A few months ago, one of my Whovian friends and I were musing about all the iconic events that had their 50th anniversary in the last year. The list included the launch of Doctor Who, James Bond films franchise, the Rolling Stones and Martin Luther King’s speech made in Washington DC . He decided there was a drug in the water and he wanted it put back in. However, it would be more accurate to say something was in the air. There wasn’t a single cause but a combination of many factors that created a unique situation.
Many of these iconic events would’ve been incubating in the late 40’s and 50’s. WWII had ended, the Cold War had begun, the Western-world was coming out of the Depression and an increase in wealth saw the rise of youth culture because more people were getting an education instead of joining the workforce. Television and other post-war technologies were advancing, which opened opportunities that hadn’t been possible.
The combination of historical and social circumstances spurred a creativity not seen before and influenced by the themes of these events. This was opportune timing for Martin Luther King Jr. to present his “I have a dream” speech because people’s’ minds had become more sensitive to social injustices. Rock and Roll started in America, in the 1950’s, saw English bands, such as the Rolling Stone, grew up during the war and the rise of youth culture. Without WWII, Ian Fleming wouldn’t have created James Bond. Developments in science and technology inspired concepts in Doctor Who.
Fifty years hasn’t lessened people’s affinity with these events, quite the opposite. Some represent a form of escapism. Others are more profound, like MKL’s speech and the Rolling Stones which both represent a new era of social change.