Friday, October 28, 1960: 'Nixonland'

In a speech in Oakland, California, former President Harry Truman mocks Republican presidential nominee Richard Nixon. Here is most of the speech (pieced together from various sources):

"I do not feel bitterness tonight toward Richard Nixon. I feel concern and a touch of pity. I have been wondering what he could do after the election returns are in ... He is too young to retire and he will have to have some kind of a job ...

"I think I have discovered what Mr. Nixon can do. He has considerable gifts of showmanship, and the ability to create all kinds of illusions. He should go into this amusement park business and open one of his own, which we could call Nixonland ...

"Nixonland would be an interesting place. It would become in time a national shrine for Republicans, although Democrats would have to pass a loyalty examination before they could be admitted.

"Nixon would be in charge of Nixonland personally, and he would be the guide for all the Nixonland rides, which he could do very well by the way, as he has been taking the American people for a ride for a good many years already.

"One of the rules of Nixonland would be 'no cuss words' because of the children there. Of course, in Nixonland there would be nothing to cuss about, because there our prestige would always be at an all-time high -- and we would all be morally, spiritually, economically and militarily stronger than anybody else anywhere.

"Nixonland would also be very neat. In fact, it would be as clean as a hound's tooth.

"The first thing to do in Nixonland would be to take a ride on the Nixon train. This would go -- rather quickly -- through fifty-odd countries ... The end of this ride would be quite exciting, with howling Communist mobs, and all the passengers would have to be rescued by United States Marines ...

"Then there would be the Nixon trip up the Congo River, through Communistland. And you would see stuffed Communists popping up from behind every bush. And Nixon would stand in the bow of the boat, and shoot them dead -- with blanks.

"Another popular attraction would be the great Nixon submarine ride to the offshore islands. This submarine would go to Quemoy and Matsu, but not to Cuba. In fact, there would be a rule in Nixonland against mentioning Cuba. Anybody mentioning Cuba would have to get off the submarine and swim home.

"There would be lots to see in Nixonland, and fun for all -- but nothing would be real.

"And that, my friends, is the danger we face. Nixonland is not the real world, it is a world of dreams concocted to get your votes.

"Let us leave Nixonland behind us, and face the real world and its problems. Let us take the necessary action to meet these problems instead of pretending they don't exist. Let us build for the future of America and for a secure and peaceful world with Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson."

Not that Truman had been a strong supporter of Democratic candidate John F. Kennedy early on; in fact, Truman had resigned in July as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, calling it "a prearranged affair" and saying Kennedy was too young, too inexperienced to be president. But the prospect of a Nixon presidency was enough for Truman to campaign for Kennedy.

* Truman's July 2 remarks: @
* Kennedy's July 4 response: @


Undated: 'Closer Than We Think!'

The futuristic comic strip by Arthur Radebaugh appeared from 1958 to 1963 in Sunday newspapers. (Click on image for a closer look.) Radebaugh's distinctive style was also featured in advertisements for car companies and other businesses.

* "Closer Than We Think!" selection: @
* More about Radebaugh: @
* Ads for Bohn Aluminum and Brass: @ and @
* Other illustrations: @


Tuesday, October 25, 1960: First electronic wristwatch

Bulova Corp. introduces the Accutron 214, which needs no winding and relies on a tuning fork rather than springs and a balance wheel. Ads tout its breakthrough mechanism: "First instrument of the space age you can wear and use! First microsonic timepiece ... It doesn't even tick. It hums!"

* More about the Accutron 214: @
* More about Accutrons in general: @ and @ (scroll down) and @
* Life magazine advertisement (November 28): @
* More ads: @
* Bulova timeline: @


Monday, October 24, 1960: Nedelin Catastrophe

In the worst disaster of the space age, some 120 people are killed when a Soviet R-16 intercontinental ballistic missile explodes on the launch pad. It came to be known as the Nedelin Catastrophe because among the victims was Field Marshal Mitrofan Nedelin, the commander of the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces (and the R-16 development program). The disaster was not brought to light by the Soviet government until 1989.

* Details of disaster: @ and @ and @
* Footage: @ and @


September-October: Presidential debates

Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Richard M. Nixon meet in a series of four debates, the first to be televised. An estimated 60 to 70 million people watch -- a third of the entire U.S. population. Another 15 million listen on radio. Policy differences aside, Kennedy appears youthful and vigorous, especially in the first debate, while Nixon (who had recently been hospitalized for two weeks for a staph infection) seems pale and drawn. (It's been said that most people who listened to the debate on the radio thought Nixon won, while TV viewers tended to side with Kennedy; I've included links to both.)

