“Park-O-Meter,” the world’s first parking meter was installed in Oklahoma City on July 16, 1935. And it didn’t take long at all for parking meters to become commonplace in cities and towns across the United States. Early parking meters were spaced about 20 feet apart along the street, and drivers paid a nickel to park for an hour. Prior to that, cars were parked at curbs with no sense of order. Lots of parking space was wasted and some cars stayed in one place all day. There were parking limits in effect, but the only course of action police departments had to enforce those limits was to have officers try to monitor how long cars were parked in a spot. They would then use chalk to mark the tires of cars that defied parking restrictions. It is pretty mind-boggling to think that today it has become possible for drivers to use their phones to pay metered parking in many locations.
GoGo boots became “THE” fashion trend in the mid-60s. Thanks in part to Nancy Sinatra who almost always wore a pair when singing her big hit “These Boots Were Made for Walkin.” The idea of women wearing white, often vinyl, boots as a fashion accessory was revolutionary – or “mod” – at the time, since boots tended to be seen as nothing more than a functional necessity in those days. Were you a fan of GoGo boots?
There was a time when car “tail fins” were common. Originally inspired by fighter planes and then space rockets, tail fins became so popular that even family station wagons had them. The 1959 Cadillac’s large tail fins were as tall as its rear window, almost razor sharp, and accompanied by taillights that made the car look like it could blast off!
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“Man from U.N.C.L.E.” first aired in 1964. It was one of the first in the big batch of spy shows that were so popular in the ‘60s. The show’s two main characters were secret agents Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) and Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum). Quite a few well-known celebrities guest starred on the show during its run. “Star Trek” stars William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy appeared together on an episode a couple years before their series went on the air. On another episode, Sonny and Cher showed up together.
The first color television sets were large and cumbersome and a far cry from today’s flat screen models. The first commercially sponsored color television broadcast was a one-hour variety show named “Premiere” that aired on June 25, 1951 at 4:35 p.m. It was seen in only five east coast cities…Baltimore, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. A few years later the 1954 “Tournament of Roses Parade” became the first nationally broadcast color program.
American Bandstand began airing nationally August 5, 1957, after starting out as a local show in Philadelphia. With the seemingly ageless Dick Clark as host, American Bandstand quickly became a sensation with teens across the country. The show originally aired live five days a week, and lots of us watched almost every day after school. In 1963, many American Bandstand fans were disappointed when the show transitioned to a weekly taped broadcast. American Bandstand spotlighted all the popular music we loved and showcased real teens dancing to the hits. It featured performances by iconic entertainers like Little Richard, The Beach Boys, Sonny and Cher, The Supremes, the Jackson Five, ABBA, and Prince.