There's a good reason they're called the "Stormy Sixties."
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And donít criticize
What you canít understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly aginí
Please get out of the new one if you canít lend your hand
For the times they are a-changiní
The Swingin' Sixties hold a special place in popular culture, mostly because the people who came of age in that decade cannot stop talking about how great it was.
The Theme Park Version
of the Swingin' Sixties includes: "free love"
and beehive hairdos
and southern sheriffs
, Psychedelic Rock
and girl groups
, marijuana and the pill, sexy male spies in tuxedos
and sexy female spies in leather catsuits
(or in miniskirts with go-go boots
, or in leather miniskirt catsuits
), the Charlie Brown Christmas special
, Peter Fonda dropping acid in a graveyard
, prim newscasters speaking in clipped tones about those wild youngsters having too much fun, and everybody doing "The Twist"
In Britain it includes the rise of Carnaby Street (inevitably accompanied by The Kinks
' "Dedicated Follower of Fashion"), Mary Quant (the Mother who Made Miniskirts Mainstream
), Harold Wilson, the satire boom, and a bunch of Buccaneer Broadcasters
demolishing The BBC
's radio monopoly. It was all about the music: Mop-topped mods
and cock-walking rockers
all the rage, and the British were cool for the first time in recorded history. Except to the British, who were way into India. The Sixties gave us Woodstock
, three days of peace and music. And then a little later, Altamont, roughly six hours of skull-cracking brutality set to music.
Of course, much of this great music was made in the context of political unrest: Escalation of The Vietnam War
was met with a powerful protest movement, admired (or vilified, depending on your viewpoint) to this day for stopping the war dead in its tracks just nine years later. President John F. Kennedy
narrowly averted an end-of-the-world nuclear showdown, then was shot dead. Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X
gave voice to the Civil Rights Movement
, and then were shot dead. Robert F. Kennedy
renewed the country's spirits with a message of hope and unity, and then was shot dead. Really, the only important political figures who survived the 60s alive were LBJ
and Tricky Dick
was also on the rise, but he didn't count just yet). This was the era of COINTELPRO
, with Government Agents surveilling, infiltrating and discrediting Anti-War and other groups
to the point of sowing distrust and paranoia
among these groups to Philip K Dick
levels. This was not limited to the United states. France nearly had a revolution in May of 1968, with West Germany having massive protests as well. Social unrest in Italy balooned into the Years Of Lead
in the 1970s, as well as the Red Army Faction
in Germany. Czechoslavakia attempted a Velvet Revolution
, but the Soviet Union invaded to suppress the social change in 1968. In China, Mao Zedong
launched the Cultural Revolution in 1966, and the country soon fell into chaos.
The Sixties were also the time of The Space Race
- Following the launch of Sputnik in 1957, the first manned launches took place in 1961 (First Russian Yuri Gagarin
in April, followed closely by Alan Shepard in May.) The idea of people actually entering space for the first time led to a new fascination with Science, and a corresponding boom to Science Fiction
. John F. Kennedy ordered the seemingly impossible - putting men on the Moon. After his death, America's resolve was steeled, and the course was set. The route to the Moon was very nearly derailed by the disastrous Apollo 1 fire, claiming the lives of 3 American astronauts in a test. Over a year of unmanned testing went on, trying to repair the mistakes. A return to space flight in late 1968 led to an epic Christmas flyby of the Moon by Apollo 8, one of the most watched television broadcasts in history. Finally, in 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin
set foot on the Moon, fulfilling Kennedy's mission and marking the first time a human being had walked on another celestial body.
That's what you learn watching TV and movies about
the Sixties. No Sixties Montage is complete without them. If not set to Jimi Hendrix
playing "All Along the Watchtower" or "The Star-Spangled Banner", then "Get Together" by the Youngbloods.
But if you watch TV and movies from
the Sixties, it's as if half of that stuff never happened. Some of the decade's landmark events, such as the Stonewall Riots in 1969 that kicked off the gay rights movement, were barely acknowledged until the 1990s. Our cultural memory has selected The Grateful Dead
and Aretha Franklin
from a musical landscape that had a lot more Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass than seems sonically possible; and the squares of the first half of the decade actually dressed a lot cooler than the hippies of the latter half, who frankly come off as a little grimy. A standout example of this is The Andy Griffith Show
, whose title actor portrays a Southern sheriff and in which not a whisper of the civil rights movement is mentioned.
Nonetheless, the sheer volume of memorable songs, shows, books, and movies from the Sixties is testament to the creativity of its artists. The decade did give us Star Trek: The Original Series
, Doctor Who
, James Bond
(the films, anyway), Spider-Man
, Fantastic Four
, Woody Allen
, The Graduate
, The Prisoner
, The Beatles
, The Rolling Stones
... the list goes on. Their continued popularity ensures the Sixties will be around for a long time.
