Gregory DeVictor is a trivia enthusiast who loves to write articles on American nostalgia.
A Quick Look Back at 1966
What are some fun facts, trivia, and historical events from the year 1966? What were the top news stories in the U.S. and around the world? What happened in the business and financial sectors, in science, technology, sports, the entertainment industry, and in everyday life?
- In early 1966, the United States economy was running hot. Unemployment fell to below 4% in February, inflation was 2.86%, and the GDP growth rate was 6.6%. Companies were operating at full capacity, and were also “ramping up investment” because they expected “the boom” to continue. On the other hand, America was knee-deep in the Vietnam War, and the U.S. government was spending hard and fast to support the war effort.
- In the midst of an extended economic expansion, there was still a strong demand for credit from companies, plus looming “inflationary pressure from the Vietnam War and ‘Great Society’ deficits.” In addition, interest rates were higher than they had been in previous years, and the prime rate was 6%—the highest it had been in 30 years. Taking all these factors into account, the Federal Reserve feared inflation, and subsequently tightened monetary policy to the point where the profitability of financial institutions was being questioned. The result was the Credit Crunch of 1966, which has been long regarded as “the first significant postwar financial crisis.”
- President Johnson announced that U.S. troops would resume bombing North Vietnam, B-52 bombers were used for the first time in the war, and the U.S. began bombing North Vietnamese troops in the Demilitarized Zone, which was the buffer area that separated North and South Vietnam.
- By the end of 1966, there were 389,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam. For the year, there were 5,008 combat deaths, and 30,093 soldiers were wounded.
- Medicare—a health insurance program for people who are 65 and older, and for certain younger people who have disabilities—went into effect. Nineteen million Americans signed up for the program during its first year.
- From July 8 to August 19, 35,000 members of the International Association of Machinists (IAM) who worked for United, Northwest, National, Trans World, and Eastern Airlines went on strike. As a result, sixty percent of the commercial airline industry was shut down for 43 days.
- Time magazine published its controversial “Is God Dead” issue, which also had the first cover in the magazine's history to feature only type, and no photo.
- The unmanned Soviet Luna 9 spacecraft made the “first controlled rocket-assisted landing” on the Moon. In addition, the Soviets launched Luna 10, which later became the first spacecraft to enter orbit around the Moon.
- The Venera 3 Soviet space probe crashed on Venus, making it “the first spacecraft to land on another planet's surface.”
- The Boston Celtics were the NBA champs, the Baltimore Orioles won the World Series, and the Montreal Canadiens clinched the Stanley Cup.
- President Johnson signed antitrust immunity to the proposed AFL-NFL merger that would be named the NFL.
- Casey Stengel—who was probably best known as the manager of the New York Yankees—was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- MLB legend Willie Mays signed a $130,000 contract with the San Francisco Giants, and Emmett Ashford became the first African-American umpire in major league baseball.
- Red Auerbach retired as the Boston Celtic's coach.
- By January 1966, about 70% of the combined prime time programming from the three networks was in color. Almost 100% of NBC’s schedule was in color, compared to 51% for CBS’s lineup, and 49% for ABC’s programming.
- At the 38th Academy Awards, The Sound of Music won five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Mixing.
- The final episode of the sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (ABC) was broadcast. The show aired on television for 14 years, and also had 402 radio episodes dating back to 1944.
- In 1966, buffalo wings and tunnel of fudge cake were crowd-pleasers, pant suits and the military look were fashion trends, and the game Twister was the most popular toy.
- McDonald’s began using frozen French fries.
- The Barclaycard, which was launched by Barclays Bank, became the first credit card in Great Britain.
- Mississippi became the last state to repeal Prohibition.
- Consumer products that were introduced in 1966 include Bugles, Cool Whip, Doritos, Fresca, Lego Trains, PlayTape, Scope (mouthwash), the Slurpee, and Wite-Out.
- Adam Sandler, Cindy Crawford, David Cameron, David Schwimmer, Gordon Ramsay, Halle Berry, Janet Jackson, Jilian Dempsey, Jordan Matter, Luke Perry, and Mike Tyson were all born.
- American companies and brands that were founded include ARCO, Best Buy, Camping World, K Swiss, Kirkland’s, Mastercard, and Peet’s Coffee.
- At the 39th Scripps National Spelling Bee, 13-year-old Robert A. Wake of Houston, Texas won the competition by correctly spelling the word "ratoon."
This article teaches you fun facts, trivia, and historical events from the year 1966. Find out about popular TV shows, movies, music, books, foods, sports facts, and other cool pop culture trends to get the right mix of questions and answers for your 1960s-themed trivia game.
