Birthday Facts - Born in 1951

The Year You Were Born:

  • In the World: The Korean War continued as Seoul was captured by Chinese and North Korean forces, then recaptured for a second time by United Nations troops.
  • In the US: In one of the defining moments of the Red Scare, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were convicted for conspiracy to commit espionage and became the first civilians in US history sentenced to the death penalty for this crime.
  • In the White House: The 22nd Amendment to the United States Constitution, which limits presidents to two terms, was ratified.
  • In Birth Control: The first birth control pill formula was synthesized by Luis E. Miramontes.
  • Also Born in 1951: Rush Limbaugh (January 12), Phil Collins (January 30), Gordon Brown (February 20), Kurt Russel (March 17), Steven Seagal (April 10), Al Franken (May 19), Robin Williams (July 21), Sting (October 2), Lou Ferrigno (November 9)

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.