* Monday, September 26: Held in Chicago, it dealt primarily with domestic issues.
-- TV telecast: @
-- Radio broadcast: @
-- Transcript: @
-- "The Great Debate" from Museum of Broadcast Communications: @
-- New York Times article (September 27): @
-- Los Angeles Times pages: @
-- Remembrances from key figures: @

* Friday, October 7: The second debate, held in Washington, went straight to questions on any subject, with no opening statements by either candidate. Among the topics: meeting the Communist challenge, and the state of the United States' economy.
-- Transcript: @
-- Video: @
-- Audio: @
-- Observations from Eleanor Roosevelt: @

* Thursday, October 13: The candidates were in different cities for their third debate: Kennedy in New York and Nixon in Los Angeles. Much of the debate focuses on what the U.S. would do should the Asian islands of Quemoy and Matsu be attacked by China.
-- Transcript: @
-- Video: @
-- Audio: @
-- More about Quemoy and Matsu: @ and @ and @

* Friday, October 21: The fourth and final debate, from New York. It centers on foreign policy. America's stature and image in the world bring the best exchange:

Nixon: America gained by continuing the dignity, the decency that has characterized us and it's that that keeps the prestige of America up -- not running down America the way Senator Kennedy has been running her down.
Moderator: Comment, Senator Kennedy?
Kennedy: I really don't need Mr. Nixon to tell me about what my responsibilities are as a citizen.

-- Transcript: @
-- Video: @
-- Audio: @

Other resources:
* Highlights of the debates (from CNN.com): @ 
* From Archive of American Television: @
* From the book "Television and Politics" (Kurt Lang, Gladys Engel Lang, 2002): @
* Article from Smithsonian magazine: @
* Nixon writes about the debates (from the book "Six Crises"): @
* Highest-rated TV debates, 1960 to 2008: @


Thursday, October 20, 1960: First automated post office

Providence, Rhode Island, is the site of the United States' first fully automated post office, dedicated on October 20. It was designed to process a million pieces of mail a day, though a 1962 report found that it fell far short of that number.

* From Rhode Island Historical Society: @
* From National Postal Museum: @
* From "Rhode Island Curiosities": @
* Photos: @


Wednesday, October 19, 1960: Martin Luther King arrested

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is arrested in Atlanta after taking part in a sit-in protest at a department store. He remains in jail until October 26, when he is taken to a state prison; because he had been arrested, he was found to have violated probation from a May traffic ticket in Georgia. John F. Kennedy calls King's wife to express his concern. Robert F. Kennedy calls the judge in the case and secures King's release on October 27. The end result: the Democrats are cast as the party of civil rights, and blacks vote their appreciation for Kennedy's actions. Some historians (as well as President Eisenhower) believe it helped tip the balance in the presidential election.

* Account from "The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Volume V": @
* Account from "The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.": @
* Account from "John F. Kennedy: A Biography": @
* "The Case of Martin Luther King" (pamphlet distributed in black churches in the days before the election; scroll down to second and third pages): @
* Transcript of King interview (October 27): @
* Audio interview about events of October 19: @
* TV interviews:
-- King (October 19): @
-- Atlanta mayor William Hartsfield (October 24): @
-- King's attorney, Donald Hollowell (October 27): @

Wednesday, October 19, 1960: Cuban embargo

The United States imposes a partial economic embargo on Cuba, prohibiting practically all exports to the island nation other than food and medicine. The move comes just days after Cuba had nationalized all U.S. banks. According to the State Department, the aim of the embargo is to "exert a serious pressure on the Cuban economy and contribute to the growing dissatisfaction and unrest in the country." However, a National Intelligence Estimate published in December says that "Economic dislocations will occur but will not lead to the collapse or significant weakening of the Castro regime."

* "Economic Sanctions as an Instrument of U.S. Foreign Policy: The Case of the U.S. Embargo Against Cuba" (book): @
* "Cuba and Economic Sanctions: A Cold War Strategy in the 21st Century" (U.S. Army War College, 2004): @
* Embargo timeline (through 2007): @
* "Cuba: The Battle of America" (CIA film, 1960): @


Undated: Housewife syndrome

Three years before Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique," the major media are busy reporting on the disenchanted American housewife, particularly those who are well-educated and/or living in the suburbs. The traits -- frustration, exhaustion, emptiness -- are collectively called "housewife syndrome."

