Top Songs of 1961
May 25, 2023
Wilt Chamberlain Scores 50 Points/Game
May 22, 2023
Wilton Norman Chamberlain (1936 –1999) was a 7 ft 1 in professional basketball player. Playing center in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for 14 years, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the sport's history. In the 1961-62 NBA season Wilt Chamberlain scored 50 points/game. On March 2, 1962 he scored 100 points for the Philadelphia Warriors in a 169–147 win over the New York Knicks,  Source: Wikipedia
Catch 22
May 18, 2023
In 1961 Joseph Heller published his satirical WWII novel Catch 22. Using non-chronological third-person omniscient narration, Heller described events from the points of view of different characters out of sequence. The title of the book refers to a fictional bureaucratic stipulation that embodies illogical and immoral reasoning. Source: Wikipedia In 1970 the movie Catch 22, starring Alan Arkin, was released. https://youtu.be/dcmwPYCUysw
USSR Explodes Tsar Bomba
May 15, 2023
https://youtu.be/wSbxoRDhtqU In October 1961 the USSR exploded the Tsar Bomba  AN602, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever created and tested.  Source: Wikipedia
Paris Police Attack Algerian Protesters
May 11, 2023
In October 1961  30,000 people protesting a curfew applied solely to “Algerian Muslim workers” were attacked by French National Police. 40 people are officially killed, although some estimates deem the true death toll of the event to be closer to 300.
Hurricane Carla
May 1, 2023
In September 1961 Hurricane Carla was the most intense tropical cyclone landfall in Texas in the 20th century. Carla spawned 21 tornadoes, the largest hurricane-related tornado outbreak on record at the time, causing 43 fatalities and about $325.74 million in damage. Source: Wikipedia
JFK meets Khrushchev in Vienna
April 27, 2023
In June 1961 President John F. Kennedy met Soviet Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union to discuss numerous issues in the relationship between their countries. Discussions included the Berlin crtisis and the neutralization of Laos, Although the summit was initially seen as a diplomatic triumph by the USA, the two leaders became increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress of the negotiations. Ultimately, Khrushchev feeling he had outmatched Kennedy, came away believing he had triumphed in the summit over a weak and inexperienced leader.  Souce: Wikipedia
JFK Increases US Advisors to Vietnam
April 24, 2023
In November 1961 President Kennedy increased the number of US military advisors to South Vietnam from 1000 to 16,000. Source: JFK Library
Dick Van Dyke Show
April 20, 2023
In October 1961 "The Dick Van Dyke Show," also starring Mary Tyler Moore, made its debut on CBS. The show continued to 1966. https://youtu.be/f43vTGOSE6o https://youtu.be/71muiGjdd7c
Russia Resumes Nuclear Weapons Testing
April 17, 2023
https://youtu.be/YtCTzbh4mNQ In 1955, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, and the Soviet Union began negotiations on ending nuclear weapons testing. As negotiators struggled over differences regarding inspections, the Soviet Union and the United States suspended nuclear tests. The moratorium lasted funtil September 1961. In August 1961, the Soviet Union announced its intention to resume atmospheric testing, and over the next three months it conducted 31 nuclear tests, It exploding the largest nuclear bomb in history—4,000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. American testing resumed in April 1962. Source: JFK Library
Bob Dylan Debuts at NYC Coffeehouse
April 13, 2023
In January 1961 a 19-year-old folk singer named Robert Zimmerman took the stage name Bob Dylan for his public debut at the New York City coffeehouse Cafe Wha? https://youtu.be/vWwgrjjIMXA Source: Wikipedia
Dag Hammarskjold Dies in Air Crash
April 10, 2023
https://youtu.be/MBqNgtAf4TQ In September 1961 Secretary-General of the UN Dag Hammarskjold, was killed in a plane crash in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). Hammarskjold was flying to negotiate a cease-fire in the Congo where a rebellion was openly being backed by Belgium and secretly by Britain and France. The circumstances of the crash are still unclear. A 1962 Rhodesian inquiry concluded that pilot error was to blame, while a later UN investigation could not determine the cause of the crash. Some evidence suggested the plane was shot down. A US  Central Intelligence Agency report claimed the Soviet KGB was responsible. Source: Wikipedia
Berlin Wall Erected
