Anyone feel like discussing being young in the 1960's?

I’m making a game where you travel through several different eras in a house having a family gathering.

I’d be interested in hearing people who were young in the 1960’s describe what family parties were like.

For instance, me being young in the 1980’s, I’d think of He-man, boomboxes, brown and orange decor, MC Hammer, grandfathers with mustaches, a couple of people smoking, etc.

What do you think of?


It is an interesting idea.
My family is a traditional one, so only my uncles went to a “guateque” meaning a third home party with a disco player or a k7 player with loud volume.
They drink a lot, mixing alcoholic drinkings, smoked marihuana and travel to the mountains to embrace the nature, sleeping in a car.
I remember the walls covered with paper instead of been painted. There was an extended use of necklace, most people used moustache, very bright coloured shirts and you can make some kind of items for selling as pins, combs, ink coloured Tshirt and throusers.
Music was a refference for all of us. Mobiliary was also a kind of retro, ther was no plastic, only baquelite, so there was a lot of metal and wood involved.
TV was b/n or you was a millionaire. We heard a lot of radio music and news channels.
Telephone dialing was a lot of job with the roulette in front of the phone and I can evoque the ringing tone.
Cars was enormeous and diessel or cheap and very small gasoline powered. Ther wasn’t almost driving restrictions, less ruled than now.

Well, I could continue for a long, long time but you should have one thing in mind. That happened at Spain in 60’s, but when I traveled to Poland 20 years ago, I found the same situation. So there must be a lot of differences according the country.

You can find a lot of stuff in youtube. There are some videos about 60’s brands, toys, drinks, etc, etc.

You can find a TV serial called “Cuentame como pasó”. In the first seasons you can see 50’s and 60’s life through a “normal” family.

  • Jade

I was born in 1962, so I can remember some late 60’s stuff.

TVs and radios had to warm up after you turned them on, it would take 10 seconds or so for you to see or hear anything. TVs had big clunky dial tuners, and you only could pull in 2 or 3 channels. And they were black and white, not color.

We played a lot of card games, mainly Euchre (I grew up in southern Indiana) and 500 Rum. Played some checkers, and occasionally Monopoly, Scrabble or Clue.

We had an Erector set, some American Logs (like Lincoln Logs) and American Bricks (a little like Legos).

I remember going to weddings, where the reception was in the church basement right after the ceremony, and the couple would open their gifts at the reception.

As you mentioned, most of the men smoked. The women wore dresses and
had hairstyles that you can look up better than I can describe.

There weren’t microwave ovens, and nobody I knew had a dishwasher, so you did dishes in the sink, and dried them with a dish towel.

Hope that helps a bit. Hopefully some of the other old timers on here will chime in. Some of the things I mentioned may be partly where I grew up, and my family…


He-man is highly disturbing;

Firstly he looks the same as Adam, he doesn’t wear a mask and nobody knows who he is (or do they?) He gets to only borrow the power of grey-skull to do the work of the sorcerers. He doesn’t get paid. The sorcerers never get their hands dirty and use he-man as a patsy for their own ends.

Which is why it’s called he-man and the masters of the universe. clearly he’s not in the latter club.

Thunderbird’s was even sicker when you start to think about it. I could go on.


For the record, it’s actually 1960s (no apostrophe needed) :slight_smile:

As for family parties - records on the hi-fi, also sometimes known as “the stereo”, a wet bar in the basement, TONS of shag carpeting, sideburns and flared pants, cocktails and/or snacks made from a magazine recipe (which probably contains Jell-o), smoking indoors (using fancy ashtrays), dancing named dances (like the Watusi, the Twist, etc) and tons and tons of debate about politics (including the Vietnam War).


These have all been so helpful! Thanks for everyone for answering. I definitely think I’ll include the facial hair, wallpaper, etc., so this is exactly what I needed


I don’t know if you’re still collecting data points for this. I was born in 1965. Here’s what I remember.

