1960: Year in review

* "Eyewitness: Remember 1960" (CBS News program): @
* "1960: Year of Upheaval" (News of the Day newsreel): @
* Audio and transcripts from UPI: @
* Article from George Mason University's History News Network: @


Wednesday, December 28, 1960: 'Where the Boys Are'

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, becomes a premier spring break destination for college students after the release of the movie "Where the Boys Are." Its stars include Dolores Hart, Yvette Mimieux, George Hamilton and Jim Hutton. The theme song, performed by Connie Francis (also making her screen debut) is a worldwide hit.

* Movie summary (from TCM.com): @
* Watch movie trailer: @
* Listen to theme song: @
* "The Innocent Birth of the Spring Baccahanal" (2006 article from New York times; click on "multimedia"): @


Tuesday, December 27, 1960: The Beatles in Litherland

In what is now considered a milestone moment for the band, the Beatles play at Litherland Town Hall in north Liverpool, England. The group (except for Stuart Sutcliffe) had recently returned from Hamburg, Germany. Chas Newby played bass on this night. Why a milestone moment? They were a much better band after their Hamburg stint, and accounts from that night indicate a rapidly growing excitement about their sound and performances.

* Summary from www.beatlesbible.com: @
* From "The Beatles" (book by Hunter Davies): @


Monday, December 26, 1960: Operation Pedro Pan begins

Operation Pedro Pan was a program under which children were sent from Cuba to the United States, where they would receive education and care. It was operated by the Catholic Welfare Bureau of Miami and financed in part by the U.S. government. More than 14,000 children made the journey between December 1960 and October 1962, when the Cuban Missile Crisis brought an end to commercial flights between the two countries.

* pedropan.org: @
* Miami Herald site (stories and database): @
* "Operation Pedro Pan: The Untold Exodus of 14,048 Cuban Children" (book): @
* "Escape from Havana: An American Story" (CNBC video): @


Friday, December 16, 1960: Plane crash in New York

A United Airlines DC-8 and a TWA Super Constellation collide over New York City. 127 of the 128 people on the flights are killed; 6 people on the ground die. United passenger Steven Baltz, 11, survives but dies the next day.

* More about Steven Baltz: @
* Story about nurse who tended to Baltz (New York Times, 2002): @
* Flight paths: @
* Accident descriptions (from Aviation Safety Network): @ and @
* Front page of The New York Times (December 17): @
* "Death in the Air" (Time magazine, December 26): @
* New York Times stories marking 50th anniversary: @


Thursday, December 15, 1960: Dalton Trumbo

The movie "Exodus" premieres, with Dalton Trumbo listed as screenwriter. Director Otto Preminger's decision to hire and credit Trumbo helped end the era of the Hollywood Blacklist, when film professionals were denied work because of their suspected ties to Communism. Trumbo was among the "Hollywood Ten," who refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee; he served 10 months in federal prison as a result. (Photo is of Trumbo, left, and screenwriter John Howard Lawson heading to prison.)

* "Hollywood Blacklist" (from "Encyclopedia of the American Left"): @
* "The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community 1930-1960" (book): @
* "Congressional Committees and Unfriendly Witnesses": @
* "The Hollywood Ten" (short film): @
* More about "Exodus" (from Turner Classic Movies): @
* New York Times review of "Exodus" (December 16): @

Thursday, December 15, 1960: Teflon

The first Teflon-coated non-stick cookware, called "T-Fal" in the United States, goes on sale at Macy's department store in New York. It quickly sells out. (The ad at left is from France; it says "never sticks.")

* Summary: @
* Short history (from www.t-falusa.com): @
* "Making Teflon Stick" (Invention & Technology magazine, 2000): @
* "A Brief History of Fluoropolymers" (DuPont publication): @
* "DuPont's Teflon Cover-Up" (from environmentalchemistry.com): @


Wednesday, December 14, 1960: Space/UFO report

The Brookings Institution in Washington releases a report (prepared for NASA) titled "Proposed Studies on the Implications of Peaceful Space Activities for Human Affairs."

