nothing more than their vest and knickers.

Corporal Punishment

Misbehaving at school in the 1960s could result in being caned or belted, depending on which part of the country you were in.

Other forms of punishment included a rap on the knuckles with a ruler, being spanked across the backside, or slapped on the arms or legs. Corporal punishment was commonplace in schools and the debate over whether it should have been banned rumbles on.

Were you ever on the receiving end?

Another random memory of schooldays in the ’60s is routinely putting your seat up onto your desk at the end of the day. Such discipline without question – how times have changed!

The Big Freeze

The winter of 1962 into 1963 brought a great deal of hardship to many people in Britain, but, for most children, the months of snow and ice brought great joy.

Many schools were closed for lengthy periods as roads became blocked with snow and power lines came down with the sheer weight of ice, but having no power and no means of stocking up dwindling food supplies was of no concern to children who were enjoying endless days of slides that never thawed!

Toys and Transistor Radios

What toys did you dream of owning in the ’60s: Etch-a-Sketch, Sindy, Mr Potato Head, Kerplunk, Mousetrap, Action Man…?

For many teenagers, the dream was to own a reel-to-reel tape recorder so that the Top 20 radio show could be recorded every Sunday evening, or the latest hits being played into the night on Radio Luxembourg. The Beatles took the music world by storm in the 1960s but what music did you love?

Beanz Meanz Heinz

Heinz launched their Beanz Meanz Heinz TV advertising campaign in 1967 and there’s every chance you had beans for tea more than once as a child in the ’60s – maybe on some toasted slices of Wonderloaf.

But, for children, the sweets available at the school tuck shop were of far greater interest.

Feast your eyes on this selection and see which ones you remember:

Flying saucers; coconut mushrooms, Parma violets, fizzers, drumstick lollies; sherbet fountain; sweet tobacco; traffic light lollies; candy whistles, or maybe a pack of Rowntree’s fruit gums at the price of 3d. A bar of Fry’s Chocolate Crème would set you back 6d, or were you more of a penny chew chooser – what did you spend your pocket money on?

TV Favourites

Colour TV didn’t come along until the late ’60s, but what TV shows did you love to watch:

Thunderbirds; Magpie; Mary, Mungo and Midge; Doctor Who; Playschool; Do Not Adjust Your Set; Casey Jones (steamin’ and a rollin’), or how about Lassie, Flipper or Skippy the Bush Kangaroo?

If you can remember the ’60s…

If you remember any of the above, you were there. What are your lasting memories of growing up in Britain in the 1960s?

Header image credited Picture Post. August 7, 1954

Growing Up in the 1960s

September 11th, 2015

By Karen Osburn, Archivist

The 1960s were a decade that encompassed some of the worst and best events of my young age. Born in 1952, the 1960s covered my life from the ages of 8 to 18. In that time I went from playing with toys to being interested in boys. Growing up in the 1960s, we saw assassinations, a space race, men walking on the moon, the Vietnam War, Civil Rights marches, segregation, integration, The Beetles, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, the Doors, Jefferson Airplane, the Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Animals, the Dave Clark Five, Credence Clearwater Revival, muscle cars, protests, and nuclear bomb scares. I went from third grade to the start of my senior year in high school in the 1960s. We had Bomb Shelters, duck for cover drills, and I got to vote!

I read Mad Magazine, Robert Heinlein, the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew and the Black Stallion to name a few pieces of “literature.”

As a teenager in the 1960s, there was probably a lot less drama going on in my life than I thought there was at the time. Not having enough life experience to know what events were really serious and which ones only seemed that way; all most everything in my life in my life took on an importance disproportionate to reality. Not growing up in Geneva I can only guess at some of the local events that impacted people’s lives in the 1960s, but the National events were big enough to have an emotional response for most of us.

President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in 1963 and his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, was assassinated in June 1968 only a couple of months after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Medgar Wiley Evers, Civil Rights Activist, was assassinated in June 1963 about five months before John Kennedy was killed in November. In 1969 roughly 400,000 people attended the Woodstock Music Festival. The Vietnam War which started in 1955 finally saw regular U. S. Combat troops deployed in 1965. All these events, the music, and the television shows wove a bond around Americans, even teenagers.

In my high school in the 1960s we were finally able to convince the administration that it would be alright for girls to wear slacks to school, slacks mind you, not jeans. I think the reason the Principal gave in was that slacks were more modest than the mini-skirt style most of us wore. The boys in our school didn’t like it (I can’t imagine why) and let us know it in no uncertain terms. High school in the 1960s still taught Home-Economics only to girls and Shop only to boys. There was only one girl on the cross country team in my senior year and since she was better than some of the boys they were not happy about that either. I think our school district must have been a bit ahead of their time in letting her participate since Title IX didn’t go into effect until 1972.

The 1960s saw the rise of the shopping malls. I remember seeing Midtown Plaza in Rochester for the first time about 1966 and being so awed that my friend (a year older and more sophisticated than I) suggested that I close my mouth before I drew attention to myself. Now I walk around Eastview Mall and miss the “old” days of lively downtowns.

So what was Geneva like in the 1960s? I checked the 1965 Geneva City Directories and discovered a few things about our city of then 19,910. The directories listed 4 Veterinarians, 4 Architects, 18 Lawyers, 4 Bakeries, 18 Barbershops and 36 Beauty Parlors, 4 banks with Christmas Clubs, 30 Cafes and 17 Taverns, 27 Churches, 5 Funeral Homes and 5 Convalescent Homes, 26 Groceries, 13 Manufacturers, 16 Fraternal Organizations, 12 Labor Organizations, 7 Patriotic Organizations, 6 Religious Organizations, 10 Welfare Organizations, 10 Playgrounds and 29 Physicians and Surgeons.

The 1965 Seneca Saga Yearbook for Geneva High School shows eager young men and women, the men wearing suits and ties and the women wearing light colored sweaters with a mock turtleneck or jewel neckline and a string of pearls. The skirts are just below the knee in length and pleated, a-line or full. Eyeglasses are cat’s-eye shape for women and the “Clark Kent” style for men. (Five years later the skirts would all be way above the knee or down to the ankle, glasses would start to have wire frames, and both the men’s and women’s hair would be much longer).

After school social life might include Girl’s Bowling Club, Math Club, Monitors Club, Biology Club, Art Club, Auditors Club, Stage Crew, Conservation Club, Ushers Club, Russian Study, Advanced Russian Study, National Honor Society, Leaders Club, Varsity Club, Girls Track (remember there was no Title IX), Future Homemakers of America, Future Teachers of America, Future Farmers of America, Knitting Club, Senior Chefs, Junior Chefs, Human Rights Seminar, Public Speaking, Spanish Club, French Club, Classical Club, Ceramics, Photo Service, Audio-Visual, Ski Club, Glee Club, Majorettes, Stage Band, Jazz Orchestra, Concert Band, Varsity Chorus, Co-Ed Bowling, and Girls Hockey. The sports teams are listed separately and women were not on the sports teams. Girls are in the sports activities, not on teams. The sports section even has a rifle team and there is a photo of a woman shooting a rifle, but I can’t figure out if she is a member of the club. Her name is not listed.

