Children tended to play outdoors as much as they could and for the most part the right to watch television was something that had to be earned through chores and good behavior. Kids still knew how to respect their elders and would expect a ‘twitching’ if they stepped out of line. Big chain stores and restaurant franchises had not yet taken over every street corner in America and there were still plenty of ‘Mom and Pop’ stores thriving in most towns and cities.
Television and Movies
Said to have lasted longer than the Vietnam War itself, M.A.S.H. was a firm favorite in many households during the 70’s. Though based upon a medical unit treating victims of the war M.A.S.H. was a comedy that had viewers laughing at the strange and funny antics of the unique characters of the show.
‘The Fonz’ made young girls swoon, with his slicked back hair, black leather jacket and ‘bad boy’ image in Happy Days. The two biggest stars of the show, Henry Winkler (Fonzie) and Ron Howard (Richie Cunningham) went on to develop very successful directing careers.
A huge number of great shows came out of the 70’s. The following are just a few of them.
The Waltons, Saturday Night Live, The Love Boat, Charlie’s Angels, Hawaii Five O, Mork and Mindy, The Six Million Dollar Man and so many more, each successful in their own right, running for several seasons.
Some of the most iconic movies of all time were first released during the 70’s. Star Wars made its debut and has been followed by several sequels and produced a cult following that still thrives today. A Clockwork Orange caused a lot of controversy given its focus on the main character’s fixation with rape and violence. The Exorcist sent chills down the spines of many movie goers as they watched Linda Blair’s possession by the Devil himself. For the most part sci-fi and horror movies dominated the large screen during the 70’s.
In a more lighthearted vein The Sting entertained and delighted viewers, with the theme song being played on radio long after the movie had run its course in theaters. After the huge success of The Godfather it was only to be expected that The Godfather II would be released and fans of the original were not disappointed. If the Mafia wasn’t enough to scare the heck out of theater goers Jaws was, both in the 3-D version and the standard. Jack Nicholson did an outstanding job of his character in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which incidentally played in theaters in Sweden for 11 years!
In Carrie it was easy to feel sorry for the reserved girl when watching how her mother bullied her but in the grand finale scene Carrie had audiences everywhere sitting on the edge of their seats, watching as she wreaked havoc on the auditorium. Some say it was one of the best horror movies ever made. And then there was Rocky. Sylvester Stallone appeared larger than life when in reality he is not a tall man, but no one could deny his tenacity, and certainly viewers enjoyed the movie enough for producers to release sequels in the years after.
While there were a great number of hit songs produced in the 70’s the charts seemed to be dominated by several stars. Abba, Michael Jackson, The Bee Gees, Blondie, Queen, David Bowie and Rod Stewart seemed to be producing hit after hit. Abba drew quite a large following, their songs being easy to sing along with. Michael Jackson’s writing, producing and singing talents sold albums in the millions.
The Bee Gees rocked the disco era, with Blondie, Queen, David Bowie and Rod Stewart all belting out their own unique sounds. The Knack carved out its place in music history with their huge hit ‘My Sharona’, which no party was complete without being played at least once. The 70’s also saw the announcement that the Beatles had decided to disband.
When you take into consideration the technological advances made since the 70’s you could be forgiven for thinking that very little in the way of life-changing items came out of that era, but you would be mistaken. Some of the greatest inventions produced in the 70 have paved the way for what we take for granted today.
The floppy disk was one of the greatest inventions known to mankind, and had many lay people amazed at how information could be stored on such a seemingly innocuous piece of plastic. Of course it was just the beginning of data storage technology, but as with most things it had to start somewhere.
Of course the floppy disk was useless without a computer drive to use it with. The first all-in-one personal computers were cumbersome and slow but still they did more in a short space of time than a human being could do in a day or more.
Enter the cell phone but nothing like what you would see today. Huge, heavy, ugly and bulky, the cell phone required a carrying case and yet it still heralded the beginning of a great technological advance that has improved significantly over recent years, now combining computer technology with phone technology to give people a way to do business from anywhere.
The early VCR’s were as big as a small coffee table but being able to watch movies when and where you wanted to seemed like a luxury to many. Of course it was not too long before VHS tapes were being rented daily, and Video Rental shops made ‘a killing’ in the early days before movies were released for the public to purchase.
Other technology of note was the first video game Pong, digital wristwatches, and the portable cassette player. Each of these ‘new’ inventions in the 70’s has stuck around, although the changes they have undergone since their heyday are nothing short of astonishing.
Several major life-altering events occurred during the 70’s. The first was the Vietnam War which affected families not only in the US but also in other supporting countries. While America’s armed forces fought overseas, protests were breaking out on university campuses and other locations, as people rallied to let the government know that they believed America should have stayed out of the War in Vietnam. The war affected the first part of the decade.
The second event of note was the Watergate scandal in which President Nixon negotiated with the Vietnamese to keep the war going until he was able to gain the presidency. Nixon promised a better deal and then made endeavors to cover up his actions. In the belief that he was about to be exposed President Nixon resigned the presidency in 1974. The nation was stunned and the American people lost a lot of faith in their government as a result of what appeared to be betrayal on the part of Nixon.
Other events worthy of mention were the Tangshan earthquake in China that claimed 240,000 lives, the great Elvis Presley was discovered dead in his mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, the infamous Jonestown massacre, and towards the end of the decade 52 American citizens and diplomats were held hostage in Iran for 444 days. Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister of Great Britain, the first test tube baby was born, and Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her service to humanity.
The 70’s was the decade in which polyester became the fabric of choice and it seemed that the brighter the color the better. Pant suits, leisure suits and track suits were the staples in almost every wardrobe, in various colors and styles. Bell bottom and flared pants were still seen for part of the 70’s but these started to lose favor towards the end of the decade. While bright colors were predominant during the earlier part of the 70’s by the end earth tones and muted shades had replaced them.
Tight pants, the tighter the better was the fashion trend and women began being seen in pants and jeans everywhere. Platform shoes (for both women and men) were required garb to ensure those long, flared pants didn’t get dirty at the bottoms, with some platforms being as much as 4 inches high or more.
One of the most tragic events to occur at an Olympic occurred in 1972 at the Summer games held in Munich, when Palestinian terrorists entered the Olympic village and killed two Israeli athletes before taking a number of hostages. A rescue attempt was made but failed, leaving all the hostages dead and all but 3 of the terrorists.
Sporting events of note during the 70’s were Nadia Comaneci’s Olympic history-making perfect score in gymnastics, race horse Secretariat wins the Triple Crown, the first Cricket World Cup is held, the South African Springbok rugby team tour Australia and New Zealand and are met with protest due to their country’s apartheid laws.
When one thinks of the 70’s it is difficult to think beyond the Vietnam War because it dominated news reporting throughout the world. Just as Americans were beginning to welcome home their fighting forces President Nixon’s Watergate scandal rocks the nation. Shock and horror reel around the world as news of the attack on the Olympic athletes is broadcast. But for all the controversy, war and other acts of violence many people remember the 70’s with fondness.
A guy goes into a bar, orders twelve shots and starts drinking them as fast as he can.
The bartender says, "Dang, why are you drinking so fast?"
The guy says, "You would be drinking fast if you had what I had.""
The bartender says, "What do you have?""
The guy says, "75 cents."
Aunt Abbie's Cake
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sour milk
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon soda
1 cup raisins and currants
1 teaspoon each nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves
2 scant cups flour