April 6, 2023
https://youtu.be/aP96A_2IsTY?t=3 The Berlin Wall encircled West Berlin from 1961 to 1989, separating it from East Berlin and the German Democratic Republic. The wall included guard towers placed along large concrete walls and a wide area that contained anti-vehicle trenches and other defenses. The primary intention for the Wall's construction was to prevent East German citizens from flleing west. Source: Wikipedia https://youtu.be/BHZTWYtU3yA
Ernest Hemingway Commits Suicide
April 3, 2023
As an American novelist, short-story writer, and journalist, Ernest Miller Hemingway's understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his adventurous lifestyle brought him admiration from later generations. Hemingway published seven novels, six short-story collections, and two nonfiction works. Many of his works are considered classics of American literature. Hemingway was awarded the 1954 Nobel Prize in Literature for his novel The Old Man and the Sea. In July 1961 Hemingway shot himself in the head at his home in Ketchum, Idaho. Source: Wikipedia
USSR Nuclear Submarine Disaster
March 30, 2023
https://youtu.be/m2sdBqhJR4w Hastily built by the USSR in response to United States' developments in nuclear submarines as part of the arms race, the Soviet K-19 submarine developed a complete loss of coolant to one of its two reactors on its first voyage in June 1961. To avoid a disaster, the engineering crew sacrificed their own lives to devise a secondary coolant system and keep the reactor from a nuclear meltdown. Over the next two years, the K-19 experienced several other accidents (including two fires and a collision) that killed twenty-two crew members. The series of accidents inspired crew members to nickname the submarine "Hiroshima." Source: Wikipedia https://youtu.be/lZIFPBPxHzY
US Military Advisors in Vietnam War 
March 23, 2023
In 1955 President Eisenhower sent economic aid and ~700 military personnel to the government of South Vietnam. This effort was foundering in 1960 when John F. Kennedy was elected president. In May 1961 Kennedy authorized sending an additional 500 Special Forces troops and military advisors to assist the pro Western government of South Vietnam. By the end of 1962, there were approximately 11,000 military advisors in South Vietnam—that year, 53 military personnel were killed. By the end of 1963, the numbers of military advisors to the South Vietnamese Army had risen to 16,000. https://youtu.be/mmjg0aSQKis Source: JFK Library
First American in Space
March 20, 2023
In May 1961 US Navy aviator Alan B. Shepard, one of the original NASA Mercury Seven astronauts, made the first crewed Project Mercury flight in a spacecraft named Freedom 7. The Freedom 7 craft entered space, but was not capable of achieving orbit. Source: Wikipedia
Freedom Riders
March 16, 2023
Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated Southern United States in 1961 and subsequent years to challenge the non-enforcement of US Supreme court rulings that segregated public buses were unconstitutional. Source: Wikipedia
To Kill a Mockingbird
March 13, 2023
https://youtu.be/WSRD1irS_ZY In May 1961 a Pulitzer prize was awarded to Harper Lee, author of "To Kill a Mockingbird." https://youtu.be/KR7loA_oziY In 1962 the motion picture To Kill a Mockingbird directed by Robert Mulligan starred Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch and Mary Badham as Scout. Positively receeived by both the critics and the public, the film was a box-office success, earning more than six times its budget. The film won three Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Peck, and was nominated for eight, including Best Picture. In 1995, To Kill a Mockingbird was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". Source: Wikipedia
Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba
March 9, 2023
https://youtu.be/T-jZ4ZUR6Qw In April 1961 ~1500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba (Invasión de Playa Girón) in an attempt to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro. Without any of the promised air support from the United States, the operation failed completely. Cuban forces killed 200 rebels and captured 1,197 in less than 72 hours. A single copy of a CIA report written by inspector general Lyman Kirkpatrick was made public in 1998. Source: Wikipedia
Yuri Gagarin: First man in space
March 6, 2023
In April 1961 the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin became the first human to journey into outer space. Gagarin completed one orbit of Earth in the Vostok 1 capsule,  Source: Wikipedia
