The 60's Timeline: a brief overview of events
One of the things that I would like to do is offer a bit of timeline history on the glorious decade of the sixties. It's funny how I can remember certain events and when I became aware of them. That distinct awareness deceives me into believing that I have a referential timeline as to when things were invented, or introduced. For example, I can recall being remotely aware of zip codes in the late sixties, when in fact they were introduced much earlier.
Here, history presents itself to our scrutinous eyes as we re-live world events that so makes up the chemistry and essence of our very Boomer being. The history is interesting, wierd, and fun. Most important however, is that we lived through it all, and were able to see some of the most significant, beautiful, tragic, and fascinating happenings of all time. These events, served up on a platter of memory, belong solely to us, the forever spawning "Generation X", the "Baby Boomers", the ambassadors of a new and exciting decade.
This timeline is intended to be a fun reminder of just what happened when we were young and rocking this great planet of ours. So, with that all said and done, shall we go back in time? Let's do.
1. Murderer/Writer Caryl Chessman is executed.
2. Sprite is introduced by Coca-Cola.
3. In Greensboro, North Carolina, four black students begin a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter. Although they are refused service, they are allowed to stay at the counter. The event triggers many similar nonviolent protests throughout the Southern United States, and 6 months later the original 4 protesters are served lunch at the same counter.
4. Joanne Woodward receives the first star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
5. After a two-year stint, Elvis Presley returns from Germany.
6. President Dwight Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act of 1960 into law.
7. The Beatles begin a forty-eight night engagement at the Indra Club in Hamburg, West Germany.
8. Cold War trivia: Nikita Khrushchev pounds his shoe on a table at a United Nations General Assembly meeting, protesting discussion of Soviet Union policy toward Eastern Europe.
9. The Polaris missile is test-launched.
10. "The Flintstones" who were often compared to "The Honeymooners" air on television.
11. France tests its first A Bomb in the Sahara desert.
19611. President Kennedy advises all "prudent families" to have a bomb shelter.
2. The DNA genetic code is broken.
3. The IBM Selectric typewriter is introduced.
4. The United States launches its first test of the Minuteman I intercontinental ballistic missile.
Construction of the Berlin Wall begins, restricting movement between East Berlin and West Berlin and forming a clear boundary between West Germany and East Germany, Western Europe and Eastern Europe.
5. The Vietnam War officially begins, as the first American helicopters arrive in Saigon along with 400 U.S. personnel.
6. "Barbie" gets a boyfriend when the "Ken" doll is introduced.
7. Russians send the first man into space.
8. John F. Kennedy becomes the 35th President of the United States.
9. President of the United States John F. Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps.
10. The longrunning soap opera General Hospital debuted on ABC.
11. Baseball player Roger Maris of the New York Yankees hits his 61st home run in the last game of the season, against the Boston Red Sox, beating the 34-year-old record held by Babe Ruth.
12. Adolf Eichmann is pronounced guilty of crimes against humanity by a panel of 3 Israeli judges.
19621. The Beatles' first record, "My Bonnie" with Tony Sheridan, is released by Polydor.
2. Adolf Eichmann is hanged in Israel.
3. The Rolling Stones make their debut at London's Marquee Club, Number 165 Oxford Street, 4. John Lennon secretly marries Cynthia Powell.
5. Dr. No, the first James Bond film, premiers in UK theaters.
6. October 12 - The infamous Columbus Day Storm strikes the U. S. Pacific Northwest with wind
gusts up to 170 mph (270 km/h); 46 dead, 11 billion board feet of timber is
blown down, with $230 million U.S. in damages.
7. October 14 - Cuban Missile Crisis begins: A U-2 flight over Cuba takes photos of Soviet
nuclear weapons being installed. A stand-off then ensues the next day between the United
States and the Soviet Union, threatening the world with nuclear war.
8. October 22 - In a televised address, U.S. President John F. Kennedy announces to the nation the existence of Soviet missiles in Cuba.
9. October 28 - Cuban Missile Crisis: Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev announces that he has ordered the removal of Soviet missile bases in Cuba.
10. The term "Personal computer" is first mentioned by the media.
11. The films "American Graffiti" and "Animal House" are set in 1962.
American Broadcasting Company (ABC) begins color telecast for 3.5 hours a week.
