1968 Annual History Facts

1968 Annual History Facts

  • Politics: Violence erupted between Vietnam War protesters and police at Democratic National Convention in Chicago
  • The Top Song was Hey Jude by The Beatles
  • The Big Movies included Funny Girl, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and The Love Bug
  • Minimum Wage in 1968: $1.60 per hour
    A Borg-Warner Eight-track stereo: $99.88
    McDonald’s Big Mac: 49 cents
  • The World Population was ~ 3,526,000,000
  • US Life Expectancy: Males: 66.6 years, Females: 74.0 years
  • Don’t Break the Ice and Score Fore games were introduced in 1968.
  • The US Patent for Lava Lamps was permitted in 1968.
  • And… Mattel made a Toot Sweet toy that shaped Tootsie Rolls candy into working whistles.

World Series Champions

Detroit Tigers

NFL Champions

Baltimore Colts

AFL Champions

New York Jets

Superbowl II Champions

Green Bay Packers

National Basketball Association Champions

Boston Celtics

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

Montreal Canadiens

US Open Golf

Lee Trevino

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Arthur Ashe/Virginia Wade

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Rod Laver/Billie Jean King

NCAA Football Champions

Ohio State

NCAA Basketball Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 1, 1968 – Oklahoma over Tennessee
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1968 – USC over Indiana
Sugar Bowl: January 1, 1968 – LSU over Wyoming

Kentucky Derby

Forward pass

Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Stingray of Derryabah

Time Magazine’s Men of the Year

Apollo 8 Astronauts (William Anders, Frank Borman, and Jim Lovell)

Miss America

Debra Barnes (Pittsburgh, KS)

Miss USA

Dorothy Anstett (Washington)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Ann-Margret, Ewa Aulin, Honor Blackman, Carol Burnett, Veronica Carlson, Diahann Carroll, Julie Christie, ‘Wilhelmina’ Cooper, Yvonne Craig, Catherine Deneuve, Barbara Eden, Lola Falana, Barbara Feldon, Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn, Katiti Kironde, Peggy Lipton, Sophia Loren, Virna Lisi, Elizabeth Montgomery, Caroline Munro, Turia Mau, Julie Newmar, Ingrid Pitt, Diana Rigg, Naomi Sims, Elke Sommer, Stella Stevens, Barbra Streisand, Sharmila Tagore, Sharon Tate, Marlo Thomas, Penelope Tree, Twiggy, Veruschka, Raquel Welch, Barbara Windsor

“The Quotes”

“Book ’em, Dano.”
– Jack Lord in Hawaii 5-0

“You’ve come a long way, baby.”
– Virginia Slims Cigarettes

“I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it I can sing it for you.”
-Hal 5000, in 2001: A Space Odyssey

“Open the pod bay doors, HAL.”
– Keir Dullea, in 2001: A Space Odyssey

“Ring around the collar”
– Wisk Laundry Detergent

“They’re coming to get you, Barbara.”
– Johnny, in Night Of The Living Dead

“Hello, gorgeous.”
– Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice, in Funny Girl

“Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!”
– Charlton Heston, in Planet of the Apes

“If nominated I will not run; if elected I will not serve” was originally said by William Tecumseh Sherman in 1884, not president Lyndon Johnson in 1968.

When actor Nicolas Cage (born in 1964) was four, he would have this recurring dream in which “I was on the toilet and this giant blonde genie woman in a gold bikini would reach into the bathroom window like King Kong and pluck me off of the toilet seat and laugh at me.”

Charles Schulz resisted adding a black character to Peanuts because he thought it would be seen as condescending. After adding Franklin, his syndicate tried to force Schulz to remove him. He said, “Either you print it just the way I draw it, or I quit. How’s that?”

1968 Pop Culture History

Johnny Cash’s guitar player, Luther Perkins, died in 1968. Cash found himself at a show where the temporary replacement, Carl Perkins (no relation), couldn’t make it. An audience member asked Cash if he could fill in for the night, and he said yes. Bob Wootton then became Cash’s guitar player for the next 29 years

Olympic long jumper Bob Beamon’s first attempt exceeded the limit of the official measuring equipment. It took over 15 minutes before a distance was posted, and only then did he realize he had broken the world record by nearly 2 feet.

Robert Kennedy was assassinated the same week the Rolling Stones recorded Sympathy for the Devil. The original lyrics were “I shouted out ‘Who killed Kennedy?'” but Jagger changed it to “I shouted out ‘Who killed the Kennedys?'”

Harlem Globetrotters were formed in Chicago and didn’t play a game of basketball in Harlem until 1968, forty years after they were founded.

On December 24, 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 broadcast themselves reciting the first ten verses of the book of Genesis. The founder of American Atheists sued the US government for violating the First Amendment, but the Supreme Court dismissed the case due to lack of jurisdiction. This will have interesting ramifications as Americans go further into space.

In Mattoon, Illinois, a small restaurant called “Burger King” won a lawsuit against the giant fast-food chain of the same name because they had first trademarked it. Today, no Burger Kings are legally allowed within 20 miles of the Mattoon location.

