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Why were the 70s such a tacky decade?

FedoraFan112390

Practically Family
Messages
646
Location
Brooklyn, NY
I mean in literally every area, the '70s were hideous. Clothes, hairstyles, morals, the mainstream pop was horrid....A case in point, I was watching the 1974 Great Gatsby...So dated, so horrid, so cheesy. So many movies from the '70s--outside of the classics---haven't at all aged well, even compared to movies from earlier decades; and there is a very cheap, low rent, sort of half-baked feel to a lot of the movies of the period (especially in the early-mid 70s) that wasn't there even in the late 1960s. The pacing in a lot of the films of the era is unconventional, the sets look cheap and the actors (outside of the obvious greats from the period) seem themselves very cheap, like Bruce Dern. Or Redford. Men with good looks but little else. The women were much better actors in this period. But the whole decade just seems to have been very much crap. The 1960s was very different from the Golden Era, but the music, the films, the TV still had that classic quality and the period pieces felt grand and the sets and art design seemed a lot more glitzy, glamorous, classy; the pacing of the films from the 60s isn't all that different from today's films; and a lot of the shows of the '60s have held up better than say, The Brady Lunch or Three's Company. The video quality even of TV shows for example seems much worse in the '70s. I love All in The Family, but the sets look very drab compared with its 1950s counterpart in The Honeymooners. There also just seems to be a cynicism that permeates the '70s films, even before Watergate--a darkness--films like that movie Joe, or a lot of the early horror films. This is the decade where pornography became mainstream, where slasher flicks were introduced. This is the decade in which Disney produced Robin Hood. Where Southern style good ol' boy country music is all over a picture set in medieval England. This is the Roger Moore era of James Bond. The time of Blaxploitation, the Jon Pertwee Doctor. Cheese was much in vogue. The era of 'glam rock', Disco and Punk. When The Stones stopped trying to be more than a garage band and outside of prog, all attempts at making rock actually be art were abandoned in favor of riffs and solos.

Fashion wise, there's not a single decade which in retrospect looks worse (perhaps the late 80s-early 90s). I mean one can look at a picture of their grandparents or parents from say, 1964 and it looks very classy. Take those same people and find a shot of them from 1973 and you're likely to see them sporting sideburns and all sorts of tacky horrid clothes. We went from people looking like JFK (clothes wise--slacks and a dress shirt or a polo and slacks) to wearing leisure suits, jeans and graphics t-shirts in less than a decade

What was up with that decade?
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
24,905
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London, UK
Mostly because it suited the marketing men to push it that way a decade and more later. The eighties were far worse, but there's currently more money to be made selling eighties nostalgia.
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
Messages
33,347
Location
Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
Precisely. The sixties laid the groundwork for everything the seventies became -- that cheesy brown decor, that fake-early-American stuff with the paneling and the brass eagles, all of that was in full bloom while JFK was in the White House, popular music had been slop since the mid-forties, and smeary sex comedies like "The Apartment" were making a lot of money. The seventies just kicked it up to the next level, and the eighties, which may have been the absolute nadir of the twentieth century, took it even further.

The nineties and the New Millenium weren't any great shakes either.

That said, there were some exceptionally great movies in the seventies if you can look beyond the fashions. "Network" is one of my top five favorite pictures, and there were plenty of others of similar high quality. And I'd rather watch "All In The Family" or "Barney Miller" than just about any TV show out of the sixties. (And I also loved the Third Doctor, capes and ruffles nonwithstanding.)
 
Last edited:

LizzieMaine

Bartender
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33,347
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Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
I've had more than one police detective tell me that Barney Miller was the most realistic cop show ever made.

I've heard the same thing. From a viewers' perspective it was the most theatre-like TV show of its era. Every week was like a live one-act stage play about New York life, and some of the characterizations were postively brilliant. It's a show that's actually too good to be rerun, because it has no "camp" value at all.
 
Fashion wise, there's not a single decade which in retrospect looks worse (perhaps the late 80s-early 90s). I mean one can look at a picture of their grandparents or parents from say, 1964 and it looks very classy. Take those same people and find a shot of them from 1973 and you're likely to see them sporting sideburns and all sorts of tacky horrid clothes.