The report includes a section titled "The Implications of a Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life." It states, "The knowledge that life existed in other parts of the universe might lead a greater unity of men on earth, based on the oneness of man or on the age-old assumption that any stranger is threatening." Yet it also cautions that "Anthropological files contain many examples of societies, sure of their place in the universe, which have disintegrated when they have had to associate with previously unfamiliar societies espousing different ideas and different life ways..."

* Report: @
* New York Times article (December 15): @
* Brookings Institution website: @


Wednesday, December 7, 1960: Challenge to school prayer

"Madalyn Murray (later O'Hair) filed suit in the Superior Court of Baltimore, Maryland, asking the Court to rule that required Bible reading and recitation of the Lord's Prayer in the city's public schools are unconstitutional." (From the book "The Atheist: Madalyn Murray O'Hair.") In 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court would rule in her favor; her case had been consolidated with Abington School District v. Schempp on appeal to the high court.

* Short biography (from PBS's "God in America" series): @
* More from "The Atheist: Madalyn Murray O'Hair": @
* More about Abington case: @
* American Atheists website: @


Tuesday, December 6, 1960: 'Little Boy' and 'Fat Man'

The U.S. government allows publication of photos of the types of atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan in 1945. The photo at far left is similar to "Little Boy," the nickname given the bomb dropped on Hiroshima; "Fat Man" was the Nagasaki bomb. Why the 15-year delay? "The executive branch of government ... have held that use of the photos might have an adverse effect on international relations, especially in Japan, where the bombs were used," reported the Associated Press.

* Los Angeles Mirror front page (Dec. 6): @
* Time magazine article (Dec. 19, 1960): @
* The Manhattan Project (from U.S. Department of Energy): @
* The Manhattan Project (from atomicarchive.com): @

Tuesday, December 6, 1960: Arctic National Wildlife Range

Nearly 9 million acres in northeastern Alaska are set aside as protected areas "for the purpose of preserving wildlife, wilderness and recreational values." In 1980 the designated area was doubled in size and renamed the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

* Refuge website: @
* Text of Public Land Order creating range: @
* Panoramic photos: @
* "Potential Impacts of Proposed Oil and Gas Development": @
* Izembek National Wildlife Range (also established on this date): @


Monday, December 5, 1960: Boynton v. Virginia

The U.S. Supreme Court rules that racial segregation in bus terminals and related facilities associated with interstate travel (waiting rooms, restaurants, etc.) is illegal under the Interstate Commerce Act. The 7-2 ruling sets the stage for the "Freedom Rides" through the South the next year. (Future Supreme Court judge Thurgood Marshall argues the case for the plaintiffs; Justice Hugo Black, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, writes the majority opinion.)

* Summary of case: @
* Text of decision: @
* Listen to oral arguments: @
* Excerpt from "Freedom's Main Line: The Journey of Reconciliation and the Freedom Rides": @


Saturday, December 3, 1960: 'Camelot'

The musical opens on Broadway, with Richard Burton as King Arthur, Julie Andrews as Queen Guenevere and Robert Goulet as Sir Lancelot. This telling of the Arthurian legend was adapted from T.H. White's book "The Once and Future King." The original cast album was a huge success as well; its most memorable song was "If Ever I Would Leave You," sung by Goulet.

* Show summary: @
* Lyrics: @
* Entry from "The Oxford Companion to the American Musical": @
* Listen to "If Ever I Would Leave You": @

Saturday, December 3, 1960: 'Goodness Gracious Me!'

The comedy duet by Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren peaks at No. 4 on the British popular music charts. It was recorded for the movie "The Millionairess," but was not used. The song was produced by George Martin, who in two years' time would begin producing The Beatles' records.

