60s Retro Collaboration: 10 Cultural Titans From The 1960s

60s Retro Collaboration: 10 Cultural Titans From The 1960s 4

Pop Culture (dating back to the 60s) has been a phenomenon since the dawn of time. Originating as early as “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” and “Did I do that?” It is still on the rise with series such as The Middle and The GoldbergsThese shows are creating a new generational wave such as the shows and comics that will be discussed.

Although, it doesn’t stop there — comics are on the rise just as much as television series’ are. We have Captain America, Deadpool, Daredevil, and Batgirl still in the publishing scene of The Big Two. Pop Culture is here to stay, whether you like it or not.

Nonetheless, The Daily Fandom has started a Retro Series with recaps of the best of the best of the past few decades. Starting with the 60s and ending with the 00s. We will be showcasing the best of the best in 60s Pop Culture. Do you like a show that wasn’t mentioned? Comment below what we might have missed!

1. The Twilight Zone (1959-64)

Astonishing audiences since October 2, 1959; The Twilight Zone is a science fiction anthology TV show created and predominately written by Rod Sterling.  CBS ran the sensational series over the first half of the 60s.  During this five year tenure, The Twilight Zone tackled tales that made striking social commentary through the lens of the supernatural and fantastic.

A peculiar place where anything can happen, and often does. (The Twilight Zone, CBS Interactive [2018])The Twilight Zone proves it’s staying power time and time again, inspiriting two revivals of the series (1985-89, 2002-03) and a two-hour feature in 1994. Netflix’s Black Mirror is the most notable spiritual successor to the 60s classic.

Black Mirror, first airing in 2011, is another smash-hit anthology series that presents social critique through science fiction, openly inspired by the incredible narrative excursions taken through The Twilight Zone.

2. The Greatest Adventure #80 (1963)

The Greatest Adventure #80 made history by hosting the debut of the world’s strangest team of heroes, the Doom Patrol.  In this their initial appearance, the team is assembled by an enigmatic wheelchair-bound scientist called the Chief.

Each born from personal horrific tragedies, Robotman, Negative Man and Elasti-Girl unite their unique abilities thwart the nefarious General Immortus, an old foe of the Chief, and recover an alien secret weapon.

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The astounding first appearance of the Doom Patrol, “the world’s strangest heroes,” who are getting their own show on DC Universe in 2019. (DC Comics [1963])
The Doom Patrol would eventually cement themselves in comic pop culture with Grant Morrison’s legendary tenure with the characters (1989-93).  The group is also the original team of Teen Titan’s favorite Beast Boy (who was called Changeling back then).

You can catch the Doom Patrol in a 13 episode series debuting in 2019 (official date not yet released) on the DC Universe streaming service.

Credit: DC Entertainment [2018]

3. Batman The TV Series (1966-68)

Not too much can be said about the Batman television series in the 60s. The synopsis is similar to the old-school comic from the same name. Batman exists with Robin and together they save the word from a series of different villains.

However, Catwoman who is sort of an… anti-hero makes an appearance. Catwoman and Batman have some… friendly rivalries along the way. And that’s the basic synopsis of the story.

Holy mackerel, reader! This show is over 50 years old, yet still influences the Batman mythos. Not bad for a campy 60s TV show. (DC Entertainment [2018])

Shareca:

The main reason why this made it on the list is that of Eartha Kitt. Who appeared, unfortunately, in the last season of the show (S3) but demonstrated that even in the 60s we can change the game. At the time, and even still now, things were not as accepted as they are now.

Eartha Kitt being African-American and playing a comic character that was assumed to be another ethnicity was a game-changer. However, the Catwoman preceding her was a caucasian actress as presumed. Eartha Kitt not only changed the game — she created and paved a way for us to bring a new Catwoman to the surface of television.

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Eartha Kitt as Catwoman in color — when the show was in b&w at the time. Credit: 20th Century Fox Television & ABC.

The show was just like all the other Batman renditions you see now. Batman fights crime with Robin in spandex and saves the day from evildoers like Penguin. However, if you end up watching this show and take on the greatness that is early Batman… don’t forget to keep an eye out for Eartha Kitt.

