Updated date:

1960 Fun Facts and Trivia

Gregory DeVictor is a trivia enthusiast who loves to write articles on American nostalgia.

A Quick Look Back at 1960

What are some fun facts, trivia, and history events from the leap year 1960?

  1. John F. Kennedy was elected president of the United States by defeating Richard Nixon. JFK was also the first Roman Catholic and youngest person ever to be elected U.S. president.
  2. Hurricane Donna battered the eastern U.S. from late August until mid-September. HurricaneScience.org tells us that Donna is the only hurricane on record to produce hurricane-force winds in Florida, the Mid-Atlantic States, and New England. Donna roamed the Atlantic for a total of 17 days, and also holds the record for retaining major hurricane status in the Atlantic Basin for nine days.
  3. The USS Enterprise—the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier—was launched.
  4. The FDA approved the world’s first commercially produced birth control pill.
  5. The 10 millionth copyright registration was made at the U.S. Copyright Office.
  6. In the year 1960, General Motors was America’s biggest company, followed by U.S. Steel, General Electric, Chrysler, and Standard Oil of New Jersey.
  7. OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) was created, and its 12 members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.
  8. Nearly half of America's population was under 18 years old.
  9. The starting salary for a teacher was $5,135. It was $4,400 for a police officer and $9,400 for an engineer.
  10. Farmers made up 8.3% of the U.S. labor force. There were about 3,711,000 American farms in 1960, averaging about 303 acres apiece.
  11. In New York City, monthly rents averaged around $200, but you could still find housing for $100 or less.
  12. Back in the year 1960, there were 53 million households in the United States, and the average household had 3.29 people.
  13. Over 90% of American households had at least one TV, and about 65% of Americans were churchgoers.
  14. The average family income was $5,600, an increase of $200—or four percent—over 1959. For households headed by individuals 65 years and over, the average annual income was only $2,900.
  15. Pete Rozelle became the NFL Commissioner after serving as the acting president of the NFL following Bert Bell’s death in October 1959.
  16. Demolition began on Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, which had been the home of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team from 1913 to 1957.
  17. The Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series by defeating the New York Yankees in seven games.
  18. The 1960 Summer Olympics were held in August with Rome as the host city. For the first time, the games were televised live in 18 European countries, the United States, Canada, and Japan to the delight of millions of viewers.
  19. Gunsmoke (CBS) was the top TV show, the last episode of The Howdy Doody Show (NBC) aired, and The Flintstones (ABC) premiered.
  20. Ben-Hur won 11 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Original Music Score, and Best Costume Design.
  21. Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel—To Kill a Mockingbird—was published.
  22. The last episode of the radio sitcom Amos ‘n’ Andy aired. Set in Harlem with black characters, Amos ‘n’ Andy premiered on March 19, 1928.
  23. The theme from the film A Summer Place was number one on the charts for nine weeks.
  24. The minimum wage was $1.00, the average family income was $5,600, and a new house cost $16,500.
  25. A slice of pizza cost 15 cents, a McDonald's hamburger was also 15 cents, and candy bars were five cents apiece.

Here are the five most popular TV shows from 1960-61:

  1. Gunsmoke (CBS)
  2. Wagon Train (NBC)
  3. Have Gun, Will Travel (CBS)
  4. The Andy Griffith Show (CBS)
  5. The Real McCoys (ABC)

Here are five food and beverage trends for the year:

  1. Beef Wellington
  2. Iceberg wedge salad
  3. Salad bars
  4. Swedish meatballs
  5. Tang

This article teaches you fun facts, trivia, and history events from the year 1960. Find out about popular TV shows, movies, music, books, foods, sports facts, and other pop culture trends to get the right mix of questions and answers for your 1960s-themed trivia quiz.

This article teaches you fun facts, trivia, and historical events from the year 1960.

This article teaches you fun facts, trivia, and historical events from the year 1960.

Table of Contents

For easier reading, I have divided this article into the following categories:

  1. Grocery Prices in 1960
  2. Other Retail Prices for the Year
  3. History Facts From the USA
  4. International News
  5. Sports Trivia
  6. Entertainment News
  7. Miscellaneous Fun Facts, Trivia, and Pop Culture Trends
  8. Computer News
  9. Best-Selling Books
  10. Highest-Grossing Films
  11. Most Popular Television Shows From 1960-61
  12. Cool Pop Music Artists
  13. Number One Music Hits for the Year
  14. Food and Beverage Trivia
  15. Famous People Who Were Born in 1960
  16. Well-Known People Who Died
  17. America’s Largest Corporations
  18. American Companies Founded
  19. How Much Did a New Car Cost in 1960?
In 1960, General Motors was America’s largest corporation.

In 1960, General Motors was America’s largest corporation.

1. Grocery Prices in 1960

These grocery facts have been made available courtesy of the Morris County Public Library in Whippany, NJ.