I will be writing more about the 1960s in my blog each month as our winter fund-raiser will have a 1960s theme. For now, I just want to have you think about the 1960s and how you relate to them.

Tagged With: 1951-2000, Karen Osburn

Growing Up Sixties

Keywords

US History Technology Music History Vocal Music

Black History Hispanic Heritage Cultural Diversity

About the show

“Growing Up Sixties” presents an refreshing, cultural-based approach to the history of the 1960s.

Students have traditionally studied history by learning about great events and important leaders. However, history is also made and experienced on a personal level. The popularity of books such as “The American Girl” series demonstrates that children enjoy learning about history through the eyes of characters they can identify with.

Our program looks at what it was like to be a child growing up in the midst of the all the changes that were re-shaping America in the 1960s. Among the topics covered: the arrival of the Beatles in 1964; the New York World’s Fair; Op Art and Pop Art and the emergence of color television.

Students are encouraged to look for ways in which growing up in the 1960s was both the same and different than growing up today.

There are several opportunities for group audience participation built into the show, including make-believe surfing and simple Motown choreography.

Our large computer projections illustrate the outrageous fashions and hairstyles that were part of the times. We have made a special effort to use photos from our own families and other “everyday people.”

TGIF

ullstein bild / Getty (left) Stringer / Getty (middle) Vern Evans Photo / Getty (right)

Any millennial will tell you that the 1990s were (arguably) THE BEST decade to grow up in. We ’90s kids are very big into nostalgia, and it’s pretty easy to see why. So many things from the ’90s have had a great effect on pop culture and society as a whole. When our movies celebrate milestone anniversaries, they’re re-released and sold out. Most of our TV shows are still in syndication, not having gone off the air ever.

’90s kids are old enough to remember the world before technology (we actually played outside), but we also know how to use smartphones (because how can you Instagram your avocado toast without a smartphone?).

The ’90s were amazing beyond measure. Maybe every generation thinks the decade of their childhood was the best, but here’s just a taste of what made the ’90s the absolute best.

No one wanted to go out on Friday nights in the ’90s. We all wanted to stay home and watch ABC’s TGIF (Thank God, It’s Friday). The lineup of mostly family-driven sitcoms is still such a huge part of pop culture that Hulu recently added all of the shows to their streaming service. How would we ever make it to Saturday without knowing what kind of shenanigans Steve Urkel was getting into? Or have Michelle Tanner say “You got it, dude!” You can probably sing the theme song to Step by Step. And we all wished we could have a teacher like Mr. Feeny. Personally, I still fantasize about having powers like Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.

Nickelodeon

Everyone take a seat on the big orange couch, and beware of slime. Nickelodeon was the channel for kids (especially since back then the Disney Channel cost extra). We loved the animated shows like Rugrats, Hey Arnold, Doug, Ren and Stimpy, The Wild Thornberrys, and Ahh! Real Monsters. But then there were also shows like Hey Dude and Salute Your Shorts. And the game shows like Double Dare and Wild and Crazy Kids. You spent your Saturday nights watching All That and Are You Afraid of the Dark? And your summer afternoons with Stick Stickly (New York City, New York State, 10108!)

Tiny Toys

There is something about tiny toys that is just so ’90s. Polly Pocket was everyone’s favorite choking hazard because — hello! — you could actually put them in your pocket! And the Littlest Pet Shop animals might have had eyes that took up half of their tiny little bodies, but the kittens and birds and turtles were just so darn cute.

Sketch Comedy Shows

We all know that the ’90s cast of Saturday Night Live was hands down one of the best because it spurred the careers of Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Will Ferrell, Molly Shannon, and others. Mad TV was the Fox alternative, with much more ridiculous sketches and characters like Stuart and Miss Swan. In Living Color not only introduced us to the genius that is the Wayans family, but also launched the careers of Jamie Foxx and Jim Carrey. Best reasons to stay up late.

Girl Power Music

Whitney. Mariah. Celine. Alanis. Lauryn Hill. Jewel. Lisa Loeb. Tracy Chapman. Shania Twain. Dixie Chicks. TLC. Queen Latifah. Selena. Toni Braxton. Vanessa Williams. LeAnn Rimes. Faith Hill. These women were powerhouses. Top 10 hits, awards galore. And SO.MUCH.FEROCITY. Can we also remember that Cher staged an epic comeback and introduced us to autotune? Snaps, girlfriends.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player of all time (sorry, LeBron). He had a hugely successful basketball career playing for the Chicago Bulls (No. 23 forever) then retired at the top of his game to play baseball. Luckily, he came back to the basketball court, wins more championships, and makes one of the best sports movies ever, Space Jam, when he saved the Looney Tunes from space aliens who stole the basketball talent of some of the best NBA players.

Teen Television

Hanging out with the crew at The Max on Saved by the Bell, singing on the beach with the California Dreams, watching the latest Wakefield sister drama at Sweet Valley High, trying to decide if you were Popular, swooning over Jordan Catalano alongside Angela Chase on My So-Called Life, and watching Dawson’s Creek if only to fight with your friends about the merits of Dawson vs. Pacey. We were teens living the dream.

Pop Music

The resurgence of pure, 100% bubblegum pop of the late ’90s is probably one of the most memorable (and has long-lasting effects) parts of our lives. Starting with the Spice Girls and their in-your-face girl power, then spreading to boy bands like Hanson, Backstreet Boys, and *NSYNC. The decade also ushered in blonde divas, like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, and Mandy Moore.

Weird Beverages

First, there was Crystal Pepsi, the first clear, caffeine-free cola. Energy sodas were also introduced in the ’90s. And what about Orbitz, that clear juice drink with the colored dots that were permanently suspended in the drink, making it look similar to a lava lamp — it was the epitome of weird.

Robin Williams Movies

Yes, Robin Williams had an incredible, decade-spanning career. But his ’90s movies were many of the ones he’s best known for. Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, Hook, The Birdcage, and Good Will Hunting. ‘Nuff said.

Sister Act

Whoopi Goldberg is a damn national treasure for several reasons, but her role in Sister Act is one of the most unforgettable. No one ever thought nuns were fun until they met the singing nuns from Sister Act, and the sequel Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit introduced us to the powerhouse that is Ms. Lauryn Hill.

Teen Movies

’90s teen movies were the shit. Fight me about it. Any decade that had Clueless automatically wins.

Pokémon

Gotta catch ‘em all! Pokémon was all the rage, with kids collecting and trading cards faster than you can say Pikachu. They even got a full-length feature film in addition to their Saturday morning cartoon. Now that we’re adults, we play Pokémon Go! on our smartphones instead. But we still can’t catch ‘em all. Sorry, Ash.

Titanic

Titanic wasn’t just a ship, or a movie, it was a way of life. It was a record-holding blockbuster of a film that catapulted Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet into the stratosphere of fame. You’re lying if you say you didn’t have a crush on Leo for even just a nanosecond. How could you not? And this year is the 20th anniversary of the film (which they rereleased in theaters), so now we feel old. We’ll never let go, Jack.