On weekday afternoons, NBC broadcasts the "Purex Special for Women," dramatizing such topics as "The Cold Woman" (frigidity), "The Trapped Housewife," "The Single Woman," "The Problems of the Working Mother," "The Glamour Trap" and "Change of Life."

From The New York Times: "Many young women -- certainly not all -- whose education plunged them into a world of ideas feel stifled in their homes. They finish their routine lives out of joint with their training. Like shut-ins, they feel left out. ... No one, it seems, is appreciative, least of all herself, of the kind of person she becomes in the process of turning from poetess to shrew."

From Newsweek: "A good education, it seems, has given this paragon among women an understanding of the value of everything except her own worth."

Even the Journal of the American Medical Association takes note; this synopsis of "Change of Life" appeared in its TV listings: "The worries which beset women at this point in their lives -- fear of mental illness, loss of attractiveness, loss of husband's love, loss of usefulness to children -- form the focal point of the program. The necessity of a change of attitudes and values is stressed so that the menopause may be faced with confidence and serenity."

* "The Roots of Home" (Time magazine, 1960): @
* "Tiddely-Pom" (Time, 1962): @
* "The Intelligent-Housewife Syndrome": @


Friday, October 14, 1960: Beginnings of the Peace Corps

Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy makes a middle-of-the-night appearance at the University of Michigan. He challenges the students to serve their country and help promote peace by taking their energy and abilities to less-developed nations -- an idea that would evolve into the creation of the Peace Corps. Kennedy would first use the phrase in a Nov. 2 speech.

* Summary and transcript (from Peace Corps website): @
* More about the event (from Michigan Today): @
* "Celebrating JFK's Peace Corps Speech" (from Michigan Radio): @
* Excerpt from "John F. Kennedy: A Biography": @
* Transcript of Nov. 2 speech: @
* Entry from "Safire's Political Dictionary": @


Thursday, October 13: Pittsburgh Pirates win World Series

In what's considered the most dramatic ending to a World Series, second baseman Bill Mazeroski hits a home run in the bottom of the 9th inning to give the Pittsburgh Pirates the victory over the New York Yankees, 10-9. Pittsburgh wins the series, 4 games to 3. (While a few highlights exist, video of the entire game was long thought lost; however, complete footage was discovered in September 2010 in the home of entertainer Bing Crosby, a part-owner of the Pirates at the time.)

* Series summary: @
* Audio of home run and postgame interviews: @
* Sports Illustrated story (October 24, 1960): @
* Pittsburgh Post-Gazette commemorative website: @

Thursday, October 13: Civil rights protests in Jackson, Tennessee

Several students from all-black Lane College are arrested when they sit in the front seats on Jackson City Lines buses. A bus boycott begins on October 14; the bus company relents on October 15. While that incident ended peacefully, efforts to desegregate the city's lunch counters did not. What happened in Jackson was largely untold until 2000, when The Jackson Sun newspaper published a series of stories on the events.

* Jackson Sun series: @
* Summary from "The Civil Rights Movement in Tennessee: A Narrative History" (book): @
* Article from The Student Voice (publication of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee): @


September-October, 1960: Khrushchev and the U.N.

* Monday, September 19: Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev arrives in New York for what will be a contentious session of the United Nations General Assembly. Also in New York is Cuba's leader, Fidel Castro, who had arrived the day before.
-- Footage of Khrushchev and Castro arriving in New York: @

* Tuesday, September 20: The General Assembly opens. Khrushchev and Castro meet for the first time. Afterward, Khrushchev likens Castro to "a young horse that hasn't been broken. He needs some training, but he's very spirited, so we'll have to be careful."
-- Footage of Khrushchev-Castro meeting: @

* Thursday, September 22: U.S. President Eisenhower expresses strong support for the U.N.'s role, particularly its peacekeeping activities in Africa. He also asks: "Will outer space be preserved for peaceful use and developed for the benefit of all mankind? Or will it become another focus for the arms race -- and thus an area of dangerous and sterile competition?"
-- Speech: Summary @ and text @

* Friday, September 23: Speaking for nearly two and a half hours, Khrushchev accuses the West of continuing to seek colonial rule in Africa. He also says the secretary-general's post should be abolished in favor of a three-person committee representing Communist, West and neutralist blocs. After Khrushchev's speech, a New York antiques dealer presents him with an American Indian peace pipe, saying "may the leaders of our two great powers, the USSR and the USA, see in this pipe a new age ... may you and the heads of other states symbolically smoke it together." (Click here for larger view.)
-- Portion of speech: @