Table of Contents
For easier reading and referencing, I have divided this article into the following categories:
- Grocery Prices in the Year 1966
- History Facts From the USA and World
- Sports Trivia
- Entertainment News
- Miscellaneous Fun Facts, Trivia, and Pop Culture Trends
- Nobel Prize Winners
- Best-Selling Books
- Most Popular Television Shows From 1966-67
- Favorite Radio Programs
- Highest-Grossing Films
- 10 Best Horror Movies of 1966
- Biggest Pop Music Artists
- Top 40 Songs for the Year
- Food and Beverage Trivia
- Famous Birthdays
- Notable Weddings
- Famous People Who Died
- U.S. Automobile Production Figures for the Year
- America’s Largest Corporations
- American Companies and Brands Established During 1966
1. Grocery Prices in the Year 1966
These grocery facts have been made available courtesy of the Morris County Public Library in Whippany, NJ.
- Apples (Rome beauty): Three pounds for 39 cents
- Bacon: 79 cents a pound
- Beans (green, canned): Two 17-ounce cans for 43 cents
- Beef (boneless London broil): 89 cents a pound
- Beef (stewing): 79 cents a pound
- Biscuits (Pillsbury): Three eight-ounce cans for 29 cents
- Bread (Jane Parker): Four 16-ounce loaves for 99 cents
- Cake mix (Duncan Hines): Two 14-ounce boxes for 66 cents
- Carrots (fresh): 15 cents a pound
- Cereal (Cheerios): Two seven-ounce boxes for 45 cents
- Cheese (Borden, American slices): 59 cents for a one-pound package
- Chocolate bars (Hershey’s): Two giant size bars for 66 cents
- Coffee (Ehlers): 75 cents for a one-pound can
- Cookies (Keebler, Fudge Stripes): 47 cents for a 14-ounce package
- Crackers (Premium saltines): 31 cents for a 16-ounce box
- Eggs: 55 cents a dozen
- Flour (Gold Medal): 55 cents for a five-pound bag
- French fries (Birdseye, frozen): Eight nine-ounce packages for 89 cents
- Ham (sliced): 69 cents for a six-ounce package
- Hot dogs (Oscar Mayer): 69 cents for a one-pound package
- Jell-O: 10 three-ounce boxes for 89 cents
- Juice (orange, frozen): Six eight-ounce cans for 89 cents
- Ketchup (Del Monte): Four 20-ounce bottles for $1.00
- Lettuce (iceberg): 25 cents a head
- Macaroni: Five 16-ounce boxes for $1.00
- Margarine (ShopRite): Four 16-ounce packages for 93 cents
- Milk (whole): 99 cents a gallon
- Mushrooms (fresh): 39 cents a pound
- Oil (Wesson): $1.99 for a one-gallon jug
- Oranges (Sunkist, navel): 10 for 49 cents
- Pie (fresh, apple or cherry): 49 cents apiece
- Potatoes: 37 cents for a five-pound bag
- Rice (Carolina): 41 cents for a two-pound box
- Salt: 10 cents for a one-pound, 10-ounce box
- Sweet potatoes: Three pounds for 29 cents
2. History Facts From the USA and World
- In 1966, Lyndon B. Johnson was president of the United States, and Hubert H. Humphrey was the vice-president.
- On January 1, in New York City, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) both went on strike after their contracts expired with the New York City Transit Authority (TA).
- On January 12, during his State of the Union message, President Johnson declared that the United States should remain in South Vietnam until all Communist aggression ends in the country.
- On January 12, the 12-day New York City transit strike ended.
- On January 13, Robert C. Weaver became the first secretary of the newly-created U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Weaver was also the first African American to be appointed to a U.S. cabinet-level position.
- On January 30, the temperature fell to -19°F in Corinth, Mississippi, setting a state record. On the same day, the temperature plunged to -27°F in New Market, Alabama, also setting a state record.
- On January 31, President Johnson announced that U.S. troops would resume bombing North Vietnam, “Citing Hanoi's failure to respond to his peace overtures during the 37 day bombing pause.”
- By January, 1966, about 70% of the combined prime time programming from the three networks was in color. Almost 100% of NBC’s schedule was in color, compared to 51% for CBS’s lineup, and 49% for ABC’s programming. TVObscurities.com reports that “NBC became the first all-color network when daytime game show Concentration switched to color on November 7th, 1966.”
- On February 11, MLB legend Willie Mays signed a $130,000 contract with the San Francisco Giants.
- On March 2, there were 215,000 American soldiers in Vietnam.
- On March 8, Casey Stengel—who was probably best known as the manager of the New York Yankees—was inducted into the Baseball of Fame.
- On March 25, in Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Virginia's poll tax “was unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.” (After the right to vote was extended to all races by the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution, “a number of states enacted poll tax laws as a device for restricting voting rights.”)
- On March 26, anti-war protests were held in New York, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.
- On April 8, Time magazine published its controversial “Is God Dead” issue, which also had the first cover in the magazine's history to feature only type, and no photo. Wikipedia.org explains that “The cover—with the traditional, red border—was all black, with the words ‘Is God Dead?’ in large, red text.”
- On April 11, Emmett Ashford became the first African-American umpire in major league baseball.
