The '60s at 50


September 1964-January 1965: Free Speech Movement

The Free Speech Movement (FSM) had its beginnings with students involved with CORE (Congress on Racial Equality) and the Southern civil rights movement.
     In the summer of 1964 some students at the University of California Berkeley had gone south to work with CORE and returned for the new school year in September. The school president, Clark Kerr, restricted political activities and suspended eight students of CORE.
     One of those suspended was Mario Savio, who had taught at a Freedom School run by core in McComb, Miss. (Savio would later become the spokesman for the movement.)
     California and the United States were in the middle of the Cold War at the time, when any political activity outside of the norm was considered subversive and labeled as Communist. Kerr and many other Californians saw the spread of the civil rights movement to Berkeley in this light and tried to stop it.
     On October 1, Jack Weinberg was arrested for running a CORE table on campus. Spontaneously, hundreds of students surrounded the police car Weinberg was being taken away in. Weinberg, the squad car, and hundreds of students would stay for the next 32 hours until Weinberg was released under a compromise worked out between President Kerr and the students. In response, the FSM was formed on October 4 with the goals of gaining the right to free speech for student activists.
     Over the next several months the FSM had a running battle with the school administration using rallies, marches, petitions and arrests to press their point. By December 1964, the students had won their demands and opened up political activity at Berkeley.
     The Free Speech Movement became a sign of the power of student activism that would be a trademark of the 1960s.

-- Excerpted from Oakland Museum of California. Note: In early January 1965, Berkeley Chancellor Edward W. Strong was replaced by Martin Meyerson, who issued new regulations concerning political activity that largely reflect what the Free Speech Movement had been demanding.

-- Photo of students in Sproul Plaza surrounding police car, with Mario Savio speaking from roof of car; October 1, 1964 (Lon Wilson; The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley)

* Summary from "Encylopedia of the Sixties" (2012): @
* Summary from Constitutional Rights Foundation: @
* Summary by Jo Freeman: @
* Chronology (Free Speech Movement Digital Archive): @
* Free Speech Movement Archives: @
* FSM 50 (UC Berkeley website): @
* SLATE Archives: @
* Photos (Calisphere, University of California): @ and @
* Social Activism Sound Recording Project: The Free Speech Movement and Its Legacy (UC Berkeley): @
* December 2 speech by Mario Savio (text, audio, video; from American Rhetoric): @
* FBI files on Savio: @ 
* "Freedom's Orator: Mario Savio and the Radical Legacy of the 1960s" (Robert Cohen, 2009): @
* "Heated Dispute Focuses World Attention on Berkeley" (Associated Press, December 13, 1964): @ 
* "Panty Raids? No! Tough Campus Revolt" (Life magazine, December 18, 1964): @
* "Berkeley Campus in Revolt" (Michael Shute, New Politics, Fall 1964): @ (Note: many other contemporary articles are available through
* "A Special Supplement: Berkeley and the Fate of the Multiversity" (New York Review of Books, March 11, 1965): @
* "The Beginning: Berkeley, 1964" (Max Heirich, 1968): @
* "The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage" (Todd Gitlin, 1987): @
* "Making Peace with the 60s" (David Burner, 1996): @
* "Berkeley at War: The 1960s" (W.J. Rorabough, 1989): @ 
* "The Free Speech Movement: Coming of Age in the 1960s" (David Lance Goines, 1993): @
* "The Free Speech Movement: Reflections on Berkeley in the 1960s" (2002): @ 
* "At Berkeley in the Sixties: The Education of an Activist, 1961-1965" (Jo Freeman, 2004): @


Sunday, September 27, 1964: Warren Commission report

The assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy on November 22, 1963, was a cruel and shocking act of violence directed against a man, a family, a nation, and against all mankind. A young and vigorous leader whose years of public and private life stretched before him was the victim of the fourth Presidential assassination in the history of a country dedicated to the concepts of reasoned argument and peaceful political change. This Commission was created on November 29, 1963, in recognition of the right of people everywhere to full and truthful knowledge concerning these events. This report endeavors to fulfill that right and to appraise this tragedy by the light of reason and the standard of fairness. It has been prepared with a deep awareness of the Commission's responsibility to present to the American people an objective report of the facts relating to the assassination.  (Introduction to Warren Report)

