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1972 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

<< - 1971

1972 History Snapshot

  • Politics: Bloody Sunday: On January 30, British troops shot unarmed protesters in Northern Ireland, killing 13 civilians. Rock band U2's Sunday Bloody Sunday memorialized the event.
  • The Top Song was The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack
  • The Big Movies included The Godfather, The Poseidon Adventure and Whats Up Doc?
  • Price of a front end alignment: $11.95
    Emerson b&w TV 19 inch screen: $98.00
  • The World Population was ~ 3,791,000,000
  • Pong, the first wide-release video game, was released.
  • Chrysler introduced Electronic Ignition for cars in 1972.
  • And... Tennis balls were traditionally white (sometimes black). They were changed to yellow in 1972 after research showed they were more visible on television.

World Series Champions

Oakland Athletics

Superbowl VI Champions

Dallas Cowboys

National Basketball Association Champions

Los Angeles Lakers

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

Boston Bruins

US Open Golf

Jack Nicklaus

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Stan Smith/Billie Jean King

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Ilie Nastase/Billie Jean King

Sports Highlight

Sandy Koufax was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the youngest player ever elected, at age 36.

NCAA Football Champions


NCAA Basketball Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 1, 1972 - Nebraska over Alabama
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1972 - Stanford over Michigan
Sugar Bowl : January 1, 1972 - Oklahoma over Auburn

Kentucky Derby

Riva Ridge

Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Chinoe's Adamant James

Time Magazine's Men of the Year

Richard Nixon
Henry Kissinger

Miss America

Laura Lea Schaefer (Bexley, OH)

Miss USA

Tanya Wilson (Hawaii)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Adrienne Barbeau, Carol Burnett, Dyan Cannon, Veronica Carlson, Diahann Carroll, Lynda Carter, Lola Falana, Karen Graham, Pam Grier, Margaux Hemingway, Beverly Johnson, Peggy Lipton, Sophia Loren, Mary Tyler Moore, Caroline Munro, Ingrid Pitt, Suzanne Pleshette, Maria Schneider, Cybill Shepherd, Naomi Sims, Carly Simon, Barbra Streisand, Shelia Roscoe, Diana Ross, Twiggy, Veruschka

"The Quotes"

"Hey Mikey! He likes it!"
- Life cereal ad

"The mind is a terrible thing to waste"
-United Negro College Fund

" It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken"
- Frank Perdue

"I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse"
- Marlon Brando, in The Godfather

"Nothing runs like a Deere"
- John Deere

"Nobody does it like Sara Lee"
- Sara Lee

Apollo 16 pilot Charles Duke left a plastic-encased photo portrait of his family on the surface of the moon with the message "This is the family of Astronaut Duke from Planet Earth. Landed on the Moon, April 1972."

The last person on the moon was Eugene Cernan as Commander of Apollo 17 in December 1972, the final Apollo lunar landing. His final words on the moon were, "We leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17."

1972 Pop Culture History

Denver was awarded the 1976 Winter Olympics, but in 1972 voted to reject hosting the games, becoming the first and only host to do so after being awarded the games. Innsbruck, Austria, was then chosen to host the 1976 Winter Olympics.

The rights to the original Captain Marvel have been owned by DC Comics since 1972. However, trademark conflicts with Marvel have resulted in DC marketing the hero under the name, "Shazam!"

Mark Spitz, nine time olympic champion, jokingly told the Russian swim team coach in 1972 that his moustache increased his speed in the water, deflecting water away from his mouth. The next year, every Russian swimmer was sporting one.

Due to the inclusion of a leap day and two leap seconds, 1972 is the longest year in history.

The F-15 Eagle fighter jet was first introduced in 1972 and, as of 2017, has never been defeated in air-to-air combat. More than 100 victories are credited to the aircraft.

While initial planning started in the 1920s, household dish cleaner 'Dawn' was released in 1972.

Rodney Dangerfield's signature line "I can't get no respect" came to him after watching The Godfather. "All I heard was the word 'respect'. You've got to give me respect, or 'Respect him.' I thought to myself: It sounds like a funny image - a guy who gets no respect."

Aubrey Plaza was named after the song Aubrey by Bread.

"In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them... maybe you can hire The A-Team."

The 'Battle of the Sexes' was over once and for all when Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in three straight tennis sets.

HBO (Home Box Office) was launched by Time-Warner.

The National Archives keeps the Nixon White House tapes in a climate controlled vault with hopes that future technological developments could allow for restoration of 18 1/2 minutes of missing audio that may have been deliberately erased.

Franken Berry cereal included dye that turned some children's feces pink due to an inability to break down the heavily-dyed breakfast food, a symptom sometimes referred to as "Franken Berry Stool.

Robert Shields wrote in a diary every waking five minutes of his life from 1972 until a stroke disabled him in 1997.

TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson was given the first ever Paddington Bear toy when his parents Shirley and Eddie Clarkson created it in 1972.

Chrysler brought electronic ignition to automobiles.

Not only did Isaac Hayes become the first African-American to win an Oscar outside of acting with The Theme from Shaft, he was also the first recipient of the award to both write and perform the winning song.

Dieter Meier of the band Yello unveiled a plaque at a railway station in Germany which read: "On 23 March 1994, from 3 to 4 pm, Dieter Meier will stand on this plaque". He honored the promise 22 years later.

Samuel L. Jackson's debut film, Together for Days (1972), is considered lost and has no known copies in circulation.

You could not buy a glass of liquor in Texas until 1972. It was only legal to sell the entire bottle. Bars would offer beer, wine, or a set up where you could bring your own bottle of liquor and they would "set up" the drink for you.

Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg introduced her knit jersey dress style.

Bill Cosby signed a $1.00 lifetime contract with the Harlem Globetrotters. In 1986, his pay was increased to $1.05.

Clothes had a lot less static cling in 1972, thanks to the introduction of Bounce dryer sheets.

Doritos first sold nationally as a basic corn tortilla chip in 1967, Nacho Cheese wasn't sold until 1972, and Cool Ranch entered the market in 1986.

1972 was when Carnival Cruise Lines began sailing.

TLC, "The Learning Channel" was originally founded in 1972 by the Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare and NASA. In 1980, it was privatized.

The first commercial home video game console began in 1966. There was a working prototype completed by 1968, and it was released in 1972 as the Magnavox Odyssey.

Cost of a Superbowl ad in 1972: $86,000

North Korea claims to have sunk the heavy cruiser USS Baltimore and even preserved the ship that "sunk it" in a museum. The USS Baltimore was never deployed to Korea and was scrapped in 1972.

Singer and guitarist Chuck Berry's only number one single was a live recording of a raunchy New Orleans tune called My Ding-a Ling.

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

Tuskegee syphilis experiment - the US Public Health Service withheld penicillin treatment from hundreds of impoverished sharecroppers to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural African-American men. The study continued until it was leaked to the press in 1972.

The only dissenting member of the Warren Commission on JFK's assassination, Senator Hale Boggs, disappeared on a flight over Alaska.

A Scottish folk singer named Shelagh McDonald vanished in 1972. After an article about her disappearance was published in 2005, Shelagh turned up at The Scottish Daily Mail and explained that a disastrous LSD trip had ruined her voice and mental health. She'd been living off the grid in a tent.

Whipping (or lashing) as punishment remained legal in Delaware until 1972.

On June 17,agents of the Richard Nixon (Republican) White House and the Nixon reelection campaign were arrested while breaking into the office of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which at the time was located in Washington D.C.'s Watergate Complex.

Curtis Mayfield's soundtrack for the 1972 blaxploitation movie Super Fly outgrossed the film itself.

Richard Nixon was insulted by Chairman Mao's gift of 50 grams of Da Hong Pao tea, until he was told it was half of China's entire crop and worth in today's money, about $250,000.

MLB player Roberto Clemente died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while trying to deliver food and relief supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He had exactly 3,000 hits in his professional career.

Middle aged black men started visiting doctors less after news of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment scandal broke in 1972. This led to their life expectancy falling by 1.4 years, which accounted for "approximately 35% of the 1980 life expectancy gap between black and white men."

A biologist named Ivan Terence Sanderson identified twelve geographic areas around the world known as Vile Vortices and published "The Twelve Devil's Graveyards Around the World". One of the area is where Malaysian MH370 is suspected to be.

Jane Fonda visited North Vietnam, supporting the communist side of the war, earning the nickname "Hanoi Jane".

Two candidates have carried 49 out of the 50 states in a US Presidential Election, Nixon in 1972 and Reagan in 1984.

There was a minor political scandal in Washington State when an assistant to then Governor Dan Evans posed as a college student to follow around his opponent during the campaign and report information back to the Governor. The assistant was Ted Bundy, the serial killer.

August 10, 1972 - The Great Daylight Fireball: a meteor passed within 34 miles of the Earth over Alberta, Canada and escaped back into space. This US19720810 meteoroid is described in the preface of the first chapter of Arthur C. Clarke's The Hammer of God.