* Monday, September 26: Castro speaks for more than four hours. He begins his speech by saying, "Although it has been said of us that we speak at great length, you may rest assured that we shall endeavor to be brief ..."
-- Text of speech: @ and @ (printed version)

* Thursday, September 29: Khrushchev interrupts a speech by British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan, pounding on his desk with his fists and shouting, "You send your planes over our territory, you are guilty of aggression!"
-- BBC summary: @
-- Life magazine coverage: @
-- Footage: @

* Monday, October 3: Khrushchev repeats his call for the removal of Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, who replies that by doing so he would "throw the organization to the winds."
-- Footage: @

* Sunday, October 9: Khrushchev is interviewed on the "Open End" TV program, hosted by David Susskind. The interview turns contentious, with Khrushchev at one point threatening to walk off the set. The most memorable exchange:

Khrushchev: ... Our land is sacred and sovereign, and it's only the peoples of the Soviet Union themselves that have the right to govern their land, and administer their affairs. ... Why should you try to poke your nose into our garden? Have you not enough things to do in your own country?
Susskind: You're baying at the moon. ... We believe with all our might that there are many subjugated peoples in Eastern Europe. We ask that a plebiscite be held, not in your home country, not in the Soviet Union, but in many of the countries of Eastern Europe, who are now within the Soviet orbit.
Khrushchev: Is such an expression as "baying at the moon" regarded as normal polite conversation in your country? We regard it as rude. After all, I'm old enough to be your father, and young man, it is unworthy to speak to me like this. You look pleasant enough but you do not express yourself quite courteously. I do not permit an attitude like that towards myself. I did not come here to "bark" -- I am the chairman of the Council of Ministers of the world's greatest socialist state. You will therefore please show respect for me. If you do not want to, then do not invite me for an interview. There must be courtesy, but you are accustomed to prod and knock everyone about. Ours is the kind of state which will not allow itself to be ordered about.

-- More about the near-departure: @
-- Time magazine account: @
-- Photo from interview: @

* Wednesday, October 12: Shoe-banging incident. See separate post below.

* Thursday, October 13: After a final, failed attempt to have the U.N. condemn the United States for its U-2 spy flights, Khrushchev boards a plane and departs from New York. "We are leaving in a good mood," he says.

Other resources:
* "Khrushchev in New York" (Text of speeches, appearances): @
* "Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev": @

Wednesday, October 12, 1960: Khrushchev's shoe

At the United Nations, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev is said to have pounded his shoe on his desk after a Philippine delegate's remark about Soviet oppression of Eastern Europe. But did it really happen? The New York Times was unequivocal: "Premier Khrushchev waved his shoe today and banged it on his desk, adding to the lengthening list of antics with which he has been nettling the General Assembly." There are no photos or footage of the incident; the closest is a photo, taken by the Times, of Khrushchev seated at his desk with a shoe in front of him (click to enlarge).

-- Los Angeles Daily Mirror front page: @
-- 1988 New York Times story: @
-- 2003 New York Times story: @
-- Account by Khrushchev's granddaughter: @
-- Account from "Khrushchev: The Man and His Era" (book): @
-- Accounts from "Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev": @ (Khrushchev) and @ (bodyguard) and @ (U.N. employee)

Wednesday, October 12, 1960: Assassination in Japan

During a political debate in Tokyo among the leaders of the major parties, Inejiro Asanuma of the Socialist Party is fatally stabbed by a student with a samurai sword. The event is captured live on television and by photographers. The assassin, Otoya Yamaguchi, called Asanuma "a pro-Communist enemy of the people." Yamaguchi hangs himself in his jail cell less than three weeks later.

* Footage: @
* Longer summary: @
* Story, photos in Life magazine: @
* Stories in Time magazine: @ and @


Monday-Friday, October 10-14, 1960: LBJ's whistle-stop tour

Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, the Democratic candidate for vice president, begins a 5-day, 8-state, 3,500-mile campaign tour by train, starting in Culpeper, Virginia, and ending in New Orleans, Louisiana. He gives some 60 speeches along the way. (The photo at left was taken in Greenville, South Carolina; click to enlarge). The train, which the campaign called the "LBJ Victory Special," is dubbed "The Cornpone Special" by some reporters.

The day before, during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," Johnson had shown a barbed sense of humor about his own running mate when talking about the Democrats' efforts to cut federal spending. He deadpans, "And I predict, if I know anything about Senator Kennedy, that he'll continue that policy. All you have to do is go to a drugstore with him and buy a sandwich and see how long he shuffles trying to get the money to pick up the check ... find out, if he handles the government's money like he handles his own, why, we're going to have a pretty good fiscal policy."

