1969 Facts, Fun Trivia and History
Quick Facts from 1969
Top Ten Baby Names of 1969
Lisa, Michelle, Jennifer, Kimberly, Melissa, Michael, David, James, John, Robert
Fashion Icons and Sex Symbols
Jamee Becker, Dyan Cannon, Veronica Carlson, Julie Christie, Catherine Deneuve, Barbara Eden, Barbara Feldon, Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn, Peggy Lipton, Ann-Margret, Elizabeth Montgomery, Caroline Munro, Ingrid Pitt, Diana Rigg, Elke Sommer, Tina Turner, Twiggy, Raquel Welch, Natalie Wood
Leading Men, Sex Symbols and Hollywood Hunks
Jim Morrison, Paul Newman, Robert Redford
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
“I’m walking here! I’m walking here!”
Time Magazine’s People of the Year
Judith Ford (Belvidere, IL)
Wendy Dascomb (Virginia)
The Scandals and War
Senator Ted Kennedy was involved in the drunk driving ‘Chappaquiddick’ incident ending with the death of Mary Jo Kopechne.
On Christmas Day, 1969, Francisco Macias Nguema executed 150 people with soldiers dressed as Santa Clause in the former Spanish colony of Equatorial Guinea, while Those Were the Days, My Friend by Mary Hopkin played in the background.
El Salvador and Honduras had a brief war with each other after tension arose in a 1970 FIFA World Cup qualifier. This war became later known as the “Soccer War”. It was more complicated than that, but over 3,000 people died.
The Manson “Family” committed a series of murders under the influence of Charles Manson’s Helter Skelter philosophy. One of the victims was Sharon Tate and her unborn child.
Jim Sullivan recorded an album called U.F.O., which featured strange lyrics about leaving his family and being abducted by aliens. Sullivan disappeared six years later without a trace, the only piece of evidence being his abandoned car found on a desert road.
Penn State student Betsy Aardsma was doing research in the campus library when she was stabbed in the chest. Because the wound was so small and the fact that she was wearing a red dress, paramedics thought that she had a seizure before she died. The case is still unsolved.
On April 24, Paul McCartney announced that he was not dead, contrary to rumors.
Scooby-Doo aired its first episode on CBS.
Monty Python’s Flying Circus first aired on BBC One.
Sesame Street premiered on the NET (Later PBS) network.
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.
Chemical Bank installed the first automatic teller machine in the United States in Rockville Centre, New York.
Led Zeppelin, the first Led Zeppelin album, was released in the United States.
Dave Thomas, in Columbus, Ohio, founded Wendy’s Hamburgers.
The Godfather by Mario Puzo was released.
Soft drink Capri Suns first went on sale.
On August 15, 1969, The Woodstock Music & Art Fair opened in upstate New York. Tickets were $18 in advance and $24 at the gate, and there was sufficient sound for the 500,000 attendees, but only about 1/2 paid for a ticket. It had 32 acts over three days, and there were two births and a few minor incidents, but overall, it was 3 Days of Love, Peace, and MNusic. You can usually find tickets on eBay for under $100.
The Summer of 69 by Bryan Adams (1984)
1969 Pop Culture Facts & History
In 1969, Neiman Marcus listed a $10,000 kitchen computer in its Christmas Catalog, which came with a cookbook, apron, and a 2-week programming course. None were sold.
Bambi Meets Godzilla is a two-minute short film by Marv Newland that features (spoiler alert) Bambi getting stepped on by Godzilla. It was later admitted into the Academy Film Archive in 2009.
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.
Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane was invited to the White House for a tea party in 1969 and planned to spike President Nixon’s tea with 600 micrograms of LSD. The plan was thwarted by White House security.
Jimi Hendrix insisted on being the final performer at the 1969 Woodstock and was scheduled to perform on Sunday at midnight. He didn’t take the stage until 9 AM Monday and played for 2 hours to a relatively small audience. Some considered Jimi’s version of The Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock controversial and disrespectful on August 16, 1969.
The Beatles originally planned to have an album titled Everest. However, the band didn’t want to travel to Mount Everest for the album cover photo shoot. This lead album title changed to Abbey Road, which was the street right outside their studio.