Disney’s Renaissance

Technically, the Disney Renaissance began with The Little Mermaid in 1989, but ’90s kids have claimed Ariel as ours. Though it may have started in ‘89, it really made an impact in the ’90s. Beauty and the Beast was the first animated film to be nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award, and classics like Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, and Mulan are some of the best films, animated or not, ever.

Rap Music

Many rap music fans will say that rap really peaked in the ’90s (I’m apt to agree.) The ’90s gave us some of the biggest and best rappers. Biggie Smalls and Tupac were LEGENDARY, and they were often caught up in the East Coast/West Coast rap wars. The ’90s also gave us Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, and Eminem.

Beauty Trends

’90s girls had to be one of the most catered to demographics when it came to products. We had it all: Caboodles for all of our Lip Smackers and Hard Candy nail polishes, GellyRoll and Milky Gel pens for writing notes to our crushes or giving our friends tattoos, belly chains to go with our crop tops. Butterfly clips were everything because you could put them so many places besides your hair (I frequently used mine to decorate the laces of my Sketchers.) And LISA FRANK. You can’t get much girlier than rainbow-colored kittens and gumball machines.

Clever Marketing

Sure, the ’80s had “Where’s the Beef?” but we had “Wazzzzzup?” And you never wanted Taco Bell more than when you saw that cute little Chihuahua saying “Yo quiero Taco Bell.”

Primetime TV

Primetime TV in the ’90s was 2 Legit 2 Quit (see what I did there?). We had some of the biggest sitcoms of all time: Friends (even my preschooler can sing the theme song) and Seinfeld (yadda, yadda, yadda.) There were also soapy dramas produced by Aaron Spelling, Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place, and long-running dramas Law & Order (dun dun) and ER, without which many people wouldn’t know the magic of George Clooney.

Magnificent Seven

In the summer of 1996, we all crowded around our TVs to watch the Summer Olympics, which took place in Atlanta, Georgia. Sure, a lot of things happened, but all many of us can remember was the women’s gymnastics team, the Magnificent Seven. You know your heart stopped when Kerri Strug hurt her ankle on her first vault, only to nail the second one and drop to her knees in pain. We all cheered extra-hard when she stood on that gold medal podium during the National Anthem.

MTV

Yes, MTV was created in the ’80s, but it really became a cultural zeitgeist in the ’90s. MTV was one of the channels that made you jealous of your friends who had cable.

I know, there were so many things I left out. But the list would be an actual mile long if I included everything that made the ’90s so ah-mazing. But we all know what made the ’90s so special, so it’s all good! Peace out!

Back In Time For The Weekend, the BBC show where a family experience what it’s like to live in a particular decade (from the 1950s to the 1990s) has started a debate: which decade was the best to grow up in?

The family involved, The Ashby-Hawkins’, reckoned the 1970s was best. But our writer Tessa Cunningham believes the 1960s was one of the greatest times to be young. Here are 12 very good reasons why.

1. Children’s TV
Who needs Harry Potter when they could have Samantha, the blonde witch with the twitchy nose, the all-American husband and the mother-in-law from hell?

American TV series Bewitched, starring Elizabeth Montgomery, cast a spell over us all.

2. Saturday night TV
We only had to hear PC Dixon’s immortal words: ‘Evening all’, which kicked off every episode of the cosy police series Dixon Of Dock Green, to know that all was right with the world.

Happy Valley it definitely wasn’t but no one ever went to bed with nightmares. And, if we wanted something a little more exciting, there was always Juke Box Jury and Double Your Money.

MORE: Was the 1970s the best decade to grow up in?

3. Sweets galore

If you’ve not enjoyed the thrill of stuffing a Gobstopper in your mouth, you haven’t lived.

Sweet rationing had ended in 1953 and manufacturers were falling over themselves to sell us sweet treats. And guess what – our parents approved (as long as we brushed our teeth before bedtime.)

Sherbert Fountains, Black Jacks, Pear Drops and of course Gobstoppers filled those long gaps between meals.

4. Food
Meals may have been simpler but no one paid extra for organic. It came as standard.

And no one had jaded palates from eating too many exotic foods. For exciting taste sensations we had Spaghetti Hoops (yes there really was a time when these were just a twinkle in an adman’s eye), Vesta Curries and – for the ultimate in luxury – ready-made Arctic Rolls and Ski Yogurt. Yum, yum.

MORE: 12 things you’ll only get if you were a child of the 70s

5. Music

We couldn’t get enough sugar, even in our music.

Remember the Archies and Sugar Sugar? And if you’ve ever wondered what girls see in One Direction, just remember that we got there first with the Monkees – the original (and best?) manufactured pop group.

The only debate was which of those mop-haired singers was the cutest.

6. Books
If you think 50 Shades Of Grey is racy, you’ve never read Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

This was the decade when DH Lawrence’s saucy tale of a lady and her gamekeeper lover was finally published.

Most of us never got a chance to sneak-read Mum’s copy. Instead we got our sex education from dear old Barbara Cartland and Mills & Boon paperbacks.

7. Clothes

OK, there wasn’t the choice. But wasn’t that liberating?

When you only had two skirts, two pairs of trousers, three dresses and a couple of tops getting, dressed in the morning was so quick and simple.

And Mum didn’t mind too much if you got dirty because she’d just got her first automatic washing machine. Hooray!

8. Playtime

No one ever complained we spent too long in our bedrooms. If we weren’t playing Cluedo at the kitchen table, we were skipping in the garden or playing Hide and Seek in the local park.

As long as we were home by tea, no one batted an eyelid.

9. Films

Going to the cinema was an all-day event because we had the B film to watch first (for free.)

And we didn’t need gimmicky 3D films to keep us entertained when Sean Connery was thrilling us all as James Bond.

10. Getting around

We never needed to beg Mum for a lift. We got everywhere on our bikes.

The roads were so blissfully quiet and traffic free that cycling was a joy. And no one ever dreamed of suggesting we wear a helmet.

11. Hobbies
Forget expensive computer games – everything we did was either free or really cheap.

We fanatically peeled stamps off envelopes and stuck them in books. We collected pretty coloured marbles. And we knitted and crocheted like crazy.

Our teapots had so many cosies, they were better dressed than we were.

12. Holidays

There was no need to be scared of the sun. In the days before package holidays, we didn’t bake ourselves red on the Med. Instead we rushed to be beside the sea at Bournemouth or Scarborough and lapped up every moment of sunshine we could in between the showers.

We built sand castles, went crabbing and spent hours burying Dad.

(Pictures: Getty)

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1980-1989, what a glorious time.

If you grew up in this decade you know what a great time it was to be alive. If you’re from a younger generation you might be curious in looking back on 12 things that made the ’80s the greatest decade.

The 1980s were a time of great pop culture including some of the best movies, music, TV shows, and toys of all time. It is the decade most often associated with nostalgia and the style, and memories of the decade, continue to live on.

