1964 Facts That Everyone Should Definitely Be Aware Of | Kidadl


1964 Facts That Everyone Should Definitely Be Aware Of

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1964 was the year most influential in terms of politics and entertainment.

America was still reliving the iconic 'I Have a Dream' speech by Martin Luther King Jr. Additionally; the world got engulfed by the magic of The Beatles.

George Harrison, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and Paul McCartney took the world by storm since the release of their first album in 1963. It has been observed that not even one juvenile crime got reported in New York City on the night the Beatles first came on the talk show, 'Ed Sullivan Show' in February 1964. Songs like 'Oh Pretty Woman' by Roy Orbison and movies like 'My Fair Lady' became quite the talk of the year, too, along with the pop star death of Kitty Genovese. She died in the presence of 37 witnesses, but no one could do anything. This incident caused the creation of a 911 emergency. The very first Ford Mustang was also manufactured in the year.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a renowned Baptist minister and one of the most well-known activists during the Civil Rights Movement from the '50s till 1968. He fought for the fundamental rights of black people in the most non-violent way possible till he was assassinated.

Martin Luther King Jr. was the son of Martin Luther King Sr., who was a Baptist minister and a civil rights activist like his son. Martin Luther King Jr. saw his father fight against segregation since he was a child, from protesting against a racist shoe seller who wanted them to stand in the back of the store if they wanted to buy shoes to leading hundreds of African American people to Atlanta City Hall in a civil rights march. When Martin Luther King Jr. learned about slavery, racism, oppression, violence, and hatred towards the coloreds in America, he was determined to hate all white people. But, his parents taught him to love everyone, and it's a testament to his protests throughout his life. He idolized and walked the path of Mahatma Gandhi, and he chose civil disobedience and non-violence over violent protests.

Martin Luther King Jr. started protesting from the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. He was still in his 20s, and the ministers asked him to take more of a leadership role. He took up the responsibilities, and the protest became such a big deal that his house was bombed, and subsequently, he was arrested during the 385 days of the protest. It made the news and gave Martin Luther King Jr. the public image. The protest succeeded, and black people could sit in the front of the buses from then on.

Later the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was founded in 1957, and Martin Luther King Jr. was chosen as the first president. He led many non-violent, successful, and unsuccessful protests from then on. In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. led a march on Washington to advocate for African Americans' economic and civil rights. He gave his famous speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial 'I Have a Dream.' He wished for an end to all manners of racism through this speech that transcended time. The speech was an iconic moment in the history of the Civil Rights Movement. In 1964, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for peacefully protesting and fighting against racism. He later also started speaking up about The Vietnam War, which was fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The FBI tried to link him to atrocities he was never involved in. This was also the year when the FBI wrongfully sent the nobleman a threatening letter that could be easily interpreted as a provocation to suicide. Not long after, he was assassinated in 1968, which rightfully caused a nationwide uproar. Still, it was never solved whether the man responsible for killing Martin Luther King Jr. acted independently or was a part of a larger conspiracy.

Popular Culture 1964

The pop-culture history of 1964 was somewhat politically influenced owing to Nelson Mandela being jailed and the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963.

It's well known that Nelson Mandela became the President of South Africa after he had to spend nearly three decades in jail. He was arrested and jailed along with seven others in 1964 in the alleged accusation of overthrowing the state after the Rivonia Trial.

However, besides these, the culture, especially for the cool kids, was significantly influenced by new things in the entertainment industry.

The Beatles came up with their first album in 1963, and the talk show 'Tonight Starring Jack Paar' aired a little concert footage of the then-new band, 'The Beatles'. It may not be the world premiere of the band, but Americans saw them for the first time on television, and they got hooked to their music and thus started the franchise 'Beatlemania' and as it was called, 'The British Invasion.' Their first movie, 'A Hard Day's Night,' also came out the same year. Their song 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' only got knocked off the top UK Singles Chart by the song 'Glad All Over' by The Dave Clark Five.

Television back in those days mainly ran shows that depicted the daily lives of an average ordinary person, like 'The Dick Van Dyke Show.' In 1964, shows like 'The Munsters,' 'Bewitched' and 'The Addams Family' took over the world of television. They gained quite a lot of popularity. In fact, 'The Addams Family' became such a hit that many movie adaptations have been made.

Dizzy Gillespie, a renowned jazz artist from the era, ran for president and promised to rename the White House to 'Blue House.'

The movie 'Mary Poppins' came out in 1964 and was an instant hit. This $6 million budget film made a whopping $103 million. Critics loved the musical fantasy film and it got a total of 13 Academy Awards nominations and won five of them. Some other renowned movies released in the year that stayed in pop culture history were 'My Fair Lady,' 'A Hard Day's Night,' the musical 'Funny Girl,' and more. Some famous songs were 'Oh Pretty Woman' by Roy Orbison, 'House Of The Rising Sun' by The Animals, 'Fun Fun Fun' by The Beach Boys, and more. Some talk shows like the 'Ed Sullivan Show' were also quite popular.

Vietnam War between South and North Vietnam was fought during 1964.

The Civil Rights Act Of 1964

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlaws discrimination based on national origin, religion, race, color, sex, and later added gender identity and sexual orientation. It states that law, accommodation, employment, and everything else is the same for everyone irrespective of their diverse nature.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted owing to the influence of the nationwide protests of African Americans led by some of history's most well-known leaders, like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, W. E. B. Du Bois, Harriet Tubman, and more. The wave started back in 1954 when the Supreme Court took a landmark decision on the Brown v. The Board of Education case and brought desegregation into the public eye. As a result, some white supremacist politicians, like the then Virginia senator Harry F. Byrd Sr. and James M. Thomson, his brother-in-law, started opposing the idea and causing massive resistance. However, amidst all this chaos, 34th United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower passed the Civil Rights Act of 1957, giving African Americans federal protection for voting rights. Owing to all the resistance towards this right path, it didn't have a lot of impact, but it opened the gate to more such laws being made from then on. Congress then passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, removing all the bill's loopholes President Dwight D. Eisenhower passed.

