Retro History: November 16 – November 22

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President John F. Kennedy

President John F. Kennedy was assassinated November 22, 1963.

World News & the American Experience:

1935 – The China Clipper (flying boat) takes off from Alameda, California, carrying 100,000 pieces of mail on its first trans-Pacific airmail flight.

1962 – President John F. Kennedy dedicates Washington Dulles International Airport (November 17th).

1963 – President John F. Kennedy is assassinated on November 22 in Dallas, Texas.

1964 – The Verrazano Narrows Bridge opens, connecting Staten Island to Brooklyn.  It is (at the time) the world’s longest suspension bridge.

1973 – In Orlando, Florida, President Richard Nixon tells about 400 editors of the Associated Press, “I am not a crook.”

1974 – The Privacy Act of 1974, amendments to the Freedom of Information Act, is passed by Congress, following the abuse of privacy during the Richard Nixon presidency.

1977 – Scheduled service of the Concorde to fly from Paris and London to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport begins.

Movies & TV:

1928 Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Steamboat Willie (1928)

1928 – Walt Disney’s Steamboat Willie, the first cartoon with synchronized sound, debuts at the Colony Theatre in New York.  The cartoon introduces Mickey Mouse to the world.  (Originally named Mortimer.)

1947Meet The Press airs on NBC-TV for the first time.  It has since become one of the longest-running shows on network television.

1975Dr. Zhivago appears on TV for the first time.

1980 – The largest TV audience ever, 82 million viewers, watches Dallas to see “Who Shot J.R?”.

Music & Radio:

1934 – “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” is first heard on Eddie Cantor’s show.

1944The Roy Rogers Show is first heard on the Mutual Broadcasting System.

1955 – Tennessee Ford has the #1 song with “Sixteen Tons”.  It stays at #1 for 8 weeks.

Johnny Cash in the 1950s

Johnny Cash in the 1950s

1955 – “Cry Cry Cry” is Johnny Cash’s first song on the charts.

1955 – RCA pays around $25,000 to producer Sam Phillips for the rights to Elvis Presley’s music.

1959 – Alan Freed, the DJ who coined the term “Rock and Roll”, is fired for accepting bribes in the payola scandal.

1962 – The 4 Seasons with Frankie Valli go to the top of the charts with “Big Girls Don’t Cry”.

1967 – Lulu’s “To Sir with Love” stays at the top of the Billboard Top 100 chart for 5 weeks.

1967 – BBC unofficially bans “I Am the Walrus” by The Beatles.

1971 – The “Theme From Shaft”, by Isaac Hayes, stays at #1 for 2 weeks.

1974 – John Lennon’s “Whatever Gets You Through the Night” is his only solo #1 song.

1981 – “Physical”, by Olivia Newton John, races to the #1 chart position and stays there for 10 weeks.

1959 Sound of Music Playbill

1959 Sound of Music Playbill

Arts & Entertainment:

1928 – The first issue of Time magazine is published with Japanese Emperor Hirohito on the cover.

1930 – The musical Smiles, with Bob Hope and Fred Astaire, premieres in New York City.

1932 – The most famous vaudeville theatre in America, The Palace in New York City, closes its doors.  It opened as a movie theatre later on with live performances shown before the film.

1932 – Wallace Beery and Fredric March tie for the Best Actor Academy Award.

1959The Sound of Music opens at Lunt Fontanne Theater in New York City for 1443 performances.

1966Cabaret opens on Broadway. 1,165 performances followed.

1966Don’t Drink the Water, Woody Allen’s first play, opens on Broadway.

Celebrity Headlines:

1939 – Al Capone is released from jail after serving his sentence.  He died a few years later from complications of third-stage neurosyphilis.

1960 – Clark Gable dies of a heart attack at age 59.

1984 – Michael Jackson receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Don Newcombe of the Brooklyn Dodgers

Don Newcombe of the Brooklyn Dodgers


1956 – Don Newcombe wins the National League MVP and first-ever Cy Young Award.

1958 – Mel Ott, NY Giant baseball star (1926-1947), dies at age 49.

1970 – Joe Frazier knocks out Bob Foster in round 2 for the heavyweight boxing title.

1986 – Mike Tyson KOs Trevor Berbick in round 2 for the heavyweight WBC boxing title.

Technology & Inventions:

1931 – American Telephone and Telegraph Company introduces the first commercial teletype service.

1947 – The world’s largest one-piece mirror, at 200 inches, arrives at Mt Palomar to be part of the Hale Telescope, the world’s largest telescope at the time.

1963 – The first touch-tone telephone is introduced.  The Western Electric Model features 10 push buttons that replaced the rotary dial.  The first commercial service is available in Pennsylvania for an extra charge.

1965 – Kellogg’s Pop Tarts pastries are created.

Famous Birthdays:

1932 – Richard Dawson, actor & game show host

1933 – Larry King

1936 – Hank Ballard, singer (Chubby Checker)

1936 – Dick Cavett, TV show host

1938 – Ted Turner

1939 – Dick Smothers, comedian

1942 – Calvin Klein

1942 – Martin Scorsese, director

1942 – Linda Evans, actress

1943 – Billie Jean King

1944 – Danny DeVito, actor

1944 – Lorne Michaels, comedy writer, producer

1953 – John McFee, rock guitarist (Doobie Brothers, Clover)

Last updated: Nov 17, 2014
Filed under: This Week In History Tagged with: history, retro headlines