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« Programming note: Cop and robber | Main | "Roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair..." »


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Ken Muldrew

I was a teenager for half of the 70s, so lots of scrubbed memories for me too. But I just put together a slide show for my parents' 50th anniversary coming up this weekend and after going through about 5000 slides from my Mom's collection, I discovered endless memories of happy times that seem to have been shoved aside along with all the awkward fumbling-toward-adulthood stuff. Luckily nobody takes pictures of misery, and not being a diarist I have no record of the bad stuff. That stone seems to have passed effortlessly.


It was the decade when- en masse- American women began to agitate for and work to secure their civil rights beyond the vote.
Not as exciting as Linda Ronstadt on roller skates, but, still..


Well, I was a kid, so the 70s to me mean desert trips with my family, playing with my brother, and just being a person without many worries.

The '80s, now, that was the decade of stress, and hormones, and pimples, and junior high and high school, and lots of really, really unfortunate clothing. (I still wonder if I would have been happier then if clothes that looked good on me were fashionable then.)

But, then, I wasn't that politically aware then, and neither the bust nor the boom particularly affected my family (at least, not as far as I could see) so I had the luxury of viewing both decades through an entirely personal lens.


I'm sure you'll get lots of middle aged folks sending lists of good stuff from the decade. Me, I went to college in the 80s and consider that my decade but was also a big Doonesbury fan so I picked up on your title right away. So don't we have to put Mike and the gang on the list? I would also throw in SNL, The Clash, and a bunch of Robert Altman films. The 70s were the decade when I was sneaking looks at my dad's Playboys and as far as I can tell the 70s were the last decade when the women there actually bore some resemblance to real people. You might also throw in the Pittsburgh Steelers but only the front four got into Mike and Mark's party.

Tom Hilton

Mostly, I'm right there with you...but I find it odd that you would include Watergate among the negative connotations. Watergate was awesome--I spent hours glued to the TV, watching the hearings, mentally chanting "guilty! guilty! guilty!". The day Nixon resigned was the happiest day of my life up to that point.

calling all toasters

What about the amazing run of movies? Coppola alone did two Godfathers, The Conversation, and Apocalypse Now. Kubrick made Clockwork Orange and Barry Lyndon. Scorcese made Taxi Driver and Mean Streets (and Raging Bull just missed). Five Easy Pieces, All the President's Men, All That Jazz, Jaws--- the list goes on and on.

Although, like any golden age, it sowed the seeds of its own destruction. I'm looking at you, George Lucas!



The way I describe growing up in the 70's is this way: "I grew up in the 70's when sex couldn't kill you and cocaine wasn't addictive."

I'm thinking mebbe I had more fun. LOL


...oh, man, I feel weird.

I was born in '78; while my earliest memory (climbing out of a crib and toddling toward a lighted doorway) may technically be said to have happened, probably, before December '79, that's not saying a lot. I have no memories at all of the decade, except through movies and TV and films my parents took where my dad had hair.

(I used to make fun of him a lot. He thinks it's terribly funny that I started going bald when I was eighteen.)

What I find cool and enraging at the same time is that even though I don't remember the '70s, the political tropes that have shaped my life (from Reagan to Bush's re-election campaign to this year's, with McCain) have been about nothing but the Vietnam War. I mean, I have nothing against those who actually protested that conflict or served in it (the way my dad did), but I've gotta tell you, I'm really, really sick of hearing about those tropes.

But this stuff? This stuff is fascinating, and I think... maybe a little... I understand how you feel, Lance. I imagine I'll feel the same about the early-mid '90s some years down the line.

velvet goldmine

I've got news for you, Jambo -- if you went to college in the '80s, in some quarters you're considered middle-aged. Karma's a chameleon, right?

I feel very wistful toward the seventies, probably because I wasn't "out there" disovering it to be as prosaic as any other decade.

It seemed from my perspective that my older siblings and stepsiblings were all teenagers in a kind of gentle gyspy beach culture, wearing emroidered jeans and peasant blouses, getting picked up in cars that drifted Gordon Lightfoot and Lynard Skynard behind them....

I saw "Life on Mars" and it doesn't exactly evoke that pastoral dream, being set in steamy NYC and all. But while having the time-traveling cop be brought up short by the brand-new Twin Towers might seem like an obvious marker in retrospect, it really was chilling. I think I'll like the show, even though it's too bad Lisa Bonet was just a guest star for the first ep or two.


-- a really random comment for Velvet Goldmine... well, and everyone else too, but it's terribly off topic.

I'm a huge fan of the original British Life on Mars -- they do love to show British TV in Australia, almost as much as they love showing the American TV -- and it seems so damn weird to think of the show (sixteen episodes of pure gold) being set somewhere vibrant and alive, like New York, when the original's setting in the dying city of Manchester (which, yes, still exists, but will never regain the riches and glitz it had before the mills and the mines went under).

My wife's mom was actually in Manchester during the time LoM is set (1973 in the British version), and she says that it's scary how right BBC Wales got the look and feel of the city. I'd be curious to hear if the American version does likewise with '70s NYC.


You forgot Star Wars.

I was born in 71, so when I think of the 70s, I think of summer days, toys, comic books, snippets of half-remembered movies and tv shows that shaped me into the geek I am today, and, of course, Star Wars. As an adult, it's also the time when some of my favorite movies were made, so yeah, having lived through it as a kid, I have something of romanticized view about it. But hey, with the way things are going in the economy, it sounds like I'll have a chance to relive it.

Now, the 80s are a decade I wish I could forget.



I am truly, DEEPLY ashamed for you!

YA GOTTA BELIEVE!!!!!!!!!!!!????? Hullo?????

Oh, and The Clash/Police/Ramones/Punk Rock, The Knicks beating the Lakers (Reed coming out to the floor and hitting his only points on terribly ripped up knees...OK, technically it was still the Sixties, as it was 1970, but I'm counting it) twice, PoMo art, and the Walkman.

velvet goldmine

Falstaff, The dog ate my reply, so I'll do the short version. It's interesting to think about -- is the current perception of Manchester as bleak now as it was in the 70s?

I was just in NYC this week, and thinking about the changing face of the city -- at least the part I was in, the theater district, 5th Avenue, Rockefeller Plaza and all those more presentable sites. Still, in general, the city is considered much more vibrant, clean and safe than it was in the 70s. Back then the heartland thought of it as a wasteland in which you could be stabbed on the sidewalk and bystanders would simply walk around your corpse.


Oh VG, I'm under no illusions that I'm not firmly in that middle aged set. I've finally figured out how to take care of my kids and now I'm taking care of failing parents. You don't get more middle aged than that in my book. But as a kid in the 70s rather than a teenager (OK, I hit my teens before the end of the decade) I do have some fond memories of it. Kids programming may have come a long way from some of the Sid and Marty Croft dreck we watched, but is there anything on today that can hold a candle to Schoolhouse Rock or The Electric Company?

Ken Muldrew

Actor212, don't you mean the Astraltune???

Ed D

The Seventies. I was in my twenties, Cruising through college. Kent State happened and I dropped out and spent a year in Paris as a chauffer for a rich widow with a place in Nice too. Back home in the USA, worked on the rivers for a while, tow boats and the Delta Queen - towns up and down the Ohio and Mississippi, cross culutural awakening, cajuns shooting at the pilots down near Bayou Sarah... Audubon's paradise and the location of Robert Johnson's Rosedale.

Country Rock and hanging out with Pure Prairie League in Cincinnati as they became famous. Finishing college and as I walked away from the ceremony eyeing that redhead who had been in my Horticulture class... we took off for the coast on a lark. A few months and never saw her again, but what a memory.

Up in Brattleboro finding a machine shop that still ran on waterwheel. Still there? Huge shaft down the gable and nine inche leather belts with clutches to drive the machines on the floor below.


Disco. I hated it. But I loved going to the gay bars and dancing. Let me know what it was like for girls in bars getting hit on all the time. And the guy outside battering his own car with a number 3 wood out of rage against the gays. The gays sprayed him with pepper spray.

Danny Scholl... the guy who discovered Steve McQueen there in the ICU with me and my grandpa, his aunt next to my grandma. We became friends until he asked me to help with his war injury... hmmm... nope.

The Vietnam war. The real protesters and then the frat boys later jumping on the bus as a road trip. No politics for them, but alcohol and sex made it work.

And yes, Bruce Springsteen. I'd heard of him but hadn't tapped into the music. Then a friend and I took out of New Orleans on night, driving across the Louisana bayous towards Texas, me with my head out the sunroof, my friend driving on his learner's permit, carefree, gas burnoff spreadout red against the sky, tape player up all the way... Baby We Were Born to Run... yep...


Still, in general, the city is considered much more vibrant, clean and safe than it was in the 70s.


What a fucking shame.



Suh, you have the advantage of me! Ah do declay-yare that I had to Google thus.

The Walkman was released in 1979. The Astraltune did exist before that and in fact, SONY president "Mickey" Morita bought one in 1978, which was the key fact in SONY's settlement of the lawsuit.

I stand coh-rected!


Ed D brings up a good point, Lance. The Seventies were the one decade where you could have lots of sex without worrying about pregnancy (The Pill was common) or disease (not only AIDS, but herpes was barely a blip on the radar) and as added incentive, women were burning their bras.

Remember the "No Secrets" album cover with Carly Simon and her two, um, companions?


Bah. The Navy, '72-'74; Kwajalein, '75-'78. Sex, nada. Liquor and beer, tons.

Nothin' good about that.

Uncle Merlin

HEY YOU GOT TO MEET ME IN THE 70s! As I have always maintained: "Not all is gained if you loose a little!"



The two short series of the original Life on Mars were as near perfect as (non-Doctor Who) drama gets on BBC. I'm putting off seeing the US version not because I'm afraid of how much they'll screw it up, but because I just don't see the point.

The 70's for me were crap. They were a ten-year slide into disappointment in people and fear based on what seemed to be an ever-constricting future. My parents' declining standard of living, my father's declining health, my own declining ability to fit in after being the new kid at four schools in seven years. At one point we lived in a treeless suburban housing development, and it was the most god-awful soulless place I've ever experienced. Then we moved into a working class neighborhood and I was stunned to realize that racial prejudice and anti-semitism weren't just things from history. (Not that it didn't exist where we lived before, people were just a lot more subtle about it so it went over my 10-year-old head.)

The decade started out with everyone being angry about political stuff I didn't understand, and it ended with everyone depressed about economic stuff I didn't understand but felt the brunt of all too well. In between I learned about the world by learning about what a bloody, violent place it was: genocide in Cambodia, vicious dictators in South America, terrorism in Europe and the Middle East. Gas prices soared - twice - and we were hit over our collective heads with the message that our resources were finite.

If there's an antithesis to an expanding frontier of hope and optimism, the 1970's were it.

The music was insipid, clothing was embarrassing, TV was just stupid, and although it was a golden age for movies, I was too young to see any of the great ones. Plus, I turned 14 in 1978, and I defy you to find anyone who'd want to re-live that age.


Plus, I turned 14 in 1978, and I defy you to find anyone who'd want to re-live that age.

*raising hand*

I lost my virginity that year. I'd do her again now, even tho she'd be in her 60s.

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