  1. Apples: $0.16 per pound
  2. Bananas: $0.10 per pound
  3. Cabbage: $0.10 per pound
  4. Calf Liver: $0.79 per pound
  5. Campbell’s Pork & Beans: $0.15 for a 16-ounce can
  6. Canned corn: $0.15 for a 15-ounce can
  7. Canned orange juice: $0.43 for a 46-ounce can
  8. Carrots: $0.05 for a one-pound bag
  9. Chewing gum: $0.05 per pack
  10. Chicken fryers: $0.37 per pound
  11. Coffee: $0.75 per pound
  12. Corn syrup: $0.27 for 24 ounces
  13. Del Monte Sliced Yellow Cling Peaches: $0.29 for a 16-ounce can
  14. Eggs: $0.53 per dozen
  15. Flour: $0.49 for a five-pound bag
  16. Fresh corn: Six ears for $0.25
  17. Frozen French fried potatoes: $0.10 for eight ounces
  18. Frozen turkey: $0.39 per pound
  19. Gerber’s Baby Food: $0.25 for three jars
  20. Grape jelly: $0.29 for 12 ounces
  21. Ground beef: $0.33 per pound
  22. Hershey Bar: $0.05 for a one-ounce bar
  23. Heinz Ketchup: $0.22 for a 14-ounce bottle
  24. Hickory smoked ham: $0.49 per pound
  25. Iceberg lettuce: $0.17 per head
  26. Ice cream: $0.79 per half gallon
  27. Jello: $0.35 for four packages
  28. Kraft Miracle Whip: $0.51 for a quart jar
  29. Land O'Lakes Butter: $0.67 per pound
  30. Margarine: $0.27 per pound
  31. Milk: $0.95 per gallon
  32. Nilla Wafers: $0.25 for a 12-ounce box
  33. Onions: $0.09 per pound
  34. Oranges: Two dozen for $0.89
  35. Peanut butter: $0.29 for a one-pound jar
  36. Pepsi: Six-pack for $0.59
  37. Pillsbury Cake Mix: $0.25 per box
  38. Pork chops: $0.59 per pound
  39. Potatoes: $0.72 for a 10-pound bag
  40. Rice: $0.45 for a three-pound bag
  41. Shortening (hydrogenated): $0.82 for a three-pound can
  42. Sirloin steak: $0.89 per pound
  43. Skippy Peanut Butter: $0.79 for a 16-ounce jar
  44. Sliced bacon: $0.79 per pound
  45. Sliced pickles: $0.26 for 15 ounces
  46. Soda crackers: $0.23 for a one-pound box
  47. Sugar: $0.38 for a five-pound bag
  48. Starkist Tuna: $0.31 for a six-ounce can
  49. Sweet potatoes: $0.14 per pound
  50. Tea bags: $0.24 for 16 bags
  51. T-bone steak: $0.85 per pound
  52. Tomato soup: Two cans for $0.25
  53. Watermelon: 2½ cents per pound
  54. Wesson Oil: $0.47 per quart
  55. White bread: $0.20 per loaf

2. Other Retail Prices for the Year

  1. 1,000 kWh of electricity: $0.25
  2. 45 rpm single record: $1.00
  3. A gallon of gas: $0.31
  4. Budweiser: $0.99 for a six-pack
  5. Buster Brown shoes: $3.00
  6. Can of Aqua Net hairspray: $0.47
  7. Can of shaving cream: $0.59
  8. Cup of restaurant coffee: $0.10 - $0.15
  9. Daily newspaper: $0.10
  10. Dining set (table and six chairs): $158.95
  11. Doctor’s office visit: $5.00
  12. Full-size mattress and box-spring set: $69.99
  13. Kenmore washing machine: $158.00
  14. McDonald’s Coca-Cola: $0.10
  15. McDonald’s French fries: $0.10
  16. McDonald’s cheeseburger: $0.19
  17. McDonald’s coffee: $0.10
  18. McDonald’s hamburger: $0.15
  19. McDonald’s malt shake: $0.20
  20. McDonald’s orangeade: $0.10
  21. McDonald’s root beer: $0.10
  22. Men’s electric shaver: $20.30
  23. Men’s Oxford shoes: $12.95
  24. Movie ticket: $0.69
  25. New car: $2,600.00
  26. New home: $12,700.00
  27. Pair of men’s Levi’s jeans: $5.00
  28. Payphone (local call): $0.10
  29. Polaroid Land Camera: $93.45
  30. Popcorn at the movie: $0.20
  31. Postage stamp: $0.04
  32. Record album: $3.00
  33. Sofa set (two lounges, one with a table and one without): $174.95
  34. Sunburst clock: $27.50
  35. 23-inch television: $219.95
  36. Tennis shoes: $5.00
  37. Tuition at Columbia: $1,460
  38. Tuition at Harvard: $1,520
  39. Tuition at MIT: $1,200
  40. Tuition at Northwestern: $1,200
  41. Tuition at Penn State: $480
  42. Tuition at UC Berkeley: $0.00
  43. Women’s swinging shift skirt: $5.00
In 1960, The Flintstones—an animated cartoon series—premiered on ABC television.

In 1960, The Flintstones—an animated cartoon series—premiered on ABC television.

