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1963 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

<< - 1962

1963 History Snapshot

  • Politics: The US Supreme Court ruled no locality may require recitation of Lord's Prayer or Bible verses in public schools in Abington School District v. Schempp.
  • The Top Song was Sugar Shack by Jimmy Gilmore and the Fireballs
  • The Big Movies included Cleopatra, Dr. No and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
  • Minimum Wage in 1963: $1.25 per hour
  • Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to travel into space.
    Price of VO5 Shampoo, 15 oz size: 77 cents
  • The World Population was ~ 3,211,000,000
  • Frank Sinatra's son was kidnapped in 1963 and Sinatra ended up paying $240,000 in ransom before his son was safely returned. The kidnappers were caught and most of the ransom was recovered.
  • And... Perscription drug Valium was introduced by Swiss drug company Roche Labs.

World Series Champions

Los Angeles Dodgers

NFL Champions

Chicago Bears

AFL Champions

San Diego Chargers

National Basketball Association Champions

Boston Celtics

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

Toronto Maple Leafs

US Open Golf

Julius Boros

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Rafael Osuna/Maria Bueno

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Chuck McKinley/Margaret Smoth

NCAA Football Champions


NCAA Basketball Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 1, 1963 - Alabama over Oklahoma
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1963 - USC over Wisconsin
Sugar Bowl : January 1, 1963 - Ole Miss over Arkansas

Kentucky Derby


Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Wakefield's Black Knight

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

Martin Luther King, Jr

Miss America

Jacquelyn Mayer (Sandusky, OH)

Miss USA

Marite Ozers (Illinois)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Brigitte Bardot, Martine Beswick, 'Wilhelmina' Cooper, Doris Day, Patty Duke, Annette Funicello, Audrey Hepburn, Anna Karina, Julie London, Sophia Loren, Jayne Mansfield, Mary Tyler Moore, Julie Newmar, Kim Novak, Donna Reed, Jean Shrimpton, Elizabeth Taylor, Tuesday Weld

"The Quotes"

"From Dallas, Texas, the flash, apparently official ... President Kennedy died at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time - 2:00 Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago."
- Walter Cronkite

- Dalek, Doctor Who

"Oh I wish I were an Oscar Meyer wiener. Thats is what I truly want to be."
- Oscar Meyer kids

Jackie Kennedy wore her blood-splattered pink Chanel suit for the rest of the day after JFK's assassination. When asked to change her outfit, she replied "I want them to see what they have done to Jack."

After the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. said to his wife, "This is what is going to happen to me also. I keep telling you, this is a sick society."

1963 Pop Culture History

The last day of shooting the Gilligan's Island pilot was Friday, November 22, 1963; the day JFK was assassinated. This was commemorated in the opening credits as the S.S. Minnow is seen leaving the harbor with an American flag at half mast.

Valentia Tershkova was the first woman in space, on the Vostok 6. She orbited Earth 48 times.

In 1963, San Francisco Giants Manager Alvin Dark joked, "they'll put a man on the moon before (Giants pitcher) Gaylord Perry hits a home run." On July 20, 1969, less than an hour after Neil Armstrong's historic moon walk, Perry smacked his first career home run.

Kodak introduced the Instamatic camera.

President John F. Kennedy was a huge James Bond fan. He viewed an early print of 'From Russia with Love' at the White House on Nov 21st, 1963. It was the last film he ever saw, he was killed the next day in Dallas.

2,000-year-old seeds were discovered in 1963 inside an ancient jar in Israel. They were planted in 2005 and a tree that had been extinct for over 1800 years sprouted.

The original plans for the Sydney Opera House projected a cost of $7 million and completion date of January 26, 1963. It was finished in 1973, ten years late, and at a cost of $102 million, some 1,500% over budget.

Some Barbie dolls came with a book entitled How to Lose Weight which advised "Don't eat!" and a bathroom scale permanently set at 110 lbs.

A&W was the first chain restaurant to offer the Bacon Cheeseburger.

In 1963, the US Air Force launched 480 million MIT-designed tiny copper needles in an effort to guarantee the ability to communicate across the globe in the event that undersea cables were cut by hostile forces.

Vexations an 18hr long piece of music. After a public performance in New York in 1963 only 6 people remained to the end, one stood up and shouted "Encore!"

