Early 1960s entertainment both celebrated and parodied American culture. Even as a growing population of young adults and families enjoyed increased prosperity through automobiles, fast food, and other products, entertainers critiqued Americans and their lifestyles in live performances, television shows, and movies.

Record album, 1964
Bill Cosby’s comedy skits recall his early life growing up “in the streets of Philadelphia.” His wit and humor furthered the cause of racial integration by describing universal childhood experiences.

Lunch box, 1973
Fat Albert drawn from Bill Cosby’s memories of childhood friends was so successful that it maintained a strong audience thru the mid-1980s.

Puzzle, 1964
The Flintstones, a cartoon series that ran between 1960 and 1966, poked fun at contemporary social relations by projecting them back into a fictitious stone age. (Gift of Marjorie A. and Sherman L. Naidorf)

Drawing by Gene Hazelton, 1962
In this scene artist Gene Hazelton ridiculed Fred Flintstone for his girth, but praised his wife Wilma for her prolific reading habits, which helped “one to grow in many directions.” (Bequest of Joseph Gura Jr.)

Film advertisement, 1965
The black comedy film Dr. Stangelove echoed public concerns about the cataclysmic potential of faulty communication systems, unstable leaders, the bomb, and nuclear annihilation.


Edward Teller: the Real Dr. Strangelove, 2005
Author Peter Goodchild explored the life of Edward Teller, the “father of the hydrogen bomb,” a Hungarian-American physicist who promoted American nuclear energy development.

Newspaper clipping, 1960s
The original McDonald brothers’ restaurant opened in San Bernardino, California, in 1948. It served hamburgers, fries, and beverages, still the mainstays of McDonald’s Restaurant menus.

Annual report, 1960s
Innovative businessman Ray Kroc purchased the rights to the McDonald’s name in 1961, and created a fast-food empire whose menu offered fast, popular and inexpensive food.  (Gift of Rayne Ann Wood)

Basketball jersey, 1960s
Hubert “Geese” Ausbie, a Harlem Globetrotter between 1961 and 1985, became the second “Clown Prince of Basketball” after the retirement of Meadowlark Lemon in 1980. (Gift of Hubert “Geese” Ausbie)

“Magicians of Basketball” program, 1963–1964
The Harlem Globetrotters, organized before African Americans were fielded for professional teams, were known for their exhibition basketball and as “Ambassadors of Goodwill ™.”  (Gift of Harlem Globetrotters, Inc.)


Lunch box, 1965
Bonanza, a Western television drama, attained its greatest popularity between 1964 and 1967. The show spawned a variety of spin-off products, such as this lunchbox.

Record album, 1963
Bonanza was a TV show that translated 20th-century social issues into family interactions on a Nevada ranch in the mid-1800s. Plots and characters presented positive and moral solutions. (Gift of Morris H. Blum)

Ford’s “Midget Mustang”, 1964–1965
The “Midget Mustang” pedal car was one of the many advertising vehicles used to publicize the full-size model, a sporty, compact, and affordable automobile. (Gift of Robert D. Novick)


Advertizement from Life magazine, 1964–1965
This advertisement for the Ford “Midget Mustang” pedal car appeared in November 1964. The full-size model was introduced at the New York World’s Fair on April 17, 1964.