Take a look back at some of the most popular TV programs of the mid-1960s — “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Bewitched,” even “The Beverly Hillbillies” — and what do you see? Like today, middle-class Americans typically had washing machines and air-conditioning, telephones and cars. The Internet and video games were not yet invented. But life, over all, did not look that different.
There were TVs and radios in most homes. Millions of people worked in downtown offices and lived in suburbs, connected by multilane highways. Americans’ average life expectancy at birth was 70, only eight years less than it is today. But flash back 50 years earlier. Then, less than half the population lived in cities. Though Ford Model T’s were starting to roll off the assembly line, Americans typically moved around on horse-drawn buggies on dirt or cobblestone roads. Refrigerators or TVs? Most homes weren’t even wired for electricity. And average life expectancy was only 53. FULL REPORT