* Listen to the song: @
* Singles chart for December 3: @
* Summary of "The Millionairess: @


Wednesday, November 30, 1960: The last DeSoto

The Chrysler Corporation's DeSoto line, introduced in 1928, comes to an end as the company's Jefferson Avenue plant in Detroit turns out the last model. The mid-priced DeSoto was partly done in by Chrysler's increasing emphasis on low-priced cars.

* History of the DeSoto: @
* "The 1955-1961 DeSoto cars: End of the Line": @
* 1960-1961 DeSoto: @
* DeSotoland website: @
* "Riding the Roller Coaster: A History of the Chrysler Corporation": @


Tuesday, November 29, 1960: Kennedy's Cuba briefing

In November, President-elect John F. Kennedy learns in detail about U.S. plans to help overthrow the government of Cuba. CIA director Allen Dulles meets with Kennedy on November 18 at Kennedy's home in Palm Beach, Florida (photo at left); Dulles tells Kennedy about an invasion force of Cuban exiles being trained in Guatemala.

In the years since, it has been widely reported that a second, more detailed briefing occurred on November 29, during which Kennedy told Dulles to proceed with the operation. However, the CIA says it is very unlikely that this meeting ever took place. Click here for "CIA Briefings of Presidential Candidates"; scroll down to "The Mystery Briefing of Late November."

"A Program for Covert Action Against the Castro Regime" (from March 1960): @


Sunday, November 27, 1960: 'Leap Into The Void'

French artist Yves Klein publishes a four-page newspaper called Dimanche (Sunday), sold for one day only in Paris. On the front page is one in a series of photos that came to be known as "Leap Into The Void." The image was manipulated and does not show the tarpaulin and the people on the street who actually caught Klein. Still debated, it's said to represent, in part, mankind (or artists) entering space.
* Yves Klein website: @
* The four pages of Dimanche (from Klein's website): @
* More about the image (from ARTnews): @
* Entry from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: @. Part of the exhibition "Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop": overview @ and works @
* Other photos from the montage: @


Saturday, November 26, 1960: Debate over sit-ins

Kilpatrick: "... it is an interesting experience to be here tonight and see Mr. King assert a right to obey those laws he chooses to obey and disobey those he chooses not to obey and insist the whole time that he has what he terms the highest respect for law, because he is abiding by the moral law of the universe."

King: "... I think in disobeying these laws, the students are really seeking to affirm the just law of the land and the Constitution of the United States. I would say this -- that all people should obey just laws, but I would also say, with St. Augustine, than an unjust law is no law at all. And when we find an unjust law, I think we have a moral obligation to take a stand against it ..."

For footage of the debate, go to www.nbclearn.com/portal/site/learn, then click on "Free resources" and "Finishing the Dream." The footage is under "1960-1962: Freedom Fighters."

* Transcript: @
* Passage from "Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr." (book): @
* Richmond Times-Dispatch article (November 27, 1960): @
* Kilpatrick obituary (New York Times, August 2010): @
* "The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation" (book): @


Friday, November 25, 1960: 'Harvest of Shame'

The documentary on migrant farm workers in the United States is broadcast on CBS the day after Thanksgiving. Journalist Edward R. Murrow narrates, opening with these words over footage of workers: "This is not taking place in the Congo. It has nothing to do with Johnannesburg or Cape Town. It is not Nyasaland or Nigeria. This is Florida. These are citizens of the United States, 1960. This is a shape-up for migrant workers. The hawkers are chanting the going piece rate at the various fields. This is the way the humans who harvest the food for the best-fed people in the world get hired. One farmer looked at this and said, 'We used to own our slaves. Now we just rent them.' " The hour-long telecast, shocking to many viewers, immediately leads to a greater public and political awareness of the workers' lives. (In 1962, Congress would pass the Migrant Health Act, providing support for clinics serving agricultural workers.)

