1973 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

1973 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

Quick Facts from 1973

  • Science in Space: Anita and Arabella, two female cross spiders, went into orbit in 1973 for the Skylab 3 space station as part of an experiment to see if spiders could spin webs in near-weightlessness. They can.
  • The Top Song was Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree by Tony Orlando and Dawn
  • Influential Songs include: Walk on the Wild Side by Lou Reed, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door by Bob Dylan, Cover of “Rolling Stone” by Dr Hook & The Medicine Show and Sing by The Carpenters
  • The Movies to Watch include The Sting, Charlotte’s Web, Paper Moon, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Godspell, Enter the Dragon, The Exorcist, High Plains Drifter, Jesus Christ Superstar, Soylent Green, The Way We Were, The Sting and American Graffiti
  • The Most Famous Person in America was probably Elvis Presley
  • Notable books include Fear of Flying by Erica Jong and The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  • $200,000 ($1,100,000 in today’s dollars) was stolen from Led Zeppelin’s tour’s safety deposit box between the band’s second and third concerts in New York. The crime remains unsolved.
  • Garlic knots were invented in 1973 in Ozone Park, Queens. Several pizzerias began making them within days of each other.
  • Jimmy Carter reported a UFO sighting, calling it the “darndest thing I’ve ever seen.”
  • Price of metal ice cube tray in 1973: 91 cents
    Raleigh Triumph bicycle: $97.95
  • The Funny Guys were Robert Klein and Albert Brooks
    The Funny Late Night Host: Johnny Carson
    The Funny Duo was Cheech and Chong
    The Funny Lady was Carol Burnett
  • The Music Question: Who was Carly Simon singing about in You’re So Vain?
  • The Crazy Conspiracy: Did physically fit 32-year-old action star Bruce Lee die of natural causes?
  • Try our 1973 Quiz!

Significant news events that occurred in 1973

  • January: The Paris Peace Accords were signed, ending direct U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
  • February: The American Indian Movement occupied Wounded Knee, South Dakota.
  • March: The last U.S. combat troops left Vietnam.
  • April: The first handheld cellular phone call was made by Martin Cooper in New York City.
  • May: The United States withdrew all its troops from Vietnam by the end of August.
  • June: A patent for the first mobile phone was granted to Motorola.
  • July: The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was founded.
  • August: The second film directed by George Lucas (after 1971’s THX1138), American Graffiti, was released.
  • September: A coup d’etat took place in Chile, leading to the overthrow of President Salvador Allende.
  • October: Spiro T. Agnew resigned as Vice President of the United States.
  • November: The U.S. Congress passed the War Powers Act over President Richard Nixon’s veto.
  • December: The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Top Ten Baby Names of 1973

Jennifer, Amy, Michelle, Kimberly, Lisa, Michael, Chris, Topher, Jason, James, David

The Hotties, Sex Symbols and Fashion Icons

Adrienne Barbeau, Dyan Cannon, Veronica Carlson, Pam Grier, Dayle Haddon, Peggy Lipton, Maureen McCormick, Caroline Munro, Ingrid Pitt, Diana Ross, Maria Schneider, Barbra Streisand, Jane Seymour

Hollywood Hunks, Leading Men and Sex Symbols

Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Richard Roundtree, Marlon Brando

“The Quotes”

“My brain? But that’s my second favorite organ!”
– Woody Allen, in Sleeper

“Have it your way.”
– Burger King

“People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.”
– President Richard Nixon

“It’s people! Soylent Green is made of people!”
– Charlton Heston, in Soylent Green

“The uncola”
– 7 Up

“It ain’t over ’til it’s over” wasn’t a phrase until Yogi Berra coined it in 1973

Time Magazine’s Man of the Year

John Sirica

Miss America

Terry Meeuwsen (De Pere, WI)

Miss USA

Amanda Jones (Illinois)

The Scandals

Sacheen Littlefeather accepted the Best Actor Award for Marlon Brando in The Godfather. He didn’t accept the award in person because of the United State’s treatment of Native American Indians. She was an actress who later appeared in Playboy magazine.

80% of Army personnel records of soldiers discharged from November 1, 1912, to January 1, 1960, were lost in a fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in 1973.

The 1973 Soap Box Derby winner, 14-year-old Jimmy Gronen, was stripped of his title after his car was found to have an electromagnet in the nose, which, when activated, pulled the car forward by attracting it to the steel paddle used to start the race.

Airplane Celebrity Death

Jim Croce

Cult Movie Star Death

Bruce Lee (brain edema, allergy, or mysterious kung fu maneuver)

US Politics

January 20, 1973 (Saturday): Second inauguration of Richard Nixon

1973 Pop Culture Facts & History

Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album was on the Billboard charts for 741 consecutive weeks from 1973 to 1988, and in total, has charted for 917 weeks.