UN Condemns South African Apartheid
March 2, 2023
https://youtu.be/odXAghDLWKM In April 1961 the UN General Assembly condemned South Africa's apartheid policy. Leading the resistance to South Africa’s policy of apartheid in the 20th century, Nelson Mandela was incarcerated by the South African government from1964–82. In 1993 he won the Nobel Prize for Peace along with South Africa’s president F.W. de Klerk, for having led the transition from apartheid to a multiracial democracy. Source: Wikipedia
Civil War in Laos
February 27, 2023
In association with civil wars in Cambodia and  Vietnam, the Laotian Civil War was waged between the Communist Pathet Lao and the Royal Lao Government from May 1959 to December 1975. Both sides received heavy support in a proxy war between the global Cold War superpowers.  Source: Wikipedia
JFK Announces Peace Corps Formation 
February 23, 2023
President Kennedy proposed the Peace Corps as a means to improve America's global image and leadership in the Cold War. Established within three months of Kennedy's 1960 election, the Peace Corps garnered both bipartisan and popular support, particularly among recent university graduates. Source: Wikipedia
HAM – The first Chimp In Space
February 20, 2023
In January 1961, the chimpanzee HAM (AKA Holloman Aerospace Medical Center) made history as the first primate to travel in space aboard a Mercury Redstone rocket on a sub-orbital flight for NASA. Ham’s flight lasted ~16 ½ minutes at a speed of ~5800 mph to a height of 157 miles above the earth. Source: Save the Chimps
Goldsboro Nuclear Near Disaster 
February 16, 2023
  In January 1961 a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress carrying two 3–4-megaton nuclear bombs broke up in mid-air near Goldsboro, North Carolina dropping its nuclear payload in the process. Ejecting at 9,000 ft, five crewmen landed safely. Another ejected, but did not survive the landing, and two died in the crash.  Information declassified in 2013 showed that one of the bombs came close to detonating, with three of the four required triggering mechanisms having activated. Source: Wikipedia
Ask not what your country can do for you … JFK
February 13, 2023
In January 1961 John F. Kennedy made a stirring inaugural address from the steps of the US Capital. "... In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility--I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it--and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.       And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.       My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man..." 
Patrice Lumumba Assasinated
February 9, 2023
In January 1961 Patrice Lumumba, the 1st premier Congo, was murdered after 67 days in office. The US and Joseph Mobutu (Congolese politician and military officer) were implicated but no conclusive proof has emerged. In 2000 the Belgium Parliament opened an inquiry into possible government involvement in the killing of Congo’s Premier Patrice Lumumba following allegations in the new book The Assassination of Lumumba by Ludo De Witte. In 2001 the inquiry found that King Baudouin knew of the plot but did nothing to stop it. Moscow charged that UN Sec. Gen. Dag Hammarskjold was involved. In 2002, Belgium admitted responsibility for its part in the killing. Source: Wikipedia
Mister Ed The Talking Horse
February 6, 2023
Mister Ed was an American television sitcom that aired from 1961 to 1966.  The show's title character, a talking horse originated in short stories by Walter R. Brooks.
Eisenhower’s “Military-Industrial Complex” Speech 
February 2, 2023
As President of the United States for two terms, Eisenhower had slowed the push for increased defense spending despite pressure to build more military equipment during the Cold War arms race. Nonetheless, the American military services and the defense industry had expanded a great deal in the 1950s. Although he thought this growth was needed to counter the Soviet Union, it confounded Eisenhower. With his credibility and standing as a military leader, in his farewell speech he was able to stand up to powerful interests and describe them as a necessary evil. Source: National Archives
US Severs Diplomatic Relations with Cuba
January 30, 2023
The United States severed diplomatic relations with Cuba on January 3, 1961, citing unwarranted action by the Government of Cuba that placed crippling limitations on the ability of the United States Mission to carry on its normal diplomatic and consular functions. Dource: US Dept of State