Politically speaking, it more or less started with the escalation of the Vietnam War
and the Civil Rights Movement
at the beginning of the decade and ended with the Kent State Massacre in 1970. Culturally speaking, it started with the release of Alfred Hitchcock
in 1960 (though some argued it was with John F. Kennedy
's assassination in 1963 that triggered the "Swinging Sixties" part) and ended with the Altamont Free Concert in 1969 (or the breakup of The Beatles
in early 1970).
See Also: The Roaring Twenties
, The Great Depression
, The Forties
, The Fifties
, The Seventies
, The Eighties
, The Nineties
, Turn of the Millennium
and The New Tens
Popular tropes from this time period are:
- Beehive Hairdo
- Civil Rights Movement
- Cold War
- Commune: Hippies form them.
- Dangerously Short Skirt: Initially knee-length during the dawn of the decade, then rose to 'mini' by mid-decade, then alternatives like 'micro', 'midi', and 'maxi' arrived late in the decade. The rising hemlines reminisced The Roaring Twenties, when skirts rose or fell just as economy rose or fell.
- Darker and Edgier: Compared to The Fifties. War, the Civil Rights Movement, many protests, the president was assassinated, hippies, need we say more?
- 1968 stands out as being one of the most Grim Dark years in recent American history: MLK, Jr. and RFK were both gunned down, riots in more than 100 cities, anti-war protests, Vietnam was at its lowest point, and the chaos at the Democratic National Convention.
- French New Wave
- The Generation Gap
- Granola Girl
- Greaser Delinquents: Very common in Real Life and to a much lesser extent, pop culture, although nowhere near as common as they were in The Fifties, in both the real 1960's and portrayals of it in later fiction.
- Hippie Van
- Limited Animation
- Long Hot Summer
- Magical Girl
- Motown: It's sound brought on a wave of black musicians impacting pop culture.
- New-Age Retro Hippie
- New Hollywood
- New Wave Science Fiction
- Scooter Riding Mod
- Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll
- Spy Catsuit
- Spy Drama
- There Are No Therapists (The anti-psychiatry movement emerged in the 60s, and was when it had the most steam)
- The Vietnam War
Works set (but not made) during this time period include:
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Marvel Comics: While it's true that the company that would later be known as Marvel (Atlas) existed before then, the Marvel universe proper didn't exist until 1961. And once it did, Marvel would prove to be one of the most well-known, influential, and (at the time) ground-breaking comic companies not just of that era, but decades later. Even today, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who hasn't at least heard of Marvel.
- Zot! is set in a world where the year is always 1965.
- Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina takes Sabrina the Teenage Witch back to being in the sixties, more specifically 1968.
- Stuck Rubber Baby, a 1995 graphic novel set during the Civil Rights Movement.
Live Action TV
- An Adventure in Space and Time, about the original creation of Doctor Who.
- American Dreams
- Brides of Christ is set during the Sixties, but avoids many of the stereotypes.
- China Beach was a War/Medical Drama that ran on ABC from 1988 to 1991. It featured a group of characters serving at the real China Beach Rest and Recreation (R & R) station and the fictional 510th Evacuation Hospital during The Vietnam War.
- Michael Mann's mid-1980s Crime Story was a gritty series pitting lawmen against mobsters in the Rat Pack-era early '60s.
- Action comedy Danger 5 pits the eponymous team against Stupid Jetpack Hitler in a 60s Alternate History. Deliberately produced so it looks like it's made in the 60s.
- Dark Skies
- From the Earth to the Moon, about the Apollo space program.
- Happy Days started out in The Fifties but had gotten to the mid-'60s (i.e., the beginning of The Sixties in a cultural sense) by the end of its run.
- The first five episodes of the Philippine television drama Ikaw Lamang are set in 1964.
- Inspector George Gently uses the social upheaval of the sixties as the basis of some of its plots, such as how birth control was only legal if one was married.
- Jimmy Macdonald's Canada, which dealt with the mental breakdown of one of the aforementioned newscasters in the face of change.
- Mad Men, which sort of charts the transition from the '50s to the '60s. The series starts in March 1960, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was still President and the cultural vibe was very much '50s. At the end of Season 3, JFK gets shot, and Season 4 (starting on Thanksgiving 1964 and going into 1965) features SCDP in a very Sixties office (much of the furniture and interior design looks like it was done by Eero Saarinen) with at least one character doing some very Sixties things. Finally, the last season, set in 1969,note sets the stage for the transition to the disillusionment and chaos of The Seventies.