You can listen to the podcast version or read on…

I was born in the late ‘70s and similar to anyone who was born then we weren’t a child of the ‘70s but one of the ‘80s. We were just getting old enough to embrace everything the ‘80s would have to offer. This isn’t to say that if you were older in the ‘80s that you didn’t appreciate it but your main, and fondest, memories are usually based on when you were a kid.

Call it “golden age thinking” or looking back with rose colored glasses but most things seemed better when you were a kid. Ask anyone who grew up in any decade, they will tell you that’s when things were the best, sports were better, music and movies were better, and it was just a better time to be alive.

We look back fondly and as time goes by but we don’t think about all the crap that was happening. We tend to remember the last time we had a memory of it and over time this filters out any of the garbage and you’re left with pure nostalgia.

So let’s look at 12 things that made the ‘80s the greatest decade. These are of course from my vantage point so feel free to scream at me in any manner you feel fit. (in no particular order)

1. The Movies

Was the ‘80s the golden age of movies? It might be hard to argue that. It gave us some of the biggest movies and trilogies of all time and gave rise to the blockbuster. Star Wars would get the ball rolling when it was released in 1977 but the momentum and the fandom really took shape in the ‘80s with the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

This could also be called the Spielberg era as you’v got the classics like E.T (which was actually the highest money maker of the ‘80s) The Goonies, and the monumental Indiana Jones movies. (luckily The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was long after the ‘80s and it can rot in hell)

This is the era that brought us the PG-13 rating which was the perfect movie classification. It allows things to not be so family friendly but didn’t push it too far so that younger people were isolated from it. It was actually Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom that would lead to the first PG-13 rating and set the tone for this awesome genre of movies.

You also have my favorite of all time; Back To The Future and the epic sequel that combined all the best elements of time travel. With BTTF 2 you had a look into the past, the future and then it acted as a sort of prequel taking us back into the original movie.

We can go on and on about all these glorious movies and some other notables that round out the decade are

  • Ghostbusters
  • Beverly Hills Cop
  • Top Gun
  • Crocodile Dundee
  • 3 Men And A Baby
  • Gremlins
  • Batman (people think of it in the ‘90s but it makes the cut)

2. G.I Joe

G.I Joe is one of a handful of iconic toys and cartoons from the ‘80s. If you were a kid growing up in this decade G.I Joe was one of the biggest parts of your life. Your day would be centered around getting home intime to watch it on T.V. Birthdays and Christmas would be based around asking for, and hopefully getting, any of the toys.

I’m still going on 30 years of not getting the aircraft carrier for Christmas…

G.I Joe was created by Hasbro and had existed for decades in a larger form. During the Vietnam war, any war based toys took a massive hit in the sales department and were really hard to market and sell. Thanks to the success of the Star Wars toyline G.I Joe was now introduced in 1982 as a 3.75-inch version as opposed to its old 12-inch size.

The also created one of the first marketing approaches by using a cartoon show as basically a 30-minute commercial to sell the new toys. Making the figures smaller also allowed for Hasbro to make a ton of vehicles they could sell with them that wouldn’t be gigantic. They would end up making over 250 different vehicles, and I wanted every single one.

The big thing they did with the cartoon, that other toy companies would soon follow, was they gave G.I Joe a backstory. Up until then, he had just been an army man. Now he had an enemy in COBRA and a real mission to follow.

When you combine this with traditional marketing it was like crack for a ten year old kid. There was no way to resist the allure of G.I Joe and it makes it one of the best toys and cartoons of all time.

3. The Music

The ‘80s brought us so much new variety when it came to music along with some brand new genres. Up until then, everything had been pretty much rock-based. Heavy metal was becoming more prominent in the ‘70s and pop music has always been in the mix but the ‘80s brought us some new categories and variations we hadn’t heard before.

It’s obviously impossible to cover this gigantic topic in a few paragraphs but when you think of the ‘80s you think of Michael Jackson who ruled over it all. You think of Madonna and U2 and it was the era where we were introduced to a new art form called Hip-Hop (which I’ll cover more in a second.

It gave us New Wave music and Devo, we started seeing more house music and a growth of punk rock. Death Metal and Metallica emerged in the ‘80s. Disco was thankfully long dead but we were hearing more synthesizer-based music and more electronic production.

The ‘80s still featured some classic bands like the Rolling Stones and Queen who found a whole new generation of fans. MTV would launch in 1981 and would forever change the way we consumed music. Bands and artists had to learn this new way to present themselves in this new visual medium.

This is a time when album sales meant everything and it’s where the real money was made, unlike today.

Here were the top-selling albums by year:

  • 1980- Pink Floyd “The Wall”
  • 1981- REO Speedwagon “Hi Infidelity”
  • 1982- Asia “Asia”
  • 1983- Michael Jackson “Thriller”
  • 1984- Thriller again
  • 1985- Bruce Springsteen “Born In The USA”
  • 1986- Whitney Houston “Whitney Houston
  • 1987- Bon Jovi “Slippery When Wet”
  • 1988- George Michael “Faith”
  • 1989- Bobby Brown “Don’t Be Cruel”

Also, here were the year-end Billboard # 1 songs of the ‘80s:

  • 1980: “Call Me” – Blondie
  • 1981: “Bette Davis Eyes” – Kim Carnes
  • 1982: “Physical” – Olivia Newton John
  • 1983: “Every Breath You Take” – The Police
  • 1984: “When Doves Cry” – Prince
  • 1985: “Careless Whisper” – Wham!
  • 1986: “That’s What Friends Are For” – Dionne & Friends
  • 1987: “Walk Like An Egyption” – The Bangles
  • 1988: “Faith” – George Michael
  • 1989: “Look Away” – Chicago

Any surprises here? I don’t remember Chicago being at the top of the charts and definitely not Dionne and Friends, though that was my grade 8 graduation song that we had to sing in front of actual human beings.

If you want to go a bit deeper on 80s music, check out my article about the 20 best bands of the decade.

There’s a good chance you owned a majority of those albums and it’s most notably a decade where you would sit with your tape deck listening to the radio-ready to jump on the song you were waiting to record. Except the DJ would talk over most of the intro…

Which leads us to…

4. The Mix Tape

If you want to put the ‘80s, in a nutshell, it may be the mixtape. There was no such thing as MP3, Apple Music or Spotify. If you wanted to capture music you would have to sit diligently by your tape deck just waiting for whatever song you wanted to hear. You would call up radio stations to request it and just hope you had a good trigger finger.

This was also the era of the dual cassette tape deck which meant you could copy tapes and put together your own mixes. If someone you knew had a tape you wanted you could copy it over on to a blank one and it was magically yours! A great advent was “high speed dubbing” which would transfer that tape over even faster.

Now with your collection of cassettes, you could make your own compilations and the mixtape was born. This was the ‘80s version of a love letter as you could put together all the meaningful songs to give to the person you liked. Spotify has allowed us to do that today but that’s just a matter of a few quick taps. The mix tap took WORK and commitment. That was half of what made a mixtape so special, the effort.

So now you’ve got a killer mixtape that you painstakingly put together, what were you going to listen to it on?

5. The Walkman

The Walkman changed the way we consumed music. It allowed us to take it on the go and it was also a style statement. Portable music and transistor radios have existed for years but you were forced to listen to whatever the radio station was playing. With the Walkman, you now had something that was catered to you.

Every tape you put in was your choice and it revolved around your lifestyle. Sony invented the Walkman in 1980 and it was almost called the “Sound-About”. It was created because the owner of Sony at the time wanted to be able to listen to his music while traveling. They had portable tape players but they were too big and bulky and not convenient at all.

The forefather of the Walkman was called the “Pressman” and was a mono cassette recorder. The owner of Sony wanted this but shrunken down and to use just for playback. When the Walkman was released Sony was hoping they could sell 5,000 units a month. In the first 2 months, they sold 50,000.

If you want to learn more about the amazing story of the Walkman check out my blog on its history.

It became a bit of statement wearing that yellow case and earphones. This became like an accessory the same way the white earbuds would be when the iPod was first introduced. So now you had your own personal listening device that you could listen to your favorite type of music. And for a lot of people in the ‘80s that would be….

5. Hip-Hop

Hip Hop has its roots in the Bronx. DJ Kool Herc was credited as the godfather of hip-hop and it came together quite naturally. At house parties, Herc wanted to always keep the people dancing. The funky records he would play, like James Brown, contained “breaks” where there wouldn’t be any lyrics and you would mainly hear drums and a beat.

People loved dancing to these “breakbeats” and he found that if he had two of the same record he could play the breakbeat back to back for an extended period of time. This leads to more dancing and also “break dancers”.

So whenever there would be a party or event the DJ would have a master of ceremonies, or M.C, who would make announcements. They would keep the music going but use the break portion of the records so the M.C’s announcements wouldn’t get mixed up with the song lyrics.

Over time the M.C would use this time to announce when the next gig or party was going to be and since they were in the spotlight they would embellish things a bit. This turned into bragging, then boasting, then rhyming to not only inform but entertain.

The M.C’s would then start to showcase their skills against other M.C’s and that lead to battling and full rhymes they would put together. People wanted to hear more and they would start recording these rhymes that they performed over some funky beats.

This is the birth of hip-hop and it would explode during the 1980s.

Over the ‘80s we would get legends like Grandmaster Flash, Rakim, LL Cool J, Run DMC, Nas, A Tribe Called Quest. Then things would move west and it brought us the early days of Gangster rap including N.W.A with Dr Dre, Ice Cube and Eazy E, along with Ice T, and Snoop Dogg.

There’s also the story of the Boombox or Ghetto Blaster, and how it helped pave the way for hip hop. Check out my article on that right here!

6. The Clothes

Is there any other decade that gets as mocked as much as the ‘80s do for the fashion? When you think of the ‘80s it may conjure up images of a lot of fluorescent pinks and greens, like that image above… There were a lot of velvet scrunchies and crimped hair that was being held by them also.

Converse high tops were still big but so were any type of white high top basketball sneakers. You had the epic acid wash jeans movement and it seems like everyone was wearing a belt pack of some sort.

You had leg warmers, bike shorts and just a whole lot of spandex. Baggy clothes were still popular and groups like RUN DMC would popularize big gold chains and white Adidas shoes.

The punk style lead by people like Cyndi Lauper would be popular and it seemed like everyone was wearing blazers and blouses with giant shoulder pads in them.

The “Memphis Style” was a big influence behind the design and aesthetic of the 80s. Check out my blog on the importance of the Memphis Group and Memphis style.

Some of this might make a comeback but it’s still hard to look back on your old school pictures…

7. Transformers

Arguably the best toy and cartoon of the ‘80s. If it’s not then it is at least right up there. The Transformers toys, made by Hasbro, were a rip off the Diaclone toys made in Japan. Hasbro basically took them straight up and changed around some colours and accessories.

But they saw the success that happened with G.I Joe and created a 3-part TV series in 1984 that were used to launch the toys. I don’t know a single kid my age who wasn’t obsessed with transformers. You had characters like Optimus Prime, Megatron, Bumblebee, Starscream, Soundwave, the Dinobots and a ton more.

Like G.I Joe, you were watching 30-minute commercials where they were introducing the backstory of the Transformers along with characters and vehicles. We didn’t care though, they were amazing. I still remember being crushed one Christmas certain I was getting Soundwave based on the box I saw wrapped under the tree. It turned out to be a multipack of Life Savers.

Transformers would lead to cartoon movie in 1986 that would traumatize a lot of kids. The movie killed off a lot of beloved characters as a way to clear out old inventory and then introduce a bunch of new ones for the upcoming toy line. It was also essentially just a 90-minute commercial

And I’m still not over the death of Optimus Prime. Sorry for the spoiler alert…

While you’re at it, take a look at my top 10 cartoons from the 80s!

8. The TV Shows

A bunch of classic sitcoms came our way in the ‘80s and would eventually lead to the advent of “Must See TV”. Certain nights like Thursday and Friday would become must-watch nights where they would stack a bunch of top shows together. You did not want to miss these nights if you wanted to know what the hell everyone was talking about.

Some of the notable shows in the ‘80s were Growing Pains, Who’s The Boss, Family Ties, Webster, Full House, Cheers, ALF, The Wonder Years, The A-Team, The Dukes Of Hazzard, Knight Rider, honestly, there are so many beauties from this time period.

The number one show actually from 1985-90 every single year was the Cosby Show. Here’s a sample of the top ten highest-rated shows from right in the middle of the decade and the ratings they got:

  1. The Cosby Show – 33.7
  2. Family Ties – 30.0
  3. Murder, She Wrote – 25.3
  4. 60 Minutes – 23.9
  5. Cheers – 23.7
  6. Dallas – 21.9
  7. Dynasty – 21.8
  8. The Golden Girls – 21.8
  9. Miami Vice – 21.3
  10. Who’s The Boss – 21.1

The very highest-rated sitcoms today will do, at their very best, 15-18 million viewers which wouldn’t even put them in the top 30 in the ‘80s. Most shows average around 4-6 million viewers these days but there are obviously a lot more networks, channels and streaming services vying for your attention.

8. The Breakfast Cereals

What a time to be alive. If you were a kid in the ‘80s breakfasts could be an event. There were so many over the top, sugar-laden cereals with intensive marketing that you couldn’t resist. They were colourful, novel and probably had some sort of free toy inside.

This was a big era for interactive cereal boxes and you probably spent your whole breakfast totally engaged in the back of the box. To a kid, this was like their daily newspaper or iPhone.

Cereal commercials were basically low-level cartoon shows with characters that made you instantly identify that product. Nutrition was out the window and the idea of being able to eat cookies for breakfast was mind-blowing.

Here are a few notable cereals from the 1980s:

  • Cookie Crisp
  • Pac Man Cereal
  • C3P0’s
  • Ice Cream Cones Cereal
  • Smurf Berry Crunch
  • Pro Stars
  • E.T Cereal
  • Marshmallow Krispies
  • Mr. T Cereal
  • S’mores Crunch

I go A LOT deeper on breakfast cereals from the 80s in this article.

