Pop culture fun facts
Major changes in popular music swept the nation in the mid-1960s, caused in part by the rapid rise of illegal substance use. Highly amplified and improvisational “acid rock” along with its more mellow psychedelic version gained prominence. When the Beatles turned to acid rock, their audience narrowed to the young. Musical groups such as Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead grew out of the counterculture in 1967.
Yet, the event of the decade took place when 500,000 young Americans ‘did their own thing’ at the Woodstock music festival in August 1969. Gathering at a farm in New York State, the youth of our nation rocked out to idolized musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and Joan Baez, as well as to groups such as The Who. Woodstock became a symbol of the young peoples' rebellion against traditional values. History would eventually label these young Americans—who believed in more love and personal freedom—as "hippies."
- After 13 years, NBC cancels Howdy Doody. The last episode airs Sept. 24, 1960.
- Harper Lee's 1961 book, To Kill A Mockingbird, becomes a bestseller.
- Sam Walton opens his first Walmart in Rogers, AR, in 1962.
- In 1962, Andy Warhol exhibits his Campbell's Soup can, Johnny Carson takes over the Tonight Show from Jack Par and Marilyn Monroe is found dead.
- Cassius Clay (a.k.a. Muhammad Ali) becomes the World Heavyweight Champion, defeating Sonny Liston in 1964.
- Hasbro launches the G.I. Joe action figure in 1964.
- The Beatles make their U.S. debut on The Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964.
- In 1965, Star Trek goes where no one has gone before on American TV.
- Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated June 6, 1968 in Los Angeles.
- Western movie hero John Wayne wins the 1969 Oscar for Best Actor for his role in the movie True Grit, beating now-legendary actors Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight.
- Sesame Street airs for the first time in 1969.