The assassination of President Kennedy was the work of one man, Lee Harvey Oswald. There was no conspiracy, foreign or domestic. (New York Times)

Lee Harvey Oswald, in a solitary act of violence free of foreign or domestic conspiracy, assassinated President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, the Warren Commission ruled Sunday. (Los Angeles Times)

Why? The great unanswered question in the report of the Warren Commission -- which has just concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald killed President Kennedy -- is why he did it. (Associated Press)

The Secret Service, the FBI, the Dallas police, the State Department and American news media bear the sharpest stings from the Warren Commission for laxness and poor judgment before and after the assassination of President Kennedy. (Associated Press)

The report contains no sensational revelations or unorthodox conclusions. In its sum and substance, it reaffirms almost everything that was already known and understood by most knowledgeable people. Its great value comes from the thoroughness with which the Commission carried out its investigation, from its laying to rest many malignant rumors and speculations, and from its fascinating wealth of detail by which future historians can abide. (Time magazine)

The major significance of the report is that it lays to rest the lurid rumors and wild speculations that had spread after the assassination. (Life magazine)

-- Photo from Allen W. Dulles Papers, Princeton University (Dulles served on the Warren Commission; scale models were built for the investigation)

* Text of report (National Archives): @
* More information from The John F. Kennedy Assassination Information Center: @
* More information from Mary Ferrell Foundation: @
* More information from History Matters: @
* CBS special report, September 27: @
* NBC special report, September 27: @
* New York Times, September 28: @
* Los Angeles Times, September 28: @
* Miami News, September 28: @
* Sarasota Herald-Tribune, September 28: @
* The Guardian, September 28: @
* Time magazine, October 2: @
* Life magazine, October 2: @ 


September 1964: "Notes on 'Camp'"

New York critic and intellectual Susan Sontag (1933-2004) made her name as essayist with the collection "Against Interpretation," a series of writings on contemporary culture and art (twentieth century, and postwar mainly), with which she provided an alternative for the then prevailing modes of interpretation New Criticism, and Modernism. Calling attention to challenges to the canon of high art, Sontag wrote passionately about popular culture (movies, theatre, literature, fashion, arguing for it to be taken seriously as high art. Her political activism penetrated her writings, giving them a pressing topicality, and demonstrating how popular culture embodies its times' ethos. "Notes on 'Camp' " is an attempt to tackle a very visible but nevertheless ignored fascination for forms of art that by all standards would be considered failures (sometimes close to achievement but never quite), but are nevertheless championed by patrons. Sontag claims that camp is an aesthetic sensibility that is characterized by a high degree of, and attention for stylization, artifice, travesty, double entendre, extravagance and unintentional badness. According to Sontag, we find this sensibility especially towards types of art that are closely associated with popular culture, like movies, fashion, design, or television. Sontag claims that in the twentieth century (since Oscar Wilde, she says) the appraisal of camp has taken the form of a cult, of a dedication that aims to challenge the distinctions between good and bad taste. Camp is "good because it's awful." Because, as Sontag writes, "camp taste is, above all, a mode of enjoyment, of appreciation -- not judgment" it can put itself in an outsider position. As such it can be the flea in the fur of proper taste -- a form of buffery, dandyism, or snobbery free from responsibility. Camp is not limited to political and cultural boundaries -- in fact it challenges these by pretending to be about pure aesthetics only. What distinguishes camp from true art is that it fails in its achievement on enlightenment (an argument similar to that of Benjamin). But instead it manages to hold up a mirror to the pretensions and prejudices of the art establishment. And in that sense it is very political.
     -- From "The Cult Film Reader" (2008)

Note: Sontag's essay appeared in the Fall 1964 edition of Partisan Review. While the exact date of publication is uncertain, the edition contains an advertisement of upcoming classical music concerts at New York's Carnegie Hall. The earliest date listed on the ad is September 28, so I'm assuming Partisan Review was published earlier that month.