- On April 12, B-52 bombers were used for the first time against North Vietnam. TheHistoryPlace.com explains that each B-52 carried up to 100 bombs, dropped from an altitude of about six miles. There were six main target categories: power facilities, war support facilities, transportation lines, military complexes, fuel storage, and air defense installations.
- On April 18, Kenji Kimihara of Japan won the Boston Marathon.
- On April 26, Red Auerbach retired as the Boston Celtic's coach.
- On May 2, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara reported that the North Vietnamese were infiltrating 4,500 men every month into the South. (TheHistoryPlace.com confirms that “An estimated 89,000 soldiers from North Vietnam infiltrated the South via the Ho Chi Minh trail in 1966.”)
- On May 8, the St. Louis Cardinals played their last game at the old Busch Stadium.
- On May 9, Andrew Brimmer—an economist and business leader—became the first African-American member of the Federal Reserve Board.
- On May 10, the thermometer fell to 25°F in Cleveland—the lowest temperature ever recorded in C-land during the month of May.
- On May 12, the St. Louis Cardinals played their first game at the new Busch Stadium.
- On May 30, NASA launched Surveyor 1 to the moon, “the first in a series of seven U.S. missions to the Moon that preceded Apollo.” (Surveyor 1 landed gently on the moon on June 1.)
- On June 30, for the first time, the U.S. bombed North Vietnamese troops in the Demilitarized Zone, the buffer area that separated North and South Vietnam.
- On July 1, Medicare—a health insurance program for people who are 65 and older, and for certain younger people who have disabilities—went into effect. Nineteen million Americans signed up for Medicare during its first year.
- On July 4, President Johnson signed the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) into law. According to FOIA’s website, the Freedom of Information Act provides the public with “the right to request access to records from any federal agency. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine exemptions which protect interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement.”
- On July 5, New York City’s transit fare increased from 15 cents to 20 cents.
- From July 8 to August 19, the great airline strike of 1966 took place. According to LaborPress.org, “35,000 members of the International Association of Machinists (IAM) across the country working at five airlines went on strike. Sixty percent of the commercial airline industry was shut down for 43 days.”
- On July 12, 10.51 inches of rain fell in Sandusky, Ohio, setting a state record.
- On August 30, Hanoi announced that China would provide technical and economic assistance to North Vietnam.
- On September 8, Queen Elizabeth opened the Severn Bridge, which was “the suspension bridge that crossed the River Severn and linked South Wales to London through the M4 motorway.”
- On September 9, President Johnson signed the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act into law. Britannica.com tells us that the Act “required automobile manufacturers to institute safety standards to protect the public from unreasonable risk of accidents occurring as a result of the design, construction, or operation of automobiles.”
- On September 12, the heaviest air raid of the Vietnam War to date took place when 500 U.S. jets attacked North Vietnamese supply lines and coastal targets.
- On September 21, five inches of rain fell in New York City.
- On September 29, General Motors introduced the Chevrolet Camaro.
- On October 3, the Soviet Union announced that it would provide military and economic assistance to North Vietnam.
- On October 15, President Johnson signed a bill that established the U.S. Department of Transportation.
- On November 8, Edward W. Brooke (R-MA) became the first African American to be popularly elected to the U.S. Senate. (Brooke served in the Senate from 1967 to 1979.)
- On November 8, actor Ronald Reagan became the governor of California.
- On November 8, President Johnson signed antitrust immunity to the proposed AFL-NFL merger. RadioKMZN.com reminds us that “The AFL-NFL merger brought the American Football League and National Football League together into one League, with two conferences, and would still be named the NFL.”
- On November 11, the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged to form the United Methodist Church (UMC).
- On November 12, The New York Times reported that “40 percent of U.S. economic aid sent to Saigon is stolen or winds up on the black market.”
- On December 27, the United States mounted “a large-scale air assault against suspected Viet Cong positions in the Mekong Delta using Napalm and hundreds of tons of bombs.”
- TheHistoryPlace.com reports that by the end of 1966, U.S. troop levels in Vietnam reached 389,000. There were 5,008 combat deaths and 30,093 soldiers were wounded. Over half of the American casualties were caused by snipers and small-arms fire during Viet Cong ambushes, along with handmade booby traps and mines planted everywhere in the countryside by the Viet Cong.
3. Sports Trivia
Generally suitable for all age groups, sports questions are a welcome addition to any trivia quiz.
- Indianapolis 500: Graham Hill
- Kentucky Derby: Kauai King
- AFL Champions: Kansas City Chiefs
- NBA Champions: Boston Celtics
- NCAA Basketball: Texas Western
- NCAA Football Champs: Michigan State & Notre Dame
- NFL Champions: Green Bay Packers
- Orange Bowl: Alabama over Nebraska
- Rose Bowl: UCLA over Michigan State
- Stanley Cup Champs: Montreal Canadiens
- Sugar Bowl: Missouri over Florida
- U.S. Open Golf: Billy Casper
- U.S. Open Tennis (men/women): Fred Stolle/Maria Bueno
- Wimbledon (men/women): Manuel Santana/Billie Jean King
- World Series Champions: Baltimore Orioles
4. Entertainment News
- On January 8, The Who and The Kinks—two English rock groups—both performed on the final broadcast of Shindig (ABC), a musical variety show.
