Retro History: November 23 – November 29

Retro Staff Comments
DB Cooper

DB Cooper sketches

World News & the American Experience:

1930 – Ruth Nichols becomes the first woman pilot on a transcontinental flight from New York to California.  It took 7 days.

1942 – A tragic fire at the famed Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston, MA kills nearly 500 people.

1953 – A strike of photoengravers leave New York City without newspapers for 11 days.

1971 – D.B. Cooper hijacks a Boeing 727.  He demands and receives $200,000, and then parachutes out over the Cascade Mountains in Washington, never to be seen or heard from again.  In 1980, $5,880 was discovered on the banks of the Columbia River, but that is one of the only clues ever found.

1986 – The Iran-Contra affair comes to light. Members of Reagan’s administration, chiefly Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, are accused of dealing arms for hostages.

Saturday Night Fever posterMovies & TV:

1940 – Woody Woodpecker is seen for the first time in the theatrical short Knock Knock.

1942Casablanca premieres at Hollywood Theatre in New York City.

1948Hopalong Cassidy premieres on TV.

1956The Price Is Right debuts on NBC.

1977 – Saturday Night Fever sets box office records and makes a megastar out of John Travolta.  The soundtrack would sell more than 11 million copies.

Music & Radio:

1932 – Groucho Marx performs on radio for the first time.

1944The FBI in Peace and War is broadcast by CBS radio for the first time.

1949Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, by Gene Autry, becomes the musical hit of the Christmas season.

Richie Valens 1958

Richie Valens (1958)

1956 – Bandleader Tommy Dorsey dies at the age of 51. His records sold more than 110,000,000 copies.

1958 – Richie Valens releases “Donna” and La Bamba.”

1958 – Harold Jenkins changes his name to Conway Twitty and hits #1 with “It’s Only Make Believe”.

1960Amos ‘n’ Andy airs its last broadcast on CBS radio.

1962 – The Beatles have their first recording session under their new name.

1966 – The Jimi Hendrix Experience debuts in London at Bag O’ Nails Club.

1969 – Cream has their final concert at Royal Albert Hall in London.

1976 – The Sex Pistols release their debut single, “Anarchy In The UK”.

Pink Floyd 1970s

Pink Floyd (1970s)

1979The Wall, by Pink Floyd, is released, selling 6 million copies in 2 weeks.

Arts & Entertainment:

1936 – The first issue of Life magazine, created by Henry R Luce, is published.

1950Guys and Dolls opens at the 46th Street Theatre in New York City.  It ran for 1200 performances.

1958 – The GE Theatre production of A Turkey for the President stars Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

Celebrity Headlines:

1981 – Natalie Wood actress (West Side Story), drowns at 43 years old.

Natalie Wood

Natalie Wood

1986 – Actor Cary Grant passes away at the age of 82.


1984 – Doug Flutie throws a 48-yard pass to get a touchdown in the final play of the game that leads Boston College to beat Miami in the Orange Bowl.  The play became known as “The Pass” or a “Hail Mary Pass”.

Technology & Inventions:

1944 – Johns Hopkins Hospital performs the first open heart surgery.

1948 – The Zoomar Lens is patented by Dr. Frank G. Back of New York City.  It becomes a popular lens most often used in television production.

1948 Polaroid Camera Model 95

1948 Polaroid Camera – Model 95

1948 – The first Polaroid camera is sold.

Famous Birthdays:

1935 – Marian Mercer, singer, actress

1939 – Tina Turner

1940 – Percy Sledge, singer

1940 – Bruce Lee

1942 – Jimi (James Marshall) Hendrix

1947 – Linda Laflamme, rocker

1957 – Caroline (Bouvier) Kennedy

1959 – Judd Nelson, actor

1960 – John F. Kennedy Jr.

Last updated: Nov 24, 2014
Filed under: This Week In History Tagged with: history, retro headlines