- Oliver Beene
- Pan Am
- Serangoon Road is set in Singapore in the mid-1960s.
- A TV movie aptly titled The Sixties (1999) starring Julia Stiles. The characters manage to hit all the high points of the decade, set to a Crowning Music of Awesome soundtrack composed of Nothing But Hits.
- The Wonder Years
- Despite its Time Travel aspects, Austin Powers is predominantly set in the Sixties, with a playfield decorated in rainbow colors, bright flowers, and groovy lettering.
Works set and made during this time period (at least mostly, as some say The Sixties lasted until the early '70s):
Anime and Manga
- Himitsu no Akko-chan. Manga started in July 1962, Anime in January 1969.
- Cyborg 009. The Manga started in 1964, the Anime in April 1968.
- Sally the Witch. The Manga started in July 1966, the Anime in December, 1966.
- Kimba the White Lion. The Anime started in October, 1965.
- Speed Racer. The manga started in June 1966, the anime in April, 1967.
- Lupin III. Started as a manga character. First appeared in August, 1967.
- GeGeGe no Kitaro. The Manga started in 1966, as a reboot of the earlier Hakaba Kitaro. The anime adaptation(s) started in January 1968.
- Attack No. 1. Manga started in January 1968, Anime started in December 1969.
- Sazae-san. Adaptation of the comic strip. Series started in October 1969.
- Tiger Mask. Manga started in 1968, Anime started in October 1969.
- Agent 327 (1967-1983) (2000-...)
- Although it actually started a few years earlier, The Silver Age of Comic Books mostly took place in the Sixties:
- Marvel Comics got into superheroes in this era, and never looked back. With the exception of Captain America and Wolverine, practically every well-known Marvel character was created in this era, in comics written by Stan Lee, and drawn by either Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko. Characters dating from this era include: the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, The Mighty Thor, Iron Man, The Avengers, the X-Men, Daredevil and Doctor Strange, as well as most of their iconic villains. Lee's scripts created a number of the tropes still prevalent in comics today, loosely characterised as "superheroes with real problems".
- Not to be outdone, DC Comics revived many of their characters in this era as well. The Barry Allen Flash, Hal Jordan Green Lantern and Ray Palmer Atom were new characters sharing only the names and powersets of their predecessors, but many other DC characters were simply retooled for the new era, including their Long Runners like Superman and Batman.
- Tintin. Series started in 1929.
- Spirou and Fantasio. Series began in 1938.
- Tom Poes. Series began in 1941.
- Suske en Wiske. Series began in 1945.
- Blake and Mortimer. First appeared in 1946.
- Lucky Luke. Series began in 1947.
- Piet Pienter en Bert Bibber. Series began in 1950.
- Jommeke. Series began in 1955.
- Justice League of America. Debuted in February-March, 1960.
- Captain Atom/Allen Adam. First appeared in March, 1960.
- Mickey Mouse Comic Universe
- Trudy Van Tubb. First appeared in March, 1960.
- Dangerous Dan McBoo and Idgit the Midget. First appeared in October, 1966.
- Elongated Man. First appeared in April, 1960.
- Buster started May 1960.
- Disney Ducks Comic Universe
- Brigitta MacBridge. First appeared in July, 1960.
- Jubal Pomp. First appeared in February, 1961.
- Ludwig von Drake. First appeared in September, 1961. In both comics and Animation.
- Magica De Spell. First appeared in December, 1961.
- Ms. Emily Quackfaster. First appeared in December, 1961.
- John D. Rockerduck. First appeared in December, 1961.
- Fethry Duck. First appeared in August, 1964.
- Emil Eagle. First appeared in April, 1966. Joined the Mickey Mouse Comic Universe in March, 1968.
- Benoit Brisefer. First appeared in December, 1960.
- The Pre-Hawkworld version of Hawkman/Katar Hol. First appeared in February/March, 1961.
- The Pre-Hawkworld version of Hawkwoman/Hawkgirl/Shayera Hol. First appeared in February/March, 1961.
- Bat-Girl/Betty Kane. First appeared in April, 1961.
- Batgirl/Barbara Gordon. First appeared in January, 1967.
- Sinestro. First appeared in July-August, 1961.
- The Atom/Ray Palmer. First appeared in September, 1961.
- Marvel Universe. The "modern" incarnation of it was launched in November, 1961.
- Dr. Henry "Hank" Pym. First appeared in January, 1962.
- Hank Pym assumed the Ant-Man identity in September, 1962.
- Metal Men. Debuted in March-April, 1962.
- Archie Comics
- "Big" Ethel Muggs. Debuted in May, 1962.
- The Incredible Hulk. First appeared in May, 1962.
- General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross. First appeared in May, 1962. He would become the Red Hulk.
