This Friday afternoon's time waster is a rare treat I'd been saving for the memorable occasion when I'm absolutely stumped on what to suggest and no one else had a better idea. So I'm pulling out my biggest gun, the National Archive's online collection of Universal Studios newsreels.
Newsreels began in the days before television and were shown in theaters before main attractions. They generally ran less than five minutes, but provided the viewing public with a visual summary of the week's events in news from around the country, and overseas. The National Archive, which received these reels as a gift from Universal Studios, has graciously made an ever-expanding number of them available for free viewing online.
Here you'll find FDR's fireside chats, the bombing of the USS Panay in 1937, the New Deal as put in place through public works, the buildup to, conduct, and conclusion of World War II, atomic testing, the Korean War, the red scare, and more events of interest through the 1960s. The newsreels available aren't in chronological order, and indexing leaves something to be desired, but half the fun is browsing the collection and seeing what's available for view.
This is the best way to see a certain era of history as it was made. I recommend it highly.