As the year 1961 begins, I am in the 11th Grade (Junior year) at Castlemont High in Oakland, California. We are still in our “portable village” while the new building is under construction. In the Fall of 1961, I will begin the 12th Grade (my Senior year) in the brand new, ugly building. Our school mascot was “the Knight” and our school colors were purple and white. The old building looked like a castle but the new building had a hideous combination of colors.. This was our new school building.
In this year, President Eisenhower will break off relations with Cuba on January 3. On January 20, John F. Kennedy would be inaugurated President Of The United States and he would give this historic speech.
This was the year of the failed Bay Of Pigs Invasion (a failed attempt to oust Fidel Castro from power in Cuba). This year saw the beginning of the Berlin Wall, it saw civil war in Laos and The Congo, it saw the Freedom Riders in the South and it saw the creation of The New Frontier and The Peace Corps. The population of our country was now 182,992,000, unemployment was now 5.5% and life expectancy was 70.2 years. On April 12 of this year, Russian Cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, would become the first man in space aboard the Vostok 1. Yuri is pictured below.
On May 5, Alan Shepard would be the first American in space, aboard the “Freedom Seven”. On July 21, Virgil “Gus” Grissom would become the second American in space, aboard the “Liberty Bell Seven”. The minimum wage was now $1.25 an hour.
————————————–Cost Of Living————————————————–
Watermelon was 2 1/2 cents a pound, a loaf of bread was 21 cents and Motor Trend Magazine was 35 cents.
—————————————The World Of Sports——————————————-
In the world of baseball, The New York Yankees would win the World Series by defeating The Cincinnati Reds 4 games to 1. However this year in baseball would be remembered for this very famous home run. Roger Maris had been chasing the home run record of baseball legend Babe Ruth.
The Boston Celtics would win the NBA title by defeating the St. Louis Hawks 4 games to 1. In the world of football, The Green Bay Packers would win the NFL title by defeating The New York Giants 37 to 0 and (January 2)The Houston Oilers would defeat The Los Angeles Chargers 24 to 16 to win the AFL championship for the 1960 season. The 1961 AFL championship was played on December 24, 1961-The Houston Oilers would beat The San Diego Chargers 10 to 3. The Chargers had moved from Los Angeles to San Diego and the game was played at Balboa Stadium in San Diego.
—————————————-The World Of Television—————————————–
The top shows on TV this year would include “The Perry Como Show” (NBC, Wednesday 9:00-10:00 PM), “The Joey Bishop Show” (NBC, Wednesday 8:30-9:00 PM), “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World Of Color” (NBC, Sunday 7:30-8:30 PM), “The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis” (CBS, Tuesday 8:30-9:00 PM), “The Flintstones” (ABC, Friday 8:30-9:00 PM), “Car 54, Where Are You?” (NBC, Sunday 8:30-9:00 PM), “The Ed Sullivan Show” (CBS, Sunday 8:00-9:00 PM), “Ben Casey” (ABC, Monday 10:00-11:00 PM), “Dennis The Menace” (CBS, Sunday 7:30-8:00 PM), “Sing Along With Mitch” (NBC, Thursday 10:00-11:00 PM), “Lassie” (CBS, Sunday 7:00-7:30 PM), “The Real McCoys” (ABC, Thursday 8:30-9:00 PM), “Rawhide” (CBS, Friday 7:30-8:30 PM), “The Gary Moore Show” (CBS, Tuesday 10:00-11:00 PM), “My Three Sons” (ABC, Thursday 9:00-9:30 PM), “Candid Camera” (CBS, Sunday 10:00-10:30 PM), “Dr. Kildare” (NBC, Thursday 8:30-9:30 PM), “The Danny Thomas Show” (CBS, Monday 9:00-9:30 PM), “The Andy Griffith Show” (CBS, Monday 9:30-10:00 PM), “The Red Skelton Show” (CBS, Tuesday 9:00-9:30 PM), “Perry Mason” (CBS, Saturday 7:30-8:30 PM),
“Hazel” (NBC, Thursday 9:30-10:00 PM), “Gunsmoke” (CBS, Saturday 10:00-11:00PM) and “Bonanza” (NBC, Sunday 9:00-10:00 PM). The most popular show on TV in 1961 was “Wagon Train” (NBC, Wednesday 7:30:8:30 PM). Other shows on TV this year would include “Adventures In Paradise” (ABC, Sunday 10:00-11:00 PM), “Thriller” (NBC, Monday 10:00-11:00 PM), “Surfside Six” (ABC, Monday 9:00-10:00 PM), “Pete & Gladys” (CBS, Monday 8:00-8:30 PM), “87th Precinct” (NBC, Monday 9:00-10:00 PM), “The New Breed” (ABC, Tuesday 9:00-10:00 PM), “Hawaiian Eye” (ABC, Wednesday 9:00-10:00 PM), “The Adventures Of Ozzie & Harriet” (ABC, Thursday 7:30-8:00 PM), “The Donna Reed Show” (ABC, Thursday 8:00-8:30 PM) and “Frontier Circus” (CBS, Thursday 7:30-8:30 PM). 🙂 🙂 🙂
References: “The Complete Directory To Prime Time Network TV Shows 1946-Present” by Tim Brooks & Earle Marsh, Flashback ’61, “Chronicles Of America” published by Dorling Kindersley and “What Happened When” by Gorton Carruth.