- On January 11, Daktari, a family drama series that aired until 1969, premiered on CBS.
- On January 12, the adventure series Batman debuted on ABC. It starred Adam West as Batman, Burt Ward as Robin, and Cesar Romero as The Joker.
- On January 14, David Bowie released his first single—Can’t Help Thinking About Me.
- On January 29, Neil Simon’s musical, Sweet Charity, opened on Broadway.
- By January, 1966, about 70% of the combined prime time programming from the three networks was in color. Almost 100% of NBC’s schedule was in color, compared to 51% for CBS’s lineup, and 49% for ABC’s programming. According to TVObscurities.com, “NBC became the first all-color network when daytime game show Concentration switched to color on November 7th, 1966.”
- On February 10, Jacqueline Susann’s novel, Valley of the Dolls, was published.
- On March 3, James Goldman’s play—The Lion in Winter—opened on Broadway.
- On March 30, Barbra Streisand’s second TV special, Color Me Barbra, aired on CBS.
- On April 11, Frank Sinatra recorded his Strangers in the Night single for an album of the same name.
- On April 18, the 38th Academy Awards honored the best films of 1965. Here were some of the winners: The Sound of Music won an Oscar for Best Picture, and Robert Wise (The Sound of Music) won an Oscar for Best Director. Likewise, Lee Marvin (Cat Ballou) won an Oscar for Best Actor, and Julie Christie (Darling) won an Oscar for Best Actress. Finally, Martin Balsam (A Thousand Clowns) won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and Shelley Winters (A Patch of Blue) won an Oscar for Best supporting Actress.
- On May 22, at the 18th Primetime Emmy Awards, the Dick Van Dyke Show (CBS) won an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, and The Fugitive (ABC) won an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. Likewise, Dick Van Dyke (the Dick Van Dyke Show) (CBS) won an Emmy for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series, and Mary Tyler Moore (the Dick Van Dyke Show) (CBS) won an Emmy for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series.
- On May 24, Mame—a musical that was based on Patrick Dennis’ novel Auntie Mame—opened on Broadway.
- On June 21, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?—a film adaptation of Edward Albee’s 1962 play of the same name—was released. It was directed by Mike Nichols, and starred Elizabeth Taylor as Martha, Richard Burton as George, George Segal as Nick, and Sandy Dennis as Honey.
- On July 11, the Newlywed Game, a game show that ran until 2013, premiered on ABC.
- On June 27, Dark Shadows—a gothic soap opera that ran until 1971—debuted on ABC.
- On July 23, Frank Sinatra's album, Strangers In The Night, hit #1 on the U.S. charts.
- On September 8, Star Trek—a science fiction series “that follows the crew of the starship USS Enterprise as it completes its missions in space in the 23rd century”—premiered on NBC.
- On September 8, That Girl, a sitcom starring Marlo Thomas who plays an aspiring actress, debuted on ABC.
- On September 12, The Monkees, a sitcom about “four young men (The Monkees) trying to make a name for themselves as a rock 'n roll band,” debuted on NBC.
- On September 16, the Metropolitan Opera House opened in New York’s Lincoln Center.
- On September 17, Mission Impossible—a television drama that chronicled “the exploits of a team of secret government agents”—debuted on CBS.
- On October 17, Hollywood Squares, a game show in which two contestants “compete in a game of tic-tac-toe to win cash and prizes,” premiered on NBC.
- On December 12, A Man for All Seasons—a film based on the play by Robert Bolt—premiered in New York City.
- On December 18, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas aired for the first time on CBS.
5. Miscellaneous Fun Facts, Trivia, and Pop Culture Trends
PBS.org explains that pop culture is that loose blend of books, music, fashion and other daily ephemera that contributes to the identity of a society at a particular point in time. In the 1960s, radio, film, television, and books defined the essence of American pop culture. (No, the Internet wasn’t around yet.)
- In 1966, popular baby names were Michael, David, James, John, Robert, Lisa, Kimberly, Mary, Michelle, and Karen.
- The average life expectancy at birth in the U.S. was 70.21 years.
- The most popular holiday gifts included the Spirograph, Crazy Maze, and Twister.
- What about fashion trends in 1966? Retrowaste.com tells us that “Pant suits were an acceptable means of fashion and were worn everywhere. The military look was also popular. Army pockets, brass buttons, epaulets, and trench coat treatments were featured on coats, suits, and sportswear. Paper dresses were introduced in 1966 by designers such as Judy Brewer.”
