One Day in Your Life: September 25, 1966

September 25, 1966, is a Sunday. A Minnesota man is being held for questioning in the murder of Valerie Percy, the 21-year-old daughter of U.S. Senator Charles Percy of Illinois earlier this month. (47 years later, the case will remain unsolved.) People from Virginia to Wisconsin are still abuzz over the unexplained bright lights seen in the sky early yesterday morning. NASA says it ejected chemicals into the atmosphere as part of a missile test, and the lights must have had something to do with that.  In the Chicago suburb of Alsip, the village holds an open house to show off the new garage built to house its municipal vehicles. Newspapers around the country carry the first ad for the Chevrolet Camaro, a brand-new model for 1967, which will go on sale on Thursday.

Ken Holtzman of the Chicago Cubs takes a no-hitter into the ninth inning at Wrigley Field against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Holtzman will lose the no-hitter and the shutout but win the game 2-1. The losing pitcher is Sandy Koufax, who also pitches a complete game. The game takes one hour and 50 minutes to play. The Dodgers will clinch the National League pennant this week; the Cubs will finish dead last with 103 losses; after the Dodgers lose the World Series, Koufax will retire. The American League cellar-dwellers, the New York Yankees, finish their home schedule with a 3-0 win over the Red Sox in front of a crowd of about 16,000; the previous Thursday, attendance for a game against the White Sox was announced as 413. Jim Stevens, who played two games for the Washington Senators in 1914, dies in Baltimore at age 77, and Army PFC Gary Dopp of Almond, Wisconsin, is killed in Vietnam. The Green Bay Packers win their third game of the season, beating the Los Angeles Rams 24-13.

On TV tonight, ABC paid a record $2 million to Columbia Pictures for the right to show the 1957 film Bridge on the River Kwai, and almost 28.5 million homes tune in. It’s the highest rated movie in TV history. NBC has Bonanza and The Andy Williams Show, with special guests Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. On CBS, Ed Sullivan welcomes the Supremes and Ethel Merman.  In Wisconsin, a newly minted first-grader is watching The Ed Sullivan Show on the new color TV at his grandparents’ house when he is called to the telephone—a very rare occurrence. It’s his father, who tells him that his new baby brother was born today.

At the Empire Theater in Liverpool, the Rolling Stones are on their biggest tour of Britain to date, headlining with the Yardbirds, and Ike and Tina Turner. Because it’s a Sunday, the bands play two performances. The Jefferson Airplane, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and Muddy Waters wrap up a three-day stand at the Fillmore in San Francisco with an afternoon show. The Kinks play Vienna, Austria. Gordon Lightfoot wraps up a three-night stand at Canterbury House in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a venue that seats 150 people. At WLS in Chicago, the top 3 songs on the latest Silver Dollar survey are unchanged from the previous week: “Cherish” by the Association, “Sunshine Superman” by Donovan, and “You Can’t Hurry Love” by the Supremes (which they perform on The Ed Sullivan Show tonight). New in the top 10 is “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by the Beach Boys; the biggest movers are “Mr. Dieingly Sad” by the Critters and “Cherry Cherry” by Neil Diamond. Among the new songs on the survey this week: “Reach Out I’ll Be There” by the Four Tops and “Poor Side of Town” by Johnny Rivers.

Perspective From the Present: My four-year-old brother and I were rousted in the wee hours of what was probably Saturday morning to go along when Dad took Mom to the hospital. He parked the car at curbside and took her in, leaving us in the back seat by ourselves. (Different times, they were.) Sleepily, my brother asked me, “What’s going on?” “Mom’s gonna have a baby,” I told him. I remember being quite proud to have a baby brother. He’s still my baby brother today, and although he’s not nearly as cute as he used to be, his own kids have made up for it.

And sweet fancy Moses, the music in September 1966. Unbelievable.

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4 responses

  1. NASA redid that experiment a few years later. I remember being 6 or 7 years old and running out (with everyone else in the neighborhood) to see the bright colors in the sky. The rocket came from Wallops Island, down near Chincoteague, VA.

  2. Another home run. Love these day in the life stories.

  3. ’65 and ’66–two of the greatest years in pop music history.

    Around the time of the incident, Charles Percy used his pull to stop “Psycho” from airing on TV.

  4. I repeat what Porky says. 1965-66 was the high-water mark for Top 40 music. So many great singles it makes your head spin.

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