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1969 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

<< - 1968

1969 History Snapshot

  • A Senate hearing was convened to determine whether to cut funding to PBS. Then unknown kids show host Fred Rogers spoke for six minutes and ended with a song. The senator teld him "looks like you just earned the $20 million." A few years later, when Burger King ran a commercial with a parody look-alike named "Mr. Rodney" in 1984, Rogers asked them to stop. The senior vice president of the company pulled the $15,000 ad without a second thought, saying, "Mr. Rogers is one guy you don't want to mess with... hopefully now we have peace in the neighborhood."
  • The Top Song was Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In by The 5th Dimension
  • The Big Movies included Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Midnight Cowboy and Vally of the Dolls
  • Price of a daily newspaper in 1969: 10 cents
    Campbells Soup, 10.7 oz can: 10 cents
  • The World Population was ~ 3,591,000,000
  • Randolph Smith and Kenneth House patented the battery-powered smoke detector in 1969.
  • Whizzzer toy was introduced, along with the Big Wheel tricycle.
  • Sports: In 1963, San Francisco Giants Manager Alvin Dark joked, "they'll put a man on the moon before 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.
  • And... 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.

World Series Champions

New York Mets

NFL Champions

Minnesota Vikings

AFL Champions

Kansas City Chiefs

Superbowl III Champions

New York Jets

National Basketball Association Champions

Boston Celtics

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

Montreal Canadiens

US Open Golf

Orville Moody

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Rod Laver/Margaret Smith Court

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Rod Laver/Ann Jones

NCAA Football Champions


NCAA Basketball Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 1, 1969 - Penn State over Kansas
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1969 - Ohio State over USC
Sugar Bowl : January 1, 1969 - Arkansas over Georgia

Kentucky Derby

Majestic Prince

Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Glamoor Good News

Time Magazine's People of the Year

Middle Americans

Miss America

Judith Ford (Belvidere, IL)

Miss USA

Wendy Dascomb (Virginia)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Ann-Margret, Brigitte Bardot, Jamee Becker, Carol Burnett, Dyan Cannon, Veronica Carlson, Diahann Carroll, Julie Christie, Catherine Deneuve, Barbara Eden, Lola Falana, Barbara Feldon, Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn, Katiti Kironde, Peggy Lipton, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Montgomery, Caroline Munro, Ingrid Pitt, Diana Rigg, Naomi Sims, Elke Sommer, Sharon Tate, Marlo Thomas, Penelope Tree, Tina Turner, Twiggy, Veruschka, Raquel Welch, Natalie Wood

"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

"On Sept. 2, our bank will open at 9:00 and never close again!"
- Long Island branch of Chemical Bank, advertisement from 1969 for their autoomated teller machine (ATM).

1969 Pop Culture History

While we didn't have the film technology to convincingly fake a moon landing in 1969, we did have the technology to actually land on the moon.

Astronaut Neil Armstrong took a piece of fabric from the left wing of the Wright Brothers' 1903 Flyer to the moon aboard the lunar module Eagle on July 20, 1969. In 1963, San Francisco Giants manager Alvin Dark, said of Hall of Fame pitcher, Gaylord Perry,jokingly, "They'll put a man on the moon before he hits a home run." Sure enough, that day, Perry hit his first career home run, just an hour after Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

American Hero Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon on June 20th. There was no comment from Mr. Gorsky.

Bob Denver's (Gilligan) character on another show (Maynard G. Krebs on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis) was the inspiration for Shaggy from Scooby Doo.

James Brown released five different songs about popcorn.

Willie Nelson has been playing the same guitar, named Trigger, since 1969. He's even worn a giant hole in it.

Domino's Pizza logo has 3 dots because that's how many stores there were in 1969. They planned to add a new dot for every store that opened, but that was quickly scrapped as the franchise grew rapidly.

Robert Crumb's Fritz The Cat was the comic strip that all the tuned-in folks read.

The term 'Headbanging' was first coined during Led Zeppelin's 1969 tour of the US.

Jimi Hendrix insisted on being the final performer at The Woodstock Music & Art Fair (Woodstock Music Festival) and was scheduled to perform Sunday at midnight. He didn't take the stage until 9 A.M. on Monday morning and played for 2 hours to a dwindling audience. There were two recorded deaths, two recorded births and four miscarriages at Woodstock.

A woman name Vickie Jones was arrested for impersonating Aretha Franklin in concert. Jones' impersonation was so convincing that nobody in the audience asked for a refund.

The Seattle Pilots were a Major League Baseball team that only lasted one year, in 1969.

In Arnold Schwarzenegger's first film, Hercules in New York, his accent was so thick that all his lines had to be dubbed with a completely different voice.

President Richard Nixon had proposed a form of Basic Income (or Negative Income Tax) for poor families in the US, but it was promptly defeated in the senate.

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

The 'Amen Break' - a 6 second drum solo from 1969 has been sampled and used in over 1,500 songs. It is a drum solo performed by Gregory Sylvester "G. C." Coleman in the song Amen, Brother performed by the 1960s funk and soul outfit The Winstons.