12. Diet Rite is the first sugar-free soda introduced.
13. Pull tabs on cans are introduced.
19631. President Kennedy is assasinated. Stores and businesses shut down for the entire weekend and Monday, in tribute.
2. Congress enacts "equal pay for equal work" legislature for women.
3. Two thirds of the world's automobiles are in the United States.
4. Film goddess Marilyn Monroe is found dead of an apparent overdose. It becomes the most controversial death on record.
5. The Whisky a Go Go night club in Los Angeles, California, the first disco in the United States, is opened.
6. A large cloud that some say resembles the face of Jesus is seen on Sunset Mountain, Arizona.
7. In Camden, Tennessee, Country superstar Patsy Cline (Virginia Patterson Hensley) is killed in a plane crash along with fellow performers Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas and Cline's manager and pilot Randy Hughes while returning from a benefit performance in Kansas City, KS for country radio disc jockey "Cactus" Jack Call.
8. Martin Luther King, Jr. issues his "Letter from Birmingham Jail".
9. The Coca-Cola Company debuts its first diet drink, TaB cola.
10. Dr. No, the first James Bond film, was shown in US theaters.
11. In Saigon, Buddhist monk Thich Quong Doc commits self-immolation to protest the oppression of Buddhists by the Ngo Dinh Diem administration.
12. ZIP Codes are introduced in the U.S.
13. The first episode of the BBC television series Doctor Who is broadcast in the United Kingdom.
14. I Want to Hold Your Hand and I Saw Her Standing There are released in the U.S., marking the beginning of full-scale Beatlemania.
19641. Ford Motors introduces the "Mustang".
2. Studebaker-Packard introduce seat belts as standard equipment.
3. Plans to build the New York World Trade Center are announced.
4. The Beatles vault to the #1 spot on the U.S. singles charts for the first time, with "I Want to Hold Your Hand," forever changing the way rock-and-roll music sounds.The Beatles appear on The Ed Sullivan Show, marking their first live performance on American television. Seen by an estimated 73 million viewers, the appearance becomes the catalyst for the mid-1960s "British Invasion" of American popular music.
5. Malcolm X, suspended from the Nation of Islam, says in New York City that he is forming a black nationalist party.
6. The Beatles hold the top 5 positions in the Billboard Top 40 singles in America, an unprecedented achievement. Due mostly to the explosive growth, fragmentation, and marketing of popular music since, this is certain to never happen again. The top songs in America as listed on April 4, in order, are: "Can't Buy Me Love," "Twist and Shout," "She Loves You," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and "Please Please Me."
7. From Russia With Love was shown in US theaters.
8. Country singer Jim Reeves (40) is killed when his private plane crashes in thunderstorm near Nashville Tennessee.
9. 5 billion dollars worth of vending machine sales.
19651. Medicare bill passes.
2. 34 people die in Watts ghetto riot.
3. 190,000 troops are in Vietnam.
4. 32,000 people make 54-mile "freedom march" from Selma to Montgomery.
5. Malcolm X is assassinated on the first day of National Brotherhood Week, at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City, allegedly by Black Muslims.
6. In Cold Blood killers Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, convicted of murdering 4 members of the Herbert Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas, are executed by hanging at the Kansas State
7. Bob Dylan elicits controversy among folk purists by "going electric" at the Newport Folk Festival.
8. Jefferson Airplane debuts at the Matrix in San Francisco, California and begins to appear there regularly.
9. The Beatles performed the first stadium concert in the history of rock, playing at Shea Stadium in New York.
10. At the Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt, 66 ex-SS personnel receive life sentences, 15 others smaller ones.
Rock musician Bob Dylan releases his influential album Highway 61 Revisited, featuring the song "Like a Rolling Stone."
11. The soap opera Days of our Lives debuts on NBC.
12. A Charlie Brown Christmas, the first Peanuts television special, debuts on CBS.
19661. Taster's Choice freeze dried coffee is introduced.
2. The fourth of four lost H Bombs is found off the Spanish coast.
3. U.S. troop strength in Vietnam is 400,000. U.S. deaths: 6,358. Enemy deaths: 77,115.
4. The first Acid Test is conducted at the Fillmore, San Francisco.
5. The Beatles: In an interview published in The London Evening Standard, John Lennon comments, "We're more popular than Jesus now," eventually sparking a controversy in the United States.
6. United States president Lyndon Johnson signs the 1966 Uniform Time Act act dealing with Daylight Saving Time.
7. The Church of Satan is formed by Anton Szandor LaVey in San Francisco.
8. The final new episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show airs.
9. Bob Dylan breaks his neck and nearly dies in a motorcycle accident near Woodstock, New York. He isn't seen in public for over a year.
10. The Beatles play their very last concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.
11. Star Trek, the classic science fiction television series, debuts with its first episode, titled "The Man Trap."
12. Grace Slick performs live for the first time with Jefferson Airplane.
13. How the Grinch Stole Christmas, narrated by Boris Karloff, is shown for the first time on CBS. It will become an annual Christmas tradition, and the best-loved film ever based on a Dr. Seuss book.
