1963 Trivia, History Take and Fun Facts

1963 Fun Facts, Trivia, and History

Quick Facts from 1963

  • World Changing Event: President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on Nov. 22, 1963.
  • Another World-Changing Event: Thich Quang Duc’s self-immolation caused many Americans to question why we were in Vietnam.
  • The Top Song was Sugar Shack by Jimmy Gilmore and the Fireballs.
  • The Movies to Watch include Cleopatra and Dr. No.
  • The Most Famous Person in America was probably Doris Day.
  • Notable books include Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
  • Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to travel into space, giving them bonus points in The Space Race.
  • Price of a postage stamp in 1963: 5 cents
    Turtle kit (bowl, food, ornament & gravel): 44 cents
    Turtle: 21-49 cents each
  • The Funny Late Show Host: Steve Allen
    The Funny Lady was: Moms Mabley
  • The Crazy Conspiracy: Bob Dylan stole Blowin’ in the Wind from New Jersey high-school student Lorre Wyatt.
  • The Feminine Revolution: Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique inaugurated the modern women’s rights movement.
  • Take our 1963 Quiz!

Here are some significant events that took place in 1963

  • The United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union signed the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which prohibited nuclear weapons tests in the atmosphere, outer space, and underwater
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was introduced in the United States Congress. The act, eventually passed in 1964, prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in public places and employment.
  • The Beatles released their first album, Please Please Me, in the United Kingdom. The album was later released in the United States as Introducing… The Beatles.
  • The assassination of President John F. Kennedy occurred on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas.
  • The first broadcast of Doctor Who, a British science fiction television program, aired on the BBC.

Top Ten Baby Names of 1963

Lisa, Mary, Susan, Karen, Linda, Michael, John, David, James, Robert

The Hotties, Sex Symbols and Fashion Icons

Ursula Andress, Brigitte Bardot, Carroll Baker, Honor Blackman, Claudia Cardinale, Doris Day, Angie Dickinson, Annette Funicello, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Jayne Mansfield, Ann-Margret, Julie Newmar, Kim Novak, Leslie Parrish, Elke Sommer, Stella Stevens, Elizabeth Taylor, Veruschka

Sex Symbols and Hollywood Hunks

Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Sean Connery, Elvis Presley, Gregory Peck

Oscars: 34th Academy Awards (1962)

The 34th Academy Awards in 1962 celebrated cinematic mastery at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Bob Hope served as the evening’s host. Lawrence of Arabia walked away as the night’s big winner, bagging seven Oscars, including Best Director for David Lean and Best Picture.

Grammys: 4th Annual Grammy Awards (1962 Grammys)

When it came to the 1962 Grammys, hosted on May 29, the ceremony celebrated some iconic pieces of music. Henry Mancini’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s soundtrack won Album of the Year, and Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” took home Record of the Year.

Emmy Awards: 14th Primetime Emmy Awards (1962)

The 14th Primetime Emmy Awards, held on May 22, 1962, were a night to remember. Bob Newhart was the host for the evening. The Bob Newhart Show was named Outstanding Program Achievement in the Field of Humor. At the same time, the legal drama The Defenders secured the award for Outstanding Program Achievement in the Field of Drama.

“The Quotes”

“From Dallas, Texas, the flash, apparently official… President Kennedy died at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time, 2:00 Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago.”
– Walter Cronkite

In 1963, Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry remarked, “They’ll put a man on the moon before I hit a home run.” On July 20, 1969, a few hours after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, Perry hit his first and only home run.

“Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Meyer wiener. That is what I truly want to be.”
– Oscar Meyer Hot Dog Commercial

Time Magazine’s Man of the Year

Martin Luther King, Jr

Miss America

Jacquelyn Mayer (Sandusky, OH)

Miss USA

Marite Ozers (Illinois)

The Tragedies

Airplane Celebrity Death: Patsy Cline

The Vajont Dam Disaster: after reporting numerous warning signs about the risks of a landslide, some journalists were sued by the Italian government for “undermining the social order.” A landslide eventually occurred, causing an overflow and killing between 1,900 and 2,500 people

Presidential Assassination

John F Kennedy & Magic Bullet Theory
The JFK assassination is the mother of all modern conspiracy theories.

US Politics

January 20, 1965 (Wednesday): Second inauguration of Lyndon B. Johnson

Pop Culture Facts & History

Harvey Ross Ball invented the yellow Smiley Face in 1963. It was intended to be morale-boosting for insurance companies. He was paid $45 for 10 minutes of work.

June 17 – The Supreme Court ruled that laws requiring reciting The Lord’s Prayer or Bible verses in public schools were unconstitutional.

In 1963, the Bronx Zoo exhibited “The Most Dangerous Animal in the World.”
It was a mirror.

Sukiyaki by Kyu Sakamoto topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1963, one of the few non-English songs to have done so and the first in a non-European language. It was the only single by an Asian artist to top the Hot 100 until the 2020 release of Dynamite by BTS.