Lyle Snider, a Quaker who didn't want his tax dollars going to fund war, was arrested for claiming 3 billion dependents, the population of the Earth, on his W-4 form. Snider was charged with filing a false and fraudulent withholding form, and sentenced to 9 months in prison.

Bloody Sunday in Derry, Northern Ireland, 14 unarmed protestors and civilians were shot by British paratroopers. U2's 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' was based on this event.

The Iran Blizzard, which caused approximately 4,000 deaths, was the deadliest blizzard in recorded history. Dropping as much as 26 feet (7.9 m) of snow, it completely covered 200 villages. After a snowfall lasting nearly a week, an area the size of Wisconsin was entirely buried in snow.

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.

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Odyssey Game Console, Pong, Dawn dolls, Hackey Sack, Seance Game , Nerf Football

The Monster Times Magazine (1972-1976)

Money began publication

The Habits

Playing Pong on your home's television set
Hacky Sacks
Reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
Watching The Godfather in theaters.

1972/73 Biggest Television Shows

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
1. All in the Family (CBS)
2. Sanford and Son (NBC)
3. Hawaii Five-O (CBS)
4. Maude (CBS)
5. Bridget Loves Bernie (CBS)
6. The NBC Sunday Night Mystery Movie (NBC)
7. The Mary Tyler Moore Show (CBS)
8. Gunsmoke (CBS)
9. The Wonderful World of Disney (NBC)
10. Ironside (NBC)

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1972 include
Al Green, America, Aretha Franklin, Betty Wright, Bill Withers, Billy Preston, Bobby Womack, Bread, The Carpenters, The Chi-Lites, Don McLean, Donny Hathaway, Donny Osmond, The Dramatics, Elton John, Gilbert O'Sullivan, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, The Jackson 5, James Brown, Joe Simon, Johnnie Taylor, Kurtis Mayfield, Looking Glass, Luther Ingram, Micheal Jackson, Millie Jackson, Neil Diamond, Nilsson, The O'Jays, The Osmonds, The Persuaders, Roberta Flack, The Spinners, The Staple Singers, Stevie Wonder, The Stylistics, The Temptations, Three Dog Night, Tyrone Davis, War

(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 1972

December 25, 1971 - January 14, 1972: Melanie - Brand New Key

January 15, 1972 - February 11, 1972: Don McLean - American Pie

February 12, 1972 - February 18, 1972: Al Green - Let's Stay Together

February 19, 1972 - March 17, 1972: Nilsson - Without You

March 18, 1972 - March 24, 1972: Neil Young - Heart of Gold

March 25, 1972 - April 14, 1972: America - A Horse with No Name

April 15, 1972 - May 26, 1972: Roberta Flack - The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

May 27, 1972 - June 2, 1972: The Chi-Lites - Oh Girl

June 3, 1972 - June 9, 1972: The Staple Singers - I'll Take You There

June 10, 1972 - June 30, 1972: Sammy Davis Jr. - Candy Man

July 1, 1972 - July 7, 1972: Neil Diamond - Song Sung Blue

July 8, 1972 - July 28, 1972: Bill Withers - Lean On Me

July 29, 1972 - August 25, 1972: Gilbert O'Sullivan - Alone Again (Naturally)

August 26, 1972 - September 15, 1972: Looking Glass - Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)

September 16, 1972 - September 22, 1972: Three Dog Night - Black and White

September 23, 1972 - October 13, 1972: Mac Davis - Baby, Don't Get Hooked on Me

October 14, 1972 - October 20, 1972: Michael Jackson - Ben

October 21, 1972 - November 3, 1972: Chuck Berry - My Ding-a-ling

November 4, 1972 - December 1, 1972: Johnny Nash - I Can See Clearly Now

December 2, 1972 - December 8, 1972: The Temptations - Papa Was a Rollin' Stone

December 9, 1972 - December 15, 1972: Helen Reddy - I Am Woman

December 16, 1972 - January 5, 1973: Billy Paul - Me and Mrs. Jones

Popular Movies

Caberet, The Candidate, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Deliverance, Fat City, Frenzy, The Heartbreak Kid, The Godfather, Godzilla vs Megalon, Last Tango in Paris, Play it Again Sam, Pink Flamingos, The Ruling Class, Silent Running, Slaughterhouse Five, Sleuth, Solaris, Sounder, Super Fly, What's Up Doc?

More Pop Culture History Resources

Popular Music in 1972
# 1 Hits of 1972
Pop Culture News

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