2014 marks the 50th anniversary of much more than the birth of… well… ME. Of course you can’t mention 1964 without starting with The Beatles and their first appearance on both American soil and The Ed Sullivan Show. But it seems with each passing day I am faced with the number 50 staring me in the face. Finally however, I am beginning to embrace the fabulousness that was 1964.
1964 was pretty awesome. It saw the First Ford Mustang roll off the line as well as the Pontiac GTO, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, Voting rights, and the Food Stamp program. Believe it or not, 1964 was the year the Surgeon General released the report on Smoking and Health! General Mills debuted Lucky Charms and Underdog hit the airwaves! [Speed of Lightning, roar of thunder, fighting all who rob or plunder—Underdog!] The first time we meet the Island of Misfit Toys is the 1964 airing of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Sports Illustrated had their very first swimsuit issue—crazy, huh? This same year saw Martin Luther King presented the Nobel Peace Prize and Cassius Clay, (Later to become Mohammad Ali), TKO Sonny Liston for the World Heavyweight Title. This is one fabulously amazing year.
Though I was clearly too young to enjoy it, the remains of the 1964 New York’s World’s Fair are still right there to enjoy in Queens—and equally important—for all to see in Men in Black. So much of my childhood is rooted in the year of my birth. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory—later to be an awesome movie as Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory—is published. One of my Dad’s favorite movies—It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World—is released. Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady and 007 in Goldfinger also hit the big screen. I think the longevity of ALL of these films and who I became speaks volumes, but perhaps I will delve into that in my 51st year. 🙂
Though I first recall the Sony VCR some 12 years later, it was introduced in 1964 along with the creation and introduction of the 8 Track–one of the short lived breakouts of 1964. But a perennial favorite of mine…BUBBLE WRAP is still cushioning and entertaining us today. What I think is most impressive about this year is its endurance, longevity and popularity. Hasbro introduced GI Joe and we saw those God awful trolls in 1964. Hess introduced the Hess Truck, still popular today! AND, where would we all have been on Super Bowl Sunday without a little something invented at Anchor Bar in Buffalo those 50 years ago. (God bless Buffalo wings.)
Television saw the premier of Bewitched and Jeopardy–took me a while to start getting that final Jeopardy question right but I could wiggle my nose so that seemed a fair trade-off. Broadway saw Fiddler on the Roof, Funny Girl, and Hello Dolly. (I am proud to have a lifelong love of Broadway.)
Musically—beyond the Beatles—music is forever changed. The Rolling Stones release THEIR debut album, The Jackson Five is formed, Bob Dylan releases “The Times They are a-Changin” and The Kinks, “You Really Got Me. THIS was the year that saw Daltry, Townsend, Entwistle and Moon form THE WHO! The Moody Blues was formed. 1964 saw the collaboration of what would later become Lynyrd Skynyrd when Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins and Gary Rossington got together. Three Dog Night and Lou Reed’s The Velvet Underground… my goodness, who knew so much could be attributed to ONE single year.
Then there is Food… glorious food. 3 High School friends from Hoboken open the first Blimpie Sub Shop and the fresh sliced Roast Beef Sandwiches of Arby’s opened the same year. And 1964 NOT ONLY saw the first box of Lucky Charms, it saw the first box of Pop Tarts, first box of Bugles, first time Coca Cola came in cans, first can of Ruffles, first Carnation Instant Breakfast. And one can’t leave out a little something called “Supercrema gianduja” which eventually was renamed NUTELLA in 1964. In a food related birth, there is Bobby Flay. I am a little jealous of 1965 that saw Shake and Bake and Cool Whip, but I guess we half century folk got to enjoy it anyway. 🙂
When it comes to people—aside from my friends born in the same year—we are in some pretty cool company. In fact, so many amazing people were born in 1964, I couldn’t possibly mention them all. But, in referencing my own personal life, I will mention the ones that I recall making some sort of an impact.
For the women—in no particular order—Sandra Bullock, Teri Hatcher, Courtney Cox, Mariska Hargitay, Marisa Tomei, Elle Macphereson, Melissa Gilbert. (Lori Loughlin—only because she went to Hauppauge High School.) And that’s just a few!
For the men—again in no particular order—Rob Lowe, Keanu Reeves, Russell Crowe, Clive Owen, Don Cheadle, David Spade, Nicholas Cage, Stephen Colbert, Hank Azaria, and a favorite if you are an Avengers fan, Joss Whedon!
These are JUST some of the people who in some small way impacted my world in MY 50 years on earth. And, let’s be honest, it’s been an interesting time SINCE 1964. The world has changed, technology has gone further than some science fiction could have imagined 50 years ago. People have changed and thankfully, continue to do so for the better.
When you think about a person’s lifetime think of this, the year I was born the computer mouse was invented, and it will likely be obsolete in my lifetime. 50 years is both an enormous amount of time, and yet a blip on the radar. But for me and anyone else born 50 years ago, I think 1964 will always be pretty magical.
** How’s it going so far, Tig? **