(Pictured: Ray Charles on stage, 1968.)
November 14, 1968, was a Thursday. On this day, 28 American soldiers die in Vietnam. President Lyndon Johnson’s White House taping system captures today’s phone conversations with president-elect Richard Nixon. Among the discussions: Johnson’s concerns about possible Soviet actions during the transition. Yale University announces that after 265 years, it will admit women beginning this fall. Princeton and Sarah Lawrence will also go co-ed. At Florida State University, the campus newspaper, the Flambeau, publishes two separate front-page stories about entertainment planned for homecoming weekend. On Friday, November 23, the Swingin’ Medallions will play in the University Union ballrooms. Tickets are “$2 stag and $3 drag.” On Saturday the 24th, Ray Charles, the Raelettes, and Billy Preston will play in Tully Gym. Tickets are $2.50 each. At Grand Valley State College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, issue #1 of the Lanthorn News Flash hits the streets. The entire four-page edition is devoted to a drug bust in one of the campus dorms last Sunday. Otto Silha, publisher of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune newspapers, gives a speech at a conference in Paris in which he suggests that automated editing by computer will eventually replace human copy editors.
Bill Sherdel, who won 165 games in the majors for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Braves between 1918 and 1932, dies at age 72. Kent Bottenfield, who will win 46 and lose 49 pitching for eight different clubs between 1992 and 2001, is born. Five games are played in professional basketball tonight, two in the NBA and three in the ABA. The ABA Oakland Oaks beat the Dallas Chaparrals 122-106 behind 43 points by Rick Barry.
The New York Times reviews the new animated film Yellow Submarine, which opened yesterday. Critic Renata Adler calls it “not a great film, after all, but truly nice.” Opening today is the drama The Shoes of the Fisherman, starring Anthony Quinn as a former inmate at a Russian labor camp who is sent to Rome, becomes a cardinal, and is eventually elected pope. On TV tonight, the ABC lineup includes The Flying Nun, Bewitched, That Girl, and Journey to the Unknown, a British anthology series. On NBC, it’s Daniel Boone, Ironside, and Dragnet. CBS kicks off its night with an episode of Hawaii Five-0.
Big Brother and the Holding Company play Hartford, Connecticut, and the Velvet Underground plays the Whisky A Go-Go in Los Angeles. It’s a return engagement for the Velvets, who played five nights at the end of October with the Chicago Transit Authority opening. Neil Diamond plays Arlington, Texas. Frank Sinatra completes recording sessions for a forthcoming album to be called Cycles. Elvis Presley takes a break from filming his next movie, The Trouble With Girls, and spends the day in Reno, Nevada. Singer Johnnie Taylor and jazz organist Jimmy McGriff are among the guests on tonight’s episode of the educational television series Soul!, produced by WNET in New York City.
At KHJ in Los Angeles, the top two songs on the latest Boss 30 survey are the same as last week: “Love Child” by the Supremes and “Stormy” by the Classics IV. “For Once in My Life” by Stevie Wonder blasts to #3 from #11 last week, and Dionne Warwick’s “Promises, Promises” is up to #6 from #16. Also new in the Top 10: “Come On, React!” by the Fireballs, now at #8 from #13 last week. Also in the Top 10: Glen Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman,” “Both Sides Now” by Judy Collins, and “White Room” by Cream. The hottest record on the survey is “I Love How You Love Me” by Bobby Vinton, up 16 spots to #13. Among the records falling down the Boss 30 are the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” (which is still atop the Hot 100 this week) and “Magic Carpet Ride” by Steppenwolf. Listed as “hitbound” on KHJ is the new single by Marvin Gaye, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”
Perspective From the Present: “Come On, React!” would top out at #63 on the Hot 100 in December, and it’s really good. The KHJ survey listed the station’s jock lineup, and it’s a veritable hall of fame: Robert W. Morgan, Scotty Brink, Charlie Tuna, the Real Don Steele, Sam Riddle, Humble Harve, Johnny Williams, and Bill Wade. As for me, I was in Mrs. Blanc’s third-grade class at Northside School. Sometime that year, she taught us our multiplication tables with a series of jingles she played on 45s. To this day, when I’m doing multiplication in my head, I hear some of those jingles.