CNN Original Series: The Sixties

Based on the recommendation of my sister, I checked out the CNN Original Series: The Sixties on Netflix over the past week.  I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend.

Over the course of about ten episodes, the series goes into many of the topics and changes that occurred during that decade.  Spanning the cultural, political and technological changes, they touch on subjects like the JFK assignation, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam war, the space race, the British invasion, and the tragic events that spanned the year of 1968.

While I am a self-declared history buff, I admit that I have not been that educated about the modern decades of American history.  My head is usually stuck much further into history than that.  And while the topics I listed above are not unfamiliar, I learned something new and interesting in every episode.

The series’ footage is original to its time.  It was stunning to me, not to mention hilarious, to watch news anchors and talk show hosts on TV smoking cigarettes.  During the episode about the infiltration of TVs into American homes, they delved into some of the amazing cultural shifts that took place because of it.  The first televised presidential debate was discussed, the first women who starred in their own shows, and even the first physical encounters between interracial couples occurring on TV and the response to it. 

Entire episodes were dedicated to John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., discussing their impact on American culture and the tragedies that befell them.  The footage provided plenty of fodder, as well, to fuel my inclination for conspiracy theories!

It was very well done and showed both sides of the scenarios; the push for cultural change and the resistance to it.  It was amazing to discover that as recently as 20 years before I was born, women could not get a bank account in their own name.  It was eye opening to see how far certain civil liberties have come for women and minorities.  It was also sad, in other ways, to see a decline taking place in the culture and the values of society. 

What was also interesting and troubling was to see so many current politicians active at that time, depicting a real need for term limits!  But to offset this egregious fact was seeing everyone in their younger days; the almost child-like face of Sally Field, a young Dan Rather at the news desk, and a terribly young and handsome Ralph Nader!

Whether you’re a history buff, a fan of trivia, or just a curious spectator of American culture, this series has something for everyone.  I have moved on to The Seventies now and hope to find it as enjoyable as the previous series.