June 4, 1966: A Share of Problems

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(Pictured: Gemini 9 astronauts Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan. The two would also fly to the moon on Apollo 10; Cernan would be the last American to walk on the moon, aboard Apollo 17.)

June 4, 1966, was a Saturday. Today, the New York Times carries a three-page anti-Vietnam ad signed by hundreds of college professors; yesterday, a group of about 20 students walked out of commencement exercises at Amherst College to protest an honorary degree given to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. Astronauts Gene Cernan and Tom Stafford are in orbit aboard Gemini 9, which was launched yesterday. The mission has had its share of problems: Cernan and Stafford are the backup crew, flying because astronauts Elliott See and Charlie Bassett were killed in an airplane crash in February; a scheduled May 17 launch was postponed when an unmanned vehicle that would be part of a docking exercise was lost in a launch failure. On this mission, the unmanned vehicle launched properly but the docking mechanism on it failed. (Docking maneuvers will be a critical part of any upcoming mission to the moon.) Tomorrow, Cernan will take a two-hour spacewalk, the second ever by an American, although it will be plagued by technical problems also. Gemini 9 will return safely to Earth on Monday. Civil rights activist James Meredith begins what he calls his March Against Fear, intending to walk 220 miles through Mississippi, to challenge the climate of intimidation and fear among black Mississippians registering to vote. Tomorrow, Meredith will be hit by three loads of buckshot and spend three weeks in the hospital. In northeastern Wisconsin, two F2 tornadoes strike near the Oconto county community of Gillett. Future opera singer Cecelia Bartoli is born.

Yesterday, Amberoid won the Belmont Stakes. Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Kauai King finished fourth to continue the drought of Triple Crown winners going back to 1948. In major league baseball today, the Cleveland Indians retain a half-game lead on the Baltimore Orioles in the American League; both teams win today, although the second game on Baltimore’s doubleheader against the Kansas City A’s will be suspended by curfew in the top of the 12th; the Orioles will win the completed game tomorrow. The National League-leading San Francisco Giants lose to Philadelphia 6-1; Giants starter Juan Marichal gets the loss, his first of the season after winning 10 straight.

Andy Griffith is on the cover of TV Guide. Guests on today’s American Bandstand are Roy Orbison and the Sunrays. In San Francisco, the Grateful Dead plays the Fillmore and the Jefferson Airplane plays the Civic Center. In London, the Yardbirds work in the studio on an album that will be released in July and called Roger the Engineer.

The teen magazine KRLA Beat dated June 4 shows “A Groovy Kind of Love” by the Mindbenders atop the KRLA Tunedex, but a record store survey published by the station, also dated June 4, shows the #1 song in Los Angeles as “Searchin’ for My Love” by Bobby Moore, which does not appear among the 40 songs on the Tunedex list shown in KRLA Beat. Both show “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones at #3, although the survey also lists the B-side, “Stupid Girl.” Other songs found in the Top 10 of one or the other: “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge, “Along Comes Mary” by the Association, “Hey Joe” by the Leaves, “My Little Red Book” by Love, “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind” by the Lovin’ Spoonful, “Monday Monday” by the Mamas and the Papas, “Funny How Love Can Be” by Danny Hutton, “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” by the Walker Brothers, “Double Shot” by the Swingin’ Medallions, “Dirty Water” by the Standells, “Hold On I’m Comin'” by Sam and Dave, and “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” by Dusty Springfield. Variations in the two surveys are likely because KRLA Beat is a national publication and goes to press well before its street date.

Perspective From the Present: “Searching for My Love” by Bobby Moore and the Rhythm Aces would get to #27 on the Hot 100. Danny Hutton’s “Funny How Love Can Be” bubbled under at #120. The song would eventually see the Hot 100 in a version by the English studio group First Class; Hutton would make it as one of the three lead singers in Three Dog Night. On the same page of KRLA Beat showing the Tunedex are head shots of the station’s DJs: Dave “the Hullabalooer” Hull, Bob Eubanks, Dick Biondi, Johnny Hayes, “Emperor” Bob Hudson, Casey Kasem, Charlie O’Donnell, and Bill Slater—enough major broadcasting talent to fill a Hall of Fame.