The Domino Pizza Logo has three dots because of how many stores they opened. In 2018, they had over 14,000 stores worldwide.
About 300 1969 Dodge Chargers were destroyed during the filming of The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-1985) television series, averaging two Chargers per episode.
About 90% of American Schoolchildren walked to school in 1969.
On May 1, 1969, Fred Rogers appeared before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee requesting funds to help support the growth of National Public Television.
Frank Zappa’s album Hot Rats was one of the first albums to use a 16-track recorder and among the first to record drums on multiple tracks, giving stereo drums, all of which helped achieve outstanding technical quality.
Georges Perec wrote a novel called La Disparition, which completely lacked the letter ‘e.’ It has since been translated into a dozen languages maintaining this limitation, including an English version entitled A Void.
Robert Crumb’s R-rated Fritz The Cat was the comic strip that all the tuned-in folks read.
Illinois representative Charlotte Reid (R) was the first woman to wear pants to Congress. Women were officially forbidden to wear pants on the floor until 1993.
David Paul Gregg patented the optical or laserdisc, although he came up with the idea in 1958.
When Cubans hijacked Candid Camera host Allen Funt’s airplane, the passengers believed they were on a hidden camera TV show. He could not change their minds.
The Iron Horse Ranch and Vineyards opened in Sebastopol, California.
Near Bethel, New York, the first mega-concert, the Woodstock Music Festival, occurred on August 15-18. Claims of up to one million people came; it was more likely half that number, but still an incredible amount of people!
The Beatles gave their last public performance of several tracks on the roof of Apple Records, in London.
Donald and Doris Fisher opened their clothing store, The Gap, in San Francisco.
The new North Face Sierra Parka was destined to be the clothing of choice for outdoors people. The company was named after the north-facing mountains of North America.
American Astronaut Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon on June 20th. There was no comment from Mr. Gorsky.
Cost of a Superbowl ad in 1968: $55,000
Frank Sinatra recorded his signature song, My Way, nearly three decades after he began his singing career.
The American side of Niagara Falls was “shut off” briefly.
In 1969, James Brown released five different songs about popcorn – The Popcorn, Mother Popcorn, Lowdown Popcorn, and Let a Man Come In and Do the Popcorn (parts 1 & 2)
The 1969 3-D adult film The Stewardesses was the most profitable 3-D film ever released until James Cameron’s Avatar beat it in 2009.
24 journalists came together to write the worst novel they could have, Naked Came The Stranger, to make fun of the US’s vulgar and declining literary culture. The book became a bestseller.
You have probably heard this drumbeat, The Amen Break:
Nobel Prize Winners
Physics – Murray Gell-Mann
Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones purchased an old house that belonged to A.A. Milne (author of the Winnie the Pooh books). The 100-acre wood was based on the estate. Brian Jones died in the pool in 1969. #27club
An American teenager known as ‘Robert R.’ died in St. Louis, Missouri, of a baffling medical condition. In 1984, he was identified as the earliest confirmed HIV/AIDS fatality in North America.
During the Production of the 1969 Film Shark!, Stuntman Jose Marco was attacked and killed by a Shark they thought was sedated. The Studio distributing the Film (Excelsior Pictures) used this to advertise it.
The EC-121 shootdown incident occurred when North Korean jets shot down an American reconnaissance plane in international airspace killing 30 American citizens. America never retaliated.
Ten minutes to midnight, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.
1st Appearances & 1969’s Most Popular Christmas Gifts, Toys and Presents
Tog’l, Upsy Downsys, Silly String, Astrolite, Toss Across, Big Wheels, Nerf Ball
Best Film Oscar Winner
Oliver! (presented in 1969)
1776 (Musical) Opened on March 16, 1969, and closed on February 13, 1972
Popular and Best-selling Books From 1969
Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle by Vladimir Nabokov
1969 Most Popular TV Shows
1. Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In (NBC)
1969 Billboard Number One Songs
October 18 – October 31:
World Series Champions: New York Mets
Leonard Tose bought the Philadelphia Eagles for $16,500,000, a record-high amount for a sports team at the time.
More 1969 Facts & History Resources:
Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)