3. History Facts From the USA

  1. In 1960, Dwight D. Eisenhower was president of the United States, and Richard M. Nixon was vice president.
  2. Based on 1960 U.S. Census data, the population of the United States was 179,32,175. (The 1950 U.S. population was 151,325,798.)
  3. The ten most populated U.S. cities were New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore, Houston, Cleveland, Washington (DC), and St. Louis.
  4. The most populated states were New York, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio. The least populous ones were Alaska, Nevada, Wyoming, Vermont, and Delaware.
  5. There were 53 million households in the United States, and the average household had 3.29 people.
  6. The rate of inflation jumped from 0.69% to 1.72%, primarily because of increases in housing and energy costs. According to In2013Dollars.com, “Purchasing power decreased by 1.72% in 1960 compared to 1959. On average, you would have to spend 1.72% more money in 1960 than in 1959 for the same item. In other words, $1 in 1959 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $1.02 in 1960.”
  7. The average family income was $5,600, an increase of $200—or four percent—over 1959. For households headed by individuals 65 years and over, the average annual income was only $2,900.
  8. The top marginal tax rate was 91%. TaxFoundation.org explains that the tax rate “applied to income over $200,000 (for single filers) or $400,000 (for married filers) – thresholds which correspond to approximately $1.5 million and $3 million, respectively, in today's dollars. Approximately 0.00235% of households had income taxed at the top rate.”
  9. In 1960, the cost of a new home in the U.S. was $16,500. Comparatively, the median home value was $11,900, which is equivalent to around $100,000 in today’s dollars.
  10. In New York City, monthly rents averaged around $200, but you could still find housing for $100 or less. NY.Curbed.com tells us that “On East 92nd Street, a three-and-a-half room apartment was going for $95 in October 1960, while the following year, you could get an air-conditioned studio with a fireplace in the West Village for $110.”
  11. A new car cost about $2,750, a first-class stamp was four cents, and the retail price for a gallon of gas averaged 31 cents.
  12. Potatoes cost 72 cents for a 10-pound bag, white bread was 20 cents for a one-pound loaf, and two dozen oranges were 89 cents. Five pounds of sugar cost 38 cents, a gallon of whole milk was 95 cents, and a dozen eggs were 53 cents.
  13. 1,000 kWh of electricity cost 25 cents, a daily newspaper was 10 cents, and tennis shoes were $5.00 a pair.
  14. In 1960, a slice of pizza cost 15 cents, a McDonald’s hamburger was also 15 cents, and candy bars were five cents apiece.
  15. Median annual tuition at public law schools was $204, and $475 at private institutions.
  16. The minimum wage was $1.00, which is equivalent to $8.55 in 2019 dollars. On the other hand, the average hourly manufacturing wage was $2.32.
  17. Gold was $36.50 per ounce.
  18. The prime rate held steady at 4.5%.
  19. The Dow Jones high for the year was 685, and the low was 566.
  20. In 1960, the mysterious Black Knight satellite led U.S. authorities to believe that an alien satellite was orbiting the earth. Grunge.com reports that “By the end of the 1950s, the space race was in full swing and both the U.S. and USSR had managed to put satellites in orbit. But on February 11, 1960, a radar used by the U.S. Navy picked up the presence of a strange ‘dark, tumbling object’ that didn't belong to either country. . . . The sudden possibility that the Soviets had quietly launched a satellite, possibly a spy satellite, freaked out plenty of Americans. It didn't help that this new object was in polar orbit, when all the known satellites were circling the equator.”
  21. On January 2, Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy announced that he was running for U.S. president.
  22. On January 7, the Polaris Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) was successfully test launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
  23. On January 26, Pete Rozelle became the NFL Commissioner, after serving as the acting president of the NFL following Bert Bell’s death in October 1959. Britannica.com points out that as commissioner of the National Football League (NFL) from 1960 to 1989, Rozelle “oversaw a period of enormous growth for professional gridiron football. He negotiated lucrative deals with the television networks, doubled the size of the league, and helped to create the Super Bowl.”
  24. From February 18-28, the Winter Olympics were held in Squaw Valley, California. A total of 665 athletes participated in the sporting events.
  25. On February 23, demolition began on Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, which had been the home of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team from 1913 to 1957.
  26. On February 29, the first Playboy Club opened in Chicago.
  27. On March 3, New York City had the ninth biggest snowfall (14.5”) on record.
  28. On April 14, the American record company Motown—founded by Berry Gordy Jr.—was incorporated as Motown Record Corporation.
  29. On April 15, black college students formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) at Shaw University in North Carolina.
  30. On May 6, the Civil Rights Act of 1960 was signed into law by President Eisenhower. PatriotPost.us explains that the bill “established federal inspection of local voter registration polls and introduced penalties for anyone who obstructed someone's attempt to register to vote.”
  31. On May 9, the FDA approved the world’s first commercially-produced birth control pill.
  32. On June 23, the first contraceptive went on sale in the U.S. Case,edu points out that “The Pill became the symbol of the so-called ‘sexual revolution’ of the 1960s-70s. Many blamed it for the events of these years — a rise in single motherhood, unmarried couples living together or in communes, open marriage and wife swapping, women's liberation, and increased visibility of sex in the media. Scholars now recognize that these cultural shifts began well before the advent of the Pill.”
  33. On July 11, Harper Lee’s popular novel—To Kill a Mockingbird—was published. Britannica.com tells us that this American classic “was translated into 40 languages and sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. In 1961 it won a Pulitzer Prize. The novel was praised for its sensitive treatment of a child’s awakening to racism and prejudice in the American South.”
  34. On July 27, Richard Nixon was nominated for president at the Republican National Convention in Chicago.
  35. Hurricane Donna battered the Caribbean and eastern United States from late August until mid-September. HurricaneScience.org tells us that Donna is the only hurricane on record to produce hurricane-force winds in Florida, the Mid-Atlantic States, and New England. Donna roamed the Atlantic for a total of 17 days, and also holds the record for retaining major hurricane status in the Atlantic Basin for nine days.
  36. On September 19, Life magazine recognized the 100th birthday of artist Grandma Moses by putting her on the front cover.
  37. On September 24, the United States launched the USS Enterprise, the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Wired.com explains that “With nuclear power to propel it, the Enterprise does not need to carry its own fuel oil and has more room for aircraft and weapons. It routinely carries 70 to 90 planes. The ship measures in at 1,120 feet (about 100 feet longer than the USS Saratoga), with a 250-foot-wide flight deck. . . . It relies on a crew of 5,700.”
  38. On November 8, John F. Kennedy was elected President of the United States by defeating Richard Nixon. JFK was also the first Roman Catholic and youngest person ever to be elected U.S. President.
  39. On November 18, the 10 millionth copyright registration was made at the U.S. Copyright Office.
  40. On November 23, NASA launched TIROS, the first weather satellite.
  41. In 1960, the U.S. census was mailed out for the first time. Census.gov points out that "Earlier censuses had used self-enumeration on a limited scale, but 1960 was the debut for this technique as a primary method for the collection of population and residential data. The postal service delivered questionnaires to every occupied housing unit. Householders were asked to complete the questionnaire and hold it for an enumerator to pick up."
  42. Zip codes were first introduced in 1960, and the USPS used a mascot named Mr. Zip to help Americans through the transition.
  43. American engineer Wilson Greatbatch developed the heart pacemaker.
  44. American engineer and physicist Theodore Maiman built the first laser at Hughes Research Laboratories.
  45. In 1960, about 65% of Americans were churchgoers, compared to about 40% in 1940.

