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Weekly Alibi The Swingin' 60s on the WWW

Groovy, Baby

By Devin D. O'Leary

JULY 20, 1998:  By my estimation, the 1970s dealt a blow to culture, fashion and music so devastating that we have yet to fully recover. Sure, there have been occasional fits of good taste, but they are few and far between. The last time America was truly infused, top to bottom, with coolness was in the mid-1960s. Coming out of the drab culture famine of World War II, our country saw a postwar explosion of clothing, movies, music, furniture, TV--all of which were slathered in swank. Granted, I didn't emerge onto this planet until the decade was fairly well put to bed by a queasy diet of hippies, acid rock and Vietnam. That doesn't stop me from appreciating the real 1960s in all their sharkskinned, tailfinned glory. Thankfully, there are those out there who still carry the (tiki) torch of 1960s coolness. Where are they? Where else.

Patio Culture (home.texoma.net/~kgreg)--Greg Knight apparently lived through the tail end of the swingin'est decade. On this groovy, pop-pastel colored homepage, he's assembled a loving tribute to "suburban America of the 1960s." Greg's thesis revolves around the concept of the patio--"Not just a place, but a state of mind." There are some handy barbecuing tips, a nice history of the backyard grill and plenty of nostalgic recipes (like sausage and cheese strata, baked beans and Jello vegetable salad-Mmmmmmm!). Greg doesn't just dwell on the backyard patio, though. There are also pages here dedicated to '60s TV, the Cold War and kid stuff (remember Major Matt Mason toys?). A newly added exotica page explores the postwar appeal of tropical music (Martin Denny lives!) and Polynesian restaurants (pork balls, anyone?). Greg's got it all at Patio Culture--from the beautiful retro design to the dead-on nostalgic reminiscences of this bygone era.

The Rat Pack Home Page (http://www.primenet.com/~drbmbay/)--Of course, the very paragon of 1960 savior-faire was that swingin' bunch of lounge lizards known as the Rat Pack. What would the decade have been if not for the singing, acting and tabloid fueling of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford? This page contains not only a wealth of info about the famous fivesome in question, but an entire Cadillac full of tidbits on '60s culture. Everything you need to know to go from hipster to hep cat is contained on these very pages. With some finger-poppin' prose, some slick photographs and an abundance of groovy links, the RPHP will clue you with the complete history of drinks, smokes, chicks and casinos (what more do you need in life?). There are sad recollections about the long-gone heyday of Las Vegas. There is a shopping guide for purchasing cool videos and CDs. There are loads of links to other Frank, Dino and Sammy pages. There's even a page for sending Rat Pack postcards to your online pallies. The Rat Pack Home Page is celebrating its third year on the Web. Over 2 million martini-swilling surfers can't be wrong!

Swingin' Chicks of the '60s (www.swinginchicks.com)--In addition to the above honored cats, what would the 1960s have been without a few groovy kittens? This page is slavishly dedicated to that pinnacle of womanly excellence--the '60s sex kitten. The brains behind this site obviously have way too much time on their hands. Not merely content to post some computer-scanned pin-up pictures, the creators of this site have actually categorized each and every '60s icon (from "Bond Chicks" to "Elvis Chicks," from "Music Chicks" to "Model Chicks"). As if that weren't enough, they've even gone to the trouble of creating a rather complicated rating system. By taking into account every possible element--such as Impact, Longevity, Talent, '60s Look, Costume, Age Factor and Lifestyle (bonus points are awarded for affairs with JFK, Frank, Elvis or a Beatle)--Swingin' Chicks comes up with a 100-point scale upon which to judge female "swingability." Topping the list are Ann-Margaret (with a near-perfect score), Stella Stevens and Joey Heatherton. Who can argue with that? In addition to the perfect three, there are 73 other swingin' chicks catalogued here with over 300 photos to be ogled. They don't make women like they used to, and this page proves it!

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