Andy Warhol produced and directed a film called Sleep, which is 5 hours and 21 minutes long and consists solely of one long take of his close friend, John Giorno, sleeping. Only 9 people attended the premiere, and 2 of them left during the first hour.

Boxer Sonny Liston was the first to win a million dollars in a single bout when he beat Floyd Patterson, in Chicago on September 25th.

Charlton Heston accompanied Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the March on Washington in 1963.

Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech isn't available in the public domain and that in 1963 King sued Twentieth Century Fox Records Company to stop the unauthorized sale of records of the 17-minute address.

The movie Charade entered the public domain immediately upon release because Universal Pictures published it with an invalid copyright notice

Elizabeth Taylor was the first actress to earn $1,000,000 for a single film - Cleopatra.

The British military once took a Vickers WW1 Machine Gun and fired it continuously for 7 days to see when and if it would malfunction. It Didn't.

Harry Smith, the top bowler in 1963, made more money than MLB MVP Sandy Koufax and NFL MVP Y.A. Tittle combined.

Colt 45 malt liquor was not named after the handgun. It was named after Jerry Hill, the 1963 running back for the Baltimore Colts, who's jersey number was #45.

The "zip" from "zip code" stands for "Zone Improvement Plan". It was implemented in 1963 as a means of streamlining the mailing system.

Kyu Sakamoto was the first Asian to have a number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963 with Sukiyaki - the only Japanese song to top the chart.

John Lennon had a sore throat when The Beatles recorded their cover of the Isley Brother's Twist and Shout and the whole of their 1963 'Please Please Me' album.

Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc publicly immolated himself on a street in Saigon to protest the anti-Buddhist policies of President Ngo Dinh Diem.

Mississippi physician James D. Hardy performed the first successful lung transplant.

Stephen Hawking was told he had two years to live by his doctors, back in 1963.

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

John F. Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Jack Ruby were all pronounced dead at the Parkland Hospital.

A buddhist monk by the name of Thich Quang Quc burned himself in protest of the Diem regime of South Vietnam in Saigon in 1963. The only body part that didn't burn despite trying to burn it twice more with creamation was his heart.

The rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford was so strong that, when Davis was nominated for an Oscar in 1963, Crawford arranged with the other nominees to collect the award on their behalf. Anne Bancroft won, and Crawford read her speech for her, while Davis watched backstage. #teamcrawford

The San Diego Chargers became the first professional sports team to use steroids. After an abysmal 4-10 record the previous year, they went on to win the AFL Championship, crushing the Boston Pariots by a score of 51-10.

The Stanley Cup Champions 1963 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1972 Boston Bruins and 1981 New York Islanders have their engravings misspelled as Leaes, BQSTQN and Ilanders, respectively. There are also several player name errors.

In 1963, after the South African Football Association was suspended from FIFA due to apartheid, they attempted to regain their membership by proposing that they send an all-white team to the 1966 World Cup, and an all-black team to the 1970 World Cup. Their proposal was rejected.

The Italian government constructed a dam in 1959 despite multiple warnings of the instability of the region. In 1963, a landslide into the reservoir behind the dam triggered a tsunami over 800 ft high that breached the dam and killed nearly 2000 people, leaving a 200 ft deep impact crater.

Janis Joplin was voted "Ugliest Man on Campus" at the University of Texas in 1963

Donald Currey cut down a tree to retrieve his drill bit after it got stuck when he was trying to core it to study climate effects. After studying the core of the tree, he found that he'd just cut down the oldest tree (at least 4862 years old) found to date.

Airplane Celebrity Death: Patsy Cline

After the JFK assassination Jackie Kennedy was still wearing the blood covered pink dress during the emergency swearing in of Johnson. She wanted the people to see "What they had done".

Presidential assasination: John F Kennedy & Magic Bullet Theory. The JFK assassination is the mother of all modern conspiracy theories. After President Kennedy's death in 1963, the television networks aired 4 days of commercial-free coverage of his funeral, burial, and other proceedings, costing them about $100 million in lost advertising revenue. 93% of all American homes watched some coverage. What happened to JFK's brain?