4. International News

  1. In 1960, an estimated 20 million people died in China after swarms of locusts destroyed much of the country’s crops. This catastrophe could have been prevented if sparrows, the natural predator of locusts, were not deliberately killed two years earlier to alleviate a “pest problem.”
  2. On January 1, France issued le nouveau franc—”a revaluation of the currency with 100 existing francs equalling 1 new franc.” Blog.ContinentalCurrency.ca reports that “Despite the revaluation, inflation continued to hamper the French currency, and by the time the euro was adopted on the first of January 1999, the franc was worth less than 12.5% of its 1960 value.”
  3. On January 4, the European Free Trade Association was formed in Stockholm.
  4. On January 9, construction began on the Aswan High Dam in Egypt, and was completed on July 21, 1970. History.com tells us that “More than two miles long at its crest, the massive $1 billion dam ended the cycle of flood and drought in the Nile River region, and exploited a tremendous source of renewable energy.”
  5. On January 19, U.S. Secretary of State Christian Herter and Japanese Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi signed the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security Between the United States and Japan. ForeignAffairs.com explains that the treaty “committed the United States to help defend Japan if Japan came under attack, and it provided bases and ports for U.S. armed forces in Japan.”
  6. On May 24, the one millionth telephone was installed in the Netherlands.
  7. On July 22, Fidel Castro nationalized all U.S. sugar interests in Cuba in defense of “economy and sovereignty."
  8. The 1960 Summer Olympics were held in August with Rome as the host city. A total of 83 countries and 5,338 athletes participated in the 150 sporting events. For the first time, the games were televised live in 18 European countries, the United States, Canada, and Japan to the delight of millions of viewers.
  9. On September 10-14, OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) was created at the Baghdad Conference by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. Today, OPEC’s 12 members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.
  10. In November, several witnesses reported seeing a “phantom army” on a road near Otterburn, a village in Northumberland, England. Otterburn was “the site of the famous Battle of Otterburn in 1388 when the English army suffered a bloody defeat by the Scots led by the Earl of Douglas.”
  11. Le Duan replaced Ho Chi Minh as head of North Vietnam’s ruling Communist party.
  12. North Vietnam escalated military operations against the South Vietnamese.
In 1960, the Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series by defeating the New York Yankees.

In 1960, the Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series by defeating the New York Yankees.

5. Sports Trivia

Generally suitable for all age groups, sports trivia questions and answers are a welcome addition to any party game.