The first American Artist to cover a Beatles song was Del Shannon’s 1963 cover of From Me to You. Del Shannon’s cover also became the first Lennon–McCartney composition to make the American charts when it entered the Billboard Hot 100 on June 29, 1963.

The homecoming parade in the film Animal House was scripted as occurring on November 21, 1963, the day before JFK’s assassination. Producers considered the film’s setting “the last innocent year of America.”

Charade spans three genres: suspense, thriller, romance, and comedy. Because Universal Pictures published the movie with an invalid copyright notice, the film entered the public domain in the United States immediately upon its release.

Rowlf was the first known Muppet “star” as a recurring character on The Jimmy Dean Show, first appearing in a telecast on September 26, 1963.
Nope, it wasn’t Kermit!

Valentia Tereshkova was the first woman in space on the Vostok 6. She orbited Earth 48 times.

In 1963, the first message sent on the Moscow–Washington hotline was the test phrase “THE QUICK BROWN FOX JUMPED OVER THE LAZY DOG’S BACK 1234567890”. Later, the confused Russian translators responded, “What does it mean when your people say ‘The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog’?”

C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley both died on November 22, 1963. Their deaths weren’t as prominent in the news because of a more noteworthy death that occurred on that day: the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

JFK watched From Russia With Love at the White House on November 20, 1963, making it his last film.

Psychic The Amazing Criswell predicted that Kennedy would not run in the 1964 election because of something happening in November 1963.

When Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in 1963, doctors predicted he had about two and a half years to live. Fortunately, the disease progressed much slower than the doctors expected, and Hawking lived up to 76 years before dying on March 14, 2018.

Nebraska’s USPS abbreviation was originally “NB” but was changed to “NE” at the request of Canada to avoid confusion with New Brunswick in 1969. It is the only time a state/territory has changed its USPS abbreviation since the introduction of the system in 1963.

Kodak introduced the Instamatic camera.

Tab soda, Coca-Cola’s first brand of diet soda, was launched in 1963 and was discontinued in 2020.

‘Ma’ Bell Telephone introduced the push-button telephone.

7/11 was named after 7 a.m.-11 p.m. hours, unprecedented in 1946, and they didn’t experiment with 24-hour stores until 1963.

Boxer Sonny Liston was the first to win a million dollars in a single bout when he beat Floyd Patterson in Chicago on September 25th.

In 1963, San Francisco Giants Manager Alvin Dark joked, “They’ll put a man on the moon before [Giants pitcher] Gaylord Perry hits a home run.” On July 20, 1969, less than an hour after Neil Armstrong’s historic moonwalk, Perry hit his first career homer.

Elizabeth Taylor was the first actress to earn $1,000,000 for a single film, Cleopatra.

Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc publicly immolated himself on the street in Saigon to protest the anti-Buddhist policies of President Ngo Dinh Diem.

The ancient Egyptians developed the first recorded early pregnancy test, whereby a woman would urinate on a bag of wheat or barley and if the bag started sprouting, it indicated a pregnancy. In 1963, researchers measured the test as being 70% accurate.

Donald Currey cut down a tree to retrieve his drill bit after it got stuck when he tried to core it to study climate effects. After studying the tree’s core, he found that he’d just cut down the oldest known tree at that time (at least 4862 years old).

On October 18, 1963, French scientists launched a rocket into space containing a cat named Felicette. She orbited nearly 100 miles above the Earth, then descended safely to the ground via a specially designed parachute.

Mississippi physician James D. Hardy performed the first successful lung transplant.

On April 10, 1963, the USS Thresher submarine sank about 220 miles east of Boston, Massachusetts, during deep-diving tests, killing all 129 crew and shipyard personnel aboard. It is the second-deadliest submarine incident on record.

Doomsday Clock

Twelve minutes to midnight, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.
1963: “After a decade of almost non-stop nuclear tests, the United States and the Soviet Union sign the Partial Test Ban Treaty, which ends all atmospheric nuclear testing. While it does not outlaw underground testing, the treaty represents progress in at least slowing the arms race. It also signals awareness among the Soviets and the United States that they need to work together to prevent nuclear annihilation.”

The Habits

Troll Dolls were everywhere.
Reading Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique helped establish the Feminist Movement.

1st Appearances & 1963’s Most Popular Christmas Gifts, Toys and Presents

Mouse Trap, Allan Sherwood (Barbie and Ken’s friend), Easy-Bake Oven, Big Loo.
‘Dam Things’ trolls were the original Troll Dolls, first created in the 1950s. They got much cuter and were produced by several companies by the early 1960s.