Have you looked out your window lately? To work, shopping, to school, to church, to funerals...they all look like they're getting ready to clean out the garage.
 
Messages
13,417
Location
Orange County, CA
The '60s through the '80s was proof that the more things change the more they stay the same as the hippies and flower children of the '60s morphed into the "Me Generation" narcissists of the '70s and then further morphed into yuppies of the '80s. In short, the "Greed is Good" yuppies of the eighties were basically hippies with money. :p
 

Doctor Strange

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,237
Location
Hudson Valley, NY
I have to call bushwa on this widely stated generalization. MANY of us left-leaning kids of the 60s/70s did NOT turn into narcissists and/or yuppies. Some of us continued to believe in idealistic causes, never acclimated to the country's hard swing to the right under Reagan, and didn't turn into greedy, wealthy fat cats. Sure, I have been a hardworking citizen and parent for decades, but I was never fixated on just myself or accumulating wealth... and I didn't.

I resent being lumped into this oversimplified generalization just 'cause I was born in 1955 and was a Deadhead for a while! While it's certainly true that a lot of people just take on the attributes of the times they live through, and thus may have appeared to have been hippies, then me-decade hedonists, then yuppie scum, plenty of us never changed that much.


The '60s through the '80s was proof that the more things change the more they stay the same as the hippies and flower children of the '60s morphed into the "Me Generation" narcissists of the '70s and then further morphed into yuppies of the '80s. In short, the "Greed is Good" yuppies of the eighties were basically hippies with money. :p
 

31 Model A

A-List Customer
Messages
484
Location
Illinois (Metro-St Louis)
I mean in literally every area, the '70s were hideous. Clothes, hairstyles, morals, the mainstream pop was horrid....A case in point, I was watching the 1974 Great Gatsby...So dated, so horrid, so cheesy. So many movies from the '70s--outside of the classics---haven't at all aged well, even compared to movies from earlier decades; and there is a very cheap, low rent, sort of half-baked feel to a lot of the movies of the period (especially in the early-mid 70s) that wasn't there even in the late 1960s. The pacing in a lot of the films of the era is unconventional, the sets look cheap and the actors (outside of the obvious greats from the period) seem themselves very cheap, like Bruce Dern. Or Redford. Men with good looks but little else. The women were much better actors in this period. But the whole decade just seems to have been very much crap. The 1960s was very different from the Golden Era, but the music, the films, the TV still had that classic quality and the period pieces felt grand and the sets and art design seemed a lot more glitzy, glamorous, classy; the pacing of the films from the 60s isn't all that different from today's films; and a lot of the shows of the '60s have held up better than say, The Brady Lunch or Three's Company. The video quality even of TV shows for example seems much worse in the '70s. I love All in The Family, but the sets look very drab compared with its 1950s counterpart in The Honeymooners. There also just seems to be a cynicism that permeates the '70s films, even before Watergate--a darkness--films like that movie Joe, or a lot of the early horror films. This is the decade where pornography became mainstream, where slasher flicks were introduced. This is the decade in which Disney produced Robin Hood. Where Southern style good ol' boy country music is all over a picture set in medieval England. This is the Roger Moore era of James Bond. The time of Blaxploitation, the Jon Pertwee Doctor. Cheese was much in vogue. The era of 'glam rock', Disco and Punk. When The Stones stopped trying to be more than a garage band and outside of prog, all attempts at making rock actually be art were abandoned in favor of riffs and solos.

Fashion wise, there's not a single decade which in retrospect looks worse (perhaps the late 80s-early 90s). I mean one can look at a picture of their grandparents or parents from say, 1964 and it looks very classy. Take those same people and find a shot of them from 1973 and you're likely to see them sporting sideburns and all sorts of tacky horrid clothes. We went from people looking like JFK (clothes wise--slacks and a dress shirt or a polo and slacks) to wearing leisure suits, jeans and graphics t-shirts in less than a decade

What was up with that decade?


:eusa_clap I concur with all you said. What a waste of ten years of my life.
 