Brandon: 

This show did many things to inform the Batman mythos, and one of it’s most lasting was the idea of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl.  There was a “Bat-girl” previously in the comics, but she wasn’t nearly as intrinsically interesting and developed as Barbara would be.

The original Bat-girl was a love interest for Robin. TV’s Batgirl was an educated, independent female crime-fighter who aided the dynamic duo and earned her spot in the big leagues, making them a triumphant trio.

4. Star Trek: The Original Series (1966-69)

On September 8, 1966, the crew of the Starship Enterprise embarked on their five-year mission “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”  And to say they succeed would be a galactic understatement.

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After they “boldly went where no man has gone before,” science fiction TV boldly followed. (NBC promotional poster by James Bama, 1966)

Star Trek: The Original Series, created by Gene Roddenberry, only lasted 3 seasons.  But, its evocative futurist portrayal of humanity’s potential would go on to inspirit generations.  The love for and fascination with Star Trek is no less strong today, as evidenced by the recent J. J. Abrams films that re-imagine this series.

5. The Incredible Hulk #1 (1962)

How The Incredible Hulk came to be isn’t a mystery to anyone who knows the story. The Incredible Hulk has been around from the incredibly old television series to multiple comic series to a film to a cameo in a film and, lastly, to multiple cameos in films.

If you know the story of Bruce Banner this first appearance is the same. He is a scientist ready to test his invention and it goes wrong. This, in turn, makes him The Incredible Hulk; who most of the time he hates being. Don’t mess with Hulk when he’s angry…

…you know what happens when he gets angry?

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Did you know everyone’s favorite “jolly” green giant, was originally gray? (Marvel Comics [1962])

Shareca:

Now, Incredible Hulk or The Hulk is not for everyone. If you love him, you love him, if you don’t, he’s kind of lost in the wind of other Marvel superheroes. And that is okay! Everyone knows the story of Bruce Banner, however, this is the comic we truly get to see it form into fruition.

The story we are familiar with came from somewhere and it was this comic. The beginning of the end (in some regard). The thing about comics is that they are culturally significant to the person themselves. This is culturally significant to me because I love Hulk and I always have.

The arcs where you see them form into what they are now is glorious. If you have a chance to read this first and official appearance from Bruce himself, please do. It may be overdone and something you already know about. But, think about it like this… in 1962, this was the first time people were seeing Bruce and The Hulk in any regard.

Brandon:

The Incredible Hulk #1 is not only significant for introducing the Hulk.  It is significant for the specific way it did so.  If you’ve heard of the Hulk, you’ve heard a variation of his tagline “Don’t make me angry.  You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”  But initially, Bruce Banner turned into the Hulk not when he became angry, but rather when the sun went down.

That starting point informs my love for the Hulk and gives new context to his conceptual direction today.  Hulk was born from a horror motif: a man who turns into a monster at night.  What a frightening thought – sinking into one’s inner abyss uncontrollably and unavoidably.

When thinking of the Hulk now, I see a progression. Bruce only turns into the Hulk when he is angry.  He arguably has more control but no less of a monster inside, and that resonates with me.  We all have undesirable traits, a “monster inside us,” but the Hulk proves we’re not alone.  And, he proves that if we aim ourselves just right, our monsters may just be able to do the world and ourselves some good.

6. Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962)

The web-slinging, wall-crawling, webhead made his first appearance in the final issue of the Amazing Fantasy comic series.  Following this origin, Peter Parker, the amazing Spider-man, would go on to be one of the biggest icons in global pop culture.

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Your “friendly neighborhood Spider-man” first appeared on the block in this seminal issue. (Marvel Comics [1962])

Shareca:

You are probably thinking “if they choose one more overrated superhero for this list.” But I said it earlier — didn’t I? (Like three times!) The first appearances are the best, so without a doubt, Spider-Man had to be here. He just had to!

Again, we all know the story of Peter Parker. How he came to be is still a mystery considering we don’t know where the radioactive spiders went? Nonetheless, he got bit by a spider, after that, he got powers. After that, he created a series of villains. And, in-between that he dated a few dames. The usual superhero story, right?

