Friday, September 30, 1960: 'The Flintstones'

The cartoon about a "modern Stone Age family" debuts in prime time on ABC. The main characters -- Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty -- closely resemble those on "The Honeymooners," the popular comedy from the mid-'50s starring Jackie Gleason. The familiar theme song would not be part of the show until 1962. (This image is from the first episode; it's the moment when Fred says "Yabba-dabba-doo" for the first time.)

* Show summary (Museum of Broadcast Communications): @
* Watch the first episode, "The Flintstone Flyer": @ and @ and @
* More about the first episode: @
* Early reviews of show (most were not positive): @
* Flintstones and Hanna-Barbera website: @
* Watch ads for Winston cigarettes: @ and @
* Other new shows from fall 1960: @


Wednesday, September 28, 1960: Ted Williams retires

One of the greatest hitters in baseball history hits a home run in his final at-bat for the Boston Red Sox. Williams missed nearly five seasons worth of playing time while serving in the military -- during World War II and again during the Korean War.

* Timeline: @
* Career statistics: @
* Boston Globe coverage: @
* "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu": (story by John Updike for The New Yorker): @
* Slideshow from Life magazine: @
* Official website: @


Tuesday, September 27, 1960: Travolator

Europe's first "moving platform" opens to the public, as part of London's subway system. (The world's first such system dates to 1954 in New Jersey.)

* More about Travolator: @
* Newsreel: @
* Photo from first day: @
* "Conveyor Belts to Move Crowds" (Popular Science magazine, 1954): @
* "Passenger Conveyors" (book): @

Undated: Surf rock

With its catchy, signature sound of jangling, reverb-heavy electric guitars, surf rock starts to take its place on radio stations and singles charts. Early surf rock songs were usually instrumentals.

There's no consensus on the very first surf rock song, but typically on the short list are Duane Eddy's "Movin' 'N' Groovin' " (1958), The Ventures' "Walk, Don't Run" (1960), Dick Dale's "Let's Go Trippin' " (1961) and The Belairs' "Mr. Moto" (1961).

The genre's first big hit was "Walk, Don't Run," which reached No. 2 on the Billboard charts for the week ending August 29, 1960 (sandwiched between Elvis Presley's "It's Now or Never" and Chubby Checker's "The Twist").

* Surf rock primer: @ and @
* Top 100 surf rock songs: @
* www.surfmusic.com: @
* surfguitar101.com: @
* Listen to "Walk, Don't Run": @
* More about "Walk, Don't Run": @ and @
* Listen to "Movin' 'N' Groovin' ": @
* Listen to "Let's Go Trippin' ": @
* Listen to "Mr. Moto": @

Tuesday, September 27, 1960: 'Ten Years of TV'

Look magazine assesses the state of American television in a cover story titled "TEN YEARS OF TV: How it's better / How it's worse / A forecast of the season ahead." The article reads: "Intellectuals complain that so potent a medium will undermine our values with its escapism, materialism and repetitiousness. ... Others look upon TV as primarily an entertainment medium, whose purpose should be to act as a giant tranquilizer."

Also in the issue, which featured actor Robert Stack on the cover: "How 'The Untouchables' Hypoed TV's Crime Wave."

* Text of TV article: @
* More about "The Untouchables": @
* "Eliot Ness and the Untouchables: The Historical Reality and the Film and Television Depictions" (book): @


Saturday, September 24, 1960: 'Howdy Doody' ends

The last episode of the children's show "Howdy Doody" airs on NBC. It ends with the only words ever spoken by the clown Clarabell Hornblow: "Goodbye, kids." (Photo shows the first person to play Clarabell: Bob Keeshan, who went on to become Captain Kangaroo.)

* Footage from last episode: @
* Footage from show's opening: @
* Entry from "Encyclopedia of Television": @
* Show summary (from www.tv-pop-cult.com): @
* Characters and assorted facts: @

Saturday, September 24, 1960: USS Enterprise

The world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is launched from Newport News, Virginia. At the time, "The Big E" was the biggest ship ever built.

* Summary: @
* Navy site: @
* Federation of American Scientists site: @
* History through present day: @
* Other sites: @ and @
* Footage of christening (without sound): @


Undated: Miss America

Lynda Lee Mead of Natchez, Mississippi, is crowned Miss America for 1960 (the pageant was held in September 1959). She is from the same sorority (Chi Omega) at the same school (the University of Mississippi) as the previous year's winner, Mary Ann Mobley of Brandon. (Photo shows Mead, left, and Mobley after Mead was crowned Miss Mississippi in August 1959.)