* Partisan Review, Fall 1964 (Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University): @
* "Against Interpetation: And Other Essays" (Sontag, 1966): @
* Entry on camp (The Chicago School of Media Theory): @
* Susan Sontag Foundation: @
* "Susan Sontag: A Biography" (David Schreiber, 2014): @
* Review of biography (Brain Pickings): @


Thursday, September 17, 1964: 'Goldfinger'

The third and most memorable of the James Bond movies premieres in London. It marked any number of firsts in the Bond canon:
     * First Bond movie to win an Academy Award (Best Sound Effects Editing).
     * First movie in which Bond himself orders a martini, "shaken, not stirred."
     * First Bond movie to include a pre-mission briefing from gadget master Q (who says, "Now pay attention, please.")
     * First in which Bond drives a heavily modified Aston Martin DB5 (including a passenger ejector seat).
     * First movie to feature the Ford Mustang, which had just debuted in April.

* Entry from @
* Entry from BFI Screenonline: @
* Entry from Turner Classic Movies: @
* @
* Film locations, movie stills and production notes (from mitteleuropa): @
* Trailer: @
* "The Making of 'Goldfinger'" (2000 documentary): @
* The Telegraph (UK) review: @
* The Guardian (UK) review: @
* New York Times review: @
* Roger Ebert review (1999): @
* Life magazine cover story (November 6, 1964): @ 


September 1964: Pete Townshend smashes a guitar

During a performance by The High Numbers (later The Who) at London's Railway Hotel, Pete Townshend accidentally breaks the neck of his guitar on the club's low ceiling, then proceeds to shatter the instrument. He would repeat the act innumerable times through the years. Note: While the venue is known, the exact date is not. The band played each Tuesday at the Railway that month (September 8, 15, 22 and 29).

Photo taken at National Jazz and Blues Festival, Royal Windsor Racecourse, July 1966.

* "Smashed Guitars" ( @
* "Rickenbacker Guitars" ( @
* "Pete Townshend and the Auto-Destructive Art of Guitar-Smashing" ( @
* "50 Moments That Changed Rock and Roll: Townshend Smashes It Up" (Rolling Stone): @
* "History: The Story of The Who" ( @
* Footage from a Railway Hotel set (exact date unknown): @


Monday, September 7, 1964: 'Daisy' ad

The most famous of all campaign commercials, known as the "Daisy Girl" ad, ran only once as a paid advertisement, during an NBC broadcast of "Monday Night at the Movies" on September 7, 1964. Without any explanatory words, the ad uses a simple and powerful cinematic device, juxtaposing a scene of a little girl happily picking petals off a flower (actually a black-eyed Susan), and an ominous countdown to a nuclear explosion. The ad was created by the innovative agency Doyle Dane Bernbach, known for its conceptual, minimal, and modern approach to advertising. The memorable soundtrack was created by Tony Schwartz, an advertising pioneer famous for his work with sound, including anthropological recordings of audio from cultures around the world. The frightening ad was instantly perceived as a portrayal of Barry Goldwater as an extremist. ... The ad was replayed in its entirety on ABC's and CBS's nightly news shows, amplifying its impact.
     -- From The Living Room Candidate (Museum of the Moving Image): @
     -- Also see "Ice Cream" from same site: @

* "Daisy: The Complete History of an Infamous and Iconic Ad" ( @
* "Daisy Petals and Mushroom Clouds: LBJ, Barry Goldwater, and the Ad That Changed American Politics" (Robert Mann, 2011): @
* "Daisy Petals" website: @
* "The Responsive Chord" (Tony Schwartz, 1973): @
* Entry from "Encyclopedia of Politics, the Media, and Popular Culture" (2009): @
* Entry from "Encyclopedia of Political Communication" (2008): @
* Passage from "Packaging the Presidency: A History and Criticism of Presidential Campaign Advertising" (Kathleen Hall Jamieson, 2nd edition, 1996): @
* Passage from "The Spot: The Rise of Political Advertising on Television" (Edwin Diamond, 3rd edition, 1992): @
* "Revisiting the Daisy Ad Revolution" (New York Times, 2011): @
* President Johnson's April 17 remarks (source of LBJ quote used in ad; The American Presidency Project): @
* "Love Each Other ... or Die" (United Press International, April 18): @
* Memo from White House aide Jack Valenti (September 7): @
* "LBJ Rips Barry's A-Arms Plan" (Associated Press, September 7): @
* "The Difficulty of 'Being Fair' to Goldwater (Life magazine, September 18): @
* "Campaign is Boosted Via TV" (UPI, October 10): @


