March 22, 1969: Mad Pursuit

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(Pictured: Yoko and John, abed.)

March 22, 1969, was a Saturday. A rally led by the Black Panthers and featuring several Chicago Eight defendants is held at the federal courthouse in New York City. In Oakland, members of the Black Students Union at Mills College take the school’s president hostage for several hours, demanding more involvement by minorities in college affairs. President Nixon issues a statement on campus disorders. A group calling itself the DC 9 breaks into Dow Chemical’s Washington offices and destroys files and equipment with pig blood and homemade napalm. They leave behind a letter that says, “In your mad pursuit of profit, you and others like you, are causing the psychological and physical destruction of mankind.” Ten Americans die in Vietnam today: they include Coast Guard engineman Morris Beeson of Pitkins, Louisiana, Marine corporals David Ovist of Pelkie, Michigan, and Thomas Folden of Belle Glade, Florida, and Army sergeant Armin Blake of Denver, Colorado. Future NFL player Russell Maryland is born. Two days after their wedding, John Lennon and Yoko Ono hold their first bed-in for peace at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam.

In sports, UCLA wins its fifth NCAA men’s basketball championship in six years, beating Purdue 92-72. UCLA’s Lew Alcindor scores 37 points and is named the tournament’s most outstanding player in his final college game. West Chester College of Pennsylvania wins the first-ever college women’s basketball championship, beating Western Carolina 65-39. At the Wisconsin state high school tournament, Lamont Weaver of Beloit Memorial hits a 55-foot shot at the buzzer to send the championship game against Neenah into overtime. At the end of the second overtime, Weaver hits two free throws to seal an 80-79 win.

The current edition of The New Yorker is the first to include a conventional table of contents. Elizabeth Montgomery of Bewitched is on the cover of TV Guide. One of NBC’s Saturday morning shows is The Storybook Squares, a kids’ version of Hollywood Squares starring many of the same regulars dressed as fictional or historical characters. Neil Diamond appears on American Bandstand and sings “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.” Bandstand is followed by Happening ’69, hosted by Mark Lindsey and Paul Revere of the Raiders, and also a Dick Clark production. Today’s guest: the Monkees. Shows on TV tonight include My Three Sons, Petticoat Junction, The Newlywed Game, Adam-12, Mannix, Hogan’s Heroes, and Get Smart! The Grateful Dead plays Pasadena and Santana plays San Francisco. Alvin Lee and Ten Years After play Seattle. Led Zeppelin and Blodwyn Pig play Birmingham, England. Blood Sweat and Tears and Chuck Berry play Madison, New Jersey. Steppenwolf plays the Fillmore East in New York City, and Laura Nyro plays Brooklyn.

The Broadway musical Billy, with songs co-written by bubblegum music master Ron Dante, closes after a single performance. Billboard magazine  reports on the large number of songs from the musical Hair that have been covered by various artists. At WAKY in Louisville, Kentucky, (where the NCAA men’s final is played), the Cowsills’ “Hair” debuts on the station’s survey at #30; the Fifth Dimension’s version of “Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In” is hitbound. The #1 song in Kentuckiana is “Breakfast in Bed” by Dusty Springfield, which will do only a couple of weeks on the nationwide Hot 100; “Runaway Child” by the Temptations is #2. The Zombies’ “Time of the Season” makes a big leap from #11 to #4; “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” by Blood Sweat and Tears goes from hitbound last week to #12 this week. Other strong movers: “My Whole World Ended” by David Ruffin of the Temptations jumps from #27 to #18, and “I Can Hear Music” by the Beach Boys goes from #29 to #19. New songs in the Top 30 include “Will You Be Staying After Sunday” by the Peppermint Rainbow and “Time Is Tight” by Booker T. and the MGs.

Perspective From the Present: At the age of nine, I wasn’t into music yet. I was, however, into sports, and it would be days before my friends and I stopped talking about the finish of the state basketball tournament, and what is still known to Wisconsin dudes of a certain age as “The Shot.” If you are a dude of a certain age, you can see a 1984 TV report on it here. A full episode of The Storybook Squares is here.

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