Time magazine takes note: "For the second consecutive year Miss Mississippi became Miss America: Natchez' brunette, green-eyed, 20-year-old Lynda Lee Mead (36-24-36, 5 ft. 7 in., 120 lbs.), successor and University of Mississippi Chi Omega sorority sister of 1959's brunette Mary Ann Mobley, 22 (34 1/2-22-35, 5 ft. 5 in., 114 lbs.)." Life magazine refers to the two as part of the "New Mississippi queen crop."

* Pageant footage (without sound): @
* Miss America website: @
* "All the Miss Americas, Then and Now" (from Life magazine): @
* Prominent Chi Omegas: @


Undated: Railroad steam era fades away

Norfolk and Western Railway is the last major railroad line to convert its engines from steam to diesel (May 7). These two iconic photos are from O. Winston Link, who documented the last years of steam-powered trains.

* Last steam runs of other railroad lines: @
* Norfolk and Western Historical Society: @
* More about Norfolk and Western: @ and @
* "Post-war Railroads": @
* O. Winston Link Museum: @
* Link's obituary: @
* Details on photos: @ and @ (left); @ (right)

Undated: Solar-powered car (update*)

Dr. Charles Alexander Escoffery develops and demonstrates a solar-powered car: a 1912 Baker electric with 10,640 silicon cells arrayed on the roof that convert sunlight to electricity. On a full charge the car can run for 3 hours at a top speed of 20 miles per hour.

* Dr. Escoffery, who is still alive, sent along this additional information: "The car was a renovated 1912 Baker Electric with a panel of photovoltaic cells on the roof and lead acid batteries front and rear. It was a project of The International Rectifier Corporation to publicize their photocells and although power output of the cells was only 100w, it attracted world-wide attention with people believing gasoline (petrol) would no longer be needed to power their automobiles. The car was demonstrated in Chicago, New York City, Rome, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and London."

* Article from Science and Mechanics magazine (August 1960): @
* Other solar-powered devices in magazines (1920s-1950s): @
* "Solar Energy Back in the Day" (Life magazine slideshow): @
* "The Quest for New Solar Batteries" (New Scientist article, August 1960): @
* Footage of Escoffery's car: @ and @ and @
* More about Baker cars at electric vehicle sites: @ and @


Undated: Herman Leonard

Photos taken in 1960 by the renowned photographer of jazz greats. Click on them for a larger view. (From left: Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.)

* Herman Leonard website: @
* Selections of photos: @ and @
* Articles: @ and @
* Obituaries (Leonard died in August 2010): @ and @


Undated: Flannery O'Connor

1960 sees the publication in February of "The Violent Bear It Away," the second (and last) novel by the influential Georgia-born author, as well as the essay "Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction." The latter was not published during her lifetime (O'Connor died in 1964); it was a lecture given at Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga., in October. It contains this passage: "Of course, I have found that anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the Northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic."

* Short biographies: @ and @ and @
* www.flanneryconnor.org (lots of information and links): @
* Essays by Joyce Carol Oates: @
* Text of "Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction": @
* Audio of O'Connor reading the essay: @


Undated: Orange Slice Chair

Designed by Pierre Paulin for the Netherlands furniture maker Artifort, it was an immediate success when it was introduced at a trade fair in Cologne, Germany.

* More about the chair: @
* Pierre Paulin website: @
* Artifort website: @


Wednesday, September 14, 1960: Sir Edmund Hillary

Sir Edmund Hillary (who with Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay were the first people known to have reached the top of Mount Everest, in 1953) sets off on the Himalayan Scientific and Mountaineering Expedition. While a primary objective of Hillary's mission is to study the effects of high altitude on the human body, he is also searching for physical evidence of the Yeti, the so-called Abominable Snowman. Fur samples collected by Hillary's team turn out to be those of a bear and a serow (a goat-like animal).
* Hillary biography (from New Zealand History online): @
* "Epitaph to the Elusive Abominable Snowman" (article by Hillary for Life magazine), January 1961: @
* Yeti descriptions and links: @ (Museum of Unnatural History) and @ (Live Science)
* "Abominable Snowmen" (Ivan T. Sanderson, 1961): @

Wednesday, September 14, 1960: OPEC

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is established during a four-day meeting in Baghdad, Iraq. Its members are Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela; its mission is "ensuring the stabilization of prices in international oil markets with a view to eliminating harmful and unncessary price fluctuations." It was created in response to the United States' decision to restrict the amount of oil imported from those countries in favor of oil from Canada and Mexico. That action had depressed the OPEC countries' oil prices while benefiting U.S. oil companies.

