Birthday Facts - Born in 1950
The Year You Were Born:
- In the World: The Korean War began when North Korean troops crossed the 38th parallel to invade South Korea on June 25th. Just two days later, President Truman sent American troops over to aid South Korea in the conflict.
- In the US: Fear of communists destroying us from within was still on the rise. On February 9th, in an event known as the Second Red Scare, Senator Joseph McCarthy accused 205 members of the Department of State of being communists.
- In the White House: President Truman enacts NSC-68, which would shape US foreign policy for the next 20 years and become one of the most important documents of the Cold War.
- In Money: The first payment by charge card is made in New York on February 8th in New York City.
- Also Born in 1950: John Hughes (February 18), William H. Macy (March 13), Peter Frampton (April 22), Jay Leno (April 28), Stevie Wonder (May 13), Huey Lewis (July 5), Bill Murray (September 21), Tom Petty (October 20)
Your Childhood: 1950s
- The newly discovered advertising medium of television commercials helped sell $4 million worth of Mr. Potato Head, the first toy advertised on TV, in its first year on the market.
- A small American company named Wham-O discovered an exercise hoop in Australia and saw it for its true potential. It is now best known as the Hula Hoop, one of America’s most beloved toys from the 50s.
- New novelty toys that appealed to children and adults alike included Frisbees and Ant Farms.
- Perhaps the most popular toy of the decade didn’t debut until 1959: the Barbie Doll. To this day, it remains one of the best-selling toys for girls.
- Best-selling children’s books included: Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White, Scuffy the Tugboat by Gertrude Crampton, and The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, along with its sequel, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back.
- This decade saw the transition from the Golden Age of Comics to the Silver. The transition was marked by the rise of gritty crime and horror comics and the end of popular Golden Age series like Marvel Mystery Comics and Sub-Mariner. It is generally recognized that the first new superhero debut of the Silver Age was The Flash, in 1956.
- TV was still pretty new in the 50s, but there was no shortage of kids programming for it. There were already a variety of kids shows ranging from Lassie to the Mickey Mouse Club.
- Today, kids in elementary school learn what to do in case of a fire or tornado through drills. In the 1950s, there were fallout tests, where kids would learn what to do in case of an atomic bomb dropping nearby.
The Teen Years: 1960s
- If you were a teen in the late 1960s, chances are you were a part of or were at least affected by the hippie movement. It was a time of revolution in every possible way: music, fashion, sex, and drugs, to name a few. Exemplified best by The Woodstock Festival in August of 1969, this was an era that teens in generations to come would look back at and wish they were alive then.
- The musical revolution began with the British Invasion, spearheaded by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. But there were plenty of popular American artists, too. Popular musicians and bands included Santana, the Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, and Bob Dylan.
- Theatres saw all sorts of movies become box-office hits: Comedies like Breakfast at Tiffany’s; satire like Dr. Strangelove; spy films like the James Bond movies; and science fiction like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Planet of the Apes.
- The male sex symbols of the decade were actors and musicians alike: Sean Connery, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Mick Jagger, and Jim Morrison, to name a few. Some female sex symbols were Raquel Welch, Jane Fonda, Twiggy, Brigitte Bardot, and Elizabeth Taylor.
- The fashion scene was dominated by psychedelic clothes with bright colors everywhere for both men and women. Men wore their hair longer, and women wore their skirts longer. The concept of “Flower Power” found its way into clothing, too. Everyone was a hippie, and the hippies had a very distinct fashion memorable even to this day.
- The slang of the day was pretty focused on the hippie movement as well. To give a small sample: far out (unbelievable), flower child (a hippie), fuzz (police), groovy (awesome), hip (cool), stoned (high), and toke (a hit of marijuana).
Young Adulthood: 1970s
- Young adults rejoiced when in 1973 the draft was finally repealed, meaning that the only people who had to enter military service were those who volunteered for it.
- This same year, US forces pulled out of Vietnam after nearly 10 years fighting there.
- The arms race of the Cold War, however, continued as the US and Russia raced to find the ultimate weapon.
- Many of the “radical” ideas popular among teens of the 1960s gained wider acceptance and became part of mainstream culture as those teens grew older and their voices became heard in young adulthood.
- Among these ideas was equality for different minority groups. Women, racial minorities, and gays were all fighting for more rights during this decade.
- A landmark court case of the decade was 1973’s Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion.
- Gerald Ford became president in 1974 after Richard Nixon’s resignation, but young adults helped replaced him with democrat Jimmy Carter in 1977.
Adulthood and Middle Age
The 80s was known as the “Me!” generation, as status-seeking individuals became more important than corporate entities. It was a decade of hostile takeovers, mergers, and leveraged buyouts, which created iconic billionares like Donald Trump, Leona Helmsley, and Ivan Boesky. Following this was the 90s, an era best known for a surge of “yuppies”, the economic expansion ushered in by President Clinton, and most of all, the boom and bust of the Dot Com bubble. Throughout these decades, social issues like AIDS and drug addiction worked their way into the forefront of America’s minds and politics.