Thursday, October 23, 2014

Observations — 1961, U.S. Still Obsessed With Communists

Nureyev Leaves Russian Ballet, Defects
As Dwight D. Eisenhower departed as president he warned the nation against the military industrial complex. John F. Kennedy was inaugurated.  The Bay of Pigs, an attempt to retake Cuba, failed.  The Berlin Wall was built. Kennedy advised Americans to build “fall out” shelters.  Rudolf Nureyev defected. Yuri Gagarin was the first person to orbit earth. Two thousand U.S. “military advisors” were in Vietnam. OPEC was formed. The Peace Corps was created. Adolf Eichmann went on trial as a war criminal. Fidel Castro cancelled all elections in Cuba. Twenty-seven freedom riders were arrested in Mississippi. New York’s MOMA displayed Henri Matisse’s “Le Bateau” upside down.  No one noticed for nearly two months. Ernie Banks played 717 consecutive games. Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in one season.  “The Dick Van Dyke Show” premiered on TV.  So did “Mr. Ed.”  The Pulitzer Prize for Literature went to Harper Lee for To Kill A Mocking Bird.  The Mystery Writers of America gave its best mystery Edgar to Julian Symons for The Progress of a Crime.  We also read Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller, Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger and The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone. Bye Bye Birdie won a Tony that year. In the movie theaters, we watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s, West Side Story, 101 Dalmatians, The Parent Trap, The Innocents, The Last Time I Saw Archie, Yojimbo, The Hustler, Judgment at Nuremberg, and The Guns of Navarone. That year Emmys went to Bob Newhart for Button Down Mind and Theme From A Summer Place by Percy Faith.  We also listened to “Tossin’ and Turnin’” by Bobby Lewis, “Michael” by The Highway men, “Crying” by Roy Orbison and “Runaway” by Del Shannon. We lost Ty Cobb, Carl Jung, Ernest Hemingway, Dashiell Hammett, Gary Cooper, James Thurber, Anna May Wong, Chico Marx, Jeff Chandler, Charles Coburn, Marion Davies, and Barry Fitzgerald. Taking their first breaths were Barack Obama, Eddie Murphy, George Clooney, Princess Diana, Michael J. Fox, Billy Ray Cyrus, Wayne Gretsky, Woody Harrelson, James Gandolfini, Boy George, Steve Young, Tom Ford and Laurence Fishburne.  If you were around, what were you doing during this year of the metal ox?

1961 Valiant

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