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September 25, 1966: Brand New Model

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(Pictured: the Supremes on stage, 1966.)

September 25, 1966, was a Sunday. A Minnesota man is being held for questioning in the murder of Valerie Percy, the 21-year-old daughter of U.S. Senator Charles Percy of Illinois earlier this month. (Fifty-one years later, the case will remain unsolved.) People from Virginia to Wisconsin are still abuzz over the unexplained bright lights seen in the sky early yesterday morning. NASA says it ejected chemicals into the atmosphere as part of a missile test, and the lights must have had something to do with that.  In the Chicago suburb of Alsip, the village holds an open house to show off the new garage built to house its municipal vehicles. Newspapers around the country carry the first ad for the Chevrolet Camaro, a brand-new model for 1967, which will go on sale on Thursday.

Ken Holtzman of the Chicago Cubs takes a no-hitter into the ninth inning at Wrigley Field against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Holtzman will lose the no-hitter and the shutout but win the game 2-1. The losing pitcher is Sandy Koufax, who also pitches a complete game. The game takes one hour and 50 minutes to play. The Dodgers will clinch the National League pennant this week; the Cubs will finish dead last with 103 losses; after the Dodgers lose the World Series, Koufax will retire. The American League cellar-dwellers, the New York Yankees, finish their home schedule with a 3-0 win over the Red Sox in front of a crowd of about 16,000; the previous Thursday, attendance for a game against the White Sox was announced as 413. Jim Stevens, who played two games for the Washington Senators in 1914, dies in Baltimore at age 77, and Army PFC Gary Dopp of Almond, Wisconsin, is killed in Vietnam. The Green Bay Packers win their third game of the season, beating the Los Angeles Rams 24-13.

On TV tonight, ABC airs the 1957 film Bridge on the River Kwai and almost 28.5 million homes tune in. It’s the highest rated movie in TV history, and a good thing, too. ABC paid a record $2 million to Columbia Pictures for the right to show it. NBC has Bonanza and The Andy Williams Show, with special guests Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. On CBS, Ed Sullivan welcomes the Supremes and Ethel Merman.  In Wisconsin, a first-grader is watching The Ed Sullivan Show on the new color TV at his grandparents’ house when he is called to the telephone—a very rare occurrence. It’s his father, who tells him that his new baby brother was born today.

At the Empire Theater in Liverpool, the Rolling Stones are on their biggest tour of Britain to date, headlining with the Yardbirds, and Ike and Tina Turner. Because it’s a Sunday, the bands play two shows. The Jefferson Airplane, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and Muddy Waters wrap up a three-day stand at the Fillmore in San Francisco with an afternoon show. The Kinks play Vienna, Austria. Gordon Lightfoot wraps up a three-night stand at Canterbury House in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a venue that seats 150 people. At WLS in Chicago, the top 3 songs on the latest Silver Dollar survey are unchanged from the previous week: “Cherish” by the Association, “Sunshine Superman” by Donovan, and “You Can’t Hurry Love” by the Supremes (which they perform on The Ed Sullivan Show tonight). New in the top 10 is “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by the Beach Boys; the biggest movers are “Mr. Dieingly Sad” by the Critters and “Cherry Cherry” by Neil Diamond. Among the new songs on the survey this week: “Reach Out I’ll Be There” by the Four Tops and “Poor Side of Town” by Johnny Rivers.

Perspective From the Present: My four-year-old brother and I were rousted in the wee hours of what was probably Saturday morning to go along when Dad took Mother to the hospital. He parked the car at curbside and took her in, leaving us in the back seat by ourselves. (It was a different time.) Sleepily, my brother asked me, “What’s going on?” “Mom’s gonna have a baby,” I told him. I remember being quite proud to have a baby brother. He’s still my baby brother today, and although he’s not nearly as cute as he used to be, his own kids have made up for it.

And sweet fancy Moses, the music in September 1966. Unbelievable.

July 24, 1966: Soldiers

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(Pictured: National Guardsmen on patrol in Cleveland after rioting in July 1966.)