Best Film Oscar Winner

Lawrence of Arabia (presented in 1963)

The Biggest Films of 1963

1. Cleopatra (Pop Culture Classic)
2. How the West Was Won
3. It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (Pop Culture Classic)
4. Tom Jones
5. Irma La Douce
6. Son of Flubber
7. The V.I.P.s
8. McLintock!
9. Charade
10. Bye Bye Birdie (Pop Culture Classic)
11. The Birds (Pop Culture Classic)
12. Beach Party (Pop Culture Classic)
13. Jason and the Argonauts
14. The Damned (Pop Culture Classic)
15. The Great Escape
16. The Sword in the Stone
17. Black Sabbath
18. The Pink Panther (Pop Culture Classic)
19. From Russia with Love
20. Hud
21. The Nutty Professor (Pop Culture Classic)
22. The Raven
23. It Happened at the World’s Fair (Elvis, Pop Culture Classic)
24. Lord of the Flies
25. PT 109
26. Come Blow Your Horn
27. The Cardinal
28. The Thrill of it All
29. Dementia 13
30. 55 Days at Peking
31. Move Over, Darling
32. Donovan’s Reef
33. Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed?
34. Blood Feast
35. Toys in the Attic
36. Fun in Acapulco
37. Lilies of the Field (Pop Culture Classic)
38. My Life to Live
39. PromisesQ Promises!
40. The Man with the X-Ray Eyes
*Movies beyond the Top Ten are based on (a somewhat subjective) ranking based on how much they had a long-lasting effect on Pop Culture.

Broadway Show

Barefoot in the Park (Play) Opened on October 23, 1963 and closed on June 25, 1967

Popular and Best-selling Books From 1963

Babies So Tall Board Book by Gyo Fujikawa
The Battle of the Villa Fiorita by Rumer Godden
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book by Richard Scarry
Caravans by James A. Michener
Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
City of Night by John Rechy
Elizabeth Appleton by John O’Hara
The Feminine Mystique – Betty Friedan
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
The Glass-Blowers by Daphne du Maurier
Grandmother and the Priests by Taylor Caldwell
The Group by Mary McCarthy
Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
I Am a Bunny by Ole Risom and Richard Scarry
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service by Ian Fleming
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, and Seymour-An Introduction by J.D. Salinger
The Sand Pebbles by Richard McKenna
Seven Days in May by Fletcher Knebel
The Shoes of the Fisherman by Morris West
Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

1963 Most Popular TV Shows

1. Beverly Hillbillies (CBS)
2. Bonanza (NBC)
3. The Dick Van Dyke Show (CBS)
4. Petticoat Junction (CBS)
5. The Andy Griffith Show (CBS)
6. The Lucy Show (CBS)
7. Candid Camera (CBS)
8. The Ed Sullivan Show (CBS)
9. The Danny Thomas Show (CBS)
10. My Favorite Martian (CBS)

1963 Billboard Number One Songs

December 22, 1962 – January 11, 1963:
Telstar – The Tornadoes

January 12January 25:
Go Away Little Girl – Steve Lawrence

January 26February 8:
Walk Right In – The Rooftop Singers

February 9March 1:
Hey Paula – Paul & Paula

March 2 – March 22:
Walk Like A Man – The Four Seasons

March 23March 29:
Our Day Will Come – Ruby & The Romantics

March 30April 26:
He’s So Fine – The Chiffons

April 27May 17:
I Will Follow Him – Little Peggy March

May 18May 30:
If You Wanna Be Happy – Jimmy Soul

June 1June 14:
It’s My Party – Lesley Gore

June 15July 5:
Sukiyaki – Kyu Sakamoto

July 6July 19:
Easier Said Than Done – The Essex

July 20 – August 2:
Surf City – Jan & Dean

August 3August 9:
So Much In Love – The Tymes

August 10August 30:
Fingertips – Pt 2 – Little Stevie Wonder

August 31September 20:
My Boyfriend’s Back – The Angels

September 21October 11:
Blue Velvet – Bobby Vinton

October 12November 15:
Sugar Shack – Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs

November 16 – November 22:
Deep Purple – Nino Tempo & April Stevens

November 23December 6:
I’m Leaving It Up To You – Dale & Grace

December 7, 1963 – January 3, 1964:
Dominique – The Singing Nun


World Series Champions: Los Angeles Dodgers
NFL Champions: Chicago Bears
AFL Champions: San Diego Chargers
NBA Champions: Boston Celtics
Stanley Cup Champs: Toronto Maple Leafs
U.S. Open Golf Julius Boros
U.S. Tennis: (Men/Ladies) Rafael Osuna/Maria Bueno
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Chuck McKinley/Margaret Smith
NCAA Football Champions: Texas
NCAA Basketball Champions: Loyola
Kentucky Derby: Chateaugay

More 1963 Facts & History Resources:

BabyBoomers.com (1963)
Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us)
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1963X
1963 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com
Civil Rights
March on Washington
Fact Monster
1960s, Infoplease.com World History
1963 in Movies (according to IMDB)
JFK 1961-1963 PBS
Retrowaste Vintage Culture
1963 Television
1960s Slang
1960s Timeline: Fact City
Wikipedia 1963