1969 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

1969 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

Quick Facts from 1969:

  • World Changing Event: Neil A. Armstrong, Command Module pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module pilot Edwin “Buzz” E. Aldrin landed in the Sea of Tranquility, on The Moon on July 20, 1969.
  • Other World Changing Event: The arpanet (first internet) was created.
  • The Top Song was Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In by The 5th Dimension
  • The Movies to Watch include Once Upon a Time in the West, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Love Bug and Paint Your Wagon
  • The Most Famous Person in America was probably Steve McQueen
  • Notable books include: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and The Godfather by Mario Puzo and My Friends the Wild Chimpanzees by Jane Goodall
  • Price of an Aladdin Lunch Box, with Thermos in 1969: 99 cents
    Wendy’s Frosty: 35 cents
    Hasbro Lite Brite: $5.66
  • The Funny Late Night Host: Johnny Carson
    The Funny Guy was: Don Rickles
    The Funny Lady was: Phyllis Diller
  • The Crazy Conspiracy: The Moon Landing was faked, filmed in a studio in Arizona by famed director Stanley Kubrick.

Top Ten Baby Names of 1969:
Lisa, Michelle, Jennifer, Kimberly, Melissa, Michael, David, James, John, Robert

The Hotties and Fashion Icons:
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

“The Quotes:”
“That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.”
– Neil Armstrong, upon stepping on the moon.

“I’m walking here! I’m walking here!”
– Dustin Hoffman, in ‘Midnight Cowboy’

Time Magazine’s People of the Year:
Middle Americans

Miss America:
Judith Ford (Belvidere, IL)

Miss USA:
Wendy Dascomb (Virginia)

The Scandals and War:
Senator Ted Kennedy was involved with 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.

Unsolved Mystery:
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.

Hee Haw  premiered on CBS (1969 to 1971), later  in syndication (1971 to 1993) and on TNN (1996 to 1997).

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.

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.

Wendy’s Hamburgers was founded by Dave Thomas in Columbus, Ohio.

The Godfather by Mario Puzo was released.

Soft drink Capri Suns first went on sale.

The Summer of 69 by Bryan Adams (1984)

Pop Culture 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 featured (spoiler alert) Bambi getting stepped on by Godzilla. It was later admitted into the Academy Film Archive in 2009.

We don’t know Mariah Carey’s real age. Her year of birth is disputed by multiple sources as either 1969 or 1970, on March 27.

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 moon walk, 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 Sunday at midnight. He didn’t take the stage until 9 AM on Monday morning and played for 2 hours to a relatively small audience. Jimi’s version of The Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock was considered by some to be 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 all the way to Mount Everest for the album cover photoshoot. This lead album title changing to Abbey Road, which was the street right outside their studio.

The Dominos Pizza Logo has 3 dots because that is how many stores they opened with. In 2018, hey had over 14,000 stores world-wide.

About 300 1969 Dodge Chargers were destroying 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 onto the floor until 1993.

David Paul Gregg patented the optical or laser disc, although he came up with the idea in 1958.

When Candid Camera host Allen Funt’s airplane was hijacked by Cubans, 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 took place August 15-18. Claims of up to one million people came; it was more likely half that number, still an incredible amount of people!

The Beatles give 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 come up with, Naked Came The Stranger, to make fun of US’s vulgar and declining literary culture. The book became a bestseller.

You have probably heard this drum beat, The Amen Break:

Nobel Prize Winners:
Physics – Murray Gell-Mann
Chemistry – Derek Harold Richard Barton, Odd Hassel
Medicine – Max Delbrück, Alfred Hershey, Salvador Luria
Literature – Samuel Beckett
Peace – International Labour Organization
Economics – Ragnar Frisch, Jan Tinbergen

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.

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 as a way to advertise it.

The Cold War:
The EC-121 shoot down incident occurred when North Korean jets shot down an American reconnaissance plane in international airspace killing 30 American citizens. America never retaliated.

Doomsday Clock:
10 minutes to midnight, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.
1969: Nearly all of the world’s nations come together to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The deal is simple–the nuclear weapon states vow to help the treaty’s non-nuclear weapon signatories develop nuclear power if they promise to forego producing nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapon states also pledge to abolish their own arsenals when political conditions allow for it. Although Israel, India, and Pakistan refuse to sign the treaty, the Bulletin is cautiously optimistic: “The great powers have made the first step. They must proceed without delay to the next one–the dismantling, gradually, of their own oversized military establishments.”

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)

Broadway Show – 1776 (Musical) Opened on March 16, 1969 and Closed: February 13, 1972

Broadway Show – Oh! Calcutta! (Review) Opened on June 17, 1969 and Closed: August 12, 1972

Broadway Show – Butterflies Are Free (Play) Opened on October 21, 1969 and Closed: July 2, 1972

Popular and Notable Books From 1969:
Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle by Vladimir Nabokov
The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert
The Edible Woman, The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
My Friends the Wild Chimpanzees by Jane Goodall
The Godfather by Mario Puzo
The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Inheritors by Harold Robbins
The Love Machine by Jacqueline Susann
My Book About Me (by Me, Myself) by Dr. Seuss
Naked Came the Stranger by Penelope Ashe
The Promise by Chaim Potok
The Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth
Pretenders by Gwen Davi
The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand
The Salzburg Connection by Helen MacInnes
The Seven Minutes by Irving Wallace
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

1969 Most Popular TV shows:
1. Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In (NBC)
2. Gunsmoke (CBS)
3. Bonanza (NBC)
4. Mayberry R.F.D. (CBS)
5. Family Affair (CBS)
6. Here’s Lucy (CBS)
7. The Red Skelton Hour (CBS)
8. Marcus Welby, M.D. (ABC)
9. Walt Disny’s Wonderful World of Color (ABC)
10. The Doris Day Show (CBS)

1969 Billboard Number One Songs:
December 14, 1968 – January 31, 1969:
I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye

February 1 – February 14:
Crimson And Clover Tommy James & the Shondells

February 15 – March 14:
Everyday People Sly & The Family Stone

March 15 – April 11:
Dizzy Tommy Roe

April 12 – May 23:
Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures) The 5th Dimension

May 24 – June 27:
Get Back The Beatles with Billy Preston

June 28 – July 11:
Love Theme From Romeo & Juliet Henry Mancini

July 12 – August 22:
In The Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus) Zager & Evans

August 23 – September 19:
Honky Tonk Women The Rolling Stones

September 20 – October 17:
Sugar, Sugar The Archies

October 18 – October 31:
I Can’t Get Next to You The Temptations

November 1 – November 7:
Suspicious Minds Elvis Presley

November 8 – November 28:
Wedding Bell Blues The 5th Dimension

November 29 – December 5:
Come Together The Beatles

December 6 – December 19:
Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye) Steam

December 20 – December 26:
Leaving On A Jet Plane Peter, Paul & Mary

December 27, 1969 – January 2, 1970:
Someday We’ll Be Together Diana Ross & The Supremes

World Series Champions: New York Mets
Superbowl III Champions: New York Jets
NBA Champions: Boston Celtics
Stanley Cup Champs: Montreal Canadians
U.S. Open Golf Orville Moody
U.S. Tennis: (Men/Ladies) Rod Laver/Margaret Smith Court
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Rod Laver/Ann Jones
NCAA Football Champions: Texas
NCAA Basketball Champions: UCLA
Kentucky Derby: Majestic Prince

Leonard Tose bought the Philadelphia Eagles for $16,500,000, a record high amount for a sports team at the time.

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