Thursday, March 16, 2017

A 50-Year Memory: News Review

What was happening in the world in March 1967? Let's get into our own "Way-back Machine" and see what strikes me as interesting fifty years later....

  • U.S. President Lyndon Johnson announced that Soviet Union Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin had agreed to discussions between the two nations to limit the number of offensive and defensive nuclear missiles that each side would possess. The Americans and Soviets would sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons on July 1, 1968.[A good start that took many years to complete.]

  • A U.S. presidential commission recommended a reform to the American selective service system, in what was described as a "youngest first by random selection procedure". While the existing method was for local draft boards to fill their quotas starting with 26-year old men, the new system would eliminate the 4,100 community draft boards and randomly select registered 19-year old men. "If a man is not drafted at 19," a reporter noted, "chances are good under the new proposal that he would never be drafted short of total war."[Never happened!]

  • CBS Reports aired the first television news documentary in U.S. history to report on gay and lesbian issues. Hosted by Mike Wallace, and viewed by 40 million people, "The Homosexuals" "reflected the bias of the American Psychological Association... labeling homosexuality a mental illness" but also showed gays and lesbians as individuals whose civil rights were deprived. TV critics reacted differently, with Chicago Tribune columnist Clay Gowran, who called the show "garbage" and said that "it was permitted.. not only to justify the aberration but, it seemed, to glorify it", while Tribune columnist Herb Lyon wrote that it "was one of the most intelligent, mature, incisive shows ever produced."[Fifty years can make a difference.]

  • U.S. Navy Lt. (jg) Frank Prendergast became "the only American aviator to escape after being captured in North Vietnam", after bailing out of his plane and coming down off the coast of North Vietnam's Thanh Hoa Province.

  • The first demonstration of "slow motion instant replay" on television was shown to viewers of ABC Wide World of Sports who had tuned in to see the finals of the "World Series of Skiing" at Vail, Colorado. The repeating of the same scene at the same original speed had been shown as early as December 7, 1963, but the Ampex HS-100 made it possible to slow down, freeze, or reverse the action for analysis by television commentators. [The day it became more interesting to watch at home.]

  • The Soo Line Railroad, operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway in both Canada and the United States, permanently discontinued its passenger train operations as its last train, The Winnipegger departed St. Paul, Minnesota at 8:45 in the morning on the way back to Winnipeg, Manitoba. [Yes, Virginia, there were passenger trains before Amtrak.]

  • Battered by a gale, the 974-foot long Torrey Canyon broke into two pieces eight days after it had wrecked, sending almost all of its remaining cargo of crude oil (50,000 tonnes or more than 1.5 million gallons) into the sea off of the coast of Cornwall. [Long before the Exxon Valdez, one of the first really bad such events I remember.]

  • In what was described as "one of history's most stunning elections", the U.S. state of Florida became "the first two-party state in the south" as the Republican Party won 20 of the 48 seats in the state senate, and 40 of the 119 in the state house of representatives. [That's what happens when the Democratic President became a civil rights supporter.]

  • The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit voted, 8 to 4, to affirm a decision ordering the integration of any remaining racially segregated public schools in the six southern states in its jurisdiction, and to do so in time for the opening of the 1967-1968 school year.

  • In New York City, 10,000 gathered for the Central Park be-in. [A be-in? Must have been one of those hippie things, smoking dope and who knows what else! ;) ]

  • Kicking off a tour with The Walker Brothers, Cat Stevens and Engelbert Humperdinck at The Astoria London, Jimi Hendrix set fire to his guitar on stage for the first time. He was taken to hospital suffering burns to his hands. The guitar-burning act would later become a trademark of Hendrix's performances. [A musical milestone!]

  • This picture was shot in England. 
THE picture.
The photo shoot.

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