19671. Rolling Stone Magazine is founded.
2. Communist China announces the H Bomb.
3. Dr. Christian Barnard performs the first heart transplant.
4. Albert DeSalvo, the "Boston Strangler", is convicted of numerous crimes and sentenced to life in prison.
5. Human Be-In takes place in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco; event sets the stage for the Summer of Love.
6. The Doors' first album is released.
7. In Houston, Texas, boxer Muhammad Ali refuses military service.
8. Jimmy Hoffa begins his 8-year sentence for attempting to bribe a jury.
9. Elvis Presley and Priscilla Beaulieu are married in Las Vegas.
10. The album Are You Experienced is released by The Jimi Hendrix Experience in the United Kingdom.
11. Pink Floyd releases their debut album "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn."
12. Jim Morrison and The Doors defy CBS censors on The Ed Sullivan Show, when Morrison sings the word "higher" from their #1 hit Light My Fire, despite having been asked not to.
13. Love Is a Many Splendored Thing debuts on U.S. daytime television and is the first soap opera to deal with an interracial relationship. CBS censors find it too controversial and ask for it to be stopped, causing show creator Irna Phillips to quit.
14. Walt Disney's full-length animated feature The Jungle Book, the last animated film personally supervised by Disney, is released and becomes an enormous box office and critical success. On a double bill with the film is the (now) much less well-known True-Life Adventure, Charlie the Lonesome Cougar.
15. LSD declared an illegal by the United States government.
19681. Richard Nixon is elected President.
2. The 1st class postage stamp raises to 6 cents.
3. Robert Kennedy is assasinated in California. Sirhan Sirhan is apprehended on the spot.
4. Johnny Cash records "Live at Folsom Prison".
5. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Riots erupt in major American cities for several days afterward.
6. The musical Hair officially opens on Broadway.
7. he soap opera One Life to Live premieres on ABC. The show featured Tommy Lee Jones and Lawrence Fishburne.
8. Saddam Hussein becomes Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Council in Iraq after a coup d'état.
9. The White Album is released by The Beatles.
10. The film Oliver!, based on the hit London and Broadway musical, opens in the U.S. after being released first in England. It will go on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
11. The Zodiac Killer is believed to have shot Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday on Lake Herman Road, Benicia, San Francisco Bay, California.
19691. Neil Armstrong walks on the moon.
2. 624 pairs of panty hose are produced.
3. After 147 years, the last issue of The Saturday Evening Post is published.
4. The Woodstock Music and Art Fair is held at Max Yasgur's 600-acre farm near Bethel, N.Y. August 15th- 18th. Thirty-two acts performed outdoors in front of 500,000 concert-goers
5. At the Academy Awards ceremony for films released in 1968, a tie between Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand results in the 2 sharing the Best Actress Oscar; Hepburn also becomes the only actress to win 3 Best Actress Oscars. The film version of Oliver! wins Best Picture.
6. The film Easy Rider premieres.
7. Project Apollo: The Eagle lands on the lunar surface. The world watches in awe as Neil Armstrong takes his historic first steps on the Moon and erects first flagpoles in outer space to fly the American flag
8. Members of a cult led by Charles Manson murder Sharon Tate, (who was 8 months pregnant), and her friends Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, and Jay Sebring at Tate and husband Roman Polanski's home in Los Angeles, California. Steven Parent, leaving from a visit to the Polanskis' caretaker, is also killed. More than 100 stab wounds are found on the victims, except for Parent, who had been shot almost as soon as the Manson Family entered the property.
9. The Manson Family kills Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, wealthy businesspeople who live in another section of Los Angeles.
10. Monty Python's Flying Circus airs its first episode on the BBC.
11. The pilot episode of The Brady Bunch, starring Robert Reed and Florence Henderson, airs on United States TV.
12. Wal-Mart incorporates as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
13. The Children's Television Workshop's educational television program Sesame Street is premiered in the United States.
14. John Lennon returns his OBE to protest the British government's support of the U.S. war in Vietnam.
15. The Manson family "hippie cult" is charged with the Tate-LaBianca murders.
16. The Altamont Free Concert is held at the Altamont Speedway in northern California. Hosted by the Rolling Stones, it is an attempt at a "Woodstock West" and is best known for the uproar of violence that occurred. It is viewed by many as the "end of the sixties."
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Lakeville, CT : Grey House, 1999.xiii, Millennium ed., 2nd ed.
"American chronicle : year by year through the twentieth century"
Lois Gordon and Alan Gordon ; with an introduction by Roger Rosenblatt.
New Haven [Conn.] : Yale University Press, c1999.