May 13, 1964: In From the Cold

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(Pictured: Barbra Streisand with President Kennedy, 1963.)

May 13, 1964, is a Wednesday. After weeks of negotiations, senators reach a tentative agreement on a new version of a comprehensive civil rights bill. The current bill, which has been under debate in Congress since March, is being filibustered in the Senate. In a phone call captured by his White House taping system, President Johnson discusses the act with Senate Republican leader Everett Dirksen of Illinois today. Johnson says, “We don’t want this to be a Democratic bill, we want it to be an American bill.” Last night in New York City, Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater spoke to a crowd of 18,000 at Madison Square Garden. He accused the Johnson Administration of fomenting racial unrest, and he criticized the idea that integration could be accomplished through legislation: “You cannot pass a law that will make me like you, or you like me.” In Teaneck, New Jersey, the school board votes in favor of busing all of the district’s sixth-grade students to a single school starting in the fall, making Teaneck the first school in America to voluntarily desegregate, as opposed to doing so by court order. Cambridge, Maryland, which was torn by race riots last summer, has been under martial law and patrolled by National Guardsmen ever since. On Monday, a crowd protesting an appearance by Alabama governor and presidential candidate George Wallace was tear-gassed. Today, about 100 people hold a silent protest, and they are confronted by Guardsmen with rifles and fixed bayonets.

At the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, NASA runs another test on the Apollo space vehicle, which will eventually be used to send astronauts to the moon. In Las Vegas, Lt. Raynor Hebert takes off in an F-105 jet from Nellis Air Force Base. Due to a technical problem, Hebert’s plane can’t gain altitude. He realizes that if he bails out, the plane will probably crash into an elementary school, where 800 students are in class. So he keeps the plane aloft until it has passed the school, after which it crashes into a residential neighborhood. Hebert dies in the crash along with four people on the ground. Future comedian and talk-show host Stephen Colbert and future actor and TV producer Tom Verica are born. John Le Carre’s The Spy Who Came in From the Cold leads the New York Times Best Sellers list for fiction this week; the nonfiction list is led by the UPI/American Heritage book Four Days, about the assassination of President Kennedy last November, and by Jim Bishop’s A Day in the Life of President Kennedy. Kennedy’s own Profiles in Courage is also on the Best Sellers list.

The sixth annual Grammy awards were presented last night at ceremonies in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, and were not televised. Henry Mancini won Record of the Year and Song of the Year for “Days of Wine and Roses.” Album of the Year was The Barbra Streisand Album. The Swingle Singers were named Best New Artist. Pop Grammys were won by Jack Jones, Peter Paul and Mary, and Al Hirt, among others. The Best Rock ‘n’ Roll Recording Grammy went to Nino Tempo and April Stevens for “Deep Purple.” At the Granada Theater in Harrow, England, tonight’s concert bill stars the Kinks, the Hollies, and the Dave Clark Five. In Bromley, England, the Yardbirds perform. Chuck Berry headlines the Globe Theater in Stockton, England, with Carl Perkins, the Animals, the Swinging Blue Jeans, and other acts. At KIMN in Denver, the Beatles rule the station’s new survey with the double-A-sided “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” at #1 and “Do You Want to Know a Secret” at #2. Three songs are new in the Top 10: “Love Me With All Your Heart” by the Ray Charles Singers, “Little Children” by Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, and “People” by Barbra Streisand. The #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, “Hello Dolly” by Louis Armstrong, is not on the KIMN chart.

Perspective From the Present: The rewritten civil rights bill was formally introduced in Congress later in May, passed in June, and signed into law as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in July. The Ray Charles breaking into the Top 10 in Denver in this week was not the soul singer; it was Perry Como’s longtime musical director. “Love Me With All Your Heart” became an MOR classic, and another one of those records I heard before I noticed it. And I’m pretty sure a copy of Four Days is somewhere in my office.

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February 10, 1964: Last Night

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(Pictured: the Beatles onstage at Carnegie Hall, February 12, 1964.)

February 10, 1964, was a Monday. By a vote of 290 to 130, the House of Representatives passes the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and sends it to the Senate. President Lyndon Johnson makes a statement in the Cabinet Room regarding the certification of the 24th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing the poll tax. The amendment which gained enough states for ratification late last month. Johnson also sends a message to Congress advocating adoption of a public-health program that will be known as Medicare, and he releases a report recommending a new system of satellites for global communication. Two Australian navy ships on maneuvers collide in Jervis Bay; 81 sailors die. Future media personality Glenn Beck is born. The Rotary Club of Dickinson, Texas, holds its first meeting. The Manley Popcorn Machine company, which makes commercial poppers and other concession equipment used in theaters, stadiums, and schools, gets a patent for a new control mechanism.

Guests on The Ed Sullivan Show last night included Terry McDermott, America’s lone gold-medal winner at the just-completed Winter Olympics, held in Innsbruck, Austria, and the Beatles. (Before the show, McDermott, who is a barber, was photographed pretending to cut Paul McCartney’s hair.) Today, the Beatles hold a press conference at the Plaza Hotel in New York, where they are presented with gold records for Meet the Beatles and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” They will remain in the city until tomorrow, when a snowstorm will force them to take a train to Washington, D.C., for the first date on their American tour, on Tuesday at the Washington Coliseum. On Wednesday, the Beatles will return to New York to play Carnegie Hall. On TV tonight, ABC airs The Outer Limits and Wagon Train; CBS has episodes of I’ve Got a Secret (with special guest Jonathan Winters), The Lucy Show, The Danny Thomas Show, The Andy Griffith Show, and East Side, West Side, which stars George C. Scott as a New York social worker. Tonight’s episode of the latter is the pilot, which has never been broadcast because some roles were recast with different actors before the series premiered last September. CBS is apparently running it at last because they’ve decided to cancel the show.

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers record an entire album, to be called Free for All. An item in the Harvard Crimson announces that Bob Dylan will be the featured performer on Jubilee Weekend in April. Del Shannon will also appear.  At WIBG in Philadelphia, where DJs Joe Niagara and Hy Lit call themselves the fifth and sixth Beatles, “I Want to Hold Your Hand’ and “I Saw Her Standing There” are co-#1s on the station’s survey. The Beatles are also at #3 with “She Loves You” (tucked in behind Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me”), at #13 with “Please Please Me” and “From Me to You,” and at #44 with “My Bonnie,” an old recording with Tony Sheridan. The hottest record on the survey does not belong to the Beatles, however: “Dawn” by the Four Seasons is up to #6 from #34. Others in the top 10 are Major Lance (“Um, Um, Um, Um, Um”), Rick Nelson (“For You”), the Marketts (“Out of Limits”), Andy Williams (“A Fool Never Learns”), the Impressions (“Talking About My Baby”), and the Tams (“What Kind of Fool”). Notable farther down: “My Boyfriend Got a Beatle Haircut” by Donna Lynn (#71) and  “The Boy With the Beatle Hair” by the Swans (#84).

Perspective From the Present: Donna Lynn was 14 in 1964, and she actually got a whole album out of her novelty single. It features chipper-sounding versions of several recently popular songs and something called “I Had a Dream I Was a Beatle,” which sounds almost exactly like “My Boyfriend Got a Beatle Haircut.” The Swans’ “The Boy With the Beatle Hair” was released on Philadelphia’s Cameo label. Both made the Hot 100; Lynn got to #83 and the Swans to #85 , peaking in early March.

But the Beatles proved to have somewhat greater staying power.