14 Things That Happened in the 70s That You Probably Don't Remember

No one does grit and gimmicks like the 1970s.

Published May 31, 2023

If a flayed nerve were a decade, it'd be the 1970s. The bright, whimsical colors of the 1960s shifted into muted tones befitting of a general backslide down the optimistic euphoria into something much more gritty and tough.

Yet we don't always remember this rough-and-tumble, take-it-all-in-stride decade for its best parts, but it's worst. So, take a trip down memory lane and revisit these wild things that happened in the 70s you probably forgot about.

Dodging Tetanus From Soda Can Pull Tabs


Growing up in the 1970s, you had to be nimble because razor-sharp soda can pull tabs could be anywhere. Beaches were the ultimate test in dodging pain because all you had was the glint of the sun off the silvery tabs to go off of. You better keep up to date on your tetanus shot; these suckers will rust and wait for just the right moment to strike.

Taking Care of Your Precious Pet Rock

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Halfway through the 1970s, the most outrageous toy gimmick hit the market. And it blew kids' minds. Today, you wouldn't pay the change in your pocket for a rock in a box, but if you didn't buy a Pet Rock in 1975, then you weren't cool anymore. If you close your eyes, you can probably imagine exactly how your rock that hailed from Mexico's Rosarito beach felt in your hands.

Related: 50+ 1970s Trivia Questions That Are Groovy Gems

Raking the Shag Carpet Before Vacuuming


If people thought cleaning popcorn ceilings was bad, they never had to rake their carpet before they could clean it. Shag carpeting was everywhere and came in delightfully strange colors. Though, it was definitely a person with dander and dust allergies' worst nightmare. Because vacuums couldn't penetrate deep enough to suck up the crumbs and dirt, you had to take a rake to it to push everything to the top so that your vacuum could do some kind of job.

Staying up Late to Watch Wrestling


In the 1970s, wrestling was a regional art form that so many average people watched. You had your favorite heroes and villains, and you loved staying up late to watch the matches. And, if you were really lucky, you had a regional gym nearby that you could see up-and-comers hone their personas and skills.

If you just close your eyes, and you'll be able to hear that iconic "WOOOOOOOO" in the distance.

Talking to Truckers on Your CB Radio


Truck-driving really cemented itself in pop culture during the 1970s. Trucker hats and flannel vests became all the rage, and kids begged their parents to buy them CB radios. There was something so naughty feeling about tuning into grown adults' coded, uncensored conversations.

Keeping Up With the Patty Hearst Kidnapping


The late-60s had the Manson Murders and trials to keep up with, and while there were a shocking number of serial killers traipsing around America in the 70s, it was the Patty Hearst kidnapping case that had people glued to their televisions.

In 1974, Patty Hearst, of the rich Hearst family, was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army. Dubbed as one of the strangest cases in FBI history, what really got the story going was Hearst's public turncoat declaration and participation in a bank robbery.

Getting Up to Change Stations


Having to get up to change from one of three stations certainly does a number on your joints. No wonder your knees and hips ache all the time now. In the 1970s, tv remote controls were still a few years away, so getting up to push the buttons (or grabbing the nearest object and hoping it extends your reach just far enough) was muscle memory.

Filling Up the Tank Was an Hours-Long Affair


Mention anything about waiting to get gas to someone who lived in the 1970s, and you're sure to get some serious stink eye sent your way. With rising costs and an embargo on oil to much of the western world, getting gas in the 70s was an all-day affair. Remember sitting for hours in a hot car that was turned off just waiting to roll up to the gas pump only to get turned away because the stations were all out?

Picking Sides in the Steelers vs. Cowboys Rivalry


If you were a football fan in the 1970s, there was only one rivalry that mattered and you were willing to get in a shouting match over which team you sided with. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys faced off in two Super Bowls in the 1970s, and their rivalry colored the decade.

Donny Osmond and Those Purple Socks


Tweens and teens of the 70s remember how popular the Osmonds, and other teen family acts, were getting. But it was Donny Osmond who paraded around onstage, always wearing purple socks, that set girls alight.

Dropping Everything to Catch the Latest Episode of Dallas


Dallas brought Daytime Soaps into the evening time slot in the late 70s, and if you loved the drama and backstabbing happening between the Ewings and their friends and foes, then you'd drop everything to tune in each week. Dynasty and others would come on its heels, but Dallas is where it all started. The show really hit ratings gold in the 80s, but the folks watching when it started in '78 were the true hipsters.

Paying Outrageous Interest Rates


If you think interest rates are high in the 2020s, then you probably never lived through the 70s. Because of geopolitical turmoil, social unrest, and inflation, interest rates skyrocketed across the decade. By 1979, they'd reached a high of 11.20%. People's mortgages could double overnight, turning an already tumultuous decade into a cartoonishly difficult one.

General Admission Turning Deadly in 1979


In 1979, The Who's Cincinnati, Ohio concert turned deadly for 11 people. A huge queue of general admin ticket holders waited around to be let into the venue, but only one door opened. The crowd, growing antsy of not being let in, eventually rushed the single entryway and eleven people suffocated to death in the densely packed space.

Evel Knievel Jumps 14 Greyhound Buses


Evel Knievel, the star-spangled daredevil, embodied the 70s reckless energy. Astride a Harley Davidson in 75, Knievel attempted his biggest stunt yet - jumping over 14 Greyhound buses. It totaled out to a whopping 133 feet, and he cleared it without a scratch.

It's a Miracle Anyone Made It Out of the 70s


The 1970s encapsulate extremes better than any other decade before it. From the looming threat of serial killers to mind-blowing series like Star Wars, every day was a rollercoaster, and you just had to hang on for the duration. If you cut your teeth on the 70s, then there's just about nothing you can't handle.

And if these 70s facts weren't strange enough for you, check out more weird facts that will blow your mind!

14 Things That Happened in the 70s That You Probably Don't Remember