* OPEC history: @ and @
* "The Founding of OPEC" (from New York Times): @
* Timeline: @
* Economic overview: @ and @
* Statute: @
* Short history of oil: @


Tuesday, September 13, 1960: Lee Harvey Oswald

Lee Harvey Oswald's honorable discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve is changed to an "undesirable discharge," based on "reliable information which indicated that he had renounced his U.S. citizenship with the intentions of becoming a permanent citizen of the Union of Soviet Socialists Republic." (This 1960 photo is from when Oswald worked at a radio-television factory in Minsk.) The same day, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy campaigns in Dallas, Texas; his motorcade takes him through Dealey Plaza.

* Oswald timeline: @
* Oswald biography (from Warren Commission report): @
* Dealey Plaza timeline: @

Undated: 'The Neurotic's Notebook'

Mignon McLaughlin worked as an editor at Glamour magazine and wrote short stories for several magazines. She also wrote aphorisms that were compiled in 1960 into "The Neurotic's Notebook." Among the more widely quoted: "Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers."

* Selected quotes: @ and @
* Facebook page: @


Monday, September 12, 1960: JFK on religion

In a speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in Texas, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy addresses the issue of religion in the campaign -- specifically, his relationship with the Vatican and whether he as a Roman Catholic would respect the separation of church and state. (This is also known as the "I Believe in an America" speech.)

* Transcript, audio and partial footage (from American Rhetoric): @
* Complete footage, plus question and answer session (from C-SPAN): @
* Earlier JFK speech on "The Religious Issue in American Politics" (April 21, 1960; from National Archives): @
* "Background Memorandum Prepared by Democratic National Committee" (from The American Presidency Project): @
* "Competence, Catholicity and the Candidates" (chapter from "Packaging the Presidency: A History and Criticism of Presidential Campaign Advertising" (Kathleen Hall Jameson, 1984): @
* "The Religious Factor in the 1960 Presidential Election" (Albert J. Menendez, 2011): @
* "The Making of a Catholic President: Kennedy vs. Nixon 1960" (Shaun A. Casey, 2009): @
* Commentaries on speech (from thecatholicthing.org): @
* "Did JFK have a greater impact on religion than any other modern president?" (Dallas Morning News, 2013): @
* "Anti-Catholic Movement" (from "The Oxford Companion to United States History"): @


Sunday, September 11, 1960: Young Americans for Freedom

The politically conservative group for young people is established during a weekend meeting at the home of William F. Buckley, Jr., then the editor of The National Review magazine. Its founding principles are known as The Sharon Statement (Sharon, Connecticut, being the home of Buckley). The photo at left is of Brian Whalen, a student at Loyola University in Chicago.

* Text of Sharon Statement: @
* YAF website (now called Young America's Foundation): @
* Works by Buckley (from Hillsdale College): @
* The Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal: @
* "Writings of Kirk and Buckley" (C-SPAN video, 2002): @
* "The Other Side of the Sixties: Young Americans for Freedom and the Rise of Conservative Politics" (1997 book by John A. Andrew): @
* "Who's Who in the Tumult of the Far Right" (Life magazine, February 9, 1962): @
* Video of 50th anniversary event: @


Thursday, August 25 - Sunday, September 11, 1960: Summer Olympics

The Games of the XVII Olympiad take place in Rome, Italy. More than 5,000 athletes from 83 countries are competing in 150 events. The official emblem depicts a Roman she-wolf, nursing Romulus and Remus. (Legend has it that the twins founded the city of Rome.)
-- Emblem: @

* Sunday, September 11: Games conclude. The final medal count: Russia 103, United States 71, Germany 42.
-- Medals by country: @

* Saturday, September 10: Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia wins the marathon -- running barefoot. He is the first black African to win a gold medal.
-- Footage from Olympic.org: @
-- Footage in Italian (two parts): @ and

* Wednesday, September 7:
Don Bragg of the United States wins gold in the pole vault. His nickname is "Tarzan"; he lets loose with a Tarzan yell from the victory podium and hopes to play the jungle man in the movies (as Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller had before him).
-- Life magazine photo spread: @
-- 2003 article: @
-- Excerpts from "A Chance to Dare: The Don Bragg Story" (book):

