The Way We Were 1964: Fifty years ago.

May 21, 2014

1964-the-beatles-life-270In this year of 2014 it is now fifty years since some of us lived through 1964. Here are some interesting things about this important year. Most of this information and factual data is from American sources, but at the end you will find some tidbits on Canada. Enjoy and please leave a comment about something you remember from that year.

What it cost:
Average yearly income $5,880
Gallon of gas .25c
Gallon of milk $1.06
Loaf of bread .21c
1st class postage stamp 5c (to mail a letter)
Magazine subscription (51 issues) $5.00
Pair of shoes $9.95
19” TV black & white $139.95

Entertainment:
1st appearance of Beatles on Ed Sullivan Show
Shooting starts for Star Trek pilot on television

Hit singles:
Baby Love – The Supremes
Can’t Buy Me Love – The Beatles
Hard Day’s Night – The Beatles
House of the Rising Sun – The Animals
I Get Around – The Beach Boys
Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison
Rag Doll – The Four Seasons

Movies at the theatre:
Goldfinger – James Bond movie with Sean Connery
Mary Poppins
The Pink Panther – with Peter Sellers
My Fair Lady

Deaths of note:
General Douglas MacArthur – commander of the Pacific operations in WW II.
Jim Reeves – country star (plane crash)
Harpo Marx – comedian – part of the famous Marx Brothers. He was the one who never spoke on screen.
Gracie Allen – comedienne – wife of George Burns – Burns and Allen comedy team
Herbert Hoover – former President of the U.S. – just before Franklin Roosevelt.

Births of those who would become famous later on. Who knew:
Nicolas Cage – actor
Matt Dillon – actor
Rob Lowe – actor
Sandra Bullock – actor
Keanu Reeves – actor
(remember all these will turn 50 years of age this year)

Notable Factoids or Events:
Cigarette smoking is enjoyed by 60% of population.
U.S. Government reports, “that smoking many be hazardous to one’s health”.
Hasbro introduces the G.I. Joe doll.
Ford Mustang goes on sale ($2368 base price).
U.S begins bombing of North Vietnam which dramatically ramps up the Vietnam War. An LBJ decision.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is published, written by Roald Dahl.
Sony introduces first VCR video recorder.
Computer mouse invented, but not generally available until much later.

Notable Canadian Facts from 1964:
Prime Minister is Lester Pearson (Liberal Party).
Social Insurance Number cards issued for first time to Canadians.
Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup (over Detroit Red Wings). Most recent win for Leafs was 1967.
First Tim Horton’s donut shop opens in Hamilton, Ontario. (This is the one I like the best.)

Advertisements

11/22/63: End of Innocence

November 22, 2013

Image

Fifty years ago today President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was gunned down on the streets of Dallas, Texas. He and his wife Jackie rode in a open-topped Lincoln. Spirits soared as the crowds cheered the young president and his beautiful wife as the presidential motorcade moved through the streets of the city. The morning of November 22, 1963 started out overcast and rainy, but when they arrived in Dallas the sun came out and it was a bright, sunny day.

Kennedy was the youngest man ever elected president at age 43. He exuded energy, hope and new ideas. In October 1962 he saved the world from nuclear holocoust by defusing the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was the first president to speak publicly on the issue of civil rights, and in fact gave a televised speech on the subject, something no American president dared do to that point.

The Cold War between the two superpowers, the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union, dominated the world in 1963. Both countries had enough nuclear warheads and missiles to destroy mankind several times over. After the crisis of 1962 Kennedy and the Soviets had made progress to begin to reduce tensions. The first treaty of any kind related to nuclear weapons, The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty abolishing atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, was signed by Kennedy and the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. There was hope.

Then the Lincoln entered Dealey Plaza and shots rang out. The president was mortally wounded. Hope died. The world went into shock.

The weekend was spent entranced by television images, the assassination, the capture of a suspect, the body lying in state in Washington, the murder of the suspect, the funeral, and the burial in Arlington National Cemetery. Especially poignant were the images of Jackie and Caroline kneeling at his casket in the Capitol saying their goodbyes, his young son John saluting his father’s casket as it rolled by, and the lighting of the eternal flame at his grave. Even now these images tear at my heart.

