This was a year that was marked with violence. Race riots plagued many major American cities, the war in Viet Nam was still raging and to make matters even worse, two major figures in American history would die by an assassin’s bullet.
The U.S.S Pueblo incident would take place on January 23 of this year. The Pueblo was seized off the coast of North Korea by North Korean patrol boats. The crew of 83 were held in captivity, under harsh conditions, until their release in December of this year. In the Viet Nam War, January 31 would see the North Viet Namese and Viet Cong launch massive attacks on various sites in South Viet Nam (the Tet Offensive). On March 31 President Lyndon Johnson would decide not to run for reelection this year. On April 4, 1968 an assassins bullet would end the life of Civil Rights leader,Martin Luther King. James Earl Ray would eventually be arrested and convicted of King’s murder.
In the aftermath of the assassination of Dr. King, riots would sweep the country in many major cities. On April 11, President Johnson would sign into law the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (also known as the Fair Housing Act). This was an addition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and it’s intention was to end discrimination in housing. On May 25, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis was formally dedicated. On June 1, Helen Keller would die at the age of 87. On June 6, 1968 an assassin’s bullet would again become a top news story. This one, however, happened live on TV. Robert Kennedy had just won the California Presidential primary and seemed on his way to the Democratic nomination for President of The United States.
Sirhan Sirhan was arrested and convicted of Robert Kennedy’s murder. This year was a Presidential election year and, in August, the Republicans would nominate Richard Nixon for President (their convention was held in Miami, Florida) and the Democrats would nominate current Vice President Hubert Humphrey for President (their convention was held in Chicago, Illinois and it was marked with protesters and violence outside the convention center). Richard M. Nixon would narrowly defeat Humphrey, on November 5, to become the next U.S President. Also on November 5, Shirley Chisholm would become the first Black woman elected to Congress.
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——————————————-The World of Sports————————————–
In the world of football. The Green Bay Packers would defeat The Oakland Raiders 33 to 14 (I remember it all too well-being a Raider fan) to win Super Bowl II. The championship games for the 1968 season would be held on December 31.. The New York Jets would win the AFL title by defeating The Oakland Raiders 27 to 23 and The Baltimore Colts would win the NFL title by defeating the Cleveland Browns 34 to 0. This would set up Super Bowl III in January of 1969 between The New York Jets and The Baltimore Colts. November 17 would see a nightmare scenario for TV programmers. The New York Jets were playing the Oakland Raiders in a highly contested game between two of the top teams in the AFL. The game was supposed to be over at 7:00 PM Eastern Time. The children’s show “Heidi” was scheduled at 7:00. The football game went longer than expected because of time outs and penalties (The Raiders were good at that). So, this is what happened, with The Raiders trailing by 3 points with about a minute left in the game.
The Raiders would win the game (43-to 32), football fans across America would complain about not seeing the dramatic end to this game but Heidi and her goats would forever have a place in sports history. In the NBA, The Boston Celtics would defeat The Los Angeles Lakers 4 games to 2 to win the NBA title. In the world of baseball, The Oakland A’s were in their first season in the Bay Area. Their team wasn’t very good in 1968. At this time, my father and my sister wanted to see the A’s play. I told them we should go on the night that Jim “Catfish” Hunter was pitching-this would be their best chance of winning a game. We were in attendance on the evening of May 8, 1968 as the A’s would play The Minnesota Twins. Jim Hunter would throw only the 9th perfect game in baseball history (a crowd of slightly less than 7,000 fans would witness this piece of baseball history and I was fortunate to be one of those fans). Also in baseball, The Detroit Tigers would defeat The St. Louis Cardinals 4 games to 3 to win the 1968 World Series.
————————————————The World Of Television———————————-
The top shows on TV this year would include “The Jackie Gleason Show” (CBS, Saturday 7:30-8:30 PM), “The Carol Burnett Show” (CBS, Monday 10:00-11:00 PM), “The Ed Sullivan Show” (CBS, Sunday 8:00-9:00 PM), “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World Of Color” (NBC, Sunday 7:30-8:30 PM), “Daniel Boone” (NBC, Thursday 7:30-8:30 PM),
“Dragnet” (NBC, Thursday 9:30-10:00 PM), “Green Acres” (CBS, Wednesday 9:30-10:00 PM), “The Virginian” (NBC, Wednesday 7:30-9:00 PM), “Ironside” (NBC, Thursday 8:30-9:30 PM), “My Three Sons” (CBS, 8:30-9:00 PM), “The Red Skelton Hour” (CBS, Tuesday 8:30-9:30 PM), “Bewitched” (ABC, Thursday 8:30-9:00 PM), “Mission Impossible” (CBS,, Sunday 10:00-11:00 PM), “The Beverly Hillbillies” (CBS, Wednesday 9:00-9:30 PM), “Here’s Lucy” (CBS, Monday 8:30-9:00 PM), “The Dean Martin Show” ( Thursday 10:00-11:00 PM), “Julia” (NBC, Tuesday 8:30-9:00 PM), “Gunsmoke” (CBS, Monday 7:30-8:30 PM), “Family Affair” (CBS, Monday 9:30-10:00 PM), “Mayberry RFD” (CBS, Monday 9:00-9:30 PM), “Bonanza” (NBC, Sunday 9:00-10:00 PM) and “Gomer Pyle USMC” (CBS, Friday 8:30-9:00 PM). The top rated show on TV this year was now “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In” (NBC, Monday 8:00-9:00 PM). Other shows on TV this year would include “The Outcasts (ABC, Monday 9:00-10:00 PM),
“The Avengers” (ABC, Monday 7:30-8:30 PM), “It Takes A Thief” (ABC, Tuesday 8:30-9:30 PM), “Lancer” (CBS, Tuesday 7:30-8:30 PM), “Here Come The Brides” (ABC, Wednesday 7:30-8:30 PM), “The Jonathan Winters Show” (CBS, Wednesday 10:00-11:00 PM), “The Flying Nun” (ABC, Thursday 8:00-8::30 PM), “That Girl” (ABC, Thursday 9:00-9:30 PM), “The Guns Of Will Sonnett” (ABC, Friday 9:30-10:00 PM) and “Adam 12” (NBC, Saturday 7:30-8:00 PM). 🙂 🙂 🙂
References: “The Chronicles Of America” published by Dorling Kindersley, “What happened When” by Gorton Carruth and “The Complete Directory To Prime Time Network TV Shows 1946-Present” by Tim Brooks & Earle Marsh.