The 1960's Video

An introduction to the 1960s

The sixties saw an explosion of the youth movement—70 million children from the post-WWII baby boom became teenagers and young adults. As the baby-boomers questioned the conservative values of the 1950s, their doubts resulted in revolutionary ways of thinking that led to change in the cultural fabric of American life. These changes affected education, values, lifestyles, laws and entertainment. Many of the revolutionary ideas which began in the sixties are still reverberating today. Read below for some fun facts on this historical decade, from pop culture to Arizona milestones.

1960s Christmas Party

Arizona fun facts and national milestones

The 1960s were not a time for the faint of heart. From landing a man on the moon to the civil rights movement, and the Vietnam conflict to metro Phoenix growing to almost 1 million residents, the 1960s screamed, “these times are changing!”

  • The conflict in Vietnam dominates the sixties. As a result, students learn to use their collective voice to affect politics through “peaceful” demonstrations.
  • Built by Del Webb in 1960, Sun City, Ariz. was the first 55-plus active adult retirement community in the country.
  • John F. Kennedy becomes the 35th President of the United States and serves his term from Jan. 20, 1961 until his assassination on Nov. 22, 1963 at Dallas, Texas by Lee Harvey Oswald.
  • In 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis rocks the front page of every major newspaper across America.
  • A United States Supreme Court decision in 1963 maintains Arizona's right to large amounts of Colorado River water.
  • Barry M. Goldwater, Senator from Arizona, runs for president in 1964—but loses.
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Voting Rights Act of 1965 change the lives of the African American minority group by ensuring equal rights for all.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. uses non-violent means, combined with the power of speech, to help lead the Civil Rights Movement across America. He is assassinated on April 4, 1968 by James Earl Ray.
  • When England's famous London Bridge is replaced in the 1960s, the original is dismantled and moved to Lake Havasu City in 1968, where still it stands today.
  • Congress authorizes the Central Arizona Project in 1968 to bring Colorado River water to Phoenix and Tucson.
  • The Supreme Court rules in favor of Miranda in the 1968 case, Miranda vs. Arizona. The judgment states that criminal suspects must be informed of their right against self-incrimination and their right to consult with an attorney prior to questioning by police. This is known as a Miranda warning.
  • On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin, Jr. become the first humans to land on the moon, fulfilling President Kennedy’s challenge to place a man on the moon before the end of the decade.
  • Arizona’s population booms to 1,302,161.
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1960s, group of man

BCBSAZ fun facts

BCBSAZ grew along with Arizona’s population! As Arizona soared to more than 1.31 million people, the number of Arizonans now being served by BCBSAZ reached more than a quarter million.

  • In 1968, the Phoenix Suns enter the National Basketball Association … and BCBSAZ is one of their first sponsors!
  • Tickets for the earliest games played at the Coliseum cost $2, $3, $4 and $5. For those 18 years old and younger, the $2, $3 and $4 tickets are half-price. And parking is free!
  • During the 1960s, BCBSAZ’s employee population doubles from 94 in 1963 to more than 200 by the end of 1969.
  • Before the end of the decade, BCBSAZ breaks ground on a new four-story building. The theme of the new facility incorporates the symbols of health, ancient Navajo sand painting, Arizona copper columns plus the modern look of Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
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1960s recording studio

Pop culture fun facts

Major changes in popular music swept the nation in the mid-1960s, caused in part by the rapid rise of illegal substance use. Highly amplified and improvisational “acid rock” along with its more mellow psychedelic version gained prominence. When the Beatles turned to acid rock, their audience narrowed to the young. Musical groups such as Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead grew out of the counterculture in 1967.

Yet, the event of the decade took place when 500,000 young Americans ‘did their own thing’ at the Woodstock music festival in August 1969. Gathering at a farm in New York State, the youth of our nation rocked out to idolized musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and Joan Baez, as well as to groups such as The Who. Woodstock became a symbol of the young peoples' rebellion against traditional values. History would eventually label these young Americans—who believed in more love and personal freedom—as "hippies."

  • After 13 years, NBC cancels Howdy Doody. The last episode airs Sept. 24, 1960.
  • Harper Lee's 1961 book, To Kill A Mockingbird, becomes a bestseller.
  • Sam Walton opens his first Walmart in Rogers, AR, in 1962.
  • In 1962, Andy Warhol exhibits his Campbell's Soup can, Johnny Carson takes over the Tonight Show from Jack Par and Marilyn Monroe is found dead.
  • Cassius Clay (a.k.a. Muhammad Ali) becomes the World Heavyweight Champion, defeating Sonny Liston in 1964.
  • Hasbro launches the G.I. Joe action figure in 1964.
  • The Beatles make their U.S. debut on The Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964.
  • In 1965, Star Trek goes where no one has gone before on American TV.
  • Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated June 6, 1968 in Los Angeles.
  • Western movie hero John Wayne wins the 1969 Oscar for Best Actor for his role in the movie True Grit, beating now-legendary actors Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight.
  • Sesame Street airs for the first time in 1969.
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1960s, woman at desk

1960s: what did it cost?

A dollar really went far in the 1960s—much further than it does today. But before you get too nostalgic, remember that the median household income in 1967 was $7,143, and the minimum wage was $1.40 per hour. Of course, on the other hand, that same year, an average American home cost $14,600, and a Love Bug (a Volkswagen Beetle) could be had for a mere $1,500. Here are some other items to think about:

  • Gasoline was 25 cents/gal.
  • Bread cost 20 cents/loaf.
  • Milk was 95 cents /gallon.
  • A one-ounce Hershey bar was only 5 cents.