Bushman

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,138
Location
Joliet
The only things I ever liked that came out of the 70's were my house, and the movies. Everything else was, like the OP said, just "tacky". The tinted sunglasses, the cheesy parachute pants, even a lot of the music outside of the rock wasn't that good. The 60's had the fashion of the M65 field jacket and the 'Nam era jungle boots, but the 70's get the tacky colored suits, the stupid mustaches, and bad hair cuts. The movies, though, there was an abundance of good movies made in the 70's. Jaws, Star Wars, Halloween, Alien, Rocky, Deer Hunter... the list goes on and on! I could easily fill up paragraphs discussing some of my favorite 70's movies. The rest of it, though. Tacky, tacky, tacky!
 
The only things I ever liked that came out of the 70's were my house, and the movies. Everything else was, like the OP said, just "tacky". The tinted sunglasses, the cheesy parachute pants, even a lot of the music outside of the rock wasn't that good. The 60's had the fashion of the M65 field jacket and the 'Nam era jungle boots, but the 70's get the tacky colored suits, the stupid mustaches, and bad hair cuts. The movies, though, there was an abundance of good movies made in the 70's. Jaws, Star Wars, Halloween, Alien, Rocky, Deer Hunter... the list goes on and on! I could easily fill up paragraphs discussing some of my favorite 70's movies. The rest of it, though. Tacky, tacky, tacky!


Just a point of order, but parachute pants were solidly an 80's thing.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
24,905
Location
London, UK
And Star Wars, in retrospect, was pretty ropey, plus it marks the point where the merchandisng became the message in Hollywood.
 
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LizzieMaine

Bartender
Messages
33,347
Location
Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
And Star Wars, in retrospect, was pretty ropey, plus it marks the point where the merchandisng became the message in Hollywood.

"Star Wars" bugged me when it first came out, but I couldn't put my finger on why. It was only later that I realized that the whole picture was meant to be viewed between quotation marks. It's a pastiche of a science-fiction movie, not an actual science-fiction movie, and that fits in very well with the whole Era of Insincerity that took over the world in the Sixties. Pretty much everything Lucas has ever done strikes me in the same way.
 

scottyrocks

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,169
Location
Isle of Langerhan, NY
One word: polyester. haha

The '70s was partly what happens when a fad lingers too long - it becomes 'mainstream.' The outlandish clothes and hair, for example, became what almost everyone wore. Remember Carson on The Tonight Show in the early '70s with the neckerchiefs instead of a ties? If that wasn't a message to guys like my Dad that it was okay for men to dress like women, I don't know what was.

Formerly long unruly hair worn by hippies and almost-hippies became almost as long, but better kempt hair on (almost) everyone past the age of about 25, and up through men in their 40s or so.
 

31 Model A

A-List Customer
Messages
484
Location
Illinois (Metro-St Louis)
"Star Wars" bugged me when it first came out, but I couldn't put my finger on why. It was only later that I realized that the whole picture was meant to be viewed between quotation marks. It's a pastiche of a science-fiction movie, not an actual science-fiction movie, and that fits in very well with the whole Era of Insincerity that took over the world in the Sixties. Pretty much everything Lucas has ever done strikes me in the same way.

Remember Lizzie....a lot of Science Fiction years back is reality today, Flash Gordon, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Robby the Robot, etc. Space travel today is old news, exploring the bottom of the oceans is old news, once science fiction movies and early TV shows held audiences captive with suspense. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if this planet is not being monitored and someday, more intelligent life than earthlings is going to say, time to send this planet into a black hole somewhere. I'm not a visionary or a pessimist, but where exactly is planet earth headed if not into oblivion???
 

LuvMyMan

I’ll Lock Up.
Messages
4,558
Location
Michigan
Remember Lizzie....a lot of Science Fiction years back is reality today, Flash Gordon, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Robby the Robot, etc. Space travel today is old news, exploring the bottom of the oceans is old news, once science fiction movies and early TV shows held audiences captive with suspense. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if this planet is not being monitored and someday, more intelligent life than earthlings is going to say, time to send this planet into a black hole somewhere. I'm not a visionary or a pessimist, but where exactly is planet earth headed if not into oblivion???

Earth is not the issue....the mass amount of LOONIES is what has us here in our household worried. You simply cannot escape the loonies. It is like some alien life forms got left off to bred with regular normal humans...and someone forget to come back for them all. Our news is packed full of them. Some loonies even get placed in some very powerful positions.
 

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