Led Zeppelin bought their private jet, “The Starship,” for part of their 1973 US tour for $30,000. Drummer John Bonham once flew the band from New York to LA even though he didn’t have a pilot’s license.

KISS played their first show in 1973 in Queens, New York, for an audience of fewer than ten people and was paid $50 for that evening.

The Hampster Dance song (1998) is just a sped-up version of the song Whistle Stop from the animated Disney movie Robin Hood (1973).

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was invented.

The public first used Air Bags in the Oldsmobile Toronado.

In 1973, Johnny Carson made a joke about a toilet paper shortage, causing people to hoard enough to cause an actual nationwide shortage.

Following Bruce Lee’s death in 1973, a series of “Brucesploitation” movies was released starring look-alike actors to capitalize on the late star’s fame. The actors had names such as Bruce Le, Bruce Lai, Brute Lee, and Bruce Lie.

Only one man in history has ever turned down the Nobel Peace Prize: Vietnamese revolutionary, diplomat, and politician Le Duc Tho. For his role as Vietnam’s chief negotiator in the Paris Peace Accords in 1973, he was jointly awarded the prize alongside his American counterpart, Henry Kissinger.

Floyd J. Thompson, a Colonel in the U.S. Army, was the longest-held American prisoner of war in U.S. history, spending nearly nine years in captivity in the jungle camps and mountains of South Vietnam and Laos and North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. He was held from 1964 till 1973.

Burger Chef (opened in 1958 by Donald & Frank Thomas, who used McDonald’s as their inspiration) was the fast-food chain that pioneered the kids’ meal concept. First sold in 1973, their “Fun Meal” bundled burgers with a dessert and toy.

Germany was excluded from the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) upon its founding in 1919 due to its involvement in WW1. It was admitted in 1929 but kicked again during WW2. After the war, East and West Germany were readmitted to the IUPAC in 1973.

Jimmy Carter claimed he saw a UFO in 1969. After he became the governor of Georgia, he was asked to file an official report of the sighting in 1973 by the International UFO Bureau in Oklahoma City. Carter described the object as bright white, changing to blue, red, and white again.

Richard Nixon presented Leonid Brezhnev with a brand-new Lincoln Continental at Camp David as a gift. Brezhnev unexpectedly took Nixon on a joyride outside Camp David on public roads alone for half an hour without Secret Service detail or the nuclear briefcase.

The White House forbade female staffers and employees from wearing pants instead of skirts until the Energy Crisis of 1973, when building temperatures were lowered, and pants were finally allowed.

Until 1973, the full title for the King of Sweden was “King of the Swedes, the Goths, and the Vends.”

On August 11th, 1973, in the Bronx, NYC, a bloc party was held called the “Back to School Jam” by Clive Campbell. Going by the stage name DJ Kool Herc, Campbell stretched and scratched popular disco break beats and funky drum solos into the genre of music we now know today as Hip Hop.

Stanley Kubrick personally pulled A Clockwork Orange in 1973 due to a run of copycat crimes. It was re-released a year after his death, in 2000.

Bob Fosse is the only person to have ever won an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony all in the same year (1973).

A man tried to rob a bank in Kenora, Ontario, with dynamite strapped to his chest. A police sniper shot him, detonating the explosives and blowing him up. He has never been identified.

Debra McKenna forgot a class ring gifted by her then-fiancé in a department store in Maine in 1973. A worker found it in 2020, with a metal detector, buried in a forest in Finland.

An MIT computer in 1973 predicted society would collapse in 2040.

NASA sent two spiders known as Arabella and Anita into space to see if they could spin a web without gravity. It took the spiders a couple of days to figure out, but they eventually made finer and more complex webs than their Earth counterparts.

When 16-year-old John Paul Getty III was kidnapped in 1973, his billionaire grandfather refused to pay a $17 million ransom. After the kidnappers mailed Getty’s ear to a newspaper, his grandfather only agreed to pay $2.2 million because that was the maximum amount that was tax deductible.

The word “factoid” was invented by Norman Mailer in his 1973 biography of Marylin Monroe. He defined it as things that are not necessarily true but are repeated so often people think they are.

In addition to being blind, Stevie Wonder temporarily lost his sense of smell and taste after a car crash in 1973. He was also in a coma for ten days, waking when a friend sang his song, Higher Ground, to him.

In 1973, a volcano erupted on the Icelandic island of Heimaey. Rather than fleeing to safety, the island’s residents sprayed the advancing lava flow with seawater to form a wall and direct the lava into the sea.

On June 9th, 1973, Secretariat won the Triple Crown. In the Kentucky Derby, Secretariat broke from near the back of the pack to win the one and-1/4-mile race in a record 1 minute and 59 2/5th seconds. He was the first to run the Derby in less than two minutes, and his record still stands. When Secretariat died in 1989, his body was sent to the University of Kentucky for an autopsy. They found his heart weighed an astounding 22 pounds! The average weight of a mature Thoroughbred’s heart is a mere eight pounds.