* Tuesday, September 6:
The battle for the decathlon gold -- between Rafer Johnson of the United States and C.K. Yang of Taiwan -- comes down to the 10th of 10 events, the 1,500-meter race. Johnson has the overall lead, though Yang has won 6 of the previous 9 events. To win the gold, Yang will have to defeat Johnson by more than 10 seconds. He doesn't, as Johnson stays close to Yang throughout the race. (A footnote: Johnson and Yang were close friends, having trained together as teammates at UCLA. The photo above was taken just after the 1,500 meters.)
-- Sports Illustrated story: @
-- Footage of decathlon: @

* Monday, September 5: Cassius Clay, an 18-year-old from Louisville, Kentucky, wins the gold medal in boxing (light heavyweight division). He turns professional after the Games and would have his first pro fight in October.
-- Footage of finals (2 parts): @ and

* Saturday, September 3: Klaus Zerta of Germany wins a gold medal in rowing (he is the coxswain in men's coxed pairs). Zerta is 13 years and 283 days old, making him the youngest male gold medalist ever.

* Friday, September 2: Wilma Rudolph wins the 100 meters, the first of her 3 gold medals (the others being in the 200 meters and the 4 x 100 relay). Born the 20th of 22 children in St. Bethlehem, Tennessee, she contracted polio as a child and wore a leg brace for several years. Her high school nickname was "Skeeter," but her dazzling Olympic performance would earn her the names "La Gazella Negra" ("The Black Gazelle") in Italy and "La Perle Noire" ("The Black Pearl") in France.
-- More about Rudolph: @ and @ (video) and @ (1994 obituary)
-- Photos and video from Olympic.org : @
-- "Wilma Rudolph and the TSU Tigerbelles": @
-- Time magazine article (September 19, 1960): @
-- Rudolph on "To Tell the Truth":

* Thursday, September 1: U.S. swimmer Jeff Farrell wins two gold medals, in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 relays. His victories were especially noteworthy because he had competed in the U.S. trials in early August just six days after undergoing an emergency appendectomy.
-- More about Farrell: @

* August 30-31:
On August 30, East Germany restricted travel between East and West Berlin. On August 31, South Africa lifted the state of emergency that had followed the Sharpesville massacre (see entries of March 21 and April 8-9). While the Games were relatively free of politics, several issues were simmering just below the surface:
-- The Berlin Wall was just a year away. Despite their political differences, the two Germanys competed as one team, under orders from the International Olympic Committee. (More about East Germany's August 30 action: @)
-- These Games would be the last in which South Africa would compete until 1992, because of the country's apartheid government.

-- As in 1956, mainland China did not compete, in protest of Taiwan being allowed to take part. In 1960, Taiwan wanted to be designated the Republic of China at the Games. When the IOC would not allow it, the Taiwanese delegation walked in the Parade of Nations behind a sign that read "Under Protest." (Taiwan timeline: @; photo of Taiwan delegation in 1956 Olympics: @)

* August 26:
On a blisteringly hot day, during a time trial in the 100-kilometer team event, Danish cyclist Knud Enemark Jensen, 23, falls and fractures his skull. He dies the same day. It's later revealed that he had stimulants in his system. His death would lead the International Olympic Committee to ban performance-enhancing substances and institute drug testing for the 1968 Games.
-- Photos from race: @
-- "Doping in Elite Sport: The Politics of Drugs in the Olympic Movement" (book): @
-- "Dope: A History of Performance Enhancement in Sports from the Nineteenth Century to Today" (book): @

* August 26: CBS begins its television coverage. For viewers in the United States, the Games were tape-delayed -- literally. Footage of the events was flown daily from Rome to New York. The 5-hour difference between the cities meant the footage could arrive in time for Jim McKay (then working for CBS) to host same-day, late-night highlights from New York.
-- TV/radio listings for August 26 (Poughkeepsie Journal): @

* August 25:
Opening ceremonies at Olympic Stadium. Rafer Johnson, who will compete in the decathlon, is the first African-American to carry the flag for the United States during the Parade of Nations.
-- Footage of opening ceremonies: @
-- Route of Olympic torch: @

* August 24:
The day before the games begin, Pope XXIII blesses the assembled athletes in St. Peter's Square.
-- Text of "A Sound Mind in a Sound Body" (papal address, in Latin -- still trying to find an English-language version): @

* Sports Illustrated preview: @
* "Rome 1960" (from Olympic.org): @
* Medalists: @
* Daily events (click on "choose the day"): @
* The Official Report of the Organizing Committee: @
* Olympic Games Museum: @
* "Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World" (book): @

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