- In 1966, the Scott Paper Company began to sell paper dresses for $1.00. VintageConnection.net tells us that by sending in $1.00, “women could receive Scott's ‘Paper Caper’ dress, and 52 cents worth of coupons for Scott paper towels, cups, tissues, etc.”
- Fashion icons for the year were Brigitte Bardot, Doris Day, Patty Duke, Jane Fonda, Annette Funicello, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Mary Tyler Moore, Julie Newmar, Donna Reed, Diana Ross, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlo Thomas, Raquel Welch, and Dawn Wells.
- Deborah Bryant (Kansas) was crowned Miss America.
- Maria Temenyi (California) became Miss USA.
- Time magazine’s “Person(s) of the Year” were Americans under 25 (aka Baby Boomers).
- Cars that were introduced in 1966 include the Chevrolet Camaro, Plymouth Valiant, Dodge Charger, Fiat 124, Fiat 124 Sport Spider, Fiat Dino, Ford F-Series (fifth generation), Mazda Luce, Nissan Sunny, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, Oldsmobile Toronado, Plymouth VIP, Pontiac Executive, and the Toyota Corolla.
- In 1966, the average household income in the U.S. was $6,900 a year.
- Milk was 99 cents a gallon, eggs were 55 cents a dozen, and one pound of bacon cost 79 cents.
- A first-class stamp cost five cents.
- The minimum wage was $1.25.
- Inflation was 2.86%, unemployment hovered around 4%, and the GDP growth rate was 6.6%.
- A new house cost $14,200.
- The average price for a new car was $2,650, and a gallon of gas cost 32 cents.
- Women’s cotton dresses cost $3.90 apiece.
- You could buy a new scooter for $279.00.
- A comfy pair of women’s pajamas cost $4.94.
- You could buy three pairs of men’s socks for $2.79.
- A men’s lightweight sports coat cost $18.50.
- You could buy a boy’s “perma-prest” shirt for $2.39.
- A toilet seat cover cost $1.90.
- You could buy a pair of boy’s western pants for $2.97.
- Women’s hats cost $5.22 each.
- You could buy a pair of women’s “kitten heels” for $5.97.
- Women’s print “overblouses” cost $6.97.
- You could buy a girl’s Sunday dress for $8.99.
- Consumer products introduced in 1966 include Bugles, Clamato, Cool Whip, Crunch ‘n Munch, Doritos, Eau Sauvage (men’s cologne), Fresca, Lego Trains, PlayTape, Scope (mouthwash), the Slurpee, Suzy Homemaker, Twister (game), and Wite-Out.
6. Nobel Prize Winners
Beth Rowen tells us that winning a Nobel Prize is a life-changing honor. Whether the laureate is an internationally known figure (such as Mother Teresa) or a scientist from obscurity (like Richard R. Ernst), the award brings worldwide recognition that highlights one's life work and provides the funds to continue the mission.
This Nobel Prize information from 1966 has been made available courtesy of NobelPrize.com.
- Chemistry: Robert S. Mulliken
- Literature: Nelly Sachs and Shmuel Yosef Agnon
- Peace: A Nobel Peace Prize was not awarded in 1966.
- Physics: Alfred Kastler
- Physiology or medicine: Charles Brenton Huggins and Francis Peyton Rous
7. Best-Selling Books
This book trivia from 1966 has been made available courtesy of PublishersWeekly.com.
- Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
- The Adventurers by Harold Robbins
- The Secret of Santa Vittoria by Robert Crichton
- Capable of Honor by Allen Drury
- The Double Image by Helen MacInnes
- The Fixer by Bernard Malamud
- Tell No Man by Adela Rogers St. Johns
- Tai-Pan by James Clavell
- The Embezzler by Louis Auchincloss
- All in the Family by Edwin O'Connor
- How to Avoid Probate by Norman F. Dacey
- Human Sexual Response by William Howard Masters and Virginia E. Johnston
- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
- Games People Play by Eric Berne
- A Thousand Days by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr
- Everything but Money by Sam Levenson
- The Random House Dictionary of the English Language
- Rush to Judgment by Mark Lane
- The Last Battle by Cornelius Ryan
- Phyllis Diller's Housekeeping Hints by Phyllis Diller
8. Most Popular Television Shows From 1966-67
Encyclopedia.com tells us that “Television cemented its grip on American attention spans during the 1960s. The industry added channels and improved the quality of its color pictures. Americans enjoyed watching the Westerns, situation comedies (sitcoms), and action-adventure shows that made up the majority of network programming, but few could claim that these shows were of great quality."
Here are the 10 most popular TV shows from 1966-67:
- Bonanza (NBC)
- The Red Skelton Show (CBS)
- The Andy Griffith Show (CBS)
- The Lucy Show (CBS)
- The Jackie Gleason Show (CBS)
- Green Acres (CBS)
- Daktari (CBS)
- Bewitched (ABC)
- The Beverly Hillbillies (CBS)
- Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. (CBS)
9. Favorite Radio Programs
Britannica.com tells us that “The decades between 1960 and 1980 witnessed the slow development of competition between established public-service broadcasters as well as the growing popular appeal of advertiser-supported music formats on pirate stations or developing local outlets.” In addition, FM radio expanded in many nations, and became the “fastest-growing segment of the broadcast business in the United States.”