  1. World Series Champions: Pittsburgh Pirates
  2. Stanley Cup Champs: Montreal Canadiens
  3. AFL Champions: Houston Oilers
  4. NFL Champions: Philadelphia Eagles
  5. NBA Champions: Boston Celtics
  6. NCAA Basketball Champions: Ohio State
  7. NCAA Football Champions: Minnesota & Mississippi
  8. Orange Bowl: Georgia over Missouri
  9. Rose Bowl: Washington over Wisconsin
  10. Sugar Bowl: Ole Miss over LSU
  11. U.S. Open Golf: Arnold Palmer
  12. U.S. Tennis (men/women): Neale Fraser/Darlene R. Hard
  13. Wimbledon (men/women): Neale Fraser/Maria Bueno
  14. Kentucky Derby: Venetian Way
  15. On January 12, Dolph Schayes became the first NBA player to score 15,000 points.
  16. On January 22, in the first world title fight of the decade, Paul Pender beat Sugar Ray Robinson in a fifteen-round split decision.
  17. On January 25, Wilt Chamberlain scored 58 points, the most ever by an NBA rookie.
  18. On January 26, Pete Rozelle became the NFL Commissioner, after serving as the acting president of the NFL following Bert Bell’s death in October 1959. Britannica.com points out that as commissioner of the National Football League (NFL) from 1960 to 1989, Rozelle “oversaw a period of enormous growth for professional gridiron football. He negotiated lucrative deals with the television networks, doubled the size of the league, and helped to create the Super Bowl.”
  19. On January 28, the Dallas Cowboys became the newest NFL franchise.
  20. On February 4, the San Francisco Giants moved from Seals Stadium to Candlestick Park. They played there until 1999 when they moved to Pacific Bell Park, now known as Oracle Park.
  21. On March 13, the Chicago Cardinals moved to St. Louis.
  22. On April 18, Paavo Kotila of Finland won the 64th Boston Marathon.
  23. On May 30, Jim Rathmann won the Indianapolis 500.
  24. On July 4, Yankees outfielder Mickey Mantle became the 18th MLB player to hit 300 home runs.
  25. On July 17, Gastone Nencini of Italy won the 47th Tour de France.
  26. The 1960 Summer Olympics were held in August with Rome as the host city. A total of 83 countries and 5,338 athletes participated in the 150 sporting events.
  27. On September 15, ice hockey player Maurice Richard announced his retirement. He finished his career with 544 goals, which was an NHL record at the time.
  28. On September 25, for the first time since 1927, the Pittsburgh Pirates clinched the National League pennant.
  29. On September 25, the New York Yankees clinched the American League pennant.
  30. On December 14, the Washington Senators joined the American League.

6. Entertainment News

  1. At the 32th Academy Awards—which honored the best films of 1959—Ben-Hur won an Oscar for Best Picture, and William Wyler (Ben-Hur) won an Oscar for Best Director. Likewise, Charlton Heston (Ben-Hur) won an Oscar for Best Actor, and Simone Signoret (Room at the Top) won an Oscar for Best Actress. (By the way, Ben-Hur won 11 Oscars.)
  2. At the 12th Primetime Emmy Awards, the Art Carney Special (NBC) won an Emmy for Outstanding Program Achievement in the Field of Humor, and Playhouse 90 won an Emmy for Outstanding Program Achievement in the Field of Drama. Likewise, Robert Stack (The Untouchables) won an Emmy for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Series, and Jane Wyatt (Father Knows Best) won an Emmy for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Series.
  3. At the 3rd Annual Grammy Awards, The Theme From A Summer Place (Percy Faith) won a Grammy for Record of the Year, the Theme From Exodus (Ernest Gold, songwriter) won an award for Song of the Year, and The Button-Down Mind Of Bob Newhart (Bob Newhart) won an award for Album of the Year. (By the way, the 3rd Annual Grammy Awards were made at private ceremonies with no television component.)
  4. Horror movies released in 1960 include 13 Ghosts, Black Sunday, Blood and Roses, Circus of Horrors, Eyes Without a Face, Horrors of Spider Island, House of Usher, The Brides of Dracula, The City of the Dead, The Hypnotic Eye, The Little Shop of Horrors, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, The Vampire and the Ballerina, Tormented, and Village of the Damned.
  5. Were there video games back in 1960? UnrealityMag.org tells us that “In the 1960s video games were very different than they are today. Video game systems were much simpler and the games for them were less complex. The first video game that was made popular in the 1960s was Pong.”
  6. On February 3, La Dolce Vita—directed by Federico Fellini and starring Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg—premiered in Italy.
  7. On February 11, Jack Parr walked off The Tonight Show.
  8. On February 19, Bill Keane’s Family Circus cartoon strip debuted.
  9. On February 26, Vera Miles starred in the famous "Mirror Image" episode of the CBS series The Twilight Zone.
  10. On June 6, the last Steve Allen Show aired on NBC.
  11. On June 15, The Apartment—directed by Billy Wilder and starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine—debuted in New York. In 1961, The Apartment won an Academy Award for Best Picture.
  12. On June 16, Psycho—a psychological horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, and Vera Miles—opened in New York City.
  13. On August 6, Chubby Checker performed "The Twist" on The Dick Clark Show, and started a worldwide dance craze. StereoGum.com remarks that “‘The Twist’ had different goals to accomplish than most pop songs. It didn’t have to tell a story or speak to the vagaries of young love or pile harmonies on top of each other in arresting ways. It just had to pound hard and communicate excitement. It had to get people out on the floor. It had to have a good beat, and you had to be able to dance to it. ‘The Twist’ did exactly what it was supposed to do.”
  14. On August 10, Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho opened in Los Angeles.
  15. On September 28, the popular game show Queen For A Day moved to ABC.
  16. On September 28, the final episode of The Millionaire aired on CBS.
  17. On September 30, The Flintstones premiered on ABC television. IMDB.com reports that “This popular animated television cartoon featured two Stone Age families, the Flintstones and their neighbors, the Rubbles. Much of the humor was based on its comic portrayals of modern conveniences, reinterpreted using Stone Age 'technology.' Most notably were their cars, complete with absence of floorboards to allow them to be 'foot-powered.'”
  18. On September 29, the western drama Outlaws debuted on NBC.
  19. On September 30, the final episode of the children’s show Howdy Doody was broadcast.
  20. On October 3, the sitcom The Andy Griffith Show premiered on CBS.
  21. On October 6, Spartacus—directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Kirk Douglas and Laurence Olivier—opened in New York City.
  22. On October 7, the drama Route 66 premiered on CBS.
  23. On November 25, CBS Radio aired the final episodes of the last network soap operas: Ma Perkins, Young Doctor Malone, The Right to Happiness, The Second Mrs. Burton, The Couple Next Door, and Whispering Secrets.
  24. On November 25, the last episode of the radio sitcom Amos ‘n’ Andy aired. Set in Harlem with black characters, Amos ‘n’ Andy premiered on March 19, 1928.
  25. In 1960, actress Lana Turner married civic leader Frederick May, actress Vera Miles wed actor Keith Larsen, and actor Yul Brynner tied the knot with fashion house executive Doris Kleiner.
In 1960, Swedish meatballs were all the rage.

