1960s Pop History – 1961

President: John F Kennedy Vice President: Lyndon B Johnson
The population of the United States is 182,992,000
National Debt 292.6 Billion
Unemployment is 5.5%
Life Expectancy: 70.2 years
Cost of a first-class stamp is $0.04
Academy Award : The Apartment (click to buy)  (Best Picture)
Grammy Award : Exodus (click to buy)  (song), Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart (click to buy)  (album)
Best Sellers : Franny and Zooey (click to buy)  , Tropic of Cancer (click to buy) 
Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes first human in space during a single-orbit flight
Commander Alan Shepard Jr. becomes first American in space in a suborbital flight
The Soviet Union builds a wall separating East and West Berlin which intensifies the cold war
Cuban exiles with aid from the CIA attempt to invade Cuba through the Bay of Pigs but fail
The Berlin Wall is constructed effectively sealing off East Berlin from the west
With cold war tensions growing Kennedy suggests that Americans build fall out shelters in their back yards
President Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps
The Ken doll is introduced and when Barbie meets him it’s love at first sight
The intrauterine device (IUD) is developed for use as a contraceptive
President Kennedy delivers his famous Inaugural address “ask not what your country…” (click to read speech)
President Kennedy announces his goal to put a man on the Moon before the end of the decade thus starting the Apollo Space Program
Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev defects to the West
General Electric Automatic Toothbrush introduced the first rechargeable electric toothbrush
The X-15 driven by Neil Armstrong breaks the manned rocket powered aircraft speed record
The Fantastic Four debut as new comic book heroes
Iraqi announces it is going to annex Kuwait, who requests Britain to send in troops (sound familiar?)
The Soviet Union test detonates the largest ever Hydrogen Bomb prompting Americans to build bomb shelters
Television debuts included: Ben Casey, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Dr Kildare and Mr. Ed     (click show title for more info)
On the music charts Chubby Checker twists his way to #1 (click to buy) The Twist 
Roger Maris breaks Babe Ruth’s single season home run record , some controversy over the length of the season still remains (click for more on, Sports)

See also Celebrity Birthdays 1961

Michael Rich :