It all seemed so surreal. It was unbelievable back then and still is today 50 years later. John Kennedy was only 46 years of age. He had been President of the United States and leader of the Free World for just over a thousand days.

As of today over 150 million people have visited his gravesite in Arlington. Most I am sure like me reflecting on the what-ifs.

Image

The eternal flame on President Kennedy’s grave in Arlington.


Kennedy Sworn in as President – 50 yrs Ago Today

January 20, 2011

President Kennedy - official White House photo

 Fifty years ago today John Fitzgerald Kennedy took the oath of office at exactly 12:00 p.m. Eastern time in Washington, DC.

Kennedy’s inauguration signaled a new generation ascending to power. His predecessor, President Eisenhower was of a previous generation and had served 8 years, since 1954-1961.

Kennedy, or JFK as he was affectionally known, was the youngest man ever elected president at age 43. Teddy Roosevelt was younger when he became president, but he became president after McKinley’s assassination.

Kennedy was also the first person of the Roman Catholic faith to be elected to the office.

The other fascination for people was his young family and his war service. He exuded personality and vigor. New ideas and renewed energy brought hope to young people.

When he was elected it was the height of the Cold War. The United States and the USSR had enough nuclear tipped missiles targeted at each other to destroy the world several times over. This wasn’t just an American or a Soviet issue, but a world living in the shadow of destruction. In fact the official policy of both nations was Mutually Assured Destruction or M.A.D. for short. Simply put if one country attacked the other it was assured both would be destroyed. Sounds crazy, but it was a fact that all of us lived with during that period. No wonder people were looking for new ideas and fresh hope.

Although his presidency was short-lived Kennedy began the dialogue with the Soviet Union on disarmament signing the Test Ban Treaty. This was a first step towards reducing nuclear arsenals.

I remember President Kennedy today for those steps he initiated towards reduction of nuclear tensions.


eBook Published – Near Miss: Attempted Assassination of JFK

January 2, 2011

My book has now been ePublished  and so far is available at the following sites.

Check it out, http://tinyurl.com/2432nrz Amazon, and http://tinyurl.com/24jlqrc Barnes and Noble.

If this interests you please consider purchasing it at the low price stated.

It will soon be available at Borders.com and Kobobooks.com


The Truth is Out There – The JFK Assassination

August 26, 2010

It has been almost 47 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in downtown Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. Thanks to the release of new documents and the scientific analysis of evidence with new technologies the truth is gradually being uncovered.

Who cares, you say? I believe that to preserve democratic societies the truth must always be uncovered.

First the official version of what happened as outlined by the Warren Commission Report hinges on the following key points,

1. Lee Harvey Oswald was the only gunman. He and he alone killed the president.

2. Only three shots were fired in Dealey Plaza that day. The first shot missed and slightly wounded James Tague who was watching the motorcade. The second shot hit Kennedy in the back, exited from the throat area, entered Governor John Connally seated in front and to the side of Kennedy, this broke several bones in Connally, and changed direction several times. Finally this bullet was found on a stretcher in Parkland Hospital in pristine, undamaged condition. This is the so-called “Magic Bullet” theory.

3. The third shot struck Kennedy in the back of his head causing his death.

4. All shots originated from the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository behind the presidential limousine.

5. There were no others involved in the assassination.

While there have been outrageous theories and ridiculous speculation put forward about the assassination, new evidence and new technological analysis of existing evidence has debunked most of the findings of the Warren Commission. Without firm evidence to identify a motive or actual shooter(s) here are some proven facts that contradict the record,

1. At least one shot and possibly more originated from the Grassy Knoll to the right front of the president. The fatal head shot struck Kennedy in the right front of his head. Analysis of the Zapruder Film proves more than four shots were fired at the president that day. That evidence alone proves more than one shooter.

