We’ve all seen movies showing California life in the 1950s and 1960s, and hey, there are many people still around who lived it. Seeing depictions on-screen is one thing, but what was daily life really like at street level? These days, pretty much everyone carries a high-quality video camera with their phone, ready to capture slices of life. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, it wasn’t nearly that easy.
That’s why these videos from the YouTube channel NASS are pure gold as far as we’re concerned. The channel features numerous clips from big cities around the world, all restored and colorized to glorious realism while depicting normal, everyday travels. At the time, such footage wasn’t any big deal. Now, it’s like we’re time traveling 60 years in the past, which is what the video at the top of this article is all about. Check out 1960’s San Francisco from the perspective of the city’s iconic cable cars!
We’re immediately struck by how much calmer drivers seem to be. There’s certainly an abundance of traffic, but we don’t see any aggressive actions as the camera takes us through the City by the Bay. We half expect to see a rampaging green Ford Mustang chasing a black Dodge Charger over the hills, but alas, this isn’t a scene from Bullitt. However, we do see all kinds of interesting cars including a C1 Corvette, an Austin Healy, and could that actually be a legit Amphicar around the 3:30 mark?
When you’re done traffic spotting in 1960s San Francisco, jump into the video below for a cruise through Los Angeles in the 1950s.
Specifically, this is Wilshire Boulevard smack dab in the famous Miracle Mile district. Today, you’ll find all kinds of museums in the area, not the least of which being the Petersen Automotive Museum, one of the largest of its kind in the world. In the 1950s, this stretch of tarmac was a robust commercial district that was actually designed specifically for automobile traffic. This video gives us a taste of cruising Wilshire in what many consider to be its heyday, and if anything, drivers seem even more patient than those in the San Francisco video.
We could spend all day watching these videos while partaking in some classic car spotting. We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on the channel for new videos, but until then, it’s time to enjoy a cheeseburger and a cherry Coke while rewatching American Graffiti.