This Week In History: April 27 – May 3

Retro Staff Comments

Headlines & tidbits from the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s.

Front Page News:

Birmingham Campaign Protestors

May 3, 1963: Protestors in Birmingham, Alabama were hit by high-pressure water hoses in effort to disperse crowds.

1942: Japanese Americans in San Francisco were ordered to leave their homes and report to internment camps for the duration of World War II.

1963: Hundreds of children ranging in age from six to eighteen were arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, as they marched from Kelly Ingram Park, across from 16th Street Baptist Church, to downtown singing, “We Shall Overcome.”

1969: U.S. troop levels in Vietnam peak at 543,400. There have been 33,641 Americans killed by now, a total greater than the Korean War.

1975: The war in Vietnam ended as the government in Saigon (then the southern capital, now Ho Chi Minh City) announced its unconditional surrender to the North Vietnamese Army (NVA).

American Living:

1952: Checking accounts become the new way to pay bills with Manufacturers Trust Company Bank leading the cause.

1958: The government reports that the average family income the previous year was $6,130 – 50% higher than a decade previous.

Movies & TV:

I Love Lucy

"I Love Lucy" becomes the #1 television show.

1953: I Love Lucy (CBS) is the #1 Show

1954: Roman Holiday is in the theatres – starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn

1953: The FCC gives New Hampshire its first TV channel allocation, leaving neighbor Vermont as the only state without an allocated TV channel


1956: “Heartbreak Hotel” is #1 on the billboard pop charts and #6 on the R&B charts. RCA Victor says that Elvis Presley records are selling at the rate of 50,000 a day, accounting for about 50% of the label’s business.

1960: The Everly Brothers had their first hit for Warner Brothers Records with “Cathy’s Clown”.

1964: “The Beatles’ Second Album” reaches #1 on the Billboard LP chart in just its second week of release. It was the first album ever to make it to the top that quickly.

1967: Aretha Franklin releases “Respect”, a song that will become her signature tune.

1971: The Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar” is released. It would reach number one in the US and number two in the UK.

1979: Blondie brought a touch of New Wave music to the Hot 100 when “Heart Of Glass” reached #1. They would score three more chart toppers over the next two years.

1983: After leading the Billboard chart for seven weeks with “Billie Jean”, Michael Jackson was back on top with “Beat It”.

Hollywood Headlines:

Elvis Presley and Priscilla Ann Beaulieu

Elvis Presley and Priscilla Ann Beaulieu married May 1, 1967. They divorced six years later.

1967: On May 1st, 32-year-old Elvis Presley married 21 year old Priscilla Beaulieu

The Arts:

1968: The musical, “Hair”, opened on Broadway in New York. It would last for 1,750 performances, and featured songs like “Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In”, “Good Morning Starshine”, “Easy to Be Hard” and, the title track, a hit for The Cowsills.


1939: Ted Williams hits his first career home run.

1952: In Chicago, Sugar Ray Robinson knocks-out Rocky Graziano in the third round and retains the middleweight boxing championship title.

1954: Hank Aaron hits his first career home run.

1956: Rocky Marciano (31) retires as undefeated world heavyweight boxing champ.

1967: Muhammad Ali is stripped of his boxing title for refusing induction into the U.S. Army.

Last updated: Apr 30, 2008
Filed under: This Week In History Tagged with: retro headlines, Retro News