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1960 Time Capsule

https://youtu.be/zVN44IVqAEo

The year 1960 kicked off the 60s era with big events in politics, pop culture and technology. If you were alive in 1960 you probably remember some of these events.

Whether you were around at the time, or have just read about the 60s, you’ve likely forgotten some of the events that made the year 1960 so unique.

Let’s jog your memory by taking a deep look at life and events in the year 1960. 

1960 Technology

While the year may be remembered for JFKs election or the Vietnam war, politics wasn’t the only thing that moved fast in 1960, so did technology. Pacemakers, etch a sketch more on that later and even aluminum cans were all invented in 1960.

1960 was the first year that aluminum cans were widely produced and used for beverages. The cans were actually first created by Coors in 1959, but the trend wouldn’t catch on until 1960. Up until this point, you would typically only find beverages in glass bottles. Some people still insist that beverages taste better from a glass bottle… what do you think? Let us know in the comments!

While the politics of 1960 were mostly civil on the home front, in Vietnam, things were just about to get worse.

Vietnam War

In march of 1960, North Vietnam became increasingly militant against South Vietnam, which prompted the United States to interfere by sending in an army of 3,500 American soldiers. The United States government had been keeping an eye on Vietnam after the French withdrew their control over the region. Scared that Vietnam might fall to Communism under China, the U.S. government decided that the best option was to begin a war. This war would define 1960s politics and anti-war movements throughout the coming years.

1960 Cost of Living

But back on American soil, do you remember what the cost of living was like? We know that inflation causes prices to be higher today than they used to be – but when you look at the numbers, it’s actually pretty shocking.

In 1960, the average cost of a new house was just $12,700, and the monthly rent of an apartment was just $98 on average!

If you were in the market for a new car, you could expect to pay about $2,600 to drive it off the lot. 

Then, you would’ve paid just 25¢ a gallon for gas.

Need to pick up some groceries? You wouldn’t have needed much – a loaf of bread only cost 20¢ at the time.

Despite these reasonable prices, the economy was actually in a recession for the bigger part of 1960.

From April through the rest of the year, the US economy hit hard times. Luckily things turned around in 1961, but you’ll have to learn more about that in our 1961 video!

TIROS-1

NASA had an impressive milestone in April of this year, as they launched America’s first successful weather satellite from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was known as the  Television Infra-Red Observation Satellite, or TIROS-1 for short. The satellite weighed a total of 270 pounds, measuring 19 inches tall and 42 inches wide. The satellite took thousands of photos that helped scientists to track cloud patterns and formation systems. TIROS-1 provided valuable information until it lost functionality 78 days after it launched.

NASA has accomplished a lot since then, but there were still plenty more “firsts” when it comes to technology and inventions in 1960.

Chubby Checker’s ‘The Twist’

If you enjoyed dancing, you probably twisted yourself through the summer of 1960. “The Twist” by Chubby Checker was originally written and performed by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, but Chubby Checker gave it new life with one of the most iconic dance moves of all time. 

Films of the 1960s

The most important film released in 1960 was the horror film Psycho, which premiered on June 16th. It was both produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, who is still considered one of the most influential directors of all time. He mastered the elements of horror and suspension, and his skills were on full display in Psycho. It was the earliest known slasher film, and would later give inspiration to other films like Suspiria and A Nightmare on Elm Street. 

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee first hit the shelves on July 11th, 1960. Despite it being her first novel ever written, the book was so well-written that it earned her a Pulitzer Prize within a year. The book was groundbreaking at the time, as it focused on themes of racism and injustice. It looked at the inherent racism present in our justice systems, as well as the violence African Americans faced at the hands of the law. The novel continues to be influential today, and is a big part of education curriculum across the country. 

With both the Civil Rights Act of 1960 and the importance of To Kill a Mockingbird, the African American community was starting to get the respect that they’d deserved for so long. Athletes like Muhammad Ali helped bring more attention to racial issues – but you might be surprised by his origins.

Cassius Clay

In August of 1960, Cassius Clay made his boxing debut in the Rome Summer Olympics. He was only 18 years old, but he took home the gold medal with ease. He later changed his name to Muhammad Ali, becoming the greatest boxer of all time. A cultural and sports icon for the ages, but a humble start as a teenager in 1960.

In August of 1960, Cassius Clay made his boxing debut in the Rome Summer Olympics. He was only 18 years old, but he took home the gold medal with ease. He later changed his name to Muhammad Ali, becoming the greatest boxer of all time. A cultural and sports icon for the ages, but a humble start as a teenager in 1960.

The Flintstones

1960 was also the year that The Flintstones first aired, hitting televisions for the first time on September 30th. The Flintstones had a six-season run before ending in 1966, but its influence didn’t stop there. Flintstones is still one of the most recognizable animated series to date. It’s been ranked as the second-best animated television cartoon show in history, and inspired products like Flintstones Vitamins and Fruity Pebbles – which are both still very popular today.

JFK Election

Even though the economy didn’t recover within the year, it probably would not have happened at all if it wasn’t for one of the most significant events of the 60s – the election of John F. Kennedy. 

President Dwight D. Eisenhower served immediately before Kennedy, enjoying two terms in the oval office. One of his final accomplishments as president was signing the Civil Rights Act of 1960 into law. The previous Civil Rights Act of 1957 failed to fully protect the rights of African Americans, as many discriminatory local governments found ways to prevent them from voting. With the passage of the new 1960 law, the federal government was able to punish anyone found guilty of obstructing a citizen’s ability to register to vote.

After Dwight D. Eisenhower had finished serving two terms as President of the United States, he supported his Vice President Richard Nixon’s run for President in 1960. He was outwardly disdainful against the Democratic candidate, John F. Kennedy. However, Kennedy was immensely popular, and he officially won the election on November 8th, 1960.

Not only was Kennedy the first Catholic President to be elected, but he was also the youngest, at just 43 years old. Many people supported how he handled the tensions of being President, but he was unfortunately assassinated in 1963. The entire nation mourned for the loss of JFK, but you’ll hear more about this when we dissect the year 1963.

Not only was Kennedy the first Catholic President to be elected, but he was also the youngest, at just 43 years old. Many people supported how he handled the tensions of being President, but he was unfortunately assassinated in 1963. The entire nation mourned for the loss of JFK, but you’ll hear more about this when we dissect the year 1963.

1960 Toys and Christmas Gifts

Do you remember your christmas gifts from 1960? Odds are you got either at Etch A Sketch or a Chatty Cathy Doll.

In 1960, the Ohio Art Company formed and debuted their first product, the Etch-A-Sketch. This iconic toy was sold for just $2.99 at the time. Who would’ve thought this toy is still in demand over 60 years later!

1960 was also the year that Chatty Cathy dolls took over the toy industry. While Barbie still remained one of the highest selling toys, the chatty cathy doll was the first successful talking doll toy. These dolls were priced around $10 at the time, but now that they’re harder to get your hands on, these dolls sell for upwards of hundreds of dollars!

The voice of Chatty Cathy is just as iconic as the doll itself, as it belonged to June Foray, one of the most prevalent voice actors of the time. Foray also lent her voice to numerous animated specials from Disney, Looney Toons and MGM.

The year 1960 kicked off the decade with many notable events that changed the course of history, whether through political change or new interests in the world of pop culture. We hope you enjoyed taking a look at some of these events. Which of these events do you remember most? Or did we miss something big? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

If you enjoyed this video, be on the lookout for more videos in this series. We’re going to be breaking down history year by year and dissecting some of the biggest events of the past. Make sure you subscribe to Facts Verse and click the notification bell so that you don’t miss one of these videos! We’ll see you next time.

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