Jan
06
2012
2

How have family cars changed over the past 50 years?

ej-holden-dashboardFifty years ago my family proudly owned a basic-specification blue station wagon made in Australia by General Motors Holden. Today the family car is a basic-specification white people carrier made in Japan by Toyota. How has the family car evolved over that time? Our car of the 1960s had bench seats for six adults (in [&hel[more...]

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Jun
28
2010
0

What was “the twist”, a popular dance in the early 1960s?

dancing-the-twistBeing a conservative young man back in the early sixties, I had avowed that I wouldn’t dance the twist, but then I was on the dance floor when the next number was the twist, and I didn’t want to stop dancing—with “her.” Wikipedia gives a good description of the dance: “The Twist is performed by [&hel[more...]

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Jun
27
2010
1

What were Australians discussing from 1960 to 1963?

the-twistThe debates held by the Mosman Debating Society in the first few years of the 1960s were diverse, but as always included international affairs: That darkest Africa should be declared black (defeated) That we approve of Britain’s entry into the Common Market (carried) That Indonesia is justified in her claim to West New Guinea (no [&hel[more...]

Mar
19
2010
2

What did Sadie’s “Sam” turn out to be?

banksy-sadieAustralian pop superstar Johnny Farnham rose to fame in 1967-68 with a massively-successful song Sadie, the Cleaning Lady (video). No other song by an Australian artist had done so well on the Australian charts during the 1960s. Although the song is musically unadventurous, it launched Farnham’s career. The video is in black and white, because [&hel[more...]

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Jan
27
2010
0

Did Mama Cass Elliot choke to death on a ham sandwich?

Photo by WordRidden - CC-BYCass Elliot was the heavyweight of the 60s group The Mamas And The Papas in more ways than one. She had a fabulous voice and tremendous stage presence, but was also seriously obese. Cass died on 29 July 1974 at the age of 32 at Flat 12, 9 Curzon Place, Mayfair, London—the same flat where [&hel[more...]

May
14
2009
0

What is bubblegum music?

Bubblegum Pop (artiwork by levaine - CC-BY)Bubblegum music is a kind of pop music manufactured to appeal to young teens and pre-teens. The songs have simple melodies and regular “bopping” beats. The repetitive, easy-to-remember riffs and choruses make the songs easy to learn and easy to sing. The lyrics are straightforward, even stupidly simplistic, though sometimes with a double entendre thrown [&hel[more...]

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May
13
2009
1

What is heavy metal music?

Heavy Metal Music (artwork my Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com)Heavy metal music is a kind of hard rock music. It’s characterised by more than just its musical attributes, but music is the obvious place to begin… Most of all, heavy metal is loud. If it were played quietly as elevator music, it would be light metal music. It’s not the peak volume that counts, [&hel[more...]

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May
11
2009
2

Why are Dunlop Volleys so popular in Australia?

Well-worn Dunlop Volleys (photo by Roger Browne - CC-BY)Dunlop Volley tennis shoes were a big hit in the 1960s, but tennis players nowadays wear more specialised footwear. The Volley is way out of fashion and hard to find anywhere else in the world. So why do people in Australia keep buying them, with over 20 million pairs sold according to Dunlop? And who [&hel[more...]

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May
10
2009
0

What were Polaroid cameras and Polaroid photos?

Polaroid photos (photo by allyaubry - CC-BY)Polaroid cameras produce self-developing photos, so that you can see the photo within a minute or so. The technology was developed by Edwin Land in the 1940s. The cameras and film were sold by his Polaroid Corporation, and later by others. The earliest of these cameras, the Polaroid Land Camera, used rolls of film and [&hel[more...]

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Apr
26
2009
0

What were cinema shorts?

Photo by atimicjeep - CC-BYToday’s movie cinema format comprises a large chunk of previews and advertisements, followed by the main feature. But it wasn’t always like that. In the past there were three common formats: “shorts plus main feature”, “double feature” and “continuous screening”. “Continuous screening” was used for “blockbusters” where the cinema was expecting to operate near full [&hel[more...]

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Mar
18
2009
1

What happened to Radio Caroline after 1967?

Photo by Dani Lurie - CC-BYRadio Caroline began regular broadcasts during Easter 1964. The playlist was youth-oriented popular music, and served an audience which was not provided for by the government-controlled licensed stations. Because Radio Caroline operated from a ship in international waters off the United Kingdom, it did not require a licence. At their peak, Radio Caroline and the [&hel[more...]

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Mar
16
2009
0

What happened to the cast of the original Star Trek TV series?

The Star Trek Pez candy dispensers modeled after Star Trek characters was sold in a limited edition of 250,000 units in 2008. Mat Honan photo. CC-BY.When NBC started airing Star Trek in 1966 few could have imagined the cultural icon it would become. Here’s what happened to the leading characters of the show after it ended: William Shatner (James T. Kirk) was relatively absent from acting for years after the end of Star Trek, possibly because he had been typecast [&hel[more...]

Feb
18
2009
0

What was a traditional Australian Milk Bar?

Australian country milk bar (photo by certified su - CC-BY)The traditional Australian milk bar enjoyed its heyday during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, when the influx of migrants from Italy and Greece brought new life to the old Welsh tradition of the Milk Bar. There are still a few around, though they’ve become rather thin on the ground now that Australians have access to [&hel[more...]

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Jan
30
2009
0

What happened to the cast of My Favorite Martian?

Mars (photo by jasonb42882 - CC-BY)My Favorite Martian was a sitcom that ran from 1963 to 1966. Tim O’Hara, newspaper reporter, rescued a martian from his crashed spaceship and pretended to the world that it was his “Uncle Martin”. This led to many awkward situations, which formed the backbone of the show’s episodes. Tim O’Hara was played by Bill Bixby. [&hel[more...]

Jan
09
2009
4

What were the playground games of the 1960s?

Hula Hoop (photo by Tony the Misfit - CC-BY)I was a schoolboy in the 1960s, and the most common playground games were chasings (“tag”), football and branding. Branding was played with a tennis ball. At first, one person is “in” and needs to throw the ball to hit another player hard enough to leave a red mark (the “branding”). Each player who is [&hel[more...]

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