“My fault — all my fault! If only I had stopped him when I could have! But I didn’t — and now — Uncle Ben — is dead… “

Lee and Ditko created what we know as Peter Parker. The original first appearance of a teenage superhero just sailing through life while living in New York. However, this is not just a Parker centered issue. We meet Aunt May, Uncle Ben, Flash Thompson, Liz Allan, and a ton of other fun characters for the first time. Uncle Ben’s feature is brief, considering he dies in this same issue.

Nonetheless, if you have the extra time this summer read Amazing Fantasy #15.

Brandon:  

Come on. It’s the first appearance of Spider-man!  He’s one of the most famous superheroes in the world.  Amazing Fantasy #15 had to make the list. The incredible creativity of his creation is what really stands out though.

Stan Lee and Steve Ditko set out to create a teenage super-hero with real-world problems.  This was virtually unheard of until they did it.  The most prominent teenage “hero” at the time was Robin, but he was technically a sidekick (not to mention he had no powers).

Spidey proved a teenager could be the headliner for their own comic and taught kids everywhere that they could be heroes, not just sidekicks.

7. Uncanny X-Men #1 (1963)

Whether you know them from their hit cartoon in the 90s (whose theme song is legendary) or their groundbreaking movies in the 2000s through the 2010s; the X-men are a pop culture mainstay.  They boldly burst onto the scene in 1963 with Uncanny X-men #1 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

The original team consisted of only five members: Cyclops, Iceman, Beast, Angel, and Marvel Girl (Jean Grey).  On their initial outing, the unlikely crew of misfit mutants bands together to stop the schemes of the mutant extremist Magneto.

Mutant and proud since ’63. (Marvel Comics [1963])The X-men have a singular theme that runs throughout the hundreds of stories written about them: oppression and segregation.  The X-men have always been an allegory for minorities.

When they were first created in a time hot off the heals of the civil rights movement, the X-men’s fight to fit in was an allegory for the plight of African-Americans.  Recently, the LGBT community has found kinship with the menagerie of mutants.

As society evolves, so will the X-men, ceaselessly championing the inclusion of all and celebration of diversity.

8. Bewitched (1964-72)

Premiering on September 17th, 1964 — almost a year on the same date of I Dream Of A Jeanie. Starring Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York, Agnes Moorehead, Erin Murphy, Dick Sargent, David White, and so many more other powerhouses from the 60s.

When it comes to Bewitched and I Dream Of A Jeanie they come hand-in-hand. Not only were they about a few years apart from one another — they were generally the same type of premise (for the most part). Bewitched was about a character named Samantha who falls in love with a New Yorker by the name of Darrin Stephens.

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The 60s, Bewitched — Credit: ABC Networks.

She seems to be the luckiest girl alive when she marries him in the first ever episode of the series. That slowly comes to a halt when Stephens finds out Samantha is in a secret society of powerful witches and warlocks. With a twitch of her nose, she brings the magic. Her newfound husband makes her promise that she will not use her magic, for any reason.

Samantha agrees and tries to settle as the ideal suburban housewife. However, her mother, Endora has a different agenda. As all mothers do. She does not like that Samantha is married to a mortal and tries to break them up every chance she gets. The series follows Samantha’s stint as she tries to live without magic and live a perfect mortal life.

8a. I Dream Of A Jeanie (1965-70)

Premiering on September 18, 1965. Starring Barbara Eden, Larry Hagman, Bill Daily, Hayden Rorke, and Emmaline Henry. On the hand of I Dream Of A Jeanie this series is about a genie named… well, Jeannie. Rescued from a bottle (on a deserted island) by a U.S. astronaut. This genie named Jeannie becomes his slave and eventually falls in love with him.

The 60s, I Dream Of A Jeanie — Credit: NBC Networks.

Nonetheless, unlike most genie stories, there are no three wishes that come with Jeannie. So, she uses her magic all the time, often without talking to her rescuer first. While a super weird concept for a show in 2018, in the 60s this was truly a remarkable show to watch. I often hear my mom talk about how great and legendary these two shows were at the time.

