It was Fifty Years Ago…in 1967
In terms of the culture, 1967 is one of my absolute favorite years–the music, TV shows, books, movies – I love it all. So join me in a little reminiscing, and travel back to 1967.
Many of the books published in 1967 are still read and enjoyed today. Here are a few:
- The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. This is a book for young adults, and it has been a favorite of mine ever since I read it in the 1970s. It’s the tale of a teenager growing up in a class-divided Midwest city.
- Christy by Catherine Marshall. About a young teacher in the Smoky Mountains circa 1912.
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The story of the Buendia family, set in a small South American town.
- Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin. One of the first contemporary horror novels that became a bestseller.
- The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron. A fiction novel about Nat Turner’s 1831 slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia.
- Topaz by Leon Uris. A thriller novel about the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
- The Chosen by Chaim Potok. The story of two Jewish sons, their fathers, and the times in which they live.
- The Joke by Milan Kundera. Set in Czechoslovakia, a man looks back on the joke that changed his life.
- When She Was Good by Philip Roth. Set in a small town in the 1940s Midwest.
- Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie. Nonfiction biography of Emperor Nicholas II of Russia and the Empress Alexandra.
- The New Industrial State by John Kenneth Galbraith. A comprehensive view (remember, 1967!) of modern economic life.
Or, if you’re interested in the 1960s in general, check out: The 1960s: The Story of a Decade; Tom Brokaw’s Boom!: Voices of the Sixties; Sixties People by Jane Stern; Time Life’s volume on Life: The ’60s or the PBS documentary The Sixties: The Years That Shaped a Generation.
Television and Movies
How many of these 1967 movies have you seen?
- The Graduate starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft. A recent college graduate has an affair with a married neighbor and then falls in love with her daughter.
- Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner starring Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn and Sidney Poitier. This is one of my all-time favorite movies. Tracy (in his last film) and Hepburn are superb as parents whose daughter falls in love with an African American doctor (Poitier).
- To Sir, With Love–Also a favorite, and another Sidney Poitier film; he portrays a teacher in London’s East End.
- Casino Royale starring Peter Sellers and David Nivens. A James Bond satire.
- Barefoot in the Park–A comedy about a young married couple in New York.
Numerous popular TV shows premiered in 1967 including The Flying Nun, The Carol Burnett Show, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Ironside, High Chaparral and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Many of these TV shows are still shown in reruns today.
As for the music, these are some of my personal favorites from 1967:
- The Beatles–their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, including the wonderful song “A Day in the Life.”
- Pink Floyd released their first album in 1967, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.”
- The Jimi Hendrix Experience released the album Are You Experienced, including the songs “Purple Haze” and “Stone Free.”
- Cream’s Disraeli Gears album–one of the coolest album titles of all time, featuring two of my favorite songs, “Sunshine of Your Love” and “Tales of Brave Ulysses.”
- Other popular songs of the year were “Carrie-Anne,” by The Hollies, “I Can See For Miles,” by The Who, “Incense and Peppermints,” by the Strawberry Alarm Clock, “Nights in White Satin,” by the Moody Blues, Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” and Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow.”
Politics and National Events
Politically, this was an interesting year. Future U.S. President Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as governor of California. The library has several books on Ronald Reagan, including Ronald Reagan, by Jacob Weisburg, and Reagan’s own book, An American Life, describing his life and political experiences.
Also in 1967, the Clean Air Act was passed by Congress, including the first pollution regulations aimed at the American auto industry.
One of the true tragedies of the year were the deaths of Apollo 1 astronauts when their spacecraft burst into flames during a launch simulation. Virgil I. (Gus) Grissom, Edward H. White and Roger B. Chaffee in the tragedy. Ray E. Boomhower’s Gus Grissom: The Lost Astronaut may be of interest, and the book Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel discusses it from the wives’ point of view.
The summer of 1967 is known as the “Summer of Love,” when around 100,000 young people converged on San Francisco’s Height-Asbury neighborhood, a center of 1960s counterculture. The documentary Summer of Love, produced by PBS, pretty much sums it up. The summer’s most memorable event was the Monterey Pop Festival, held June 16-18, featuring performances by The Who, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Simon & Garfunkel and many others. Check out the DVD The Complete Monterey Pop Festival to enjoy the performances and commentary.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey back to 1967!
∼Vicky, Reference Librarian, Warrenton central library