Here are some of the most popular radio programs from 1966:
- Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club
- Ma Perkins
- Major League Baseball on NBC Radio
- Midwestern Hayride
- Milkman’s Matinee
- Moon River
- Pop Chronicles
- Ranger Bill
- Suspense (radio drama)
- The Bing Crosby - Rosemary Clooney Show
- The Black Mass (horror-fantasy radio drama)
- The Credibility Gap
- The Eternal Light
- The Romance of Helen Trent
- The Standard School Broadcast
- Young Doctor Malone
- Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
10. Highest-Grossing Films
These movie facts have been made available courtesy of The-Numbers.com.
- The Bible
- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
- The Sand Pebbles
- A Man for All Seasons
- Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N.
- The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming
- Grand Prix
- The Professionals
- Georgy Girl
- The Silencers
- Follow Me Boys
- The Blue Max
- The Wild Angels
11. 10 Best Horror Movies of 1966
This film trivia has been made available courtesy of IMDB.com.
- Kill, Baby… Kill!
- Dracula: Prince of Darkness
- The Plague of the Zombies
- Carry on Screaming!
- The Diabolical Dr. Z
- Island of Terror
- The Reptile
12. Biggest Pop Music Artists
Popular music artists from 1966 included the Animals, the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Dionne Warwick, Elvis Presley, the Four Tops, Frank Sinatra, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, Herman's Hermits, Jackie Wilson, James Brown, Lou Rawls, the Mamas & the Papas, the Marvelettes, the Monkees, Nancy Sinatra, Petula Clark, Ray Charles, the Righteous Brothers, the Rolling Stones, Simon & Garfunkel, Stevie Wonder, the Supremes, the Temptations, Tommy James & the Shondells, and Wilson Pickett.
13. Top 40 Songs for the Year
This music trivia from 1966 has been made available courtesy of Pop-Culture.us.
1. I'm a Believer - the Monkees
2. The Ballad of the Green Berets - Barry Sadler
3. Winchester Cathedral - the New Vaudeville Band
4. (You're My) Soul and Inspiration - the Righteous Brothers
5. Monday, Monday - the Mamas & the Papas
6. We Can Work It Out - the Beatles
7. Summer in the City - the Lovin' Spoonful
8. Cherish - the Association
9. You Can't Hurry Love - the Supremes
10. Wild Thing - the Troggs
11. Reach Out I'll Be There - Four Tops
12. Paint It, Black - the Rolling Stones
13. When a Man Loves A Woman - Percy Sledge
14. You Keep Me Hangin' On - the Supremes
15. Hanky Panky - Tommy James and the Shondells
16. My Love - Petula Clark
17. The Sounds of Silence - Simon and Garfunkel
18. Paperback Writer - the Beatles
19. 96 Tears - ? and the Mysterians
20. Last Train to Clarksville - the Monkees
21. Poor Side of Town - Johnny Rivers
22. These Boots Are Made for Walkin' - Nancy Sinatra
23. Good Vibrations - the Beach Boys
24. Good Lovin' - the Young Rascals
25. Strangers in the Night - Frank Sinatra
26. Sunshine Superman - Donovan
27. Lightnin' Strikes - Lou Christie
28. Snoopy vs. The Red Baron - the Royal Guardsmen
29. Mellow Yellow - Donovan
30. 19th Nervous Breakdown - the Rolling Stones
31. Lil' Red Riding Hood - Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs
32. Daydream - the Lovin' Spoonful
33. Sunny - Bobby Hebb
34. Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind? - the Lovin' Spoonful
35. A Groovy Kind of Love - the Mindbenders
36. Barbara Ann - the Beach Boys
37. Red Rubber Ball - the Cyrkle
38. Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) - Cher
39. Yellow Submarine - the Beatles
40. Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35 - Bob Dylan
14. Food and Beverage Trivia
GoodHousekeeping.com tells us that “Like fashion, food falls in and out of style. Back when kids of the '50s and '60s were growing up, family dinners meant these dishes were front and center at every family get-together, holiday meal, or cocktail party your parents threw. Many of these recipes evolved from the appeal of new ‘convenience’ foods ranging from canned soups to boxed cake mixes.”
Courtesy of TheDailyMeal.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, and LoveFood.com, here are some foods and beverages that were popular in 1966.
- 7-Up (a lemon and lime-flavored soft drink)
- Ambrosia (Ambrosia is an American fruit salad, and “Most ambrosia recipes contain canned or fresh pineapple, canned mandarin orange slices or fresh orange sections, miniature marshmallows, and coco.”)
- Baked Alaska (Baked Alaska “is a dessert consisting of ice cream and cake topped with browned meringue.”)
