The first televised presidential debate on September 26, 1960

Pop Culture in Review for the Year 1960

Pop Culture has surrounded us all in so many ways. Pop Culture gradually expanded around the world and evolved in many ways. Pop Culture is not just entertainment but also includes important events, technological impacts, news, sports, as well as the media industry. The year 1960 is considered as one of the most important ones for pop culture.

Below is an article that summarizes some of the highlights of pop culture in 1960.

Film

  • Psycho

Psycho was an American horror film that was produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It was a movie based on the same name novel written by Robert Bloch in the year 1960. It became one of the top hits of 1960 and many international critics praised it for the major work on cinematography as well as creating a unique sense of direction and creativity within the film.

The film had the following stars: Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, John McIntire, and Janet Leigh. The budget for the mystery film was $0.8 million while it earned a huge sum at the Box Office of $50 million. The film Psycho was nominated for a total of four “Academy Awards”.

  • Death of Actor Clark Cable

Clark Cable was an American actor who is referred to as “The King of Hollywood”. He was born on February 1, 1901. Cable is considered a true star because he has played a role in more than 60 motion pictures in his career of 37 years. Some of the most famous films by Cable include Manhattan Melodrama (1934), San Francisco (1936), Saratoga (1937), Test Pilot (1938), and Boom Town as well.

Unfortunately, Clark Cable died on November 16, 1960 due to a heart attack. His final screen appearance was in The Misfits which was released in 1961.

  • Spartacus

When Howard Fast wrote the novel Spartacus in 1951, he had no idea that it would be so hit that it would be turned into a film. The story has been inspired by the leader of a slave revolt, Spartacus. It also included a range of events from the 3rd Servile War. Stanley Kubrick was the director while Edward Lewis was the producer of the film.

Kirk Douglas played the main role of the film as the Spartacus while the role of his general was played by Laurence Oliver. The other stars of the film include Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov John Gavin, and Tony Curtis. It has become one of the biggest moneymaker films of the Universal Studios and got 4 Academy Awards as well. Peter Ustinov won the “Best Supporting Actor” award.  Just recently in the year 2017, the film was selected to be preserved in the United States National Film Registry for being of much cultural and historical importance.

Music

  • Rise in Soul and Funk Music

In 1960, people’s trend towards music rapidly changed and was more on soul and funky music. However, rhythm and blues stayed popular side by side. Branda Lee turned out to be one of the famous singers of the year 1960 who launched a whole album by her own name. Some of her famous songs in the year 1960 included Sweet Nothin’s, That is All You Gotta Do, and I Want to be Wanted. According to Billboard’s list of top 100 songs of the year 1960, number one was “Theme from a Summer Place” by Percy Faith.

In the year 1960, Greenwich Village also became a highly popular destination for the recording of different song videos. Folk music was recorded in the year 1960 in Greenwich Village.

A picture of Branda lee, the famous singer of 1960

  • Elvis Presley Leaves Army

Elvis Presley was an American singer, musician, and actor who is considered as one of the most important icons of the 20th Century. Elvis entered the military service in the year 1958. The said military personnel was on a duty in Germany from two years between 1958 and 1960. Since his passion was the media and showbiz industry, he left the army in the year 1960 after receiving his honorable discharge from the U.S Army. Presley is majorly known for his commercial success in the music industry and received three Grammy Awards as well.

  • Eddie Cochran Died

Eddie Cochran was one of the most famous American rock and roll musician who sang many popular songs in the mid-1950s and early 1960s. His songs “Twenty Flight Rock”, “Summertime Blues”, “C’mon Everybody”, and “Somethin’ Else” were based on the teenage frustrations and desires. He has played different types of instruments at a time. Eddie Cochran was only 21 years old when he died. He was in a road accident while travelling in a taxi during his tour to British in April 1960. Cochran was inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well.

