History-Changing Events That Took Place in the 1960s
Chubby Checker leads Conway Twitty and American Bandstand host Dick Clark through the Twist, September 7, 1960. (Photo from Corbis-Bettmann)
The 1960s brought many changes to America that changed the course of our history.
In 1960, Chubby Checker brought a new dance craze, ‘The Twist.’
A quirky dance move made popular by Chubby Checker called the “The Twist,” had people creating all kinds of jerky movements with their hips. There were the speedy twisters who gyrated their hips at the speed of lightning and then there were the slow twisters that twisted as if they were in slow motion. Besides the normal movement of ‘The Twist,’ there were some that had some crazy hip gyrations that took on a whole new form of the dance. Despite all the different rhythmic movements, they all danced the twist to the same song by the same name “The Twist.”
Marilyn Monroe dies in 1962.
In 1962, Marilyn Monroe, the iconic sex symbol, passed away at the very young age of 36. Consistent with Hollywood and its Hollywood stars, there are several conspiracy theories surrounding her death. The coroner ruled her death as an overdose of barbiturates. There are three popular opinions with one belief being that she committed suicide and another that she accidentally overdosed. The most popular belief, though, is that she was murdered possibly by the mafia or by the mafia for the Kennedys. It is rumored that she had affairs with both Robert and John F. Kennedy.
The year 1962 also brought the invention of the first video game.
It was the birth of video games that started with a game called “Spacewar.” It was very primitive as it had no color and no graphics except for some grayish white stars and two “spaceships” trying to eliminate each other. The background was mostly just a black screen. In today’s world, it would be quite boring but back in 1962, it was just the beginning of what we have today, a multitude of fast-paced, video games with awesome colorful graphics. Many different types of space games have been created since then that include multi-player games as well as internet-based games.
In 1963, John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
Much speculation and controversy surround his murder. Thousands of books and stories have been written by various writers depicting their view of what they think happened. Many have been accused of being responsible but only one was convicted by the government and that was Lee Harvey Oswald. Some of the claims are that it was the CIA while others said it was the mafia, Lynden B. Johnson (the vice-president), Fidel Castro, and even the KGB. Interestingly, his brother, Robert F. Kennedy was also shot in 1968 during a presidential campaign where he later died.
In 1964, the Beatles arrive in the United States.
When the Beatles arrived in New York, they started taking the US by storm. Record sales were reported all over the city and grew with their appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” that year on February 9. In downtown Manhattan, record shops were selling out and one radio station, WWDC even declared February 11 as “Beatles Day” as they were scheduled to do their first live appearance in the US at The Washington Coliseum. With hits like “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You,” Beatlemania had definitely hit the United States.
In 1965, mini-skirts became a real “item.”
The year 1965 was the year that the mini-skirt really took off and made its debut with model, Jean Shrimpton wearing one with no stockings, hat, or gloves. Before that, there were some mini-skirts around but not as pronounced. The very first miniskirts go way back to 5400 B.C. as ancient Egyptians wore them. In 1926, entertainer Josephine Baker wore one that was made of bananas in her performances in Paris. There were also some during the 1950s after WWII but, mostly, the fashion was well below the knee. In 1962, there was some controversy about them being produced in Mexico City. In 1964, it was a British designer named Mary Quant who opened up a boutique in 1955 and started raising the hemline of her skirts and called it the “Mini.”
Walt Disney passes away in 1966 but not before his public announcement in 1965.
Walt Disney had a dream of a “world” filled with adventure and fun for the family. His ideas for Disney World had begun formulating in the early 1960s similar to Disneyland in California. It was decided by 1963 that Disney World would be located in Florida due to the good weather year round. In particular, Orlando was chosen because of the availability of land. Disney World was to be quite a bit larger than Disneyland with 450 acres to account for resorts within the resort and plenty of room for expansion of his ideas. Buying the land began in 1964; and by 1965, a press conference was held in Orlando making the announcement by Walt and his brother, Roy of their plans for Walt Disney World. Sadly, Walt Disney passed away in 1966 before seeing his dream come to pass. But his dream did not pass away and Disney World officially opened in 1971.
The First Superbowl in 1967.
Another history-changing event took place in 1967 when the first Super Bowl took place in Los Angeles, California. On January 15 that year, the championship team from the AFL (American Football League) competed against the championship team from the NFL (National Football League). It was the Kansas City Chiefs (AFL) against the Green Bay Packers (NFL) with the Green Bay Packers winning with a score of 35 to 10.
The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.
Another assassination occurred in the 1960s – this time it was Martin Luther King Jr. While standing outside of the balcony of his motel room in Tennessee, he was shot. The night before he was shot, he gave his last speech almost as if he knew what was about to happen to him. Towards the end of his speech, he mentions “going up to the mountain” and that he had “seen the promised land and the coming of the Lord.” Despite the controversy that he faced in the various places he visited, a lot was accomplished for the causes he stood for. One of those accomplishments was the desegregation of Alabama’s bus system. Other accomplishments include the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 among others.
In July of 1969, the first man steps foot on the moon.
It was the Apollo 11 that took off that day from the Kennedy Space Center with Neil Armstrong, and pilots, Michael Collins and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin on board. Commander Armstrong brought them down to a landing spot on the moon and announced “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Then Armstrong and Aldrin stepped onto the ladder and descended onto the moon. Once stepping off the ladder, Commander Armstrong stated: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
The events from the 1960s definitely reshaped our world, mostly for the good; however, those who died or were killed are most definitely missed.
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