Well here we go again…another backwards look at the ‘sixties’.
This chapter is devoted to the ‘media’ of the sixties ie: Music/T.V./Films etc.!!!
So…hold on tight for a roller-coaster ride of your life!!!
I suppose the first film I saw in the early sixties was : ‘BEN HUR’ (1959) with: Chuck Heston
Stephen Boyd and Jack Hawkins…..to name but a few.
This epic rightly deserved to win 11 ‘Oscars’.
(the only film to match this number,in recent years
was TITANIC…which was crap!!!)
I think I was about 9 years old when I saw the film
with my big sister: VAL..probably at either the
‘ASTORIA’ or the ‘REGENT’ cinemas.
The following Friday at primary-school I stood up in front of the class and ‘re-enacted’ ‘BEN HUR’ in about 10 minutes.
Most of my mates hadn’t seen this movie so they had to use their imaginations a lot!!!
The ‘sixties’ was a golden age for films and saw many controversial ‘subjects’ being exploited…
sex; violence and ‘rock & roll!!!
Just a few notable movies that stick in my mind were:
CAPE FEAR(Robert Mitchum & Gregory Peck (1961)
LOLITA (Sue Lyons & James Mason (1962)
VICTIM (Dirk Bogarde & Sylvia Syms (1961)
FAIL SAFE(Henry Fonda & Walter Matthau (1964)
This last film…now a ‘cult-classic’ is rarely screened on British TV and is only available on a ‘Region 1’ DVD from the USA!
I strongly urge you film-buffs out there to check out this ‘classic’…you won’t be disappointed.
As the ‘sixties’ moved on picture-goers flocked to see the new ‘spaghetti westerns’ with CLINT EASTWOOD and co…and many other notable films were: ‘The Graduate’ with a young DUSTIN HOFFMAN…’2001 a space odessey’….Easy Rider
any many,many more films now,quite rightly regarded as ‘classics’!!!
The era of the ‘swinging sixties’ was a liberating period in more ways than one!
It was a time of freedom,adventure,hope and growing prosperity and increasing technological ingenuity.
The world of television was an experimental and exiting time,not least beacause this was the decade when ‘colour-t.v.’ really took off!!!
Some critics dismiss the ’60’s’ as a ‘golden era’.But…let’s face it anything would be golden to the trash dished out today!
If one looks in the ‘Radio Times’..at the beginning of the mag it clearly states in ‘bold’ type….’all digital programmes ie: BBC 3;BBC 4;ITV3 etc. are ‘repeats’ unless stated otherwise!
‘PAY TV’: is not new!…In the early sixties a pre-payment meter could be ‘bolted-on’ to the side of the set….Cost= ‘sixpence’ per hour’
The ‘Redifusion’ company won a big contract in Brighton & Hove in the early ‘sixties’to install ‘cable-tv’ ,especially for the many council estates.
In the ‘U.S.A.’ this ‘network’ was launched in: ‘1954’!!!
This was discussed as far back as ‘1943’!!!
In the ‘USA’ C.B.S.–did test transmissions in: ‘1941’ but…’colour-tv’s. were as yet unavailable to the general public!
In Great Britain by the early sixties ’12 million’ sets were being stared at!
But it wasn’t until JULY 1st’ 1967 that ‘BBC2’ launched it’s limited colour service (after a power-cut!!!)
Anyway…enough of the ‘techie-stuff’…just what were we watching in the ’60’s’
By the dawning of the sixties the ‘WOODENTOPS’ had sold their farm and retired to a bungalow on the south coast and were living the life of Riley on ‘repeat-fees’ that would line their pockets for years to come!!!
Also the demise of ‘MUFFIN THE MULE’ and the much loved ‘FLOWERPOT MEN’ (flobadob)…were pensioned off!!!
In the sixties the new pioneer of children’s puppetry were: GORDON MURRAY;OLIVER POSTGATE AND PETER FIRMIN.
Gordon Murray’s first series (CAMBERWICK GREEN)…screened in 1966 was originally caleed ‘CANDLEWICK GREEN’…but a typing error in the BBC contract altered it’s name forever!
Two further series followed: TRUMPTON & CHIGLEY. By the way the words: ‘mugging’/vandalism and robbery were not in the TRUMPTONSHIRE dictionary.
In all 39 episodes were made…and often repeated!!!
Other masters of the ‘stop-frame’ genre were: OLIVER POSTGATE & PETER FIRMIN.
(Pogle’s Wood; Ivor the Engine; Noggin the Nog and of course Bagpuss!!!)
Bagpuss was recently awarded the best children’s program of all time.
Technically,though, this series was a product of the ’70’s’.
‘Blue Peter’ started in: 1958…and is probably still running.!!!
‘Doctor Who’ (1963 with William Hartnell) was watched by kids from behind the sofa…including myself!!!
