The Sixties

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    There's a good reason they're called the "Stormy Sixties."
    "Mmmmm…. turbulent."
    Homer Simpson, The Simpsons

    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, hippies 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 to this day for stopping the war dead in its tracks just nine years later. President 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 figure who survived the 60s unscathed was Tricky Dick. 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.

    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 Shepherd 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," 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 Sixties' 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, Woody Allen, The Graduate, The Prisoner, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Motown the list goes on. Their continued popularity ensures the Sixties will be around for a long time.

    See Also: The Forties, The Fifties, The Seventies, The Eighties, The Nineties, Turn of the Millennium and The New Tens.

    Popular tropes from this time period include:

    Examples of The Sixties include:

    Works set (but not made) during this time period include

    Anime and Manga

    Comic Books

    • 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 hardpressed to find someone who hasn't at least heard of Marvel.
    • Zot! is set in a world where the year is always 1965.

    Live Action TV


    Video Games

    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.
    • Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro. The Manga started in 1966, as a reboot of the earlier Hakaba Kitaro. The anime adaptation(s) started in January 1968.
    • Attack Number One. 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.

    Comic Books

    Comic Strips

    • Mafalda. Character created in 1962. Regular comic strip series debuted in September, 1964.
    • Modesty Blaise. First appeared in May, 1963.

    Films Of The 1960s

    See also Films of the 1960s.



    Music Genres That Started in the Sixties

    Professional Wrestling

    Video Games

    Works made, but not set, during the sixties

    Anime and Manga




    Western Animation

    If you can remember the 60s, you didn't live in them.

    If you don't remember the 60s, you lived in them.

    If you didn't live in the 60s, you remember them.

    Therefore, only people who weren't alive in the 60s can remember the 60s.