They may seem outdated and subpar to viewers today (unless you’re an old soul like us!) However, these two shows — amongst the many on this list and the others out there — are some of the shows and comics that paved the way for the quality television and comic books we see and read today. If you ever catch any of these marvelous television shows on last night TV, watch an episode, you may just end up surprised you fancy it.

9. Batgirl’s Debut In Detective Comics Vol 1 #359 (1967)

Batgirl, the character that truly has made a mark in DC history. However, her debut was in 1967 in Detective Comics, #359 to be exact. The comic was titled, “Batman: The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl.” Now, thankfully, we all know the story of Barbara Gordon, James Gordon’s daughter. They have had a long stint in the comics. But, as I stated before in my Hulk introduction — comics are relevant to the person themselves.

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The 60s Batgirl — Credit: DC Comics.

This Batgirl comic may not be a cultural titan to you. Nonetheless, the first introduction of the wonderful Batgirl is something to remember. This is a moment in history that happened even before we were born (some of us). We didn’t get to experience the first debut of a superhero. Most of them were already drawn, written, and famous by the time millennials got to ’em.

A quick synopsis of the comic if you are inclined to read it: Barbara Gordon prepares to attend a policeman’s charity masquerade ball. She designs a costume in the style of Batman and names herself, Batgirl. As she arrives at the country club, she finds a villain named Killer Moth. His associates are attacking the one and only, Bruce Wayne.

Batgirl dives into them and gives a chance for Wayne to escape. Bruce changes into Batman and gives Batgirl a hand. After Killer Moth gets away, Batman and Batgirl introduce themselves. The rest of the story is history… or you’ll just have to read it. (Muahaha!)

10. Daredevil #1 (1964)

Hell’s Kitchen, NYC got it’s grisly-looking guardian way back in 1964 with his titular first issue by Stan Lee and Bill Everett.  The book follows Daredevil as he recounts his origin while working on catching a crime boss known as the Fixer.

Since his debut, Daredevil has been a culturally captivating character.  With incredible comics, a sensational Netflix show, and a laughably lame movie, the “man without fear” has fearlessly captured the hearts of millions.

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Did you know Daredevil’s original suit was mostly yellow? He made it from his dad’s boxing outfit. No joke. (Marvel Comics [1964])
Daredevil is arguably the most famous disabled superhero in the world.  He is a blind man who boldly defies death to keep his loved ones and beloved city safe.  More than any other superhero, Daredevil embodies determination.

No matter how many times life knocks him down, Daredevil always gets back up and keeps fighting.  That’s what has allowed him to resonate with so many people over so many years.

Honorable Mention: I Love Lucy (1951-57)

Beginning in the early-mid 50s, I Love Lucy is a great honorable mention. Not only does it showcase where the genre of comedy comes from, but it showcases a strong female lead. In the days where — even if you were married — you had two separate twin beds, I Love Lucy still brought the laughs.

The two main characters, who were married in real life with children, played off one another incredibly well. Throughout the duration of the show, they were always each other’s true loves even despite going on to get divorced and remarried.

The 60s I Love Lucy’s Lucy and Ricky — Credit: CBS Networks.

The show was as simple as 50s television gets — Lucy and Desi are married and Lucy does the craziest, most outrageous things ever. She also gets herself into hilarious situations even after her husband forbids her to get into others’ business.

However, Lucy always finds a way to make us laugh, and that she does very well. They have most — if not all — seasons of the show on Hulu if you are inclined to watch. You won’t regret it, if Golden Girls was in this time period we would have it on the list too.

Retro Collaboration: Remembering The 60s

From wedded witches to caped crusaders to mutant marvels and more, the 60s changed pop culture forever.  The current reboots and re-imaginings of beloved properties from the era prove this.  Creations of this time spoke about timeless elements of the human experience: humor, horror, and hope.

Works during this period were unafraid to show the world how it was and what it could be.  The 60s are worth remembering because they broke the mold at a time when the mold needed to be broken.  And ultimately, they inspire us to break the mold today.

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