- Beef bourguignon (Beef bourguignon, also called beef Burgundy, “is a beef stew braised in red wine, often red Burgundy, and beef stock, typically flavored with carrots, onions, and garlic, and garnished with pearl onions, mushrooms, and bacon.”)
- Buffalo wings (Most people believe that this “all-American finger-licking chicken dish” was invented in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York.)
- Chicken a la King
- Chicken pot pie
- Chocolate fondue
- Cool Whip
- Crepes Suzette (LoveFood.com tells us that this flambéed favorite is “a French crêpe, doused in a sauce made with orange zest, sugar, butter, orange liqueur and Cognac, and set alight so it becomes caramelised.”)
- Diet Pepsi
- Domino’s pizza (Domino’s is the largest pizza delivery chain on the planet.)
- Doritos (LoveFood.com reveals that “Doritos were invented at a Mexican-style restaurant in Disneyland. The seasoned snacks were such a hit with customers that they were produced commercially for the local market, before being rolled out nationwide in 1966.”)
- Filet-O-Fish (LoveFood.com remarks that this McDonald’s menu item, which arrived in 1965, “is a breadcrumbed fish sandwich with tartar sauce and American cheese. Still on the menu today, its sales usually skyrocket in March because of Lent.”)
- French cuisine
- Froot Loops
- Frozen dinners
- Gelatin molds
- Hires root beer
- Instant mashed potato flakes
- Lane cake (LoveFood.com explains that lane cake, “Mentioned in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird in 1960, is about as Southern as it gets. A big and boozy fruit cake, it consists of layers of light sponge and a sticky pecan, bourbon, coconut and peach filling. The whole thing is covered in a peach schnapps frosting.”)
- Lipton Onion Soup dip
- Lucky Charms
- Mountain Dew (a citrus-flavored soft drink)
- Orange Crush (an orange-flavored soft drink)
- Pineapple upside down cake
- Pop Tarts
- Quaker Oats instant oatmeal
- Royal Crown Cola (aka RC Cola)
- Scalloped potatoes
- Shrimp cocktail (Shrimp cocktail “is a seafood dish consisting of shelled, cooked prawns in a Marie Rose sauce or cocktail sauce, served in a glass. It was the most popular hors d'œuvre in Great Britain, as well as in the United States, from the 1960s to the late 1980.”)
- SPAM (Spam “is a brand of canned cooked pork made by Hormel Foods Corporation. It was introduced by Hormel in 1937 and gained popularity worldwide after its use during World War II. By 2003, Spam was sold in 41 countries on six continents and trademarked in over 100 countries.”)
- Squirt (a grapefruit-flavored soft drink)
- Swedish meatballs (Swedish meatballs “are cooked in a rich, roux-based, creamy gravy made with beef or bone broth and sour cream.”)
- Texas sheet cake (This “huge, gooey chocolate cake, topped with frosting, pecans and walnuts,” is a regular at Texan funerals.)
- Tuna noodle casserole
- Tunnel of fudge cake
- Vernon’s ginger ale
- Waldorf salad (A Waldorf salad “is a fruit and nut salad generally made of fresh apples, celery, walnuts, and grapes, dressed in mayonnaise, and traditionally served on a bed of lettuce as an appetizer or a light meal.”)
15. Famous Birthdays
Here are some of the famous people who were born in 1966:
- Adam Sandler: Movie actor
- Chris Evans: TV show host
- Cindy Crawford: Model
- David Cameron: Politician
- David Schwimmer: TV actor
- Don Lemon: TV show host
- Gordon Ramsay: Chef
- Halle Berry: Movie actress
- J.J. Abrams: Film director
- Janet Jackson: Pop singer
- Jilian Dempsey: Makeup artist
- Jim Gaffigan: Comedian
- Jordan Matter: Photographer
- Kiefer Sutherland: TV actor
- Luke Perry (1966-2019): TV actor
- Matt Freeman: Bassist
- Mike Tyson: Boxer
- Patrick Dempsey: TV actor
- Paul Hollywood: Chef
- Tamela Mann: Movie actress
16. Notable Weddings
These trivia facts have been made available courtesy of OnThisDay.com.
- On January 21, Beatle George Harrison married model Pattie Boyd.
- On April 9, actress Sophia Loren wed film producer Carlo Ponti.
- On May 30, American country singer and songwriter Dolly Parton married businessman Carl Dean.
- On June 14, musician Louis Jordan wed singer and dancer Martha Weaver.
- On June 15, English author Jackie Collins married film producer Oscar Lerman.
- On July 9, MLB pitcher Tom Seaver wed Nancy Lynn McIntyre.
- On July 14, actress Brigitte Bardot married German industrialist Gunter Sachs.
- On July 19, singer and actor Frank Sinatra wed actress Mia Farrow.
- On August 7, musician and bandleader Xavier Cugat married singer Charo.
- On August 27, American sportscaster Al Michaels wed Linda Stamaton.
- On August 27, future United States President Joe Biden married Neilia Hunter.