* Photos from Greensboro, North Carolina: @
* Johnson atop "The Big Chair" in Thomasville, North Carolina: @ and @ (photo courtesy of Thomasville Times)
* Article by only black reporter on the train: @
* Account from Time magazine: @
* More about presidential campaign trains from "Safire's Political Dictionary": @ and @ (origin of word "whistlestopping")
* "Meet the Press" footage: @


Sunday, October 9, 1960: National Historic Landmarks

The U.S. government's National Park Service launches the program by recognizing 92 sites for their historical significance. Among the sites: the Erie Canal, representing the Advance of the Frontier, and Boston's Faneuil Hall (left), which, according to the official Statement of Significance, "served as a focal point of Colonial protest against British rule and later as a center of the abolition movement in Boston." The October 9 list was quickly expanded, first on December 12 and then again on January 20, 1961. The number of National Historic Landmarks (currently less than 2,500) is far fewer than the number of sites on the National Register of Historic Places (some 80,000).

* National Historic Landmarks website: @
* History: @
* Current list by state (as of June 2010): @
* National Register of Historic Places website: @


Undated: Life in 1960 (as imagined in 1939)

The New York World's Fair of 1939-1940 included an exhibit/ride called Futurama, envisioning what the United States might look like in the year 1960. It was sponsored by General Motors and designed by Norman Bel Geddes (the father of actress Barbara Bel Geddes). The ride carried passengers past miniature landscapes laid out along a vast, sophisticated highway system (including 7-lane, one-way highways, with cars kept at a safe distance from one another by radio control).

* More about Futurama: @ and @
* Watch Futurama video "To New Horizons": @
* Futurama photos: @
* ExpoMuseum (website on world's fairs): @
* More about Norman Bel Geddes: @ and @
* "Magic Motorways" (book by Norman Bel Geddes): @
* "The Dream of an Automated Highway" (from Federal Highway Administration): @


Undated: Disneyland

The theme park in Anaheim, California, is now 5 years old. Apart from the rides, the Tomorrowland exhibits (many of which were sponsored by corporations) include Crane's The Bathroom of Tomorrow.

* More about Bathroom of Tomorrow: @
* More about Tomorrowland: @
* Park photos from 1960: @
* Aerial views from 1955 and 1960: @
* 1960 souvenir program: @


Undated: Josef Mengele

Called "The Angel of Death" of Nazi Germany, Josef Mengele flees Argentina after the arrest of Adolf Eichmann (see post of May 11). He will make his way to Brazil, where he lives until his drowning death in 1979. Mengele and other doctors performed grisly experiments on prisoners at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

* "Israeli ex-agent: We allowed Nazi doc to escape" (news report from 2008): @
* More about Mengele: @ and @
* Entry from United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: @
* Entry from www.trutv.com: @
* "Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race" exhibition: @
* "Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account" (book): @


Monday, October 3, 1960: 'The Andy Griffith Show'

The comedy depicting small-town life in the American South debuts on CBS. The first episode has Aunt Bee coming to live as housekeeper for the widowed Sheriff Andy Taylor and his son, Opie. Much of Mayberry's look and feel was based on Griffith's hometown: Mount Airy, North Carolina.

* Show summary (from Museum of Broadcast Communications): @
* Show summary (from Learn NC): @
* Episode guide: @
* Fans' website: @
* Books: @ and @
* TV listings for October 3, 1960: @


Saturday, October 1, 1960: The Climatron

The first geodesic dome to be built for use as a greenhouse, the Climatron opens as part of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. The structure, covering a half-acre, incorporates the pioneering principles of inventor-engineer-futurist R. Buckminster Fuller.

* More about the Climatron: @ and @ and @
* Videos from Missouri Botanical Garden: @
* More about geodesic domes: @
* "The Birth of the Geodesic Dome": @
* More about domes in general: @
* More about R. Buckminster Fuller: @
* Buckminster Fuller Institute: @

Undated: 'We Insist! Freedom Now Suite'

The powerful song cycle by jazz drummer and composer Max Roach centers on racial injustices throughout black history. The songs -- with Abbey Lincoln singing lyrics by Oscar Brown Jr. -- were recorded in August and September. The cover photo echoes the ongoing sit-ins of the civil rights movement (See posts of February 1, July 25 and August 27); its staged image of a white man serving three blacks was meant to be as provocative as the music within.

* The album and its political impact: @ and @ and @ and @ and @
* Performances from the album: @
* More about Max Roach: @ and @
* Roach discography: @

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