This ‘sci-fi’ prog has successfully been ‘revamped with David Tenant and a host of ‘young-lovlies’ as his assistants! Prior to his Dr. Who engagement he starred in the very raunchy ‘Casanova’ to much acclaim.
By the way ‘I.T.V.’s’ answer to Blue Peter was of course ‘Magpie’ with Susan Stranks and Mick Robertson etc.
A weekly show for kids but with a bit more ‘edge’!!!
Adult viewers were in for a treat in the ‘sixties’!!!
British ‘soaps’ well loved were: ‘Emergency Ward Ten’/’Dixon Of Dock Green’/’Z Cars/’Crossroads’..but..probably soaps from the U.S.A. had the greatest influence on the viewing public.
Such memorable programs were: Wagon Train/Rawhide (with a young Clint Eastwood)/
I Love Lucy show (Lucille Ball) and of course who could forget: Peyton Place!!!
‘Science Fiction’ was well served with such classics as: ‘The Outer Limits’/Quatermass and of couse: Star Trek..(by the the way one of the episodes was not screened in the USA as it featured a black woman kissing a white man!)
The serial ran for 79 episodes, in all, a created a long running cult following with ‘Trekkies’ all around the world!!!
Anyway that’s enough of T.V. …we now move on to: MUSIC…
MUSIC: In the ’60’s’
Question: Who can remember the ‘orginal’ group ‘Nirvana’ (Pentecost Hotel & Rainbow Chaser….1967/1968)??? I don’t..it’s a mystery!.
How come that ‘grungy twat’ Kurt Cobain stole the name for his ‘new group!! What about ‘copyright’!!!
Music of the ‘sixties’…did it really start with the BEATLES??? No..of course not.
Many ‘1950’s’ groups carried over into the sixties..but probably the biggest exception was: Buddy Holly and the Crickets who died in a tragic aircrash.
Buddy Holly’s influence was huge on the up and coming ‘sixties’ bands especially the Beatles and the Beach Boys…as an aside…the Beatles’s 1965 album ‘Rubber Soul’…knocked Brian Wilson sideways and he and his group,eventually retaliated with the classic ‘Pet Sounds’.
‘Rhythm & Blues'(as coined by Jerry Wexler in 1949)”later called ‘Soul’ by many
produced a humungous flood of ‘classic’ tracks throughout the ‘sixties’.
Jerry Wexler,producer at ‘Atlantic’ records’ (founded by the ‘Ehrtegun’ brothers originally from Turkey!!) made some of the all time classic hits from their bases in: New York and ‘Muscle-Shoals’.Most of their records hit tne ‘No. 1’ spot throughout the sixties…probably only to be equalled by those ‘geniuses’ at:Tamla Motown in Detroit!!!
One of ‘Berry Gordy’s (producer at Motown) first big hits was : ‘Money’ recorded by Barrett Strong (1960)…incidently covered bt the Beatles on ‘With the Beatles’ album!
I suppose the british record-buying public really caught on the the excellent tunes coming out of Detroit sometime in: 1964.
B.B.c.’s ‘Top of the Pops’. every Thursday always featured the latest hit from the Motown stable….Berry Gordy called his ‘baby’ ‘The Voice of Young America’.
By the year 1964 a veritable torrent of new bands hit the charts…..just to name but a few: THE ROLLING STONES/THE HOLLIES/THE WHO/THE MOVE/THE ANIMALS/ and on the other side of the Atlantic…THE BEACH BOYS/BOB DYLAN (AND THE BAND)
As the ‘sixties’ rolled along to….wait for it…’1967′ The Summer of Love’!!!
(‘Candlestick Park’ in San Francisco being where ‘it was at’ baby!!!)
even more new groups emerged: The Byrds/The Flowerpot Men/The Turtles/The Monkees/Mamas and the Papas/The Association/The Box Tops/etc. etc!
Over here in Great Britain many groups,mostly forgotten included: Vanity Fare/The Casuals/The Easybeats/Honeybus (remember the ‘bread-advert’ with the girl in the balloon?).Oh!!!…did i not mention Donovan?
As the sixties were drawing to a close the ‘technology’ hadn’t changed much throughout the decade…ie: ‘radiograms/’stereograms’ and ‘Dansette’ players!
Although ‘cassettes’ had been invented by a German guy working for ‘PHILIPS’ in 1963…it took a long time for this new medium to be marketed in a big way.
Initially the first cassette-machines replaced the outmoded ‘dictaphones’ and ‘reel-to-reel’ tape-recorders. The first ‘Walkman’ appeared in: 1979!!!
‘Concept-albums’ were a new phenomenon in the ‘sixties’ and my particuler favourite was: ‘Boy Meets Girl’ from ‘STAX’ (1969 double-album)
Some groups did manage to ‘spill over’ into the ‘Seventies’…but that is a story for another day!