The star of the 1968 film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, Olivia Hussey, was only 15 years old when she appeared nude in the film – and could not attend the Great Britain premiere.

The catchphrase “Who’s your daddy?” originated from The Zombies’s 1968 song Time of the Season.

Ringo Starr temporarily quit the Beatles during the recording of the White Album. Paul McCartney played the drum track for Back In The U.S.S.R. “On August 22, 1968, following an argument with McCartney over the drum part for this song, Ringo walked out on The Beatles. He flew to Sardinia for a holiday to consider his future. While there, he received a telegram from his bandmates saying, ‘You’re the best rock ‘n’ roll drummer in the world. Come on home, we love you.’ On his return, he found his drum kit covered with flowers. A banner above reads, ‘Welcome Back.'”

The television program Laugh-in had a comedy bit called ‘News from the Future’ where they correctly predicted Ronald Reagan would be President in 1988 and the Berlin Wall would collapse in 1989.

Dorothy, Betty, and Helen Wiggin, The Shaggs, were reviewed by Rolling Stones as “sounding like lobotomized Trapp Family singers” and proclaimed “better than the Beatles” by Frank Zappa. Kurt Cobain ranked “Philosophy of the World” album as #5 on his 50 best albums list.

Radical feminist Valerie Solanas shot and wounded Andy Warhol and two others at his New York City studio “The Factory” in 1968.

Two boys playing in a deserted and rat-infested tenement found the body of a 31-year-old drug addict. A year and a half later was, the body identified as that of child actor Bobby Driscoll, Academy Award winner and voice of Peter Pan.

Night of the Living Dead (1968) is a public domain film because when distributors changed the name from “Night of the Flesh Eaters” to “Night of the Living Dead,” they accidentally removed the copyright indication on the prints.

Stanley Kubrick asked journalists to refer to 2001: A Space Odyssey as “two thousand and one” instead of “twenty-oh-one,” hoping it would influence the pronunciation of that year.

Roy Jacuzzi invented the first self-contained, fully integrated whirlpool bath, and named it the Jacuzzi®.

William J. Meister discovered a fossilized sandal print called the “Meister Print.” Within the right-sided print was housed a trilobite, supposedly 500 million years extinct before man arrived on the face of the Earth.

From 1942 to 1976, pinball machines were illegal in New York City. The 1968 film The Odd Couple, features a scene in a pool hall with illegal pinball machines to demonstrate to the audience how seedy and unreputable of a hall it was.

Pink Floyd’s original managers, Peter Jenner and Andrew King decided to represent Syd Barrett when he left the band in 1968, dissolving their agreement with the others as they could see no future in the band.

Pachelbel’s Canon remained relatively unknown for almost 300 years until it was recorded by Jean-François Paillard’s chamber orchestra in 1968 and played on a San Francisco radio station in the 70s.

A researcher, Michel Gauquelin, placed an ad offering free personal horoscope readings. Everyone received the same data: the chart of France’s worst mass murderers. Of the first 150 replies, 94% found the reading to fit their life accurately; 90% found its accuracy confirmed by family and friends.

Cost of a Superbowl ad in 1968: $54,000

Until the late 1960s, ‘gender’ was used solely to refer to masculine and feminine words, like ‘le’ and ‘la’ in French. In 1968, psychologist Robert Stoller began using the terms ‘sex’ for biological traits and ‘gender’ to determine the amount of femininity and masculinity a person exhibited.

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

April 4 – James Earl Ray assassinated Reverend Martin Luther King.

John Lennon, after taking a large amount of LSD, called an emergency meeting of The Beatles to inform them that he was in fact, Jesus Christ reincarnated.

Linda LeClair was expelled from Barnard College amidst the great controversy of living with her boyfriend.

The FTC issued a cease and desist order to Campbell’s Soup company for using marbles in their soup ads. The marbles were placed in the bottom of the soup to push the solid ingredients to the top, which was considered deceptive.

June 5 – Sirhan Bishara Sirhan assassinated Senator Robert F. Kennedy (D, NY).

Navy Chief Warrant Officer John Walker began spying for the Soviets when he walked into the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C., sold a top-secret document for several thousand dollars, and negotiated an ongoing salary of $500 to $1,000 weekly.

AP Photojournalist Eddie Adams photographed an officer shooting a handcuffed prisoner in the head at point-blank range and earned a Pulitzer Prize in 1969. Although it changed the viewpoint of the war in many American’s eyes, the victim was, in fact, a Vietcong ‘revenge squad’ leader, having killed dozens of (unarmed) civilians that very same day. The phrase ‘fog of war’ was invented for events like this.

Alan Ginsberg and a rock band called The Fugs performed a mock exorcism at Senator Joe McCarthy’s grave.

There were four mysterious submarine disappearances. The USS Scorpion, the Israeli submarine INS Dakar, the French submarine Minerve, and the Soviet submarine K-129 all went down.