Two New York Yankees pitchers, Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich, swapped wives and children; they announced the “change-up” at separate press conferences in 1973.

Dave Winfield, a former baseball player and Hall of Famer, was not only drafted by the MLB’s San Diego Padres in 1973 but also by an NBA team and an NFL team.

Basketball Hall of Famer Spencer Haywood was approached by Nike early in his career with an enticing offer: 100K or 10 % of Nike. He took the 100K. Today, the 10% is worth over 12.4 billion.

As of 2022, the NFL’s New York Jets have never beaten the Philadelphia Eagles. The first time they played was in 1973.

Cost of a Superbowl ad in 1973: $88,000

The 1973 Soap Box Derby winner, 14-year-old Jimmy Gronen, was stripped of his title after his car was found to have an electromagnet in the nose, which, when activated, pulled the car forward by attracting it to the steel paddle used to start the race.

The Habit

Pong (arcade)

1st Appearances & 1973’s Most Popular Christmas Gifts, Toys and Presents

Anti-Monopoly, Raleigh Chopper Bikes, Toy guns, Shrinky Dinks, Pente, Dungeons and Dragons

Best Film Oscar Winner

The Godfather (presented in 1973)

Popular and Best-selling Books From 1973

The Billion Dollar Sure Thing by Paul E. Erdman
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
Burr by Gore Vidal
Evening in Byzantium by Irwin Shaw
Fear of Flying by Erica Jong
The Friends by Rosa Guy
Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
The Hollow Hills by Mary Stewart
The Honorary Consul by Graham Greene
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
The Matlock Paper by Robert Ludlum
The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth
Once Is Not Enough by Jacqueline Susann
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Sula by Toni Morrison
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

1973 Most Popular TV Shows

1. All in the Family (CBS)
2. The Waltons (CBS)
3. Sanford and Son (NBC)
4. M*A*S*H (CBS)
5. Hawaii Five-O (CBS)
6. Maude (CBS)
7. Kojak (CBS)
8. The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour (CBS)
9. The Mary Tyler Moore Show (CBS)
10. Cannon (CBS)

1973 Billboard Number One Songs

December 16, 1972January 5, 1973:
Me and Mrs. Jones – Billy Paul

January 6January 26:
You’re So Vain – Carly Simon

January 27February 2:
Superstition – Stevie Wonder

February 3February 23:
Crocodile Rock – Elton John

February 24March 23:
Killing Me Softly With His Song – Roberta Flack

March 24April 6:
Love Train – O’Jays

April 7April 20:
The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia – Vicki Lawrence

April 21May 18:
Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree – Dawn Featuring Tony Orlando

May 19May 25:
You Are The Sunshine Of My Life – Stevie Wonder

May 26June 1:
Frankenstein – The Edgar Winter Group

June 2June 29:
My Love – Paul McCartney & Wings

June 30July 6:
Give Me Love – (Give Me Peace On Earth) – George Harrison

July 7July 20:
Will It Go Round In Circles – Billy Preston

July 21August 3:
Bad, Bad Leroy Brown – Jim Croce

August 4August 17:
The Morning After – Maureen McGovern

August 18- August 25:
Touch Me in the Morning – Diana Ross

August 25 – September 8:
Brother Louie – Stories

September 8 – September 14:
Let’s Get It On – Marvin Gaye

September 15September 28:
Delta Dawn – Helen Reddy

September 29October 5:
We’re An American Band – Grand Funk

October 6October 19:
Half-Breed – Cher

October 20October 26:
Angie – The Rolling Stones

October 27November 9:
Midnight Train To Georgia – Gladys Knight & The Pips

November 10November 23:
Keep On Truckin’ – (Part 1) Eddie Kendricks

November 24November 30:
Photograph – Ringo Starr

December 1December 14:
Top Of The World – The Carpenters

December 15December 28:
The Most Beautiful Girl – Charlie Rich

December 29, 1972 – January 11, 1974:
Time In A Bottle – Jim Croce


World Series Champions: Oakland Athletics
Superbowl VII Champions: Miami Dolphins
NBA Champions: New York Knicks
Stanley Cup Champs: Montreal Canadiens
U.S. Open Golf Johnny Miller
U.S. Tennis: (Men/Ladies) John Newcombe/Margaret Smith Court
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Jan Kodes/Billie Jean King
NCAA Football Champions: Alabama & Notre Dame
NCAA Basketball Champions: UCLA
Kentucky Derby: Secretariat (Triple Crown Winner: Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes)

More 1973 Facts & History Resources:

Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us)
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1973X
1973 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com
Fact Monster
1970s, Infoplease.com World History
1973 in Movies (according to IMDB)
Retrowaste Vintage Culture
Rewind365: 1973
Roe v. Wade
1970s Slang
Wikipedia 1973
Yom Kippur War 1973