Thursday, September 3, 1964: Wilderness Act

President Johnson today signed into law the wilderness conservation bill -- a gift from the present generation to the future of 9 million acres of woodland recreation areas. In a White House bill-signing ceremony, Johnson termed the event "a very happy and history occasion for all who love the out of doors, and that includes me." Under the wilderness bill, 61 million acres of woodland eventually could be preserved in the same state as when Indians roamed the land. Most of the 9 million acres immediately covered is in the Western states.
     -- United Press International (story: @)

* Text: @
* "Johnson Signs Wilderness and Recreation Bills" (Associated Press): @
* Johnson's remarks (The American Presidency Project): @
* Summary (The Wilderness Society): @
* Summary (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service): @
* Summary (U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental and Natural Resources Division): @
* Locations ( @
* "America's Public Lands: From Yellowstone to Smokey Bear and Beyond" (Randall K. Wilson, 2014): @ 


September 1964: Television debuts

All summaries taken verbatim from listings in various newspapers. 

'Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea'
Debut: Monday, September 14, ABC
Summary: An underwater adventure series filled with visual gimmicks which should appeal to the youngsters. Scientist Richard Basehart and Commander David Hedison run things on an atomic-powered sub known as the Seaview.
* Fan websites: @ and @

'Peyton Place'
Debut: Tuesday, September 15, ABC
Summary: Twice-weekly, half-hour, night-time soap opera about life in a small New England town. Dorothy Malone stars. In the premiere, a doctor arrives in town to take up practice. The other half of this serial debuts Thursday.
* Fan website: @
* DVD reviews: @ and @

Debut: Wednesday, September 16, ABC
Summary: The teen set will probably flip for this "fab" musical series which is a cross between a rock 'n' roll concert and a hootenanny. The opener, taped with an eager audience of teen-age enthusiasts, features the various talents of Sam Cooke, the Everly Brothers, the Wellingtons, Jackie and Gayle, Donna Loren, Bobby Sherman and the Righteous Brothers.
* Entry from @

Debut: Thursday, September 17, ABC
Summary: Weekly half-hour situation comedy with Elizabeth Montgomery as a beautiful witch married to a perplexed mortal (Dick York), an advertising man. Agnes Moorehead costars as Miss Montgomery's mother who disapproves of her marriage to a human. In the premiere, York gets a wedding night confession from his bridge that she is a witch.
* Entry from Museum of Broadcast Communications: @

'Jonny Quest'
Debut: Friday, September 18, ABC
Summary: Weekly half-hour animated series about an 11-year-old boy whose father is a scientist and international troubleshooter.
* Entry from The Big Cartoon Database: @

'The Addams Family'
Debut: Friday, September 18, ABC
Summary: Cartoonist Charles Addams' spooky New Yorker magazine creation fits neatly into the TV comedy groove. Carolyn Jones makes a seductive "Morticia"; John Astin is deliciously droll as her weirdo husband "Gomez"; tall Ted Cassidy registers as the butler "Lurch"; Lisa Loring and Ken Weatherwax are perfect as the children "Wednesday and Pugsley"; and baldpated Jackie Coogan as "Uncle Fester" and Blossom Rock as "Granny" round out the cast of regulars. The opener introduces the offbeat household through a visit by a nervous truant office, wildly played by Allyn Joslyn.
* Fan website: @
* Tee & Charles Addams Foundation: @

'12 O'Clock High''
Debut: Friday, September 18, ABC
Summary: An absorbing drama series about a World War II bomber group, greatly enhanced by excellent usage of actual aerial combat footage and the casting of Robert Lansing as General Frank Savage, its star. Lansing is believable right down to the line as the commander of the B-17 bombers.
* Entry from @

Debut: Saturday, September 19, NBC
Summary: Weekly half-hour adventure series about a marine preserve ranger who is a widower. His two young sons and their playmate, a tame dolphin named Flipper. Filmed in Florida.
* Entry from "The Encyclopedia of TV Pets" (2002, Ken Beck and Jim Clark): @

'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'
Debut: Tuesday, September 22, NBC
Summary: Better watch this one because people may ask you questions tomorrow. Robert Vaughn stars as Napoleon Solo, a James Bond type agent-superman, in the wildest, most contrived but in some ways, most entertaining adventure show in many moons. The opening seven minutes set the tone for the hour, and they're the best part of the show since they put you in the mood to accept ingenious plot gimmicks. By finale time, you'll either be on the edge of your seat or on the floor laughing.
* "The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Book" (1987, Jon Heitland): @
* Fan website: @