Led Zeppelin only had one Top 10 hit in the United States: 1969's Whole Lotta Love, which remained on the Billboard charts for 15 weeks and peaked at number four.

The Iron Horse Ranch and Vineyards opened in Sebastopol, California.

Near Bethel, New York, the first mega-concert, the Woodstock Music Festival took place Auguest 15-18. Claims of up to one million people came; it was more likely half that number, still an incredible amount of people!

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.

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.

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

There was a commercially sold adult board game called Chug A Lug, it involved smoking, beer and marijuana, The purpose was to win the most Alcoholic Unnanimous cards and penalties involved liquor store runs, removing clothing or not being allowed to go to the bathroom.

In 1969 Laugh-In ran a "News of the Future" sketch in which they accurately predicted the year of the fall of the Berlin Wall and Ronald Reagan being president in 1988.

An airplane was hijacked to Cuba in 1969, but the passengers didn't think it was real because they saw Candid Camera creator Allen Funt on board.

Grace Slick (of Jefferson Airplane) the very first person in history to say the 'F word' on American TV, on August 19th, 1969.

Ted Kennedy (Democrat) was involved with the drunk driving 'Chappaquiddick' incident involving the death of Mary Jo Kopechne.

Rock and Roll Death: Rolling Stone Brian Jones drowned.

Bill Cosby won a man of the year award and jokingly suggested re-naming the award "the nice guy as far as we know" award.

Spiritual master and self-proclaimed 'god' in human form named Meher Baba, voluntarily went silent from July 1925 until his death in 1969.

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.

US POWs in the Vietnam War used taps to communicate while held in isolation. To initiate conversation, they tapped Shave and a Haircut (dah da-da dah dah). The correct response was Two Bits (dah dah). Captors, unfamiliar w/the jingle, tapped back the five beats--revealing they weren't American.

A musician named 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.

President Nixon's speech writer had prepared a speech "In Event of Moon Disaster" in case Apollo 11 astronauts were stranded on the Moon.

FYI - In 1969, it would have been harder to fake the moon landings then actually landing on the moon

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Tog'l, Upsy Downsys, Silly String, Astrolite, Toss Across, Big Wheels, Nerf Ball

Donald and Doris Fisher opened their clothing store, The Gap, in San Francisco.

The arpanet (first internet) invented, connecting four computers

The Habits

Reading Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth
Reading Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

1969/70 Biggest Television Shows

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
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)
11. The Bill Cosby Show (NBC)

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1969 include
The Archies, Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Booker T. & the MG's, Brooklyn Bridge, Clarence Carter, Creedence Clearwater Revival, David Ruffin, The Dells, Dionne Warwick, The 5th Dimension, The Foundations, Friends of Distinction, Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Grass Roots, The Isley Brothers, James Brown, Jerry Butler, Joe Simon, Johnny Cash, Johnnie Taylor, Jr. Walker & the All Stars, Oliver, Marvin Gaye, The Meters, O. C. Smith, Peter, Paul & Mary, The Rolling Stones, Sly & the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, The Temptations, Three Dog Night, Tommy James & the Shondells, Tommy Roe, Zagar & Evans

(Data is complied from various 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 1969

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

February 1, 1969 - February 14, 1969: Tommy James & the Shondells - Crimson and Clover

February 15, 1969 - March 14, 1969: Sly and the Family Stone - Everyday People

March 15, 1969 - April 11, 1969: Tommy Roe - Dizzy

April 12, 1969 - May 23, 1969: The 5th Dimension - Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In

May 24, 1969 - June 27, 1969: The Beatles with Billy Preston - Get Back

June 28, 1969 - July 11, 1969: Henry Mancini - Love Theme from 'Romeo And Juliet'

July 12, 1969 - August 22, 1969: Zager and Evans - In the Year 2525

August 23, 1969 - September 19, 1969: The Rolling Stones - Honky Tonk Women

September 20, 1969 - October 17, 1969: The Archies - Sugar, Sugar

October 18, 1969 - October 31, 1969: The Temptations - I Can't Get Next To You

November 1, 1969 - November 7, 1969: Elvis Presley - Suspicious Minds

November 8, 1969 - November 28, 1969: The 5th Dimension - Wedding Bell Blues

November 29, 1969 - December 5, 1969: The Beatles - Come Together / Something

December 6, 1969 - December 19, 1969: Steam - Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye

December 20, 1969 - December 26, 1969: Peter, Paul & Mary - Leaving on a Jet Plane

December 27, 1969 - January 2, 1970: Diana Ross & the Supremes - Someday We'll Be Together

Popular Movies

Alice's Restaurant, Anne of a Thousand Days, The Arrangement, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, Destroy All Monsters, Easy Rider, Hello Dolly!, The Italian Job, The Learning Tree, The Love Bug, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Midnight Cowboy, Model Shop, Satyricon, Paint Your Wagon, Take the Money and Run, They Shoot Horses Don't They?, True Grit, The Wild Bunch

More Pop Culture History Resources

Popular Music in 1969
# 1 Hits of 1969
Pop Culture News

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pop, as in 'popular' :(adjective) Pertaining to the common people, or the people as a whole as distinguished from any particular class.
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culture:(noun) That which is excellent in the arts.
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