* Watch "Harvest of Shame": @
* The show and its impact, from "Investigated Reporting" (book): @
* Summary from "History in the Media" (book): @
* "The Excluded Americans" (Time magazine, December 5): @
* New York Times review: @


Friday, November 25, 1960: Mirabal sisters killed

Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa Mirabal of the Dominican Republic were sisters who actively opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. They were beaten to death while going to visit Patria and Minerva's imprisoned husbands. (The sisters themselves had previously been jailed for their activities.) The government declared the sisters had died in an accident, but the public outcry turned them into symbols of resistance to the regime. (Trujillo would be assassinated in May 1961.)

In 1999 the United Nation designated November 25 as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

* Summary from Amnesty International: @
* More about the Mirabal family: @ and @
* About "In the Time of the Butterflies" (novel based on the sisters): @
* More about U.N. designation: @
* Photo gallery: @

Friday, November 25, 1960: Goldwater misquoted

Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, in Los Angeles for a speech to the National Interfraternity Conference, is reported to have said, "Where fraternities are not allowed, communism flourishes." The quote was widely repeated, both at the time ("Fraternities Help Curb Reds, Goldwater Says," reported The New York Times) and ever since.

What Goldwater actually said was "Where fraternities are not allowed, Keynesianism flourishes."

Goldwater was referring specifically to Harvard University, which at the time did not allow traditional Greek fraternities and which he saw as the center of Keynesianism. (Kenyesianism being the economic theory that government intervention was necessary for an economy to fully flourish; Goldwater opposed such managed capitalism and pushed for smaller, less intrusive government.)

He also said in defense of fraternities: "They are probably the greatest bastion we have for our future, the great bastion we have where we can develop leaders to take care of the protection of the Republic and our way of life."

* Summary of Keynesianism: @
* "We Are All Keynesians Now" (Time magazine, December 31, 1965): @
* "They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes & Misleading Attributions": @

Friday, November 25, 1960: 'Amos 'n' Andy'

The last radio episode of "Amos 'n' Andy" airs. Set in the black community, its main characters were Amos Jones and Andy Brown, Georgia-born men who had moved to Chicago. The show first aired in 1928 as a nightly radio serial, written and voiced by white actors Freeman Godsen and Charles Correll (shown in blackface at left); in 1943 the show's format was changed to a weekly situation comedy, and then again in 1954 to one featuring short comedy bits and recorded music. (A spin-off TV series ran from 1951 to 1953.) In the years since, the show's depiction of blacks has been described as both stereotypical and humanizing.

Listen to episodes:
-- From Archive.org: @
-- From OldTimeRadioFans.com: @
-- From FreeOTRshows.com: @

* More from "Museum of Broadcast Communications Encylopedia of Radio": @
* More from the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia: @
* More from Museum of Broadcast Communications: @
* Watch "Amos 'n' Andy: Anatomy of a Controversy": @
* "Amos 'n' Andy Explained" (Popular Science Monthly, 1930): @


Sunday, November 20, 1960: Gifford and Bednarik

A pro football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants yields this famous photo (click on it to enlarge). Here's what happened (from ESPN.com):

"Trailing the Eagles 17-10, the New York Giants were trying to mount a late comeback at Yankee Stadium. Halfback Frank Gifford reached back to catch Charlie Conerly's pass, and he turned upfield in routine fashion. That's when Chuck Bednarik came along and changed both their lives. ... Bednarik's crushing blow to Gifford's chest left the running back on his back, out cold with a severe concussion -- and out of football the rest of that season and all the next year as well. As Eagles linebacker Chuck Weber recovered the fumble that seemed almost an afterthought to the ferocity of the hit, Bednarik stood over Gifford, pumping his right arm, doing a dance and yelling 'This ------- game is over.'

" 'I was celebrating,' Bednarik said. 'But the reason wasn't that he was down. The reason was that the hit won the game.' "

The Eagles went on to win the 1960 NFL championship.