In 1960, Swedish meatballs were all the rage.

7. Miscellaneous Fun Facts, Trivia, and Pop Culture Trends

PBS.org explains that pop culture is that loose blend of books, music, fashion and other daily ephemera that contributes to the identity of a society at a particular point in time. In the 1960s, radio, film, television, and books defined the essence of American pop culture.

  1. In 1960, the most popular baby names were Mary, Susan, Linda, Karen, Donna, David, Michael, James, John, and Robert.
  2. The average life expectancy at birth in the United States was 52 years.
  3. Popular holiday gifts for kids included Chatty Cathy, the Ken Doll, Barbie's Dream House, the Wham-O Super Ball, Suzy Homemaker, the Easy-Bake Oven, Hot Wheels, the G.I. Joe Doll, and Lite-Brite.
  4. Fashion trends included deep, darker colors, plaids of all sizes, furs and hats, exaggerated makeup, short hair, mini skirts, culottes, and go-go boots.
  5. Heartthrobs and fashion icons in 1960 were Brigitte Bardot, Claudia Cardinale, Doris Day, Angie Dickinson, Annette Funicello, Audrey Hepburn, Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, Kim Novak, Elizabeth Taylor, and Tina Turner.
  6. Lynda Mead (Natchez, MS) won the Miss America crown.
  7. Linda Bement (Utah) became Miss USA.
  8. Time Magazine’s “Men of the Year” included the following U.S. scientists: George Beadle, Charles Draper, John Enders, Donald A. Glaser, Joshua Lederberg, Willard Libby, Linus Pauling, Edward Purcell, Isidor Rabi, Emilio Segrè, William Shockley, Edward Teller, Charles Townes, James Van Allen, and Robert Woodward.
  9. In 1960, the starting salary for a teacher was $5,135. It was $4,400 for a police officer, and $9,400 for an engineer.
  10. Farmers made up 8.3% of the U.S. labor force. There were about 3,711,000 American farms in 1960, averaging about 303 acres apiece.
  11. There were 45 million television sets in the U.S., and over 90% of American households had at least one TV.
  12. The term paparazzi originated. Paparazzi “are independent photographers who take pictures of high-profile people, such as actors, athletes, politicians, and other celebrities, typically while subjects go about their usual life routines.” The word was taken from Federico Fellini’s 1960 film La Dolce Vita. FT.com tells us that “Fellini created a character called Paparazzo, played by Walter Santesso, as an intrusive photographer. He was the sidekick of the film’s star, Marcello Mastroianni, a pathetic but likeable gossip journalist.”
  13. According to U.S. Census data, Detroit was the wealthiest per capita city in America.
  14. In 1960, frozen bagels were introduced into the marketplace. The New York Times explains that until the 1960s, “bagels were little known outside large Jewish communities in major cities. The frozen bagels marketed by Lender’s, a family bakery in New Haven, were crucial in the birth of bagel nation.”
  15. Coffee Rich—the first frozen, non-dairy coffee creamer—was also invented.
  16. Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies first appeared on grocery store shelves. At LittleDebbie.com, these delectable pastries are described as "Two soft, chewy oatmeal cookies baked with whole grain oats and molasses, then layered with creme."
  17. The Hawaiian Pineapple Company was renamed the Dole Corporation.
  18. Granny Smith apples first appeared in American grocery stores.
  19. Aluminum cans were used commercially for the first time.
  20. The theme from the film A Summer Place—by artist Percy Faith—was a number one song for nine weeks. Percy Faith received a Grammy Award for Record of the Year.
  21. Peg Bracken’s I Hate to Cook Book was published.
  22. Golf Magazine began publication.
  23. In 1960, brothers Tom and James Monaghan bought a pizza restaurant in Ypsilanti, Michigan for $500. The restaurant, originally called DomiNick’s, was renamed Domino’s in 1965. Over the next 10 years, Domino’s would open 200 more locations.
  24. Hardee’s—the fast food chain—was also founded. FoodReference.com tells us that Wilbur Hardee opened the first Hardee's restaurant in Greenville, North Carolina on September 3, 1960. It had no tables and only a few items on the menu, but the drive-thru restaurant was an immediate success. The main attraction was a 15-cent lean-beef burger that was made to order on a custom-built charcoal broiler.
  25. The Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts chain was also launched.

