The Swingin' 60s - An Eyewitness Account by DaveWyman
DaveWyman's Gallery
  1. DaveWyman's Gallery
  2. The Swingin' 60s - An Eyewitness AccountThe Swingin' 60s - An Eyewitness Account
Campfire in Death Valley, 1964
I'm on the left, my best friend, Steve Gurwin, is on the fight. You can see the little air release cable at my feet - the release bulb was in my hand. We promised our parents, who let us travel by ourselves, at age 16, to Death Vally, that we would be on our best behavior. We were most of the time. But we also drove our car, a Pontiac which I believe was fairly new and belonged to Steve's parents, out 27 horribly bumpy miles to a dry lake called the Race Track. Steve drove that Pontiac 120 miles per hour over that lake bed - we're lucky we're still alive.
Off to the Gondola Races - Venice
No, this does not represent the 60s and it is not Venice Beach, in California - but I made this picture in 1965 and I don't have another gallery to put it in at the moment. I was with my parents and brother on a month-long tour of Europe and I have some fond memories of Venice.
Self Portrait
The year was 1967. I still have trouble keeping my shirt tucked in and I still have my Rolleiflex camera. And I still have a few of those old prints on the wall behind me.
Judy Feely
Judy and I attended Chico State college. We were just acquaintances. She was nice enough to let me make her portrait. Her sombrero was possibly mine, part of my dormitory's costume for Chico's annual Pioneer Week festival. The beautiful college is in the beautiful town of the same name, in northern California. And Judy was and I'm sure still is beautiful, too. Of the photographs in this gallery, this one seems to be timeless. Check back, I plan to post some photographs of other wonderful young women I knew at Chico State.
Sacramento Protest March
"Our Position - No Tuition!" This was a 10,000 person protest march in 1967, theoretically against a tuition hike for the University of California, a hike sponsored by our new - and former movie star - Governor Ronald Reagan. But the march attracted all sorts of anti-Reagan and anti-establishment groups, including a large contingent of United Farm Workers. Of course, the more things change, the more they remain the same. I'm posting this picture in 2005, and we face many of the same issues in California, the nation and the world. Our new Governor - and former movie star - Arnold Schwartzenegger wants to boost tuition and cut state services, just as his predecessor did.
Elysian Park, Los Angeles, 1967. This was one of the first "love-ins" in the United States.
The Guru and His Disciples
The Love-in at Elysian Park, Los Angeles, 1967. Also known as Be-ins, this was one of the first such events in the U.S. To me, this particular scene looks pretty silly, but at the time people believed in gurus. Well, they still do, but acolytes don't have to wear funny hats anymore.
Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty, 1965
Today, I think the only way I could come this close to a politician would be with a press release or a bribe in hand. Otherwise, I'd probably be arrested for daring to come this close to photograph a public official. Americans were, in some ways, much more innocent in the 1960s. George Orwell's "1984" took about 20 years more to arrive than the author predicted.

I hold no affection for controversial Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty, for he was the political opponent of my aunt, Rosalind Wyman, a city councilwoman. (Aunt Roz is famous for, among other distinctions, suggesting the Dodgers move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, and then working to make it happen.) This photograph was made the day Yorty was sworn in for a second term.
Patty Duke Double
Those who watched the Patty Duke Show might remember she played a dual role - Patty, herself and her identical cousin. Cathy Lane. For the movie "Billie," Patty had a stunt double, a beautiful Olympian athlete from Hungary.
Patty Duke, Actress
Patty Duke, who had starred achieved fame in the film "The Helen Keller Story," was also the star of the Patty Duke Show during the mid-60s. Capitalizing on her t.v. show success, she made the movie "Billie," in which she played a girl on the boys' track team. Here she waits for a baton hand-off. She's also about to leave the boys eating her dust. The movie was filmed at my high school, University High, and half of the extras on the film were male students (including myself and of course I brought along my Rolleicord IV camera) on the track team. Back then, the idea of a girl trackster was a novelty. The girls at our high school played, if they played sports at all, on the field hockey team.
College Democrats
Peter Lawford
Actor Peter Lawford was a leading man in Hollywood films in the 1940s and 1950s. He was also a member of Frank Sinatra's "Rat Pack." In 1965 Lawford was the director of the film Billie, with actress Patty Duke. The movie was filmed at my high school, University High, and half of the extras on the film were male students (including myself and of course I brought along my Rolleicord IV camera) on the track team.

At the time I made this photograph, I was about 17 and Lawford was about 42. I thought he looked amazingly ancient. Now that I'm quite a bit older than he was at the time I made this photograph, I can see that he looked quite youthful!

Everything is connected in this universe. Lawford was related by marriage to the Kennedy clan, and I have a few Kennedy photographs in this gallery.
President Kennedy Exhibition
I've added this photograph to my gallery in the midst of preparations for the funeral of Pope John Paul II. World wide grief has greeted his death. The same reaction washed over the world beginning on November 22, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. This photograph was made at the Los Angeles Science Center (formerly the Museum of Science and Technology). The museum displayed a collection of material related to the martyred President a year or so after his death, including photographs and his desk, rocking chair and other items in President Kennedy's office.
Unvarnished Adoration
The same photograph as the previous one, but uncropped and with less manipulation.
Adoration - Robert F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy was in California to campaign for Governor Pat Brown - the father of Governor Jerry Brown. The elder Brown was soundly trouced by Ronald Reagan and the rest, as they say, is history. Robert Kennedy would go on to campaign for President in 1968, as an anti-Vietnam War candidate, two years after this photograph was made. He was assassinated in the Ambassador Hotel, in Los Angeles, the night he won the California primary. Had Sirhan Sirhan, a politically motivated and I would say deranged Palestinian, not been successful, we might be living in a far differet, and I would like to think more peaceful, world.
Robert Kennedy - Lakewood, California, 1966
There is not much I think I need to add to the caption about RFK. But I'll add I used my beloved Rolleicord IV camera, a twin lens reflex. I still have it but rarely use it in this digital age. Ok, one more thing: check out those 60s sunglasses!
Scroll To Top

Audio Mute