In the early '60s, the upheaval in the United States relating to equal rights of African Americans on all fronts was at a peak. Hence, the 35th United States President John F. Kennedy proposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The bill said that all Americans, irrespective of their gender, race, color, national identity, or religion, will have excellent protection for their right to vote and will be served equally in all facilities that are open to civilians, like retail stores, restaurants, theaters, hotels, and more. The response to this bill was tremendous, and everyone was aware of the stakes with all the protests going on around the country. Walter Reuther, who held the position of president in the United Auto Workers, said that if the bill were denied, the country would have another civil war in its hands. Following the march on Washington that took place in 1963, the leaders of the march, Martin Luther King Jr., A. Philip Randolph, James Farmer, John Lewis, Roy Wilkins, and Whitney Young, all met with John F. Kennedy. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 would later be enacted in 1964 officially. Lee Harvey Oswald killed John F. Kennedy in the same year as Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.

1964 Men And Women's Fashion Clothes

The '60s fashion was highly influenced by all the social movements that occurred. PVC dresses, culottes, bell-bottom jeans, paisley prints, mini skirts, neon-colored shirts and dresses, pillbox hats, psychedelic prints, and more came into fashion during this time.

Women's fashion in 1964 was influenced by powerful elements, like women's equality to men, the then First Lady of the United States, and more. Before the decade, only men wore trousers, but once Audrey Hepburn wore them, many casual dresses became unisex. Levi Strauss jeans, stretch drainpipe jeans, plaid button-down shirts with skirts, comfortable slacks, slim jeans, and more came into the fashion to express the equality of women to men. Another dress that came into fashion was the bikini. The bikini had been in France since 1946 after its invention, but it never gained much acceptance in the American market. However, after the movie 'Beach Party' released in 1963, the bikini became quite a hit. During these times, the then First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, became one of the biggest fashion icons for women. During the day, women were seen wearing tailored skirts, suits with short boxy jackets with oversized buttons, and stiletto heels for dresses. They wore full-skirted gowns with close-fitting waists and low necklines for evening wear. Additionally, Capri trousers and simple, geometric dresses called shifts also came in fashion.

The middle-class men's fashion got influenced by Ivy League fashion. The typical casual dresses of these men included narrow brimmed trilbys, which were often made from straw, basketweave loafers, cardigan sweaters, houndstooth or seersucker sportcoats, striped t-shirts, Harrington jackets, Madras plaid shirts, Nantucket Reds, sweater vests, Argyle socks, khaki chino pants, and polo shirts. In terms of formal wear, fashion was highly influenced by television. People followed the styles of characters from shows, like the cast of the movie 'Mad Men,' 'The Rat Pack,' 'James Bond,' and more. People were seen wearing single-breasted slim-fitting continental-style suits made of sharkskin, mohair, and gray flannel with skinny ties. Tuxedos were also in a fashion usually found in bright sky blue, red, or traditional black. These tuxedos were cut similarly to the form-fitting suits with a single button and shawl collars. Men's hats in fashion included Irish hats and pork pie hats, which were going out of style during this time.

Toys From 1964

One can easily find toys that are made inspired by various movies nowadays. This trend started back in the early '60s, around 1964. Additionally, electric toys started coming in trend, and some old toys got improvements like Hasbro, including a plastic body to the potato head toy in 1964. Here are a few toys that were famous in 1964 -

G.I. Joe - G.I. Joe was introduced in early 1964 with 21 movable parts. These tiny plastic green-colored army toys gained popularity with all the boys. It became so famous that in two years, G.I. Joe was producing more than half the total sales of the manufacturing company Hasbro.

Barbie and Ken Dolls - Barbie dolls were introduced in 1959, Ken dolls were introduced in 1961, and the Barbie dreamhouse was first introduced in 1962. As G.I. Joe became very famous among boys, all kinds of Barbie dolls became famous among all girls. Mattel still holds the same popularity for Barbie dolls to this day.

The Beatles Dolls - The British band Beatles gained extreme popularity in 1964. As a result of this popularity, four figurines of the best four men of The Beatles band were released - George Harrison, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and Paul McCartney. These little figurines were about 8 in (20.3 cm) tall with bobbing heads.

Chatty Cathy Doll - Chatty Cathy was first introduced in 1959 and only in production till 1965, but they became wildly popular within that short period. They became the second most popular dolls after Barbie dolls. These little dolls were talking dolls with pull strings.

Easy Bake Oven - The toy was released in 1963, and it became instantly popular with girls. These ovens had tiny stoves with incandescent light bulbs that could heat up to 350 degrees. They sold 500,000 toys in the first year, and the toy even has its national day as the National Easy-Bake Oven Day on November 4.

Etch A Sketch - The toy Etch A Sketch was released in 1960 and gained popularity around the world. It was a white screen with a joystick and aluminum powder. Kids could write or draw anything with this toy and erase it with one shake of their hands. The toy remains a favorite of many kids to this day.

Did You Know...

The case of The New York Times v. Sullivan judgment was decided in 1964. This historic judgment allowed the protection of the right of the press and the public to criticize any public office holder.

Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman were the founders of a company named Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964. This company went on to become the 'Nike Inc.' we know today. The official name change took place in 1971.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.</p>

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