(Most posts at this blog have previously appeared in some form at either The Hits Just Keep on Comin’ or Popdose. Here’s a brand-new post that’s never appeared anywhere before. Find others here.)

July 24, 1966, was a Sunday. Newspaper headlines this morning include President Lyndon Johnson’s speaking tour stops yesterday in Indiana and Illinois, during which he addressed the recent race riots in Chicago and Cleveland and defended his administration’s policy in Vietnam. National Guardsmen have been patrolling Chicago’s troubled west side since July 15th; the last units will be sent home from the area tonight. Johnson was accompanied on his trip by Democratic officials facing reelection in the fall. Richard Speck, accused of murdering eight student nurses in Chicago on July 13, remains hospitalized after attempting suicide while hiding out after the murders.

Also yesterday, actor Montgomery Clift died at age 45 after suffering a heart attack in his New York apartment. Today, pro golfer Tony Lema is killed when his private plane crashes into a golf course near Chicago. Lema is 32. Al Geiberger wins the PGA Championship in Akron, Ohio, by four shots over Dudley Wysong. Sixteen games are played in the majors today, including six doubleheaders. The American League-leading Baltimore Orioles lose to the Chicago White Sox 4-0; their lead over the Detroit Tigers is 12 games. The National League race is much tighter. The Pittsburgh Pirates maintain a one-game lead over San Francisco after both teams win today; the Los Angeles Dodgers gain ground with a doubleheader sweep of the New York Mets, 5-0 and 6-0, but they remain 2 1/2 games behind.

In Peanuts today, for the first time in the strip’s history, the World War I flying ace enjoys a root beer at a sidewalk cafe. The fiction best-seller list is topped by Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls. On TV tonight, CBS opens prime-time with Lassie and My Favorite Martian, followed an Ed Sullivan Show repeat from February starring the Supremes, the Dave Clark Five, Stiller and Meara, and Allan Sherman. Perry Mason, Candid Camera, and What’s My Line follow Ed on CBS. NBC airs The Wonderful World of Disney, Bonanza, and The Wackiest Ship in the Army. On ABC, its Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The FBI, and The Pony Soldier, a 1952 Western set in Canada starring Tyrone Power and Cameron Mitchell.

The Newport Folk Festival closes with performances by Richie Havens, Tom Paxton, and Pete Seeger. Other headliners on the four-day bill included Judy Collins, Chuck Berry, the Lovin’ Spoonful, Skip James, and Phil Ochs. The Rolling Stones, touring in support of their album Aftermath, play an afternoon show in San Bernardino, California, before going on to play two shows in Bakersfield, California, that night. The Animals and Herman’s Hermits play New Orleans. At KSTP in Minneapolis, Don DuChene does an afternoon show featuring Barbra Streisand, Count Basie, Herb Alpert, Bob Newhart, and others. At the Top 40 stations across town, WDGY and KDWB, “Hanky Panky” by Tommy James and the Shondells tops both stations’ surveys. The Beatles’ “Paperback Writer” and “Rain” is at #2 on KDWB; WDGY charts only “Paperback Writer” and lists it at #5. “Wild Thing” by the Troggs, “The Pied Piper” by Crispian St. Peters, “Lil’ Red Riding Hood” by Sam the Sham, and “Hungry” by Paul Revere and the Raiders are in the Top 10 on both stations. The hottest songs at WDGY are “Sunny” by Bobby Hebb, up to #15 from #30, and “They’re Coming to Take Me Away” by Napoleon XIV, debuting in the Top 3o at #16. At KDWB, “Lil’ Red Riding Hood” is the biggest mover within the Top 40, zooming to #7 from #36 the week before. “Summer in the City” by the Lovin’ Spoonful is up 18, to #15 from #33.

Perspective From the Present: At our house, Lassie was a frequent viewing choice on Sundays, but we rarely missed The Wonderful World of Disney. We had to be on our way to bed when Bonanza came on, and for many years I couldn’t hear that familiar theme song without remembering how it felt to have to go to bed before I wanted to.