Linda (Kaywood) Bilyeu is a self-published author. Her books are available on Amazon. She writes from the heart—there is no other way.
Tidbits of News From 1966
The year 1966 was an eventful year. Just like any other year some events were good, some weren't. Some events were memorable and some events we prefer to just forget.
I was three years old in 1966. I lived on Long Island, New York and I am sure I kept my mother busy during my toddler stage. I don't recall any events of the year, but I sure am thankful that I was still a part of it.
Inflation grew to help fund the Vietnam War which by now had included over 500,000 U.S. troops. Those brave soldiers continued with their fight for a successful mission.
Race riots continued, which made for a sad time in history. The U.S. population exceeded 195 million people.
U.S. and Russia continued their space race to see who would be the first to land a man on the moon. That race would end in 1969 with the U.S. as the winner. This year Russia landed the Luna 9 softly on the Moon.
The Salvation Army celebrated their 100th Anniversary. That is 100 years of charity work in a quasi-military fashion.
Ronald Reagan became Governor of the state of California. Parents were thrilled when Pampers created the first disposable diaper!
Star Trek TV Series Lifts Off
Cost of Items During 1966
- New homes were roughly $14,200
- New cars began at $2,650
- Gas was 32 cents per gallon
- Income was about $6,900 a year
- 45' records cost about $1.00 while an album cost between $4.00-$5.00
- A bottle (no cans) of 6 ounces of Coke cost 10 cents
- A milkshake or a banana split at Woolworths cost 25 cents
Flashback Facts From 1966
- Lyndon B. Johnson was the U.S. President.
- Dr. Seuss' book, "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" was televised for the first time.
- Highest rated feature film: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly featuring Clint Eastwood.
- Highest rated TV series: Shirley Holmes starring Walter Claessens and Jan Reussens.
- Color Television began to gain popularity.
- Kevlar was invented by Stephanie Kwolek of the U.S. This material made for future use in tires, helmets and vests.
- Batman TV series began starring Adam West and Burt Ward. 120 episodes later, the series ended in 1968.
- Nancy Sinatra had the hit song, "These Boots Are Made For Walking," which happens to be one of my favorite songs! Also in this year, her father, Frank Sinatra wed Mia Farrow. Frank was 50 years old and Mia was 21 years old. That marriage lasted 18 months due to Frank making ludicrous demands of Mia's acting career.
Nancy Sinatra - These Boots Are Made For Walking
Fashion Statements from 1966
The mini skirt began to climb upward to the upper thigh, while the conservative hemline was just above the knee. Women began to wear pant suits, but they were not proper attire for the workplace or in elegant restaurants.
As for jewelry, the bigger the better. Papier-mache jewelry, which was very inexpensive was a smashing hit among the women.
The disposable paper dress, which began as a promotional stunt turned into a wardrobe of sorts. The shift dress which was priced at $1.25 rose to $40.00 once the idea was picked up by manufacturers. Men's underwear, swimming trunks and baby clothes were also marketed and purchased by consumers. Sounds like an easy way to pack for a vacation. Wear and toss away, no laundry once you return home.
Swinging, and I am not referring to a playground, was in effect courtesy of Carnaby Street in London. Both women and men wore patterned pants and flowered shirts and boots, shoes and vinyl hats. Well, that sounds very interesting!
Fashion From 1966
Children's Christmas List From 1966
As I researched for popular toys of 1966, I realized that as I write this, 50 years later, the toys are more advanced, but still have many similarities.
The most popular Christmas toys that kids asked Santa for in 1966 were:
- The Mary Poppins Doll from the musical movie, Mary Poppins which came out in 1964 and was produced by Walt Disney. The movie had won 4 Academy Awards.
- The Trusty Robot from Lost in Space, another popular TV science fiction TV series from 1966.
- The Pogo Stick which was originally patented in 1891 by George Herrington of Wichita, Kansas. The modern pogo stick was invented by Max Pohlig and Ernst Gottschall, from Germany in 1920 (hence the name). Yet, it wasn't until 1966 into the early 1970's that the Pogo stick began to gain popularity.
- Board games included; Life, Sorry, Go For Broke, Clue and Risk.
- With Bonanza being the number one TV series, children asked Santa for the wagon, horse, Hoss and Little Joe dolls.
- Lego Construction Sets
- Erector Construction Sets
- G.I. Joe dolls for the boys and Barbie dolls for the girls
- Batman and Robin dolls and accessories
Famous People Who Died in 1966
- Walt Disney. His legacy lives on with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Disneyworld and Disneyland, among much more!
- William Frawley. Also known as Fred Mertz from I Love Lucy. Interesting tidbit: William and Vivian Vance (Ethel) detested each other during their many years filming I Love Lucy, which is most likely why their characters were adored by the fans of the show.
- Stan Francis. Actor from my favorite Christmas TV show, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
- Montgomery Clift. Actor; From Here to Eternity. He had a heart attack at age 45, I guarantee his passing broke a few hearts.
- Verna Felton. Voice-over was her forte, with gigs on Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Lady and the Tramp. But, she is best remembered for her role as Hilda Crocker in the TV series, December Bride.
