The 1960s are poised to turn 50…and to mark the anniversary the LA Conservancy has created a website spotlighting architecture and history of the period in the city, and is also running educational programs through the year.

Their timeline of 1960s events (with a focus on Southern California) is terrific… and a great reminder of the milestone events we often talk about here. Like the release of the movie Gidget! One of the things that the website points out, is that the 50-year mark is generally when properties can be considered for the National Register of Historic Places. But as we’ve also discussed just recently — around the 50-year mark can be a dangerous point for old homes and structures. The mass of the public still may not “get it” when it comes to whether and why to appreciate certain features… homes are switching hands…and a lot of gutting is done that, later, leads to clear outpourings of regret. Time definitely provides perspective — and there is just barely the minimum amount of time behind us to be able to see mid-century homes “clearly.”

LA Conservency’s The Sixties Turn 5o site here.

  1. atomicbowler-dave says:

    We HAVE a set of lawn darts, found by going through (in C. Wheeler’s words) dead peoples’ houses.
    I’m in my mid-forties and remember the Klackers being taken away from everyone (including the carnivals that gave ’em as prizes) somewhere around the 6th grade.
    Then again, we watched that old Bert the Turtle duck-and-cover movie until 2nd grade, when they quit the weekly under-the-desk-when-the-siren-on-the-courthouse-roof-sounds drill, too.
    What about the toy rockets you put a little water in and pumped the snot out of on the launcher/pump? They didn’t shoot too well in any plane save for the vertical, but they sure did go high! The satisfying and somewhat sobering noise they made when they landed on a parked car was quite something (WHAAAAM–OH! S^&%!):), as I expect the impact left on nice lawn and flowerbeds by a cluster of running kids in search or the rocket’s re-entry was, too. (I did see them in Cheesy Chinese form in an obscure toy catalog recently)
    Or, for that matter, BB Guns. All of us boys had one, now almost no one does.
    Let’s not forget the Chemistry Set! DIY Mustard Gas and Stinkbombs for Everyone!
    (You know, I saw one on E-bay recently from the 50’s that claimed to contain a radiation screen and genuine uranium isotope??? Wow!)
    How about the home-made rubber band shooter crafted from a piece of wood, a screw or nail, and a clothespin that we MADE IN THE CUB SCOUTS!
    I never thought of the knitting needles for the suction-cup .45, but if you pulled the suckers off the darts fit perfectly into a pencil sharpener!
    I also remember the StarTrek Tracer gun, a spring-loaded zipgun toy that shot out flat plastic discs with satisfying force; and some other toy pistol that shot these 1/4″ rubber BB’s called “SS Ammo” (SS stood for ‘Soft,Safe’. Ask any little boy that had one, you’d know that really meant ‘Smarts Satisfyingly’!).
    Naturally, the model rocketry merit elective was an excellent opportunity to make devastating toy artillery (so long, GI JOE, for I have outgrown you AND your Jeep!) or crudely-aimed Surface-to-Seagull missles (boys, embarrasingly enough, being boys).
    Ah, alas…Where Have All The Good Toys Gone? (Sigh)
    And which one of those old bikes was it that had the babana seat, the sissy bar AND a steering wheel? Looked like a good way to really mess up to me, that wheel! (and I wished for one terribly…) Anybody have one of those in the family?


  2. gavin hastings says:

    Another “only in the 1960’s” moment:

    There were 11 kids in my family, the Ryans across the street had 10, and the Murphy’s pulled up the rear with 7.
    Needless to say….there were not a whole lot of toys in the neighborhood.
    Unbroken, that is….

  3. nina462 says:

    I’m here too…1962! (living in a 1965 ranch!). and I have two sets of vintage, in the box, lawn darts…that yes, get played every summer in my backyard!

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