8. Computer News

  1. In 1960, there were 2,000 computers in use in the United States.
  2. The first integrated circuits (ICs) were sold for $120.00 apiece. ComputerHope.com teaches us that “The IC is a package containing many circuits, logic gates, pathways, transistors, and other components all working together to perform a particular function or a series of functions. Integrated circuits are the building blocks of computer hardware.”
  3. IBM opened the first mass-production facility for transistors in New York.
  4. IBM began to market the IBM 1400 series of transistor computers to businesses.
  5. NASA launched TIROS, the first weather satellite.
  6. Bob Bemer introduced the backslash ( \ ), alternatively known as the backward slash. During his career, Bemer also created the escape character and curly bracket.
  7. Hewlett-Packard stock was being traded on the New York Stock Exchange for the first time.
  8. General Motors installed the first industrial robot on an assembly line at a die casting plant in Trenton, NJ. HistoryOfInformation.com explains that “The 4000 pound robotic arm transported die castings from an assembly line and welded these parts on auto bodies, a dangerous task for workers, who could be poisoned by exhaust gas or lose a limb if they were not careful.”
  9. Physicist Theodore Maiman created the first laser.
  10. AT&T introduced the dataphone and first known modem.
  11. Digital launched the PDP-1, the world’s first minicomputer.
  12. In 1960, computer pioneers Will Wright, Brad Templeton, Jaron Lanier, Mochio Umeda, Reed Hastings, Randy Pausch, Tim Cook, and Anders Hejlsberg were born. On the other hand, computer pioneers Samuel Caldwell and Harry Goode passed away.
In 1960, an AMC Rambler cost $2,380.

In 1960, an AMC Rambler cost $2,380.

9. Best-Selling Books

This book trivia has been made available courtesy of KruegerBooks.com.

Fiction:

  1. Advise and Consent by Allen Drury
  2. Hawaii by James A. Michener
  3. The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa
  4. The Chapman Report by Irving Wallace
  5. Ourselves to Know by John O'Hara
  6. The Constant Image by Marcia Davenport
  7. The Lovely Ambition by Mary Ellen Chase
  8. The Listener by Taylor Caldwell
  9. Trustee from the Toolroom by Nevil Shute
  10. Sermons and Soda-Water by John O'Hara

Nonfiction:

  1. Folk Medicine by D.C. Jarvis
  2. Better Homes and Gardens First Aid for Your Family by the BH&G Editors
  3. The General Foods Kitchens Cookbook by the GFK Editors
  4. May This House Be Safe from Tigers by Alexander King
  5. Better Homes and Gardens Dessert Book by the BH&G Editors
  6. Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Ideas by the BH&G Editors
  7. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer
  8. The Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater
  9. I Kid You Not by Jack Paar
  10. Between You, Me and the Gatepost by Pat Boone

10. Highest-Grossing Films

  1. Psycho
  2. The Magnificent Seven
  3. Spartacus
  4. The Apartment
  5. La Dolce Vita
  6. The Time Machine
  7. Ocean's 11
  8. The Unforgiven
  9. The Alamo
  10. Breathless

11. Most Popular Television Shows From 1960-61

  1. Gunsmoke (CBS)
  2. Wagon Train (NBC)
  3. Have Gun, Will Travel (CBS)
  4. The Andy Griffith Show (CBS)
  5. The Real McCoys (ABC)
  6. Rawhide (CBS)
  7. Candid Camera (CBS)
  8. The Untouchables (ABC)
  9. The Price is Right (NBC)
  10. The Jack Benny Show (CBS)

12. Cool Pop Music Artists

These history facts from the American music industry have been made available courtesy of Billboard.com.

Favorite music artists in 1960 included Bobby Darin, Bobby Rydell, Brenda Lee, Brook Benton, Chubby Checker, Dinah Washington, The Drifters, Elvis Presley, Connie Francis, Elvis Presley, The Everly Brothers, Fats Domino, Frankie Avalon, Jackie Wilson, Jim Reeves, Johnny Preston, Marty Robbins, Pat Boone, Paul Anka, Percy Faith, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, The Shirelles, and Dinah Washington.

In 1960, the Ajax brand of household cleaning products and detergents enjoyed great success.

In 1960, the Ajax brand of household cleaning products and detergents enjoyed great success.

13. Number One Music Hits for the Year

These fun facts and trivia from 1960 have been made available courtesy of Pop-Culture.us.

  • December 28, 1959 - January 3, 1960: Frankie Avalon, Why
  • January 4, 1960 - January 17, 1960: Marty Robbins, El Paso
  • January 18, 1960 - February 7, 1960: Johnny Preston, Running Bear
  • February 8, 1960 - February 21, 1960: Mark Dinning, Teen Angel
  • February 22, 1960 - April 24, 1960: Percy Faith, theme from A Summer Place
  • April 25, 1960 - May 22, 1960: Elvis Presley, Stuck on You
  • May 23, 1960 - June 26, 1960: The Everly Brothers, Cathy's Clown
  • June 27, 1960 - July 10, 1960: Connie Francis, Everybody's Somebody's Fool
  • July 11, 1960 - July 17, 1960: Hollywood Argyles, Alley-Oop
  • July 18, 1960 - August 7, 1960: Brenda Lee, I'm Sorry
  • August 8, 1960 - August 14, 1960: Brian Hyland, Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
  • August 15, 1960 - September 18, 1960: Elvis Presley, It's Now or Never
  • September 19, 1960 - September 25, 1960: Chubby Checker, The Twist
  • September 26, 1960 - October 9, 1960: Connie Francis, My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own
  • October 10, 1960 - October 16, 1960: Larry Verne, Mr. Custer
  • October 17, 1960 - October 23, 1960: The Drifters, Save the Last Dance for Me
  • October 24, 1960 - November 13, 1960: Brenda Lee, I Want to Be Wanted
  • November 14, 1960 - November 20, 1960: Ray Charles, Georgia on My Mind
  • November 21, 1960 - November 27, 1960: Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, Stay
  • November 28, 1960 - January 8, 1961: Elvis Presley, Are You Lonesome Tonight?

