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What Happened in 1964?
Major Events
  • Lyndon B. Johnson is president of the United States - there is no vice president
  • President Johnson re-elected in a landslide over Barry Goldwater
  • President Johnson signs a bill enacting Medicare
  • U.S. Congress authorizes war against North Vietnam
  • 24th Amendment to Constitution adopted, ensuring fair voting practices
  • Three civil rights workers (Schwerner, Goodman, and Cheney) are murdered in Mississippi during "Freedom Summer"
  • Dr Martin Luther King Jr. awarded Nobel Peace Prize
  • President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy issues Warren Report concluding that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone
  • Jack Ruby convicted of murder in slaying of Lee Harvey Oswald
  • Race riots break out in Harlem and other U.S. cities
  • Khrushchev is removed from office - Kosygin becomes premier and Brezhnev becomes first secretary of the Communist Party
  • China detonates its first atomic bomb
  • Nelson Mandela sentenced to life imprisonment in South Africa
  • The PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) is established with Yasser Arafat as the head
Business and Economy
  • U.S. GDP (1998 dollars): $663 billion
  • Federal spending: $118.53 billion
  • Federal debt: $316.1 billion
  • Consumer Price Index: 31
  • Unemployment: 5.7%
Science and Technology
  • Kemeny and Kurtz create BASIC (Beginners' All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code), an easy-to-learn high-level programming language
  • Ranger VII takes 4,316 high-resolution pictures of the moon
  • Space probe Mariner IV flies by Mars, transmitting pictures of the planet's surface back to earth
  • U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry affirms that cigarette smoking causes cancer
  • IBM announces the System/360
  • Sony introduces the first VCR home video recorder
  • First lung transplant
  • Cassius Clay (the future Muhammad Ali) becomes heavyweight champion when Sonny Liston throws in the towel in the sixth round in Miami
  • St. Louis Cardinals defeats the NY Yankees to win the World Series (4-3)
  • Boston defeats SF Warriors to win the NBA Championship (4-1)
  • Cleveland Browns win the NFL championship
  • Olympics held in Tokyo
Arts and Entertainment
  • Books: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Candy, Herzog, Armageddon, The Man, The Rector of Justin, The Martyred, You Only Live Twice, This Rough Magic, 10 Convention
  • Movies: Mary Poppins, Red Desert, Dr. Strangelove, My Fair Lady, Zorba the Greek, Becket, The Carpetbaggers, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, My Fair Lady , Goldfinger, Marnie, The Pink Panther, A Shot in the Dark, Last Man on Earth, Lady in a Cage, Dead Ringer
  • Songs: You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling, My Girl, You Really Got Me, House Of The Rising Sun, Where Did Our Love Go, I Get Around, All Day And All Of The Night, Oh, Pretty Woman, A Hard Day's Night, She's Not There
  • Popular Musicians: Righteous Brothers, Temptations, Kinks, Animals, Supremes, Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, Beatles, Zombies
  • TV Shows: Bonanza, Bewitched, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C., The Andy Griffith Show, The Fugitive, The Red Skelton Hour, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Lucy Show, Peyton Place II, Combat
  • The Beatles appear on The Ed Sullivan Show, breaking television ratings records
  • The Beatles have 13 singles Billboard's Hot 100 at the same time
  • The Beatles hold the top five positions in the Billboard Top 40 singles in America
  • "Beatlemania" spreads as the Beatles become a global phenomenon
  • Folk musician Bob Dylan becomes increasingly popular during this time of social protest with songs expressing objection to the condition of American society
  • Psychedelic bands such as The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane enjoy great success with songs celebrating the counterculture of the 1960s
  • Sidney Poitier becomes the first black actor to win the "best actor" Oscar
  • Gomer Pyle begins on CBS-TV
  • Gilligan's Island premiers on CBS
  • The Pink Panther cartoon series premieres
  • "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles released in the United States, sparking Beatlemania
  • The game show Jeopardy! debuts on television
Everyday Life
  • U.S. Population: 191,888,791
  • Life expectancy: 70.2 years
  • Average yearly income: $6,569
  • Cost of a new home: $13,050
  • Cost of a new car: $3,500
  • Federal hourly minimum wage: $1.25
  • Cost of a first-class stamp: $.05
Popular Culture
  • Near Anchorage, the strongest earthquake ever to strike North America kills 117
  • Worst soccer disaster in history occurs when rioting and panic kills over 300 in Liverpool
  • Hundreds of white college students work for civil rights in the south during "Freedom Summer"
  • Color television makes its way into U.S. homes
  • The abolition of the death penalty in UK
  • Concern in Britain over "brain drain," the mass emigration of British scientists to the U.S.
  • Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa convicted of fraud, conspiracy, and jury tampering
  • The first Ford Mustang from Ford Motor Company is made
  • Washington D.C. residents are able to vote in a presidential election for the first time
  • Cigarette smoking is enjoyed by 60% of the population
  • Police catch the "Boston Strangler," Albert DeSalvo
  • The world's longest suspension bridge, the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in New York, opens
  • World's Fair held in New York
  • Hasbro introduces the G.I. Joe doll
  • Sonny and Cher are married
  • According to some reports, not a single juvenile crime is reported in New York City the night of the Beatles' first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964