Both men are now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

* Hall of Fame profile of Bednarik: @
* Short documentary on Bednarik: @
* Hall of Fame profile of Gifford: @
* 2010 story from The New York Times: @


Wednesday, November 16, 1960: The death of Clark Gable

Movie star Clark Gable dies, 10 days after suffering a heart attack and 12 days after finishing his last film, "The Misfits." He was 59. "The Misfits" had been a physically demanding role for Gable, who lost some 30 pounds before filming began. He won the Academy Award for best actor in 1934 for "It Happened One Night." He was also nominated in 1935 for "Mutiny on the Bounty" and in 1939 for his best-known role, as Rhett Butler in "Gone With the Wind." (The photo is from the 1936 movie "San Francisco.")

* Short biography from Turner Classic Movies: @
* Death certificate: @
* Los Angeles Mirror front page: @
* Synopsis of "It Happened One Night": @
* Clip from "It Happened One Night" (Gable's mannerisms while eating the carrot helped inspire the persona of cartoon character Bugs Bunny): @
* Synopsis of "Mutiny on the Bounty": @
* Synopsis of "Gone With the Wind": @


Monday, November 14, 1960: Gomillion v. Lightfoot

The U.S. Supreme Court overturns a redistricting plan enacted by the Alabama legislature, which redrew the boundaries of the City of Tuskegee. The court found that the plan -- which changed the city's shape from a square to a 28-sided border (click on image to enlarge) -- violated the 15th Amendment to the Constitution and was done expressly to exclude black voters from city elections.

* Case summary: @ and @
* Ruling and Justice Felix Frankfurter's opinion: @
* Listen to oral arguments: @
* Redistricting the Nation: @
* More about the Fifteenth Amendment: @

Monday, November 14, 1960: Integration of New Orleans schools

Under a federal court order originally handed down in 1956, black children begin attending New Orleans public schools. Three girls (Leona Tate, Tessie Provost and Gail Etienne) enter first grade at McDonogh No. 19 Public School, while one (Ruby Bridges) starts first grade at William Frantz Public School. Federal marshals escort the girls into and out of the schools, past crowds of protesters. Parents pull their children out of Ruby's class, leaving just her and her teacher -- Barbara Henry -- for the rest of the school year. (By the start of the next year, William Frantz would be integrated.) Leona, Tessie and Gail were the only students at McDonogh for the entire school year. White students never returned, and McDonogh became an all-black school in 1962.

* Entry from National Women's History Museum: @
* Interviews with Ruby Bridges: @ (New Orleans Magazine) and @ (BBC)
* "Through My Eyes" (Bridges' autobiography, 1999): @
* Ruby Bridges Foundation: @
* Leona Tate's story: @
* Leona Tate Foundation for Change: @
* "The McDonogh Three" (2004 story from The Times-Picayune): @
* 2010 coverage from the Times-Picayune: @
* More about New Orleans school integration (summary and footage) from Civil Rights Digital Library: @
* Chapter from "Race and Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana, 1915-1972": @

Author John Steinbeck witnessed the scene at William Frantz Elementary and wrote about it in "Travels with Charley," published in 1962:
"The big marshals stood her on the curb and a jangle of jeering shrieks went up from behind the barricades. The little girl did not look at the howling crowd but from the side the whites of her eyes showed like those of a frightened fawn. The men turned her around like a doll, and then the strange procession moved up the broad walk toward the school, and the child was even more a mite because the men were so big. Then the girl made a curious hop, and I think I know what it was. I think in her whole life she had not gone ten steps without skipping, but now in the middle of her first skip the weight bore her down and her little round feet took measured, reluctant steps between the tall guards. Slowly they climbed the steps and entered the school."

Artist Norman Rockwell depicted the event in "The Problem We All Live With," which appeared in Look magazine on January 14, 1964.

* The making of the painting: @


November 12, 1960: 'Menstruation and Accidents'

"Doctors know that the menstruating woman tends to be irritable, lethargic, depressed, violent or in rare cases, suicidal. She is less punctual and more forgetful; she may even be temporarily less intelligent. Last week, in the British Medical Journal, Dr. Katharina Dalton suggested that menstruation makes a woman more likely to be involved in an accident."