John F. Kennedy, Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis all died on the same day Nov. 22 1963. Famous murderer Robert Stroud, 'the Birdman of Alcatraz', died late on the day before, November 21. The Kennedy assassination kept his death out the headlines of most newspapers. Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, was at the forefront of the counterculture's experimentation with psychedelics, which led to his 1954 work The Doors of Perception. Dying from cancer, he asked his wife to inject him with 100 µg of LSD. He died later that day.

June 17 - The Supreme Court ruled that laws requiring reciting The Lord's Prayer or Bible versus in public schools were unconstitutional.

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Mouse Trap, Allan Sherwood (Barbie and Ken's friend), Trolls, Easy Bake Oven, Big Loo

The Habits

Troll Dolls were everywhere.
Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique helped establish the Feminist Movement
Reading The Shoes of Fisherman by Morris L. West

1963/64 Biggest Television Shows

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
1. Beverly Hillbillies (CBS)
2. Bonanza (NBC)
3. The Dick Van Dyke Show (CBS)
4. Petticoat Junction (CBS)
5. The Andy Griffith Show (CBS)
6. The Lucy Show (CBS)
7. Candid Camera (CBS)
8. The Ed Sullivan Show (CBS)
9. The Danny Thomas Show (CBS)
10. My Favorite Martian (CBS)

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1963 include
The Angels, The Beach Boys, Bobby Bland, Bobby Vee, Bobby Vinton, Brenda Lee, Brook Benton, Ray Charles, The Chiffons, Chubby Checker, Connie Francis, The Crystals, Dion, The Dovells, Elvis Presley, The 4 Seasons, Garnet Mimms & the Enchanters, Inez Foxx, Jackie Wilson, Leslie Gore, Little Peggy March, Major Lance, Martha and the Vandellas, The Marvelettes, Marvin Gaye, Mary Wells, Paul & Paula, Peter, Paul & Mary, Ray Charles, Ricky Nelson, The Ronettes, Roy Orbison, Rufus Thomas, Sam Cooke, Steve Lawrence, Stevie Wonder, The Tymes

(Data is complied from various charts including: Billboard's Pop, Rock, Airplay, R&B/Dance and Singles Charts. The Hot 100 is the primary chart used for this list.)

Number One Hits of 1963

December 22, 1962 - January 11, 1963: The Tornados - Telstar

January 12, 1963 - January 25, 1963: Steve Lawrence - Go Away Little Girl

January 26, 1963 - February 8, 1963: The Rooftop Singers - Walk Right In

February 9, 1963 - March 1, 1963: Paul & Paula - Hey Paula

March 2, 1963 - March 22, 1963: The Four Seasons - Walk Like A Man

March 23, 1963 - March 29, 1963: Ruby & the Romantics - Our Day Will Come

March 30, 1963 - April 26, 1963: The Chiffons - He's So Fine

April 27, 1963 - May 17, 1963: Little Peggy March - I Will Follow Him

May 18, 1963 - May 31, 1963: Jimmy Soul - If You Wanna Be Happy

June 1, 1963 - June 14, 1963: Lesley Gore - It's My Party

June 15, 1963 - July 5, 1963: Kyu Sakamoto - Sukiyaki

July 6, 1963 - July 19, 1963: The Essex - Easier Said Than Done

July 20, 1963 - August 2, 1963: Jan and Dean - Surf City

August 3, 1963 - August 9, 1963: The Tymes - So Much in Love

August 10, 1963 - August 30, 1963: Little Stevie Wonder - Fingertips (pt. II)

August 31, 1963 - September 20, 1963: The Angels - My Boyfriend's Back

September 21, 1963 - October 11, 1963: Bobby Vinton - Blue Velvet

October 12, 1963 - November 15, 1963: Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs - Sugar Shack

November 16, 1963 - November 22, 1963: Nino Tempo and April Stevens - Deep Purple

November 23, 1963 - December 6, 1963: Dale & Grace - I'm Leaving It Up to You

December 7, 1963 - January 3, 1964: The Singing Nun - Dominique

Popular Movies

8 1/2, The Birds, Bye Bye Birdie, Charade, Cleopatra, From Russia With Love, The Great Escape, The Haunting, Hud, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Kissin Cousins, Lilies of the Field, The Nutty Professor, The Pink Panther, Shock Corridor, Son of Flubber, The Sword in the Stone, Tom Jones

More Pop Culture History Resources

Popular Music in 1963
# 1 Hits of 1963
Pop Culture News

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