'The Munsters'
Debut: Thursday, September 24, CBS
Summary: This cheery, wild affair with Frankenstein, Dracula and Vampira will win the kids and many grownups, too. A monster family called the Munsters go to a costume party and are embarrassed to find they're the real McCoy. Herman and Grandpa, with the aid of many special effects, are the most engaging. Nothing scary for the kids in the opener.
* (website of Butch Patrick, who played Eddie Munster): @
* "The Munsters: A Trip Down Mockingbird Lane" (2006, Stephen Cox): @

'Daniel Boone'
Debut: Thursday, September 24, NBC
Summary: Another action-packed series for the kids with pre-Revolutionary frontier adventure to spare and a superhero to ape, played with vigor and vim by series star Fess Parker. In the opening episode, Daniel Boone and his sidekick Yadkin (Albert Salmi) have a bout with the Indians when Gen. George Washington orders them to build a fort.
* Entry from Archive of American Television: @

'Gomer Pyle - USMC'
Debut: Friday, September 25, CBS
Summary: An engaging and humorous opening for Marine Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors), who brings a woman into camp so she can see her boyfriend. This is the same Gomer from the Andy Griffith series, trying to get along with a tough gung-ho sergeant.
* Entry from @
* Entry from "Encyclopedia of the Sixties" (2012): @

'Gilligan's Island'
Debut: Saturday, September 26, CBS
Summary: Another situation comedy, "Gilligan's Island," debuts -- and the landing is dubious. In this one, Bob Denver (of Dobie Gillis fame) is the incredible hero -- First Mate Gilligan of a charter sightseeing boat that is shipwrecked on an uninhabited island in the Hawaii area. His flustered skipper is Alan Hale and his distraught passengers are Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer (a wealthy Long Island couple); Tina Louise (a glamor puss film starlet); Russell Johnson (a befuddled professor) and Dawn Wells (a notion counter clerk). Most of the action concerns the group's amazement at their predicament and their efforts to enlist help through the ship's radio which has been swallowed by a fish.
* Gilligan's Island Fan Club: @
* "Inside Gilligan's Island" (1994, Sherwood Schwartz): @

'My Living Doll'

Debut: Sunday, September 27, CBS
Summary: Bob Cummings plays a space agency psychiatrist who suddenly finds himself custodian of Rhoda, an Air Force top secret robot, played by Julie Newmar. 
Note: Newmar's character helped popularize the phrase "That does not compute." 
* Entry from Television Obscurities: @


Friday, August 28, 1964: Spaghetti Westerns

Directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood as The Man With No Name, "Per un pugno di dollari" ("A Fistful of Dollars") opens in Florence, Italy. The movie, shot in Spain, was influential in the genre that came to be known as the "Spaghetti Western." From the Spaghetti Western Database:

The spaghetti western was born in the first half of the sixties and lasted until the second half of the seventies. It got its name from the fact that most of them were directed and produced by Italians, often in collaboration with other European countries, especially Spain and Germany. The name "spaghetti western" originally was a depreciative term, given by foreign critics to these films because they thought they were inferior to American westerns. Most of the films were made with low budgets, but several still managed to be innovative and artistic, although at the time they didn't get much recognition, even in Europe. In the eighties the reputation of the genre grew and today the term is no longer used disparingly, although some Italians still prefer to call the films western all'italiana (westerns Italian style). In Japan they are called macaroni westerns, in Germany Italowestern.

* The movie's early success led to its opening in Rome on September 12, but it was not released in the United States until 1967.
* The Sergio Leone biography linked below quotes him as saying the film opened on August 27. However, he goes on to talk about the film's poor attendance on Friday (August 28) and Saturday; also, most Italian websites list the date as August 28.

* "A Fistful of Dollars" entry from Turner Classic Movies: @
* "Westerns ... All'Italiana!" (blog): @
* "Spaghetti Westerns: The Good, the Bad and the Violent" (Thomas Weisser, 1992): @
* "Once Upon A Time in the Italian West: The Filmgoers' Guide to Spaghetti Westerns" (Howard Hughes, 2004): @
* "Sergio Leone: Something to Do with Death" (Christopher Frayling, 2000): @
* "The Films of Sergio Leone" (Robert C. Cumbow, 2008): @
* @ 

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