That was Time magazine's summary of "Menstruation and Accidents," published by Dr. Dalton in the November 12, 1960, edition of the British Medical Journal. Dr. Dalton found women were much more accident-prone in the days just before or just after the onset of menstruation. She attributed this to "slow reaction time and loss of judgment."

Dr. Dalton was also credited with coining the term PMS (premenstrual syndrome) in 1953.

* Full text of study: @
* Full text of Time article: @
* "The prophet of PMS": @
* "Once a Month: Understanding and Treating PMS" (first published in 1978): @
* "Schoolgirls' Behaviour and Menstruation" (1960 study by Dalton): @
* Dalton obituaries:
-- @ (The Times, London)
-- @ (The New York Times)
-- @ (The Lancet)


Wednesday, November 9, 1960: Robert McNamara

Robert Strange McNamara assumes the presidency of Ford Motor Company, the first president not a member of the Ford family. He would hold the job less than two months; on January 3, 1961, he became Secretary of Defense for the incoming Kennedy administration.

* Summary from History.com: @
* Article from Motor Trend: @
* Article from American Heritage: @
* "Robert McNamara: The Father of the Ford Falcon" (New York Times): @
* "Ford's Fastest Whiz Kid" (November 21, 1960 article from Time magazine): @


Tuesday, November 8, 1960: John F. Kennedy elected president

Democrat John F. Kennedy is elected president of the United States, defeating Republican Richard Nixon in the closest race of the 20th century. The New York Times put the narrowness of the race into perspective, writing that Kennedy won "by the astonishing margin of less than two votes per voting district." The outcome was not decided until Wednesday, November 9, when Minnesota came in for Kennedy, and Nixon finally conceded.

The final numbers:
-- Kennedy: 34.2 million votes (49.7%), 303 electoral votes (269 needed for victory).
-- Nixon: 34.1 million votes (49.5%), 219 electoral votes.

Among the states that Kennedy barely won:
-- Illinois (27 electoral votes): Kennedy 2,377,846; Nixon 2,368,988
-- Texas (24): Kennedy 1,167,567; Nixon 1,121,310
-- New Jersey (16): Kennedy 1,385,415; Nixon 1,363,324
-- Missouri (13): Kennedy 972,201; Nixon 962,221
-- Minnesota (11): Kennedy 779,933; Nixon 757,915

Just over 40,000 votes -- the combined margins of Illinois, New Jersey and Missouri -- denied Nixon the presidency. (Use the link below to calculate other scenarios that would have given Nixon the victory.)

Computers made their election-night debut on TV, introducing the concept of "projections" to viewers. Time magazine wrote: "ABC promises a cast of 1,000, not counting Univac, headed by John Daly. CBS counters with the new IBM 7090 and its sidekick RAMAC 305 to tally ballots 'within thousandths of a second,' will also use humans, with Walter Cronkite as anchor man. NBC boasts an RCA 501 and a similar 1,000-man task force, commanded by Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, needless to say."

* Election night footage from NBC:
-- Part 1: @
-- Part 2: @
-- Part 3: @
-- Part 4: @
-- Part 5: @
-- Part 6: @
-- Part 7: @
-- Part 8: @
-- Part 9: @
-- Observations about NBC's coverage: @
-- "They'll Tell You How You'll Vote" (Popular Mechanics article on computers, 1964): @

Other links:
-- State-by-state results: @ and @
-- Calculate different scenarios: @
-- 2000 Washington Post story on vote totals and Nixon's decision not to ask for a recount: @
-- Los Angeles Times front pages (November 8-9): @
-- Boston Globe front page (November 9): @
-- New York Times front page (November 9 - page @ and story @)
-- New York Times front page (November 10): @
-- Kennedy speeches, November 7: @ (transcript, Faneuil Hall) and @ (video, Boston Garden)
-- Nixon appearance, early November 9: @
-- Kennedy acceptance speech, November 9: @
-- Newsreel: @

Blog archive


Follow: @