It was so much fun a few weeks back putting together a “time capsule” for the year 1960 — wow, that was a half-century ago! — that I’m trying another one, this time moving up five years to the midpoint of baby boomers’ most tumultuous decade.
A mere 45 years ago, 1965 was quite the happening time, too.
So, let’s start with a quick three-question, mid-decade quiz that incorporates some special Minnesota moments (the answers are at the end):
1.This month 45 years ago, during the second year of the British musical invasion, some group named the Beatles made its only appearance in the state — at the former Metropolitan Stadium. They drew 25,000 to 30,000 very loud fans, depending on whose estimate you believe. Within a dollar, how much did the concert’s most expensive tickets cost? (You can vicariously relive Minnesota’s brush with Beatlemania at a special Minnesota History Center exhibit, “The Beatles! A One-Night Stand in the Heartland,” which runs through mid-September.)
2. The Rolling Stones got to Minnesota first, though, visiting in June 1964 in the first months of the British Invasion. Unfortunately, they flopped big time, drawing fewer than 300 fans to the popular Danceland venue at the long-gone Excelsior Park. While here, according to one highly contested legend, Mick Jagger by chance may have met a Minnesotan who inspired one of the Stones’ early classics. What’s the name of the song?
3. A Minnesota advertising icon — an imaginary fellow — popped up that year and is still going strong. Who is it?
Now, let’s open that 1965 time capsule and see what’s inside. See if you remember:
A few landmark events
• Pope Paul VI becomes the first reigning pontiff to visit the United States with his trip to New York and celebration of Mass at Yankee Stadium, which was packed with more than 90,000 people.
• For the first time, Congress requires this health warning on every pack of cigarettes: “Caution: Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Health.” It took effect, Jan. 1, 1966.
• Also for the first time, the U.S. Supreme Court votes to establish a constitutional right to privacy in the landmark case Griswold v. Connecticut involving the use of contraceptives by a married couple.
• UNICEF, the United Nations’ Children’s Fund, wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
• Malcolm X is assassinated in New York City.
• The Watts district of Los Angeles erupts, becoming the site of the 1960s’ first of many urban race riots. The six-day toll: 34 dead, 1,072 injured and 4,000 arrests.
• The first Teach-ins opposing the Vietnam War pop up on college campuses across the nation.
• Two landmark Great Society pieces of legislation — Medicare and the Voting Rights Act — are signed into law.
Social culture — pop and otherwise
• Fashion: Designer Mary Quant’s miniskirt “shortly” makes its debut.
• Consumer goods: The disposable diapers Pampers are patented, and food staples Spaghetti-O’s and Kellogg’s Pop Tarts hit the market.
• Consumer protection: Ralph Nader’s “Unsafe at Any Speed” launches the car safety movement.
• Academy Award winners: The 1965 movie “The Sound of Music” wins the Oscar in 1966. The 1965 Oscar ceremonies honor 1964’s “My Fair Lady.”
• Other big movies: “Dr. Zhivago,” “Cat Ballou” and the Beatles’ second movie, “Help!” (original working title: “Eight Arms to Hold You”).
• Big movie hero: Sean Connery, the real James Bond, returns for Film Adventure No. 4: “Thunderball.”
• Big books: Frank Herbert’s “Dune,” considered by some the best science-fiction novel of all time, wins two prestigious sci-fi genre awards. Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” captivates the reading public.
• Top songs: Not surprisingly, the Stones and the Beatles lead the way. The Stones reach the top of the charts with their first No. 1 song — and the year’s biggest single — “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” The Fab Four are close behind with “Yesterday,” considered the most recorded song of all time with more than 3,000 cover versions.
• A super song: The tongue-tying “Mary Poppins” selection “Super-cali-fragil-istic-expi-ali-docious” hits the charts.
• A Minnesota classic: Bob Dylan’s influential “Like a Rolling Stone” hovers near the top of the Hot 100.
• A classic car song: Wilson Pickett gets his girl a new 1965 Ford in his 1966 hit “Mustang Sally.”
• Comedy recording geniuses: Bill Cosby’s “Why Is There Air” wins the Grammy for best comedy album, and satirist extraordinaire Tom Lehrer contributes classic send-ups to the short-lived but influential “Saturday Night Live” precursor, “That Was the Week That Was.”
• Broadway’s biggest: “Fiddler on the Roof” wows ’em with Zero Mostel.
• Television’s big show debuts: “I Dream of Jeannie,” the prime-time music show “Hullabaloo,” “The Dean Martin Show,” the secret-agent satire “Get Smart,” the gadget-laden “The Wild, Wild West” and the widely scorned “My Mother the Car.”
• A big TV exit: “The Jack Benny Program” bows out after 16 years.
• TV history: “I Spy,” the ground-breaking show, teams Robert Culp with Bill Cosby, making him the first black man in a leading role in a dramatic series.
• A modest start: Two-time “likable” Oscar winner Sally Field makes her prime-time debut as the title character in the beach teen saga “Gidget.”
• Still going: Soap opera “Days of Our Lives” starts its daytime journey.
• Special TV specials: Twin Cities native Charles Schulz’s perennial favorite, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and Barbra Streisand’s first TV special, “My Name Is Barbra,” make their debuts.
• The Twins’ make their first World Series appearance but fall to the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games.
• Cassius Clay converts to Islam and changes his name to Muhammad Ali.
• The NewYork Jets sign their savior, Broadway Joe Namath.
• “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling
• Singer Shania Twain
• Actresses Sarah Jessica Parker and Brooke Shields
• “Iron Man” star Robert Downey Jr. and actors Chris Rock, Charlie Sheen and Ben Stiller
• Over-the-top comedian Carrot Top
• Not to mention the “birth” of the Monkees singing group, who the following year find TV and recording fame.
• Winston Churchill, among other things, a master quote machine, such as:
A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.
A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril.
All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.
Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.
• Nat King Cole, featured here with “Stardust,” one of his masterpieces.
• Poet T.S. Eliot
• Comic musician Spike Jones
• Stan Laurel, the thin half of the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy
• And statesman Adlai Stevenson, another quote machine. Here’s a small sample:
A beauty is a woman you notice; a charmer is one who notices you.
A free society is one where it is safe to be unpopular.
A hungry man is not a free man.
A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.
A politician is a statesman who approaches every question with an open mouth.
Accuracy to a newspaper is what virtue is to a lady; but a newspaper can always print a retraction.
* * * * *
1. The top ticket price for the Beatles’ only Minnesota appearance was $5.50.
2. The Stones’ song, according to some reports, is “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
3. Poppin’ Fresh, the Pillsbury Doughboy.