Andy Warhol was fortunate to survive the attempt on his life in 1968. He had been declared dead in the emergency room and had nine damaged organs. He never fully recovered, and had trouble eating and swallowing for the rest of his life. He wore a girdle to hold in his bowels.

Joseph Fletcher wrote an article for the Atlantic Monthly encouraging parents to keep their Down Syndrome children either secluded or kill them altogether, saying it wasn’t a crime as they were not people.

Science fiction writer and atheist Isaac Asimov published Asimov’s guide to the Bible. Asimov treated the secular aspects of the Bible with intellectual instead of theological commentary.

Operation “Wandering Soul” in the Vietnam War – recordings of Americans pretending to be ghosts, urging the Vietcong to turn back or give up, were played through the forests at night.

Peter Norman, the white Australian silver-medalist who stood with the two African-American sprinters giving the “black power” salute in the 1968 Olympics, was wearing a Civil Rights button to stand in solidarity with them and did so for the rest of his life despite being ostracized in his own country. Years later, at Peter Norman’s funeral, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the athletes responsible for the 1968 Olympics Black Power salute, were pallbearers.

AFL Championship Game (Heidi Bowl): With the Jets leading 32-29 with only 65 seconds left, the Raiders quickly scored 14 points to win, 43-32. Meanwhile, millions of American television viewers could not see Oakland’s comeback, because the NBC television network cut off the live broadcast in favor of a pre-scheduled airing of Heidi, a new made-for-TV version of the classic children’s story.

At a Miami concert, the Doors’ Jim Morrison drunkenly screeched, “There are no rules!” and exposed himself.

Apollo 8 came at the end of 1968, a year that had seen much upheaval in the United States and most of the world. After the mission, one of the astronauts received a telegram that said, “Thank you, Apollo 8. You saved 1968.”

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Don’t Break The Ice, Hot Wheels, Battling Tops, Silly Putty, Whirlee Twirlee

Weight Watchers Magazine began publication

VFW Magazine began publication

Essence began publication

The Habit

Reading Airport by Arthur Hailey

1968/69 Biggest Television Shows

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
1. Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In (NBC)
2. Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. (CBS)
3. Bonanza (NBC)
4. Mayberry R.F.D. (CBS)
5. Family Affair (CBS)
6. Gunsmoke (CBS)
7. Julia (NBC)
8. The Dean Martin Show (NBC)
9. Here’s Lucy (CBS)
10. The Beverly Hillbillies (CBS)

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1968 include
Archie Bell & the Drells, Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, Archie Bell & the Drells, Barbara Acklin, Bobby Goldsboro, Clarence Carter, The Delfonics, The Dells, Dionne Warwick, The Doors, Elvis Presley, Gary Pucket & the Union Gap, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Herb Alpert, Hugh Masekela, The Intruders, James Brown, Jerry Butler, Joe Tex, Johnny Taylor, Jr. Walker & the All Stars, The Impressions, The Intruders, Marvin Gaye, The Monkees, 1910 Fruitgum Company, O. C. Smith, Otis Redding, The Rascals, Sly & the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, Tammi Terrell, The Temptations, Wilson Pickett

(Data is compiled from charts, including Billboard’s Pop, Rock, Airplay, R&B/Dance, and Singles Charts. The Hot 100 is the primary chart used for this list.)

Number One Hits of 1968

December 30, 1967 – January 19, 1968: The Beatles – Hello, Goodbye

January 20, 1968 – February 2, 1968: John Fred & His Playboy Band – Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)

February 3, 1968 – February 9, 1968: The Lemon Pipers – Green Tambourine

February 10, 1968 – March 15, 1968: Paul Mauriat – Love Is Blue

March 16, 1968 – April 12, 1968: Otis Redding – (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay

April 13, 1968 – May 17, 1968: Bobby Goldsboro – Honey

May 18, 1968 – May 3, 1968: Archie Bell & the Drells – Tighten Up

June 1, 1968 – June 21, 1968: Simon & Garfunkel – Mrs. Robinson

June 22, 1968 – July 19, 1968: Herb Alpert – This Guy’s in Love with You

July 20, 1968 – August 2, 1968: Hugh Masekela – Grazing in the Grass

August 3, 1968 – August 16, 1968: The Doors – Hello, I Love You

August 17, 1968 – September 20, 1968: Young Rascals – People Got to Be Free

September 21, 1968 – September 27, 1968: Jeannie C. Riley – Harper Valley P.T.A.

September 28, 1968 – November 29, 1968: The Beatles – Hey Jude
November 30, 1968 – December 13, 1968: Diana Ross & the Supremes – Love Child

December 14, 1968 – January 31, 1969: Marvin Gaye – I Heard It Through the Grapevine

Popular Movies

2001: A Space Odyssey, Andy Warhol’s Flesh, Barbarella, Bullitt, Charly, Faces, Funny Girl, The Lion in Winter, The Love Bug, Night of the Living Dead, Oliver!, Once Upon a Time in the West, Planet of the Apes, Point Blank, Pretty Poison, The Producers, Romeo and Juliet, Rosemary’s Baby, The Swimmer, The Thomas Crown Affair, Yellow Submarine
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