10. Saved By The Bell

Saved By The Bell would carry over into the ‘90s but it is all ‘80s at its core. The story of Zack, Lisa, Kelly, Jesse, Slater and Screech would show us the magical world of Bayside High in California.

Saved By The Bell started as a show called Good Morning, Miss Bliss. They knew the focus of the Miss Bliss character wasn’t going to steer the direction of the show but instead a character named Zack Morris would.

Played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Zack Morris was a student at John F. Kennedy Jr High in Indianapolis, Indiana. It started in 1988 and would only last one season before being retooled as Saved By The Bell.

The characters of Zack, Screech, Lisa, and Principal Belding were brought over from Good Morning, Miss Bliss to Saved By The Bell. The transition had them “moving” to the fictional town of Bayside.

You could almost think of this as Saved By The Bell: The Junior High Years but the character of Zack Morris would change a lot. He could now basically get away with everything, while also playing every sport and getting an impossible 1502 SAT score.

The goal was to create one of the only live-action Saturday morning TV shows. Saturday mornings were primetime for cartoons and doing a live-action show gave them the chance to stand out. It also catered to older kids who were getting past the cartoon phase.

The first show would be called “Dancing To The Max” and the Saved By The Bell era began on August 20, 1989.

Fun Fact: One of the original producers HATED the name Saved By The Bell and disallowed it to be used in any of the theme songs. Four different themes were made and only one contained the words saved by the bell. He had to cave to the one we know now as it had sounded the best by far.

11. The Video Games

In case you’re not aware of this there was a time in the early ‘80s where video games died and no one wanted to be involved in their production ever again. Atari ruled the roost going into the early ‘80s but that lead to the great video game crash of 1983.

Some people chalk this up to the atrocious E.T video game but the writing had been on the wall for a bit. Atari had no control over the video games that were being released and this resulted in a ton of crap that flooded the market. These awful games turned off kids from playing them and they were becoming more interested in the new home computer hitting the market such as the Commodore 64.

So, within a few short years, the video game industry went from making around 2 billion dollars down to only 100 million. This caused the crash and companies distanced themselves from anything video game-related.

Until an upstart company from Japan called Nintendo came on the scene. Nintendo had started as a trading card company in 1889 and had moved into electronics and then into video games. The released the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986 and it would become the best selling console of its time and changed the industry forever.

We would also get the Sega and Sega Genesis and some amazing games. Here’s a list of the top 10 selling video games of the 1980s.

  1. Super Mario Bros: 1985 – 40.24 million units
  2. Tetris: 84-89 – 30.26
  3. Duck Hunt: 1984 – 28.31
  4. Super Mario Land: 1989 – 18.14
  5. Super Mario Bros 3: 1988 – 17.28
  6. Super Mario Bros 2: 1988 – 7.46
  7. Pac-Man: 1982 – 7.00
  8. The Legend of Zelda: 1986 – 6.51
  9. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: 1987 – 4.38
  10. Excitebike and Pitfall: 1984/1982 – 4.16

12. Deregulation

Wait, what the hell is deregulation? Well, it’s responsible for a huge amount of the pop culture we experienced in the ‘80s.

Up until this point, the act of advertising to children was heavily regulated. Through a lot of research and study it was concluded that a young child could not differentiate between a TV show and an advertisement. It also showed the damage that happened from targeting youngsters and exposing them to so much promotion.

This severely limited the number of toys and products that could be directly targeted to children. And this is where Ronald Reagan comes into play. One of the first things Reagan does after becoming president is appoint a new head of the Federal Communications Commission in 1981.

His name was Mark Fowler and the first thing he did was lift the ban on advertising to kids and said that children’s television should be dictated by the marketplace. This is why you saw an explosion of cartoons and related toys in the ‘80s. There was nothing holding manufacturers back from pushing anything they wanted and It’s what leads to things like:

  • G.I Joe
  • Transformers
  • My Little Pony
  • He-Man
  • Strawberry Shortcake
  • M.A.S.K
  • Voltron
  • She-Ra

A lot of work had been done to stop toy-inspired programs and this is why you saw shows like Transformers and G.I Joe be able to basically be ½ hour commercials.

It’s also why you see a huge amount of junk food and cereal releases in the ‘80s along with commercials that look a lot like cartoons. It was also huge for fast food companies and they could make their commercials more child-friendly and it’s why companies like McDonald’s used so many cartoon based characters. They also would release the Happy Meal in the ‘80s by using this same approach.

So the intentions were always commercial but it gave us some of our most beloved shows we know today. Despite the commercial aspects, many of the creators would still focus on creativity and story to help create more of an attachment to the shows.

Wrapping It Up

It’s funny to think about how we have Ronald Reagan to thank for a lot of our most beloved toys and cartoons. They said that kids would dictate the market and I guess we did. If something was crappy enough you just wouldn’t be interested but so much of the ‘80s was able to tap into our sense of wonder.

A lot of things hold up, especially the movies, and some went down in flames, like the fashion. Even some of the cartoons look a lot crappier than you may remember them being. The music seems even better than you remember and it felt like a time where the focus was on the art as we weren’t oversaturated with so much content from every direction.

I realize this barely skims the surface of the ’80s but hopefully, I captured some good highlights. And since you’re a fan of this decade, check out my list of 80s items and products you can still get now!

Tell ’em Large Marge sent ya!

P.S. If you want to be kept up to date with everything to do with the 80s, just sign up for the Everything 80s newsletter below, it’s a good one!

20 Photos Only Kids Who Grew up in the 1960s Will Understand

The 1960s were a tumultuous period in American history, marked by the beginning of the Vietnam War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Civil Rights Movement, and the assassination of JFK.

But adults who came of age during this incredible decade remember it as a simpler time, when kids could play baseball right out on the street, when the milkman delivered bottles straight to your door, and when teenagers on a hopeful first date shared a milkshake together under the neon auspice of a roadside diner. Oh, and there was also this earth-changing event you may recall: the moon landing.

For those that remember the era with an unmistakable twang of nostalgia, we’ve rounded up 20 photos that will transport you right back to the past. Think of it like a visual, tie-dye-tinged time machine. And for a linguistic throwback from the era, check out 20 Slang Terms From the 1960s No One Uses Anymore.

1 Scandalizing Your Parents By Wearing a Mini Skirt

Wikimedia Commons/The Age of Youth in Argentina

Though who invented the mini skirt is a matter of debate, these shorter hemlines became all the rage among young women on London’s trendy Oxford Street, and it wasn’t long before they made their way across the pond. Soon, they became not just a fashion staple, but a symbol of the women’s liberation movement—and by the end of the era, an even shorter version called the “micro-skirt” emerged.

2 Wanting to Look Exactly Like Twiggy

Condé Nast

With her short, slicked down hair, androgynous figure, big eyes, and long eyelashes, Twiggy was the definitive “It” Girl of the 1960s. Women spent hours in front of the mirror trying applying three layers of fake eyelashes and coating them in mascara to get her signature look. Despite her petite frame, Twiggy’s waist-to-hip ratio was 0.7, the same as Marilyn Monroe’s. For more on why this is considered the optimal ratio, This Is What Your Hip-to-Waist Ratio Says About Your Health.