2. Oswald’s prints were not found on the 6.5 mm Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, that is alleged to have been used to kill Kennedy.

3. A paraffin test done on Oswald at the time proved he did not fire a rifle on November 22, 1963. This is an accepted test in the law enforcement and legal community. It detects GSR (gunshot residue).

4. The medical evidence proves the exit wound in Kennedy’s head was in the rear. Parkland Emergency doctors observed this, as did autopsy doctors, but they were ordered not to report this. Blood splatter, brain matter, and a large skull fragment all found to the rear of the limousine  prove this. Again this was not included in the Warren Commission. In my belief this absolutely proves the fatal head shot came from the Grassy Knoll to the right front of Kennedy.

5. About half of the witnesses to the assassination reported shots from the front of the limousine (the Grassy Knoll). These witnesses were either not interviewed by the Warren Commission, or their testimony was ignored and discounted.

Tape recordings of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s directions to Chief Justice Earl Warren prove the Commission was ordered to find Kennedy was killed by one assassin, that assassin being Lee Harvey Oswald. The findings of the Commission were predetermined by the president, the FBI (J. Edgar Hoover), and the CIA. No other conclusion was acceptable.

I recommend the following books supporting these conclusions:

The Zapruder Film: Reframing JFK’s Assassination, David Wrone, University Press of Kansas, 2003

The Grassy Knoll Witnesses, Harry A. Yardum, 2008

JFK Assassination File: Retired Dallas Police Chief, Jesse E. Curry, Dallas, 1969

In the Eye of History: Disclosures in the JFK Assassination Medical Evidence, William Law, with Alan Eaglesham, JFK Lancer Publications, Southlake, TX, 2005

Head Shot: The Science Behind the JFK Assassination, G. Paul Chambers, Ph.D, Prometheus Books, New York, NY 2010.

Bullet Proof: The Evidence That Guns Leave Behind, Jaime Joyce, Franklin Watts, a Division of Scholastic Inc., New York, NY, 2007.


John Kennedy Wins Nomination – 50 years ago

July 13, 2010

JFK and Caroline in August 1963-White House photo

I can’t let this anniversary pass. On this day in 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy won the Democratic nomination for president at their convention in Los Angeles, California.

Of course, he went on to win the general election in November 1960 by the slimmest of margins to become president-elect. On January 20, 1961 he was sworn in as the 35th president of the United States. He was also the youngest elected president to take office and the first person of the Roman Catholic faith to become president.

Tragically, he became the youngest president (46 years of age) to die in office when he was assassinated on November 22, 1963 while riding in a motorcade through downtown Dallas, Texas.


Visiting Dealey Plaza

April 21, 2010

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My entire adult life an eerie fascination has drawn me to the Kennedy Assassination and the events of November 22 – 25, 1963. Over the years I have absorbed everything written on the subject. Now as I wander Dealey Plaza for the first time my brain releases remembrances of that era. I feel at home in a surreal way, not because it is a good place, but rather a familiar one. Memories of the 1960’s and my formative years flood my being.

The first major historical event in my lifetime riveted me at the time and has gripped me since. Historical and political awareness awoke in my young mind over those terrible four days in November 1963.

Forty-six years later like a moth to light, this place attracts me. The Plaza holds no mystery for me. I know every nook and cranny, every conspiracy theory and every person associated with those days.

The Grassy Knoll, the Texas School Book Depository, the Sixth Floor, the Triple Underpass, Stemmons Freeway, Zapruder, Oswald, and the forever young President John Fitzgerald Kennedy flood my mental vision as I wander Dealey.

Dealey Plaza is not an imposing place. It is a small park in the middle of the West End Historic District of downtown Dallas, Texas. The curious come here in a regular flow. They wander, some knowing the tale, others having only read about it. All attempt in some small way to recapture some of the Kennedy mystique.

            The story is the saga of youth lost and what might have been. Like all the others I wonder why and lament the potential killed that day. I think in some small way visiting this site is a way to get closure after all these years, to get my mind to accept that yes, it did really happen.


%d bloggers like this: