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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The New Frontier: 1960

The New Frontier: 1960

1960. "Airline hostesses Sue Pharris, Sharon Moore and two other women watching the Jack LaLanne physical fitness show and exercising." From photos taken to illustrate the Look magazine article "TV's Nature Boy." Among this picture's mid-century markers: Polka-dots, a pole lamp, rabbit ears, flip-flops, sliding glass doors. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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Born in 1962

But I remember the pole lamps, thongs, and the TV stands like that. Also the sliding glass door which almost every house in my neighborhood in Escondido CA. seemed to have. Although most sliding doors opened to the back yard I remember there were a few that were on the front of the house and were used as the main entrance.

Details details details!

At our house in Southern California in the late '50s, early '60s, those 'flip flop' shoes were called thongs or zoris. Back in the late '50s, my sister used to wear 'tabis', which were kind of like cotton socks with a single toe separation to be worn with Japanese zoris. She also called the sandals 'Gitas', which I've never heard used anywhere else but in our family.

I LOVE that TV stand. Very moderne! And notice the TV trays off to the right, other relics of the new modern age of television life.

Also Zoris

I think Cary is right - those look like leather slide sandals in the photo.
We called the rubber sandals "Zoris" in suburban Illinois, but in Austin they're usually called flip-flops and you see them every day, everywhere. The cheap rubber type are still around along with others covered in ruffles and rhinestones.


Pronounced ZO-REES. That's what a lot of San Diegans called the all-rubber sandals back then but our crowd just called them thongs, and they cost about 39 cents per pair at the neighborhood Thrifty Drug Store.

NoCal Thongs

We called them thongs out here in Northern Cal. At least my family and friends did when we'd wear them around the Russian River area. Left funny tan lines. Worked pretty well as fly swatters too.

The window

Another unfortunate marker is the vertically-challenged window placed high up on the wall. The reason is obvious: the house next door seems to be about 6 feet away. This style, which I suspect originated in southern California, was adopted all over the country, even if there were side yards and in rooms with no sliding doors. You see the claustrophobic results today in older suburbs.

Varies by region

But in Southern California everyone still wears flip flops, even during the winter.

Flip-flop thongs

I remember thongs being called both that AND flip-flops at that time. I still call them thongs, which my youngest kids always laugh about.

Thongs vs flip flops

I am from Minneapolis and we called them thongs. Now thongs have a whole new meaning!!

We only had two TV stations

when I was growing up in the 50's. Channel 3 was the NBC affiliate, and channel 11 was CBS. Our TV antenna was secured to the chimney, and my job was to monitor the picture quality in the den and holler up the fireplace to my father when the picture got sharper - great hilarity would ensue during this process. We envied our cousins across the street who had both a motorized directionnal antenna (controlled by a nifty box on the TV), and a UHF converter which allowed them to pick up the ABC station! Seemed that the "best" shows were always on that channel, and my uncle would have to shoo us kids back over to our house when he wanted to watch his favorite programs!


Until I read the caption, I thought they were trying to do The Twist.

Thongs vs. Flip-Flops

Maybe it was a regional thing. I grew up in Miami and they were always called flip-flops; I never heard them called thongs.

And, actually, I don't think anyone is wearing flip-flops in this photo. Flip-flops are cheap, made of rubber, and have a thick sole of a single thickness. I think those are sandals of a better quality that just happen to utilize the same basic design as flip-flops.

Pole lamps were big at my house.

My parents had them in the living rooms of both homes they owned from the mid '50s to the mid '70s, until even they grew tired of the durn things.

I even had one in my bedroom back in the early '70s. The illumination was very harsh, as I recall.

And that TV. Young people, if you're reading this,at one time we had to get up from our chairs and turn a knob to access one of our 7, count 'em, 7 channels we had in Southern California.

Now I have a whole bunch and still can't find much to watch.


I just realized no one makes those folded cover calendars anymore. The ones with a little picture for most days, big numbers for the others. Usually given away by some local business with their name and address proudly featured. I haven't seen one since the mid eighties. I miss em.

Not exercising was not an option

Back in those days airlines imposed very rigid weight requirements on their flight attendants, or stewardesses as they were called. Being even slightly chubby could result in unemployment.

Fruit boots

The girl sitting down is wearing one variation of what we used to call "fruit boots" in the 1960s, not to be confused with the "waffle stompers" of the '70s. Flip-flops were annoying and ugly then, and in my humble opinion they still are.

Times Have Changed!

I was an Airline stewardess in the late 1960s. Our weight was checked weekly, nail-polish perfect, excellent hairstyles, fired if we married and the Airline constantly stressed: "Passengers are kings and queens" and should always be treated as such!


In 1960 flip-flops were thongs.

The Original Fitness Guru

Jack LaLanne was a remarkable individual. I watched every episode of his vintage fitness show years back when ESPN classic would show them. I found it amusing two or three years ago when I read an article from a leading fitness expert recommending doing different workouts for different muscle groups each time, to always vary your routine, which reduces muscle memory and makes the muscle work harder every time. He acted like this was revolutionary, huge news. Jack LaLanne said it over and over again, fifty years ago. It saddened me when he died a couple of years back, only a few years short of the 100 years he always strived to achieve.

Need more light?

Just move the self adjusting pole lamp to any place the little woman wants it. I sure had to.

Another marker

Basket chair.


It wasn't until 1964 that new TV sets were required to have UHF tuners.

[The TV here, a General Electric 17T3321 "Gramercy-17," does have a UHF tuner. The UHF and VHF controls are concentric dials. Also note that the "picture" seems to be a photo of Jack attached to the picture tube. - Dave]

The Real Workout

would involve picking up that "portable" TV set a few times. That would whip you right into shape!

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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