3 Secretly Thinking Hippie Style Was Cool

Alamy

With their fondness for free love, nudity, rock music, and illicit substances, raising a hippie was every ’60s parent’s worst nightmare. But even if you weren’t down with their psychedelic lifestyle, you couldn’t help but think all of those earth colors, loose dresses, and unkempt hair were kind of cool.

4 The Comfort of a Perfectly Broken-in Pair of Bell Bottoms

Mike Powell / Wikimedia Commons

Bell bottoms, a style of trousers that flared at the bottom in a bell-like shape, became all the rage for both men and women. They made you look like you had calves the size of an elephant’s, but boy were they comfy after a few washes.

5 Riding a Banana Bike

Alamy

The banana bike—also known as a wheelie bike, high-riser, spyder bike, consisted of ape hanger handlebars, a banana seat with sissy bar, and small wheels. They were designed to resemble a chopper motorcycle, and if you were a kid, nothing was cooler than racing down the street in one of these babies.

6 Wearing a Pair of Go-go Boots for a Night Out

ALAMY

In 1964, the French fashion designer André Courrèges designed the first go-go boots, which were white, low-heeled, and mid-calf in height. They were an overnight sensation, and paired perfectly with a miniskirt.

7 Hanging a Beatles Poster on Your Bedroom Wall

Wikimedia Commons/Ronald Saunders

You collected their vinyl records and hung up their pinup posters from magazines, because Beatlemania was fever pitch.

8 Getting One of the First Barbie Dolls to Hit the Market

ALAMY

Barbie first launched in March 1959, after the iconic doll’s creator, Ruth Handler, noticed that her daughter, Barbara, liked to give adult roles to her paper dolls. The very first Barbie wore a zebra-print bathing suit and was available in both blond and brunette. By the end of the first year, Mattel had sold 300,000 of them.

9 Going Through Cans of Hairspray to Get the Perfect Bouffant

Wikimedia Commons/Jože Ga

The style was popularized by Jacqueline Kennedy in the beginning of the ’60s, and soon every woman was backcombing for hours and blinding themselves with hairspray to achieve this coveted look. And if you’re curious to see what the women of the ’60s look like today, check out these 10 Over-65 Leading Ladies Who Look Amazing.

10 Eating Various Foods Made in Gelatin Molds

Wikimedia Commons/Wonder Dishes

As gross as encasing meat in Jell-O may be, it was also a relatively inexpensive way of making meals out of canned products and seemed to have an infinite expiration date if properly refrigerated.

11 Loving the Low Maintenance of Keeping Sea Monkeys as Pets

Alamy

“Sea monkeys”—a brand name for brine shrimp—were sold as novelty aquarium pets. Thanks to a genius marketing strategy that involved placing ads in comic books in which they bore very little resemblance to the real-life crustaceans, every little boy wanted one of these as a pet.

12 Getting Your First Tie-dye T-shirt

Wikimedia Commons/Djembayz

According to legend, the first modern tie-dye shirt was created by a group of hippies who took a white T-shirt, dipped it into a pond, and poured enamel-based model airplane paint all over it to make some pretty colors. It soon became the unofficial wardrobe at rock concerts, and Woodstock even had a tie-dye booth for those who needed an extra pair.

13 Thinking Everything Looked Cooler Under a Black Light

Wikimedia Commons/Houston Freeburg

Though blacklight posters were invented in the 1930s, they didn’t become mainstream until the late 1960s, when venues like the Fillmore began using them to promote concerts for musicians like John Lennon, and artists began to create funkadelic artwork for teens to adorn their walls with. A few decades ago, your shaggy carpeted bedroom wasn’t worth a thing without a few of these babies adorning the wall.

14 The Turtleneck Trend

Alamy

Ironically, the turtleneck—a garment that is perhaps more modest than anything else on the market nowadays—was the uniform for intelligent, independent, and irresistible women back in the 1960s. Iconic women of the time—like Gloria Steinem and Audrey Hepburn—were often pictured sporting turtlenecks with retro skirts and black jeans, creating sleek-but-sexy get-ups that no man or woman could resist. And for fashion fads we never want to see again, check out the 20 Worst Style Trends of 2017.

15 Playing with Troll Dolls

ALAMY

Why these creepy dolls picked up in popularity is unclear—but for better or for worse, Troll Dolls will always be a part of 1960’s nostalgia.

16 Getting Your Hair Pin-Straight with an Actual Iron

Before there were hair straighteners, there were actual irons and women on a mission. Every girl growing up in the ’60s remembers getting ready for prom, their mom holding their hair over the ironing board as they struggled to straighten those pesky waves. Straighteners may have made our lives easier, but the struggle made the final product that much sweeter. And for more historic flashbacks, don’t miss the 20 Timeless One-Liners from History’s Extraordinary Women.

17 Turning Your Basement into a Fallout Shelter

LIFE Magazine

In the 1960s, fallout shelters were so popular that the government even offered financial assistance for civilians who wanted to build them under the Community Fallout Shelter Program. And what ’60s baby could ever forget President Kennedy’s famous letter in Life magazine, advising everyone to educate themselves about how to survive a nuclear attack, as “nuclear weapons and the possibility of nuclear war are facts of life we cannot ignore today.”

18 Watching the Moon Landing

Image via Wikimedia Commons

For kids today, the iconic moon landing of Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969, is little more than a part of history class. But for people growing up during this time, it was the event of the decade, where everyone gathered around the biggest television in the neighborhood to watch Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin take one small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind. And to learn what these guys had to go through to get to the moon, learn the 27 Insane Things Astronauts Have to Do.

19 Plugging in Your First Lava Lamp

ALAMY

Back in the ’60s, nothing accessorized a room quite like a lava lamp. Not only was it funky, but it was also fun to watch as the wax mixture inside moved around. Groovy, baby!

20 Posing For Photos on the Hood of Your Car

Wikimedia Commons/John Atherton

Before there were selfies, there were confident young women making sitting on the hood of a car look oh-so-glamorous. And if any of these photos appealed to you, check out 25 Signs You Were Born in the Wrong Decade.

To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, to sign up for our FREE daily newsletter!

It was the age of free love, miniskirts and man’s first steps on the moon…

The world turned technicolour in the ‘swinging sixties’ and there was no better time to grow up. Join us on a trip down memory lane as we look back at growing up in the age of free love.

1. A real community culture

In the sixties, there wasn’t a need for home security. Neighbourhood watch went without saying – you always felt safe and comfortable leaving the back door unlocked when popping down to the local shop.

Children were allowed to mess around in the roads, playing cops and robbers or footy until it got dark outside. It was safer back then as we rarely had to stop for passing cars as travelling by car was still quite rare.

Health and safety wasn’t much of a thing either. Who remembers climbing high up into the trees, swinging on lamp posts and doing a balancing act whilst walking along a tall, thin brick wall? A few bruises here and there never stopped us.

Play parks were just as bad, with open-sided slides, see-saws that fitted more than 10 children and monkey bars that we all hung upside down off! It was all fun and games back then.