Train sets
Balsa wood airplane models

On the Shelf
National Geographic was probably at the height of its popularity. My house had a set stretching for 15 years

The Vietnam war in the news.
Missions to the moon broadcast live.
Superman in black and white.
Batman in color.
Saturday morning cartoons.
Soap operas, The Edge of Night.
The end of the sixties to the beginning of the seventies was the transition between black and white television and color.

A rare few people had swimming pool in their backyards, mostly above ground surrounded by a deck with a door leading into the house. But backyard swimming pools were becoming more common.

Wallpaper, but not in the whole house or a whole room just on selected walls.

Smaller schools

People drank a lot more.
Fondue was all the rage.
Betty Crocker sold recipe cards that you could store in small boxes in your kitchen. It was a monthly club. They would send you two or three new recipes every month and you would put them in your little box.

Hope that helps.


Cold Case did a fairly good job with their throwbacks, often times targeting parts of a decade or even subcultures within that decade. Might be worth a watch just for some casual inspiration if you haven’t already seen it.

As an aside, the snarky part of my brain immediately responded to the title of this thread with, “You aren’t likely to find someone willing to discuss being old in the 60s; perhaps simply being ‘alive’ in the 60s would suffice?” But I share that for the shared chuckle, not as a serious criticism; your title is fine.


I was young in the 50s!


(born in '81)

I remember drowning the head of one of my He-Man puppets* in a shrimp cocktail at a family get-together once.

Pretty much sums up being young in the 80s for me.

(*yeah yeah, action figure…)


This video (which is itself 30 years old!) has always been my go-to reference point for the 60s. “People smoked openly on the Tonight Show” is such a mind-blower, and already was in the early 90s.

Being born in the 80s myself, I tried to capture some of this energy in a not-yet-complete novel. Here’s a sample:

Any sleaze to be found in Viva La Eighties was antique, fully intentional, and scrubbed clean with corporate sanitizers. The neon sign that would say “No Dirty Dancing Please” if the artistically broken word “No” had been actual neon lighting and not colored plastic; the wall with a monochrome picture of Ronald Reagan’s face blown up as tall as a refrigerator, with sunglasses and a word balloon saying “Yo!” stenciled on in day-glo green spraypaint; a roller-skating waitress wearing a pre-distressed Mr. T belly shirt.

Liane looked at the neon lights at the windows. Awesome, they said backwards. Gnarly. Radical. Outrageous. All of these words had existed in dictionaries since the turn of the 20th century, but now they had become artifactual icons of a decade. The youngest word of the lot was probably Cowabunga, and she knew for a fact that Cookie Monster had been saying that in the seventies.

Liane had been only a child in the 1980s, but she felt much the same way here, she imagined, as Edward Teach and William Kidd might have felt upon boarding the Pirates Of The Caribbean ride. Someone had taken the world they lived in and remembered, caricatured it into abstraction, and was selling it back to them at a tidy profit, plus a bonus from Coca-Cola for including their latest and lowest-calorie product in their re-imagining of strangers’ childhoods.

To Liane, the 80s was sun and sandboxes, daycare and dandelions, Superman, Spider-Man, and Superfudge. It was laughing at anything, crying at nothing, hitting people and getting hit by people and everyone going to the principal’s office. It was a childhood like anyone else’s from the previous generation or the next, and much of what was celebrated at this bar was things she had at the time considered none of her business. It was not a Dance Dance Revolution machine burbling a techno remix of the theme from Tim Burton’s Batman. It certainly wasn’t a 52-inch plasma TV with an average-looking Asian-American man serving as muted commentator on a football game from earlier in the day, his words spilling into alphabet soup at the bottom of the screen as the closed-captioners struggle to keep up. And it definitely wasn’t a plate of dry, spottily reheated buffalo wings and icy celery for $11.50.


This is the “Al Capone dancing the Charleston on top of a flagpole” of the '80s.