This week, I wanted to look at the 1961 Banner archives just to see what was going on in our town compared to the excitement taking place on a global scale.
In McKenzie, it seemed business as usual. Former mayor Dr. Gallimore was laid to rest; McKenzie High School named Judy Burroughs and Don Jackson valedictorian and salutatorian; Ted Coleman was selling insurance through State Farm; and Bob Prosser was named student body president at Bethel College.
In the United States: John F. Kennedy is sworn in as the 35th President of the United States; a B-52 Stratofortress, with two nuclear bombs, crashes near Goldsboro, North Carolina; President John F. Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps; “Barbie” gets a boyfriend, when the “Ken” doll is introduced; the U.S. launches the failed the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba; U.S. Freedom Riders begin interstate bus rides; baseball legend Ty Cobb dies at the age of 74; Roger Maris of the New York Yankees hits his 61st home run in the last game of the season; Ernest Hemingway dies of a self-inflicted gunshot wound; and American involvement in the Vietnam War officially begins, as the first American helicopters arrive in Saigon, along with 400 U.S. personnel.
Elsewhere in the world: The trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann begins in Jerusalem; Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human in space; Soviet submarine K-19 suffers a reactor leak in the North Atlantic; construction of the Berlin Wall begins; Iraqi president Abd al-Karim Qasim announces his intention to annex newly independent Kuwait; Stalingrad is renamed Volgograd; Cuban leader Fidel Castro announces he is a Marxist–Leninist, and that Cuba will adopt socialism;
In the world of Arts and Entertainment the big movies were: West Side Story; The Hustler; and Judgment at Nuremberg. The top songs were: Moon River; Where the Boys Are; Will You Love Me Tomorrow; Blue Moon; and the Lion Sleeps Tonight. In television the top shows were: Rocky and Bullwinkle; Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color; Hazel; Dick Van Dyke Show; and Top Cat. In literature the top books were: Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein; Catch-22, Joseph Heller; The Carpetbaggers, Harold Robbins; The Making of the President: 1960, Theodore White; The Agony and the Ecstasy, Irving Stone; The Winter of Our Discontent, John Steinbeck; and Henry Miller’s 1934 novel Tropic of Cancer published legally in the U.S. for the first time.
And in everyday life: the electric toothbrushes are introduced; “Frito” corn chips appear and the average cost of a new car was $2,850.