Richard Baker / Alamy Stock Photo

2. Road trips abroad

Although we learnt to dance the ‘Twist’ on holiday at Butlins, in the sixties our parents started to venture abroad more than ever before.

We’d pack all our camping gear into the boot of the car and tie more cases on the roof rack. You wouldn’t be able to see much out the back window, but that wasn’t really an issue back then.

Kids sat together in the back, we were completely surrounded by saucepans, bedding and books, there wasn’t much room to spare.

There were no seatbelts, or motorways, service stations or the AA to come to the rescue.

We didn’t have the tech kids have nowadays to keep us entertained, but we made up games as a family, and sang and chatted the whole way.

With nothing for miles, a picnic on the French roadside en route to a Spanish holiday would keep us going.

Your family might even go on an aeroplane abroad – it was in the 60s that the package holiday became a thing.

They were still pretty expensive so if you did catch a flight to sunny Benidorm you were lucky.

It wasn’t until the 70s when most of us enjoyed a flight to Spain rather than the long car journey.

Allan Cash Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo

3. We had four seasons

Spring, summer, autumn, winter… Our memories of the sixties often involve the time of year, especially as we spent so much time outside.

Spring meant pre-ordering hot cross buns and ONLY eating them on Good Friday.

In summer, we’d spend the whole day at the funfair on the merry go rounds and waltzers. Or with picnics in fields, fruit picking from trees and at the beach building sandcastles.

In Autumn it was time for Harvest and farmers were kept busy.

Winter was always tough, but also so much fun, especially when school was cancelled for days on end because of the snow. The ‘Big Freeze’ in 1962 was like something from the Arctic – snow lay on the ground for 62 consecutive days. We had to get used it and carry on with life.

Allan Cash Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo

4. Music and memorable events

The rise of rock ‘n’ roll changed the face of music forever. The Beatles took over and Mods and Rockers battled it out in the streets.

In 1969 two men walked on the moon for the first time and we were waiting with the rest of the world, gathered around the TV watching history in the making together.

The English football team made history in 1966 when they beat Germany 4-2 and won the World Cup final – a victory that is still talked about by many today!

Allan Cash Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo

5. The golden era for toys

We played with the best toys ever made, the 60s was a revolution for toys and we had loads to choose from.

Back then, it was still boys and girls toys – girls loved barbies, kitchen sets and baby dolls, whilst boys played with model army men and train tracks.

The spirograph and etch-a-sketch were toys we all played with together – for hours on end!

6. Sweet treats from the corner shop

Many of the iconic sweets popular today were first introduced in the 60s. Opal Fruits were all the rage; Cadburys crème eggs were cracking, and jelly beans were a strong favourite.

We’d head down to the local corner shop where ladies in the street would go for a ‘chinwag’.

We took choosing our sweets very seriously as we only had a certain amount of pocket money to spend. We were spoilt for choice and had to choose wisely.

If this article took you back to simpler times and you’re in the mood for more, you may also enjoy these memories of a post war childhood, the 1950s home and earning your first bob as a kid.

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11 things you’ll only know if you grew up in the Sixties

‘Yellow Submarine’ was all you listened to

Yellow Submarine record pocket (Film Stills)

The sixth song on the Beatles Revolver album is now one of their most well known songs. Back in 1966 when it was first released it shot to the top of every major British chart and remained at number for four weeks making it the most successful Beatles song to have Ringo Starr as the lead vocalist.

You either had a crush on Twiggy or you wanted to be her

Known for the thin silhouette, androgynous look and wide, doe-like eyes, Twiggy became one of the first true international supermodels and fashion icon for teens in the 60s. Twiggy’s face became a staple on the front covers magazines, from Vogue to Tatler and she inspired a generation, even bringing out her own line of clothes called ‘Twiggy Dresses’.

You remember seeing your first miniskirt

Miniskirts worn for anything but sport was unheard of (Rex)

Though they’re common place now, prior to the 60s short skirts were only worn if you were involved in a sport or dance. That all changed after Britsh style icon Mary Quant began experimenting with shorter skirts, creating the miniskirt in 1964. Quant’s skirt is widely considered to be one of the defining fashions of the decade.

You ate food trapped in jelly

Food set in aspic was all the rage in the 1960s (ALAMY)

Food set in aspic, a dish in which ingredients are set into a gelatin made from a meat stock, was a common sight during the 60s. Dr Polly Russell looked at foods from different decades for the BBC show ‘Back in Time for Dinner’ and said: “As you move into the Sixties, there is suddenly more disposable income, people are experimenting more, and there’s an emphasis on foods that are more about display.

“Sadly, a lot of those were definitely style over substance.”

This meant you probably watched in awe and apprehension as your mother set a dish of cold lamb and pea mint set in a savoury jelly – essentially a jello roast.

Rosemary’s Baby was the creepiest thing you’d ever seen

Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby (Alamy)

The 1968 psychological horror, directed by Roman Polanski, was a commerical success earning $33 million (£21 million) in the US. Starring Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes, Rosemary’s Baby was met with almost unanimous universal acclaim from both critics and audiences.

It is ranked 9th on the American Film Institute’s ‘100 Years…100 Thrills’ list and was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry in 2014.

Colour TV was a huge thing

In Pleasantville, the world turns from black and white to in colour (Film Stills)

Though we take it for granted now, prior to the 60s, colour TV was a rarity. In 1966, the BBC announced plans to start broadcasting programmes in colour, making Britain the first country in Europe to offer regular programming in colour. Colour TV licences were introduced in 1968, costing £10 – double the cost of a black and white TV licence.

The moon landing blew your mind

Buzz Aldrin on the moon in 1969 (Nasa)

We’ve recently seen clear images of Pluto, but in 1969 two men walking on the moon was height of space discovery. The Apollo 11 mission launched from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida at 9.37 am on July 16 1969. Millions of people watched the event worldwide.

In the UK, BBC1, BBC2 and ITV provided extensive coverage, though most of the footage has now been either wiped or lost.

You remember when only married women were allowed the pill

It took six years for the pill to be made available to all women (Reuters)

The pill was developed by the American biologist Dr Gregory Pincus in the 50s, and introduced in the UK on the NHS in 1961 – but it was for married women only. It took till 1967 for this to be changed to make it avaiable to all women. Currently, the pill is taken by over 100 million women around the world.

You saw feminist history

The striking Ford factory workers (Daily Herald)

In 1968, the Ford female sewing machinists strike triggered the passing of the Equal Pay Act 1970. Led by Rose Boland, Eileen Pullen, Vera Sime, Gwen Davis, and Sheila Douglass, the machinists walked out after they were told their jobs had been graded ‘Category C’ – less skilled production jobs – and they would be paid 15 per cent than the rate men received for doing ‘Category B’ jobs.

You thought the special effects in Mary Poppins were amazing

A live-action and cartoon scene in Mary Poppins (Rex)

We’ve come a long way in the field of special effects since 1964, but at the time the blended live-action and animated Mary Poppins movie was somewhat revolutionary. It was named the first winner of the Academy Award for Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects thanks to its spectucular technique of combining cartoons with real people.