Watching the Super Bowl like it's 1967

By Caitlin Kearney
Small television with handle and turquoise frame around screen, which is slightly curved

For Super Bowl 50, we're sharing some 1960s objects from the museum's collections to add a little retro flare to any game watching party today.

First, what to wear in honor of Super Bowl's 50th year? A "Souper" dress for the Super Bowl. This mod paper dress with a Campbell's Soup pattern was wearable pop art that could be donned a few times and then discarded. Besides looking "M'm! M'm! Good!", it fits right in with the ads on television.

Photo of dress with red and white pattern of Campbell's soup labels.

Battling someone for the screen or want to take the game to any room in the house? Personal, "carry-it-around" televisions were first sold around 1955. This one weighs 25 pounds and has a handle for easy transportation. By 1960, nearly 90% of American homes had a television.

Small television with handle and turquoise frame around screen, which is slightly curved

What's a Super Bowl party without something salty and crunchy? Fritos, inspired by the Mexican street food fritas (little fried things), became a favorite mass-produced snack. Beginning in the 1950s, manufacturers introduced more packaged snacks that were easy to eat anywhere: in the car, at work, and watching TV. 

Photo of dishes prepared with Fritos, including an avocado salad and bean dip with text promoting "Food tastes better with Fritos"

Chips and dip proved to be a favorite finger food combination by the '60s: this ceramic cactus was made to hold chips, like corn chips, while the pink flower dish would contain an accompanying dip, like salsa or guacamole.

Photo of serving dish shaped like a green cactus for chips with a small pink flower for the dip

In addition to snacks eaten anywhere, dinner also moved beyond the dining room and into the living room. T.V. tray tables like this one, decorated in a party theme with colorful ribbons and confetti, were lightweight and easy to fold up for storage. Perfect for those extra guests piling onto your couch this Super Bowl.

Photo of TV tray with thin metal legs and trays with black background and festive ribbon design

Tray tables went hand-in-hand with frozen prepared foods, a market that took off by the mid-1960s. Frozen meals were not only time-saving and affordable, but they were also a way for Americans to experience the influence of other culinary traditions, like Italian, Chinese, and Mexican food.

Photo of package for frozen food with baby corn and vegetables

Of course, football viewing often involves both drinking soda and watching commercials about soda. From the 1940s to the 1960s, a creative revolution transformed more conservative advertising practices and brought a hip and experimental edge to the business. During this period, Coca-Cola and Pepsi launched the cola wars, advertising spending grew, and television ads became increasingly expensive.

Color ad for Pepsi with smiling blonde woman holding glass bottle of Pepsi

And if your team just can't seem to pull ahead this Super Bowl? Work off that nervous energy by starting a game of your own.

Four football players in uniforms jumping in air with arms raised. Bleachers in background.

Caitlin Kearney is a new media assistant for the Taylor Foundation Object Project. Previously, she has blogged about making 1930s recipes.