- On November 18, professional baseball player Hank Greenberg wed actress Mary Jo Tarola.
17. Famous People Who Died
This information has been made available courtesy of OnThisDay.com.
- January 3: Rex Lease (an American actor who played in the films Fast Bullets, Sunny Skies, and Custer's Last Stand)
- January 18: Kathleen Norris (an American author)
- February 1: Hedda Hopper (an American gossip columnist)
- February 1: Buster Keaton (an American actor and comedian who played in the films Navigator, Steamboat Bill Jr, and The General)
- February 9: Sophie Tucker (a Russian-born American singer and actress)
- February 10: Billy Rose (an American theatrical producer)
- March 3: William Frawley (an American actor who played in the sitcoms I Love Lucy and My Three Sons)
- March 15: Abe Saperstein (the founder of the Harlem Globetrotters)
- April 10: Evelyn Waugh (an English writer who wrote the novel Black Mischief)
- May 21: Pat O’Malley (a silent film actor who played in Wild One and Quiet Man)
- May 24: Jim Barnes (a leading figure in the early days of professional golf)
- June 19: Ed Wynn (an American comedian)
- July 4: Dorothy Aldis (an American author and poet who specialized in children’s literature)
- July 6: Sad Sam Jones (an MLB pitcher with the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, St. Louis Browns, Washington Senators, and the Chicago White Sox)
- July 23: Montgomery Clift (an American actor who played in the films From Here to Eternity and Judgement at Nuremberg)
- August 17: Michael Garrison (an American TV producer)
- August 23: Francis X. Bushman (an American silent film actor and director who played in Sabrina and Ben-Hur)
- August 26: Art Baker (an American radio, television, and film actor)
- September 6: Margaret Sanger (an American feminist and birth control pioneer)
- September 14: Gertrude Berg (an American actress)
- September 28: Andre Breton (a French writer and poet who founded Surrealism)
- November 16: Cluny MacPherson (the Canadian inventor of the gas mask)
- November 18: Jean Peugeot (a French auto manufacturer)
- December 15: Walt Disney (an American entrepreneur, writer, voice actor, and film producer who founded Walt Disney Studios)
- December 22: Lucy Burns (an American suffragist)
18. U.S. Automobile Production Figures for the Year
Here are the U.S. automobile production figures for 1966:
- Ford: 2,212,415
- Chevrolet: 2,206,639
- Pontiac: 831,331
- Plymouth: 687,514
- Dodge: 632,658
- Oldsmobile: 578,385
- Buick: 553,870
- Mercury: 343,149
- Rambler/AMC: 341,951
- Chrysler: 264,848
- Cadillac: 196,685
- Lincoln: 54,755
- Imperial: 13,742
- Studebaker: 8,947
- Shelby: 2,378
- Checker: 1,056
- Avanti II: 98
- Excalibur: 90
19. America’s Largest Corporations
Money.CNN tells us that “Since 1955, when the first FORTUNE 500 was created, more than 1,800 companies have appeared on the list. Many of these companies have changed names over this period, owing to mergers, acquisitions, and bankruptcies. Other companies have gone private, or simply changed their names."
Here is the 1966 FORTUNE 500:
- General Motors
- Ford Motor
- Exxon Mobil
- General Electric
- U.S. Steel
- Gulf Oil
20. American Companies and Brands Established During 1966
- Ace Rent a Car: A privately held car rental company that is based in Indianapolis, Indiana.
- ARCO: An American oil company that operates over 1,300 gas stations in the western part of the U.S.
- Best Buy: A consumer electronics retailer that operates over 1,000 stores in the United States.
- BonWorth: A retail clothing chain that is based in Hendersonville, North Carolina.
- Camping World: An American corporation that specializes in selling recreational vehicles (RVs).
- B. Dalton: At its peak, a retail bookstore chain that operated 798 stores.
- Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority (EMTA): The municipal authority that operates the public transportation system in Erie County, Pennsylvania, which includes the area's transit buses and the Bayliner trolley.
- K-Swiss: An American athletic shoe brand.
- Kirkland’s: A retail chain that sells home decor, furniture, and accessories. Kirkland’s currently operates 434 stores in 37 states.
- Mastercard: Throughout the world, Mastercard’s principal business “is to process payments between the banks of merchants and the card-issuing banks or credit unions of the purchasers who use the ‘Mastercard’ brand debit, credit, and prepaid cards to make purchases.”
- Peet’s Coffee: A San Francisco Bay Area-based coffee roaster and retailer.
- Randalls: A grocery store chain that operates 32 stores in Texas.
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© 2021 Gregory DeVictor
Gregory DeVictor (author) from Pittsburgh, PA on February 12, 2021:
Hello Audrey! Thank you for the kind words. Well, this article was tougher to write than some of the others have been. Thanks again.
Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on February 12, 2021:
I always enjoy the Fun Facts and Trivia. A great way to go back in time to relive memories.