THE SUMMER OF LOVE (PART VI) "IT WAS FIFTY YEARS AGO TODAY"
Last piece on the Summer of Love, but it's been fun. Just so you don't think I'm viewing that period as those halcyon days of yore, I was inspired by a recent article on NJ.com to print some of the advertising from the era of the Summer of Love, just to give you a sense of the culture at the time. Right away one can see how women were viewed as second-class citizens. This was, after all, still the very first wave of the feminist movement, with the second wave still a few years away.
I like that NJ Bell is offering women, among other things, "lots of new friends" to pal around with in their "tastefully decorated offices"! Without the generous assistance of Ma Bell, it's difficult to imagine a girl making friends on her own! I like that stewardesses (today they are flight attendants and just as likely
to be male) can have their parents fly free after a year's employment! The real stunner is that TWA
would let a stewardess keep her job even after she gets married!!! That's women's lib for you. Don't forget that if you want to apply for this job you must be built proportionally, you can wear glasses, and you must have "excellent teeth"! There's a wonderful piece on the life of the glamorous stewardess in the Golden Age of flying at the link below:
Bell Telephone (again) is looking for women so smart that they are able to place a long distance phone call! ("Phew. Finished that one. Think I need a break!") And IBM is all over female empowerment. Girls and Young Women can handle the intricacies of Key Punching! Who knew?!
Everyone my age wanted Bonnie and Clyde to capture the Best Picture Oscar, but it went to the
race drama In the Heat of the Night, which pitted Sidney Poitier against Rod Steiger. This was
the period of annual race riots and Newark was in flames that summer. Notice that theatres heavily promoted their Air Conditioning. I especially like the Lincoln and Eric Theatres which were "Carefully
Air Conditioned"! As opposed to the other kind I guess. Of course, if you wanted to provide your
own AC, you could just roll down your car window at the local drive-in theatre...
College was a relative bargain then. Some of my students (or their parents) will be shelling out more than $300,000 in the next four years to acquire an education. Back in '67 you could just head over to
the community college, with its many offerings, for a mere pittance. I'm pretty sure the stenography
classes were for women only.
Obviously music was a big thing in 1967, as I have written about before. But how one consumed
music other than by listening to music was a little different. People are collecting vinyl records
again after the near extinction of that platform, but prices were different. I remember buying a
double album in 1969 for $3.12. When my friend Lenie drove us around, or we got a ride in his
older brother's GTO (I think that's what it was), we used to plug in eight-track tape cassettes. Today,
people of a certain age recall that brief window of 8-track use and those big, clunky cassettes. Soon
they were replaced by much smaller cassettes that became the dominant platform for a number of years.
Of course, music was always great live. In 1967 I had visited a local discotheque on my first date (this was years before "disco" music came to exist) but I had not yet been to a concert in a club or arena. The clubs were still the purview of traditional balladeers, as you can see in the ad below. Would have loved to have seen both of these shows. Those prices for admission look pretty good too!
I did attend many baseball games during these years, notably the Yankees at the original Yankee Stadium before it underwent a remodeling in 1974-75 (the Bronx Bombers played in Queens for two years--at Shea Stadium). I had not been to a football game, though I loved the Giants and Vince Lombardi's Packers.
Lombardi is interred in nearby Middletown, NJ and has received the greatest of all honors (not that the
Super Bowl Trophy is named after him--that a NJ Turnpike Rest Area is named after him!). The Giants
played in Yankee Stadium until they moved to the Yale Bowl for a few years and I had trouble watching the games (back then home football games were blacked out on television!). Here's an ad for a game against the rival Eagles:
I watched those games on black & white Philco or Magnavox televisions in large walnut consoles. One thing I find interesting is that you can buy a quality HD television today with a bigger screen for much
less than it cost back then to purchase a far inferior set. But not many things cost less by today's standards. Certainly not housing. Split-level homes were all the rage. If you could get a two-car garage, so much the better. Ideally you'd like the luxury of having 1 1/2 bathrooms and a third bedroom if you wanted to live in style. People debated wood or aluminum siding, knocking the latter for its artificiality but desiring it for its long life. Check out the housing prices below:
Maybe I'll revisit the 60s down the road, but that's it for a while. Hope you
enjoyed the trip.