January 13, 1968: Am I That Easy to Forget

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(Pictured: Johnny Cash and June Carter leave Folsom Prison on January 13, 1968.)

January 13, 1968, was a Saturday. On this day, 34 American servicemen are killed in Vietnam, including 19-year-old Marine Lance Corporal Jackie Ray McElwee of Sidney, Illinois. Today’s edition of the Daily Egyptian, the student newspaper at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, carries a front-page review of Make Her Wilderness Like Eden, a student-written play documenting Illinois’ history, presented in celebration of the sesquicentennial of the state’s 1818 admission to the Union. Upcoming campus events include a production of Death of a Salesman, qualifying tests for the Peace Corps and the Air Force, and a speech by comedian Dick Gregory, the school’s outstanding athlete of 1953, sponsored by the Southern Illinois Peace Committee. Elsewhere in the paper, an article discusses how historians have begun to use computers to “test generalizations concerning social and economic characteristics of group and political leaders.”

The second NFL-AFL World Championship Game will be played tomorrow in Miami between the Green Bay Packers and the Oakland Raiders. The Packers, three-time NFL champs, are looking for their second straight win in the game some call the Super Bowl. Tonight, five games are played in the National Hockey League. In one of them, the Oakland Seals and Minnesota North Stars play to a 2-2 tie. Early in the game, North Stars center Bill Masterson is knocked to the ice and suffers a serious head injury; two days from now, he will die. In college basketball, top-ranked UCLA wins its 46th consecutive game, 75-63 over Stanford. The streak will reach 47 after an easy win over Portland this Thursday night; the Bruins will meet second-ranked Houston at the Astrodome next Saturday. The winning streak will end that night in what will come to be called college basketball’s Game of the Century.

Today’s Peanuts strip introduces the Creature From the Sea. Bob Hope is on the cover of this week’s TV Guide. A feature inside discusses how Soviet TV describes life in America. On daytime TV today, ABC airs the second episode of Happening ’68, hosted by Paul Revere and the Raiders. Leonard Nimoy guest stars. Tonight, ABC’s lineup includes The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, and The Lawrence Welk Show. Welk also appears on tonight’s fourth-anniversary broadcast of ABC’s Hollywood Palace, hosted by Bing Crosby and also starring Peggy Lee, Milton Berle, and Jimmy Durante. On CBS, viewers can see The Jackie Gleason Show, My Three Sons, Hogan’s Heroes, Petticoat Junction, and Mannix. On NBC, prime-time begins with the adventure series Maya starring former Dennis the Menace kid Jay North, followed by Get Smart and NBC Saturday Night at the Movies featuring Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman in the 1945 film Saratoga Trunk.

Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three, June Carter, the Statler Brothers, and Carl Perkins play Folsom Prison in California. The show is being recorded, and Cash opens with “Folsom Prison Blues”; it will spend a month at #1 on the country chart this summer and hit #32 on the Hot 100. Jimmy Page and the Yardbirds play the Corn Exchange in Chelmsford, England, Ten Years After plays London, the Who plays Margate, England, and Gordon Lightfoot plays Waterloo, Ontario. On the new Sound of Music survey at WDLB in Marshfield, Wisconsin, “Judy in Disguise” by John Fred and the Playboy Band leaps to #1 from #12 last week. It’s not the only record to make a major move: “Am I That Easy to Forget” by Engelbert Humperdinck zooms to #3 from #25, and “Green Tambourine” by the Lemon Pipers is up to #15 from #33. Several songs plunge a fair distance, including last week’s #1 and #2 hits, “Hello Goodbye” by the Beatles and “In and Out of Love” by the Supremes, which are #16 and #17 respectively this week. “Summer Rain” by Johnny Rivers and “Woman Woman” by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap fall from #4 to #22 and #5 to #21.

Perspective From the Present: I couldn’t tell you what I was doing on this particular day, but the next day, the day of Super Bowl II, I went to a first-grade classmate’s birthday party. (I think I can remember a football game on TV in another room.) He was one of my best friends at the time, although we’d go our separate ways when I started going to a different school in second grade. When we met again in junior high, he’d become a poor student who was always in trouble, and I was neither. We had quite literally nothing in common anymore, except perhaps the occasional thought about the way it takes nothing more than time to change people.

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One thought on “January 13, 1968: Am I That Easy to Forget

  1. In years of obsessive Peanuts-reading, I can’t remember ever seeing the Creature from the Sea before. A reminder of just how ungodly many strips Charles Schulz drew over the years.

    I remember going to a first-grade classmate’s birthday party and giving him a book about NFL football, which we were all nuts about at the time. He died this past summer, apparently the result of poor personal maintenance over an extended amount of time (as good a way to phrase it as any other).

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