Celebrities That Turn 50 Years Old in 2016
- Patrick Dempsey January 13th; Dr McDreamy from Grey's Anatomy
- Cindy Crawford February 20th; Supermodel
- Cynthia Nixon April 9th; Miranda from Sex and the City
- Darius Rucker May 13th; Hootie and the Blowfish to country music singer
- Janet Jackson May 16th; Singer, actress and younger sister of the Jackson family
- John Cusack June 28th; Actor
- Mike Tyson June 30th; Fighter
- Sandy Chall July 14th; my BFF
- Martina McBride July 29th; Country music singer
- Halle Berry August 14th; Actress
- Luke Perry October 11th; Actor
- David Schwimmer November 2nd; Ross from the Friends TV Series
- Sinead O'Connor December 8th; Singer
- Tracy Byrd December 17th; Country music singer
All The Hits of 1966
© 2015 Linda Bilyeu
Erin Bower from Georgia on May 04, 2016:
Nice tribute to this year! Sometimes I wish I grew up in the 60's.
Audrey Howitt from California on January 14, 2016:
Oh this brought back so many memories--I am a little older than you are and so I really do recall most of this!
Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on December 30, 2015:
Happy New Year, Cris! :)
CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on December 28, 2015:
I was born 2 years after...and this is another interesting and very entertaining hub. :)
Happy New Year Sunshine!
Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on December 21, 2015:
I was the 'Big 5' in 1966...a lovely year if memory serves.
I had no idea that Fred and Ethel had issues in the 'get along' department - could have fooled me.
Great job, Sunshine - love this series and you too, MM
drbj and sherry from south Florida on December 17, 2015:
Thanks for the great deja vu, Linda. So many fascinating '66 events. Halle Berry will be 50 next year? And Cindy Crawford, too? I'll have what they are having!
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 16, 2015:
Hi I wasn't born in 1966 but do recall some of the memories. Sounds like wonderful memories.
Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on December 15, 2015:
Interesting facts and wonderful memories. At first I was confused whose 5oth birthday it is. Then I on reading below, I understood it is of some great celebrities and of many memorable events. I must have been in Ramakrishna Mission High School at that time studying 9th or 10th class, aged 15 years. My mother passed away in 1965. But my father was a great person who looked after us like mother and I used to help him in cooking whenever possible.
Thanks for sharing these wonderful memories and facts.
FlourishAnyway from USA on December 15, 2015:
I wasn't born yet but getting close! I love this throwback.
Martie Coetser from South Africa on December 15, 2015:
The ratio between your average salaries and the price of houses and cars in 1966 almost gave me a heart attack. A little bit more than 2 months' salary for a house, and a car for less than a half months' salary!!! Wow!
I don't have an idea what the price of houses and cars was in 1966, but today the price of a house in the country equals 60 months' salary, and twice as much in a city. The price of a car can be anything between 6-60 month's salary, depending on how high you want to fly.
I was 9 in 1966, and in a boarding school because my mother was not well while she was expecting her fifth (and last) baby. (I was her first.) My many memories of 1966 are still crystal clear, especially the assassination of our Prime Minister, Dr HF Verwoerd, the notorious implementer of Apartheid.
Great hub, Linda. Time flies!
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on December 15, 2015:
I was nine in 1966, but I remember everything you mention here. I remember hearing about paper dresses and thought that to be bizarre and impractical. Too easy to have a wardrobe mishap!
The Batmobile did a tour that year. I remember seeing it driving through the streets of Philly. Very cool.
Thanks for including the hits of the '60s. You've brought back some great memories, Linda.
I was surprised to learn of who's turning 50 in 2016. I thought many of the stars you mentioned are older than that. Hmmmm.
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on December 15, 2015:
Great hub, wonderful memories!
I can relate to your hub--and I remember our craze for these famous personalities.
It was so simple to be happy in those days. Just some T.V. shows, movies, lots of play, good home cooked food and the company of family and friends.
Thanks for sharing this interesting hub and the trip down memory lane!
John Hansen from Queensland Australia on December 14, 2015:
Linda, this hub brought back so many memories for me as I was nine years old. I can recall almost everything you mention. I had a schoolboy crush on Nancy Sinatra, had a model bat mobile and Captain Action action figure (doll) that transformed into Batman, Superman, GI Joe type etc with different costumes. I remember getting our first to about this time. I remember Walt Disney dying and the amazement to hear he was going to have his body frozen. Great memories.
Chantelle Porter from Ann Arbor on December 14, 2015:
Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I was a Batman fan too! Feeling nostalgic now. Great article.
whonunuwho from United States on December 14, 2015:
Hi Linda and blessings, These were days of stress and worry for us teenagers graduating from high school. Uncle Sam was looking to draft and some of us actually wanted to go to college. Glad I was able to go and graduate. It was not easy. Thanks for the memories. whonu
Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on December 14, 2015:
Hi Linda. In 1966 I was 7 years old. The tv shows bring back a lot of memories and those Christmas gifts are all familiar. Lego, G.I. Joe, Erector Sets and all those board games, had them all. Wish I still had some of them. It was a great year.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 14, 2015:
The year I entered college. 1966 was a fantastic year for me.
mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on December 14, 2015:
I felt a sharp pain in the heart when you mention you were 3 in 1966. But once I recovered from that I enjoyed the rest of the presentation. This era, 'was my time' I lived the Beatles and The Beach Boys, along with many others that still are played today. The clothes were wild and radical, I seem to recall striped bell bottoms. The war protests were beginning, it was an explosive. The music changed a generation and of course there was the DRAFT. In my own living room I heard 'kill them all' regarding the young protesters. (It didn't matter that I felt the protesters were correct.)
Thanks for highlighting memory lane.
Ann Carr from SW England on December 14, 2015:
I was 15 in 1966, having a great time, loving the music and enjoying life. I played tennis for my school and was studying hard towards what were then 'O' levels (now GCSEs). Life was good!
Great memories here; Mary Quant etc. The Beatles were 'fab' and I adored The Beach Boys too.
Thanks for the reminders!