- Betty Ross. First appeared in May, 1962.
- Doctor Doom. First appeared in July, 1962.
- Spider-Man. First appeared in August, 1962.
- The Spider-Man franchise arguably also started in this decade, with the first animated adaptation.
- The Mighty Thor by Marvel Comics. First appeared in August, 1962.
- Doctor Solar. First appeared in October, 1962.
- Loki. First appeared in October, 1962.
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch. First appeared in October, 1962.
- Diabolik. First appeared in November, 1962.
- Josie And The Pussy Cats
- Josie McCoy. First appeared in Winter, 1962.
- Melody Valentine.First appeared in Winter, 1962.
- Alexander "Alex" Cabot III. First appeared in February, 1963.
- Alexandra Cabot. First appeared in September, 1964.
- Alan M. Mayberry. First appeared in August, 1969.
- Valerie Brown. First appeared in December, 1969.
- Iron Man. First appeared in March, 1963.
- Doom Patrol. First appeared in June, 1963.
- The Wasp/Janet van Dyne. First appeared in June, 1963.
- Doctor Octopus. First appeared in July, 1963.
- Doctor Strange. First appeared in July, 1963.
- The Avengers. First appeared in September, 1963.
- Cyclops. First appeared in September, 1963.
- Jean Grey. First appeared in September, 1963.
- Pepper Potts. First appeared in September, 1963.
- Magneto. First appeared in September, 1963.
- X-Men. First appeared in September, 1963.
- Ach!lle Talon. First appeared in November, 1963.
- Quicksilver. First appeared in March, 1964.
- Scarlet Witch. First appeared in March, 1964.
- Lady Sif. First appeared in March, 1964.
- Black Widow. First appeared in April, 1964.
- Daredevil. First appeared in April, 1964.
- Blue Beetle
- A new version of Dan Garrett, revamped from a cop to an archaeologist. First appeared in June, 1964.
- Blue Beetle II/Ted Kord. First appeared in November, 1966).
- Norman Osborn
- Green Goblin. First appeared in July, 1964.
- The face of Norman Osborn, first appeared in April, 1965. The character remained unnamed.
- Norman Osborn received his name in June, 1966.
- Norman Osborn and the Green Goblin were revealed to be the same person in September, 1966.
- Teen Titans. Debuted in July, 1964.
- Mighty Samson. First published in July, 1964.
- Hawkeye. First appeared in September, 1964.
- Wonder Man. First appeared in October, 1964.
- Zatanna/ First appeared in October-November, 1964.
- Hercules by Marvel Comics. First appeared in 1965.
- The Inhumans.
- Medusa. First appeared in March, 1965.
- Gorgon. First appeared in November, 1965.
- The rest of the prominent Inhumans first appeared in December, 1965.
- Hydra. First appeared in August, 1965.
- S.H.I.E.L.D.. First appeared in August, 1965.
- Animal Man. First appeared in September, 1965.
- THUNDER Agents. First appeared in November, 1965.
- Dial H For Hero. Series started in January, 1966.
- Agent 13. First appeared in March, 1966.
- Peggy Carter. First appeared in May, 1966.
- Galactus. First appeared in March, 1966.
- Silver Surfer. First appeared in March, 1966.
- Ares. First appeared in June, 1966
- Black Panther. First appeared in July, 1966.
- The Question. First appeared in June, 1967.
- The Kingpin. First appeared in July, 1967.
- "Him". First appeared in September, 1967. He was eventually reinvented as Adam Warlock.
- M.O.D.O.K.. First appeared in September, 1967.
- Deadman. First appeared in October, 1967.
- Captain Mar-Vell. First appeared in December, 1967.
- Green Lantern/Guy Gardner. First appeared in March, 1968.
- Carol Danvers. First appeared in March, 1968. She would become better known as Ms. Marvel.
- The Creeper. First appeared in April, 1968.
- Cubitus. First appeared in April, 1968
- The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. First appeared in May, 1968.
- Ultron. First appeared in July, 1968.
- Red Tornado/"John Smith". First appeared in August, 1968.
- Angel and the Ape. First appeared in September, 1968.
- The Vision. First appeared in October, 1968.
- The Falcon. First appeared in September, 1969.
- Vampirella. First appeared in September, 1969.
- Whizzer and Chips. Magazine launched in October, 1969.
Music Genres That Started in the Sixties
Works made, but not set, during the sixties
Again, for films see Films of the 1960s
, and for literature see Literature of the 1960s
Anime and Manga
If you can remember the 60s, you didn't live in them.
If you don't remember the 60's, you lived in them.
If you didn't live in the 60's, you remember them.
Therefore, only people who weren't alive in the 60's can remember the 60's.