  • Singer Johnny Horton Dies

Johnny Horton was an American country musician who was born in 1925. He had the best of his career during the 1950s and early 1960s. His top hit includes The Battle of New Orleans which was also awarded the 1960 Grammy Award for Best Country Song. It got much more fame after the death of the singer as well. Just like Eddie Cochran, the Horton died in a terrible car crash in November 1960 less thana two years after his major song. He is still considered as the member of Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Technology

  • Modern Day Laser Technology was Created

Theodore Maiman was the guy behind the light amplification technology. He worked hard before and got his results in the year 1960 when the laser was perfected. Although, initially it did not have as much use and relevance as it has today, it was still considered as a major achievement. Today, laser technology is used in a range of equipment including measurement devices, barcodes, weapons, and other tactical equipment as well. Theodore Maiman is to be given major credit for this achievement because the study was losing interest and scientists were planning to drop the idea soon enough.

  • Bubble Wrap was Created

Bubble Wrap was not an invention on purpose but was an invention that was created totally unintentionally. Alfred Fielding and his partner Marc Chavannes were just trying to create a textured wallpaper with a hope that it would give a modern and cool look. However, they were soon discouraged when they saw a massive amount of air bubble sealed in the plastic. Despite trying to find a solution to use their invention, they failed.

However, in 1960, they created Sealed Air Corporation sometime later. Soon, IBM, the famous tech equipment manufacturer, realized that bubble wrap was one of the best ways to package their goods for them to stay safe. Since then, all fragile goods are sent via a safety packaging with bubble wrap.

  • Halogen Lamps in Common use

An initial model of the Halogen Lamps was created in the 1880s. Although it was not a very user-friendly model, it got many major improvements later. The final version was finalized in 1960 after which it was approved for common use. These halogen lamps were used in many kinds of light outs later as well.

Sports

  • Winter Olympic Games

An important event of The Winter Olympic Games was hosted in the year 1960. It was held between February 18 to February 28 in the Squaw Valley of the United States. Facilities were established at the event site for a total cost of $80 million. A total of 665 athletes from 30 different countries competed in four different types of sports. There was a total of 27 events in the 10-day period of the Olympic Games.

In these Olympic Games, there was an IOC Conference on the issue of participation between China and Taiwan. After a major heated argument and debates between the USA, China, and Taiwan. However, in the end, China refused to participate since China did not want Taiwan to participate in these games.

USSR won the most medals with a total count of 21 out of which 7 were gold medals.

  • S Open Golf

The 1960 U.S. open was held between June 16 – 18 at Cherry Hills Country Club in Colorado. This event is one of the most significant ones due to the back-to-back wins by the famous Arnold Palmer. It is considered that he had a seven-stroke deficit in the U.S. Open title. However, he had the greatest comeback in the U.S. Open history as he erased that seven-stroke deficit and overcame two of the greatest players of golf including Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus.

This was the third major championship at Cherry Hills. Palmer was half-way to the season Grand Slam and ended his quest three weeks later at the British open.

  • Unexpected Case for F1

The 1960 F1 Championship was the 14th season of Formula One cars racing. The World Championship started on 7th February 1960 and ended after 10 months on 20th November 1960. There was one major accomplishment for Jack Brabham who won the F1 driver championship for the second time in a row. His cooper team was also able to defend his title for constructors.

Yet there was sad news for fans of the F1 Championship as well. Alan Stacey and Chris Bristow died during an on-race crash on the tracks of F1. This was one of the main reasons why the event was postponed for a while after which it was resumed and concluded in the month of November.

Fashion

  • Changing Fashion

There was quite much diversity in the year 1960 with a range of fashion trends coming in. People living in the urban centers started to follow the “houte” couture of the top designers. The changing dressing sense was initiated by the youth and their fashion was followed by the elderly too. The main dresses worn in this time were experimental which included mini skirt, go-go boots, culottes, and others as well. Some even tried PVC clothing which did not last for long.

Jackie Kennedy introduced the pillbox hat and a mini shirt was introduced by Mary Quant both of which became extremely popular as well.

Television

  • The Bugs Bunny Show

The Bugs Bunny Show was initially launched in 1960. It was American animated cartoon which was launched in collaboration with Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies as well. The show was featured by the American Broadcasting Company and it was run up till the year 2000.

Opening of the Bugs Bunny Show

  • Popeye the Sailor

The famous cartoon show Popeye the Sailorman was also aired by the National Broadcasting Company. It was aired between 1960 and 1963 with over 220 episodes. The cartoon featured voices of Jack Mercer, Mae Questel, and Jackson Beck. The entire series was initially aired in the United States only.

  • Checkmate

Checkmate was an American television series that belonged to the suspense and investigation genre. It was created by Eric Ambler while the series starred Anthony George, Sebastian Cabot, and Doug McClure. It was aired for two years with more than 70 episodes combined.

It was a very interesting television series and became famous even sometime after the series ended in its official timeline. It was aired on CBS television in America. JaMco productions was the production company for this series which was owned by Jack Benny. The guest stars for these series included Peter Lorre, Lee Marvin, and Mickey Rooney.

  • The Rat Pack in Las Vegas

The Rat Pack was an informal group of entertainers who made it to the different types of casinos in Las Vegas. Their performances were exceptional and during the 1960s, the group featured Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop. The Rat Pack was quite successful in 1960 because of their appearances on stage, in televisions, and in different types of films as well such as Robin and the 7 Hoods, Sergeants 4, and Ocean’s 11.

News

  • Russian Spy Plane Spotted by USA

One of the top news that made it to the headlines several times in the year. The United States had a plane U2 which was used for spy purposes. On 1st of May 1960, this plane was intercepted by the Soviet Air Defense Forces and was shot down. The airplane was shot down by the surface-to-air missile and crashed near Sverdlovsk. Although the pilot named Powers ejected with his parachutes, they were captured.

A few days later, the Soviet Union presented the pilot in front of the media along with the equipment and pictures taken by the plane of Soviet military bases. This incident also led to the loss of relations of USSR with Pakistan where the spy plane had taken off from while Pakistan had a deterioration with relations with the USA as well. This was one of the major problems for the USA in 1960 and created much embarrassment for the country on international grounds.

  • Presidential Election of US

The Presidential Election of the US was held in 1960 which was the 44th quadrennial presidential election. It was held in November 1960 and was one of the most suspense-creating elections because of the close competition between Democrat United States Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon of the Republican Party. Fifty states participated in the election and was the last one in which the District of Columbia did not participate.

For the first time in the history of the US, it was the election in which an incumbent president was not eligible to run for the third time due to term limitations which were introduced in the 22nd Amendment. More than 70 million people watched the presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

Picture of the newly elected President of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy in 1960

  • Vietnam War

There was much progress in the Vietnam war in the year 1960. There were more than 900 military personnel posted to South Vietnam. These military personnel belong to the USA. This was a major turning point because it marked the arrival of many other generals of the US to Vietnam in the upcoming years.

A collage showing the different events of the Vietnam War

Dance

  • New Dances

Dances are one of the most important aspects of pop culture of any country. In the year 1960, much of the popular dances included The Freddie, The Frug, The Hitch-Hike, The Loco motion, The Mashed Potato and The Shimmy.

  • “The Twist” Is A Hit

The Twist was a dance that was highly popular in the year 1960. It was based on the song, The Twist. Chubby Checker rerecorded the song in the year 1959 and it reached out to the top charts in the year 1960. The special kind of dance was what made it very popular. A world record was set in the name of this song when an estimated of 4000 people twisted along with Checker in his song.

Conclusion

Pop Culture has always been an important aspect of society. With time, different things have become a part of pop culture which influence the way how people live and adapt accordingly. The pop culture of 1960 has been one of the most interesting ones.

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