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1968 Fun Facts and Trivia

Gregory DeVictor is a trivia enthusiast who loves to write articles on American nostalgia.

This article teaches you fun facts, trivia, and historical events from the year 1968.

This article teaches you fun facts, trivia, and historical events from the year 1968.

Why Was the Year 1968 so Special?

What are some fun facts, trivia, and historical events from the year 1968? 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? What about famous birthdays, marriages, and deaths that year?

  1. In 1968, the United States was knee-deep in the Vietnam War, and the U.S. government was spending hard and fast to support the war effort. The Johnson administration's “massive expenditures” on the war worsened America’s chronic balance-of-payments problem, and also fueled inflation.
  2. On January 31, the turning point of the Vietnam War took place when 85,000 North Vietnamese troops launched the Tet Offensive—a coordinated series of attacks on more than 100 cities and outposts in South Vietnam.
  3. Republican Richard M. Nixon defeated Democrat Hubert Humphrey in the U.S. presidential election.
  4. New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy—who had just been declared the winner in the South Dakota and California Democratic presidential primaries—was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian Christian militant.
  5. Civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee by James Earl Ray, a convicted felon whose criminal history spanned nearly 20 years. Riots broke out in over 100 U.S. cities following King’s assassination.
  6. President Johnson signed the Truth in Lending Act and the 1968 Civil Rights Act into law.
  7. The Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central Railroad merged, and created America's sixth largest corporation and the nation's largest transportation company.
  8. General Motors manufactured its 100 millionth automobile, an Oldsmobile Toronado.
  9. Alabama Senator Rankin Fite completed the first 9-1-1 call ever made in the United States in Haleyville, Alabama.
  10. McDonald’s launched the legendary Big Mac, the first Red Lobster restaurant opened in Lakeland, Florida, and Smucker’s introduced Goober—a combination of peanut butter and jelly in a single jar.
  11. About 98.5% of U.S. farms had electricity, and 83% of them had telephones.
  12. The Gateway Arch in St. Louis was dedicated, and the Golden Gate Bridge began to collect tolls, but only in the southbound direction.
  13. In the year 1968, the Boston Celtics were the NBA champs, the Detroit Tigers won the World Series, and the Montreal Canadiens clinched the Stanley Cup.
  14. New York City’s Madison Square Garden closed. Built in 1925, it was once the home of the New York Rangers hockey team and the New York Knicks basketball team, and also hosted numerous boxing matches, the annual Millrose Games, concerts, and other events.
  15. Joe Medwick, Goose Goslin, and Kiki Cuyler were all inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  16. Vince Lombardi stepped down as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers.
  17. At the 40th Academy Awards, In the Heat of the Night won five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Film Editing.
  18. At the 20th Primetime Emmy Awards, Get Smart (NBC) won an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, and Mission: Impossible (CBS) won an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series.
  19. The Motion Picture Association of America adopted the current film-rating system.
  20. The oldest and most-watched news magazine on television—60 Minutes—premiered on CBS.
  21. The acclaimed children’s show, Mister Rogers, debuted on NET (now PBS).
  22. Consumer products introduced in 1968 include bean bag chairs, Hunt’s Snack Pack, Pringles, Steak-umms (thinly sliced steaks), Tic Tacs, and Ziploc bags.
  23. Barry Sanders, Celine Dion, Gary Coleman, Gillian Anderson, Kenny Chesney, Lisa Marie Presley, and Racharl Ray were all born.
  24. American companies and brands founded in the year 1968 include Calvin Klein, Casey’s, Countrywide Financial, Crabtree & Evelyn, Entercom, Intel, the North Face, Red Lobster, Rent-A-Wreck, and TransUnion.
  25. At the 41st Scripps National Spelling Bee, 14-year-old Robert L. Walters of Russell, Kansas correctly spelled the word "abalone."

This article teaches you fun facts, trivia, and historical events from the year 1968. Find out about popular TV shows, movies, music, books, foods, sports facts, famous birthdays, and other cool pop culture trends to get the right mix of questions and answers for your 1960s-themed trivia game.

In 1968, the Ford Motor Company was one of America’s largest corporations.

In 1968, the Ford Motor Company was one of America’s largest corporations.

Table of Contents

For easier reading and referencing, I have divided this article into the following categories:

  1. Grocery Prices in the Year 1968
  2. What Was the U.S. Economy Like in 1968?
  3. History Facts From the USA and World
  4. Sports Trivia
  5. Miscellaneous Fun Facts, Trivia, and Pop Culture Trends
  6. Nobel Prize Winners
  7. Best-Selling Books
  8. Most Popular Television Shows From 1968-69
  9. Highest-Grossing Films
  10. 10 Best Horror Movies of 1968
  11. Biggest Pop Music Artists
  12. Top 40 Songs for the Year
  13. Food and Beverage Trivia
  14. Famous Birthdays
  15. Notable Weddings
  16. Famous People Who Died
  17. U.S. Automobile Production Figures for the Year
  18. America’s Largest Corporations
  19. American Companies and Brands Established During 1968
In 1968, you could buy one pound of porterhouse steak for $1.09.

In 1968, you could buy one pound of porterhouse steak for $1.09.

1. Grocery Prices in the Year 1968

These grocery facts have been made available courtesy of the Morris County Public Library in Whippany, NJ.

  1. Baby food (Gerber’s): Seven cents for a 4.5-ounce jar
  2. Bacon: 79 cents for a one-pound package
  3. Beef (ground): 49 cents a pound
  4. Beef (porterhouse steak): $1.09 a pound
  5. Beef (sirloin steak): 95 cents a pound
  6. Beef (sirloin tip roast): 89 cents a pound
  7. Bread (ShopRite): 39 cents for a 12-ounce loaf
  8. Cake (Sara Lee, pound cake): 59 cents for a 12-ounce package
  9. Cherries (Bing): 49 cents a pound
  10. Coffee (Maxwell House): 69 cents for a one-pound can
  11. Corn (fresh): Three ears for 29 cents
  12. Crisco: 68 cents for a three-pound can
  13. Eggs: 53 cents a dozen
  14. Fish (tuna, Bumble Bee): Three 6.5-ounce cans for 89 cents
  15. Flour: 49 cents for a five-pound bag
  16. French fries (ShopRite, frozen): Three two-pound bags for $1.00
  17. Ham (Swift, canned): $3.99 for a five-pound can
  18. Hamburger buns (Foodtown): 25 cents for an eight-ounce package
  19. Hot dogs: 59 cents for a one-pound package
  20. Jell-O: Seven cents a package
  21. Juice (Hawaiian Punch): Three 48-ounce cans for 89 cents
  22. Ketchup: Two 20-ounce bottles for 59 cents
  23. Ice cream (ShopRite): 59 cents for a half gallon
  24. Ice cream (Eskimo Pie): 59 cents for a six-pack
  25. Lemons: Six for 25 cents
  26. Margarine (Blue Bonnett): 25 cents for a one-pound package
  27. Marshmallows (Kraft): Two one-pound bags for 49 cents
  28. Mayonnaise (Hellman’s): 59 cents for a quart jar
  29. Milk (whole): $1.07 a gallon
  30. Nectarines: 29 cents a pound
  31. Peaches: 19 cents a pound
  32. Peanut butter (Peter Pan): 45 cents for an 18-ounce jar
  33. Potato chips (ShopRite): 39 cents for a 12-ounce package
  34. Sugar (Domino): 53 cents for a five-pound bag