14. Food and Beverage Trivia

Here are some foods and beverages that were popular in 1960:

  1. Beef Wellington
  2. Buffalo wings
  3. Fondue
  4. Frieda Caplan’s exotic fruits (kiwis)
  5. Iceberg wedge salad
  6. Japanese steak houses
  7. Salad bars
  8. Soul food
  9. Steak Diane
  10. Swedish meatballs
  11. Tang
  12. Tunnel of fudge cake

15. Famous People Who Were Born in 1960

  1. Prince Andrew, Duke of York (son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip)
  2. Jeffrey Dahmer (serial killer)
  3. Hugh Grant (actor and film producer)
  4. Jean-Claude Van Damme (martial artist and actor)
  5. Gary Lineker (footballer)
  6. Sean Penn (Academy award-winning actor)
  7. Richard Ramirez (serial killer)
  8. John F. Kennedy, Jr.
  9. Julianne Moore (actress)
  10. Elena Kagan (Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States)
  11. Jeremy Clarkson (broadcaster)
  12. Tom Cook (CEO of Apple, Inc.)
  13. Chad McQueen (actor and producer)
  14. Reed Hastings (co-founder of NetFlix)
  15. Sarah Brightman (soprano)
  16. David Simon (author)
  17. Randy Pausch (motivational speaker)
  18. Peggy Whitson (astronaut and biochemist)
  19. Neo Rauch (painter)
  20. Christopher Lloyd (screenwriter and film producer)
  21. Courtney Vance (television and stage actor)
  22. Cal Ripken, Jr. (baseball shortstop)
  23. Yannick Noah (tennis player and coach)
  24. Alison Bechdel (cartoonist and comics writer)
  25. Mark Dawson (talent agent)
In 1960, Dominos Pizza was founded by brothers Tom and Jim Monaghan.

In 1960, Dominos Pizza was founded by brothers Tom and Jim Monaghan.

16. Well-Known People Who Died

These celebrity history facts have been made available courtesy of OnThisDay.com.

  1. January 2: Fausto Coppi, athlete
  2. February 2: Jeno Huszka, Hungarian composer
  3. February 12: Bobby Clark, vaudevillian
  4. April 5: Alma Kruger, actor (Made For Each Other)
  5. April 25: Hope Emerson, actress (I Married Joan, Peter Gunn)
  6. May 6: Paul Abraham, Hungarian composer (Blume von Hawaii)
  7. June 1: Paula Hitler, sister of Adolf Hitler
  8. July 16: John P. Marquand, American writer (The Late George Apley)
  9. August 23: Oscar Hammerstein II, American lyricist who worked with Richard Rodgers
  10. August 10: Emil Strauss, German writer (Vaterland)
  11. September 24: Melanie Klein, child psychoanalyst
  12. September 3: Joseph Lamb, American ragtime composer
  13. December 7: Clara Haskil, Swiss pianist
  14. November 16: Clark Gable, American actor
  15. November 28: Richard Wright, American author (Native Son)

17. America’s Largest Corporations

  1. General Motors
  2. U.S. Steel
  3. General Electric
  4. Chrysler
  5. Standard Oil of New Jersey
  6. Amoco
  7. CBS
  8. AT&T Technologies
  9. Goodyear Tire & Rubber
  10. Firestone Tire & Rubber

18. American Companies Founded

  1. Domino’s Pizza
  2. Dot Foods
  3. Filmways
  4. Four Seasons Hotels
  5. Guitar Center
  6. Hardee’s
  7. Idahoan Foods
  8. Puritan’s Pride
  9. Reprise Records
  10. Reser’s Fine Foods
  11. Tower Records
  12. Vitamin World

19. How Much Did a New Car Cost in 1960?

In 1960, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Chrysler Corporation were the Big Three automakers. There were two independent car manufacturers, namely AMC/Rambler and Studebaker. Here is how much a new car cost in 1950 by make and model:

General Motors

  • A Chevrolet Impala cost $2,950.00.
  • A Buick Electra cost $3,348.00.
  • A Cadillac Seville cost $7,410.00.
  • An Oldsmobile 88 cost $2,895.00.
  • A Pontiac Bonneville cost $3,295.00.

Ford Motor Company

  • A Ford Thunderbird cost $3,755.00.
  • A Lincoln Continental cost $5,700.00.
  • A Mercury Park Lane cost $4,000.00.

Chrysler Corporation

  • A Chrysler DeSoto cost $3,340.00.
  • A Dodge Dart cost $2,350.00.
  • A Plymouth Fury cost $2,950.00.

Independents

  • An AMC Rambler cost $2,380.00.
  • A Studebaker Hawk cost $2,650.00.
In 1960, white bread was 12¢ a loaf, Kraft Miracle Whip cost 51¢ for a quart jar, and a six-pack of Pepsi was 59¢.

In 1960, white bread was 12¢ a loaf, Kraft Miracle Whip cost 51¢ for a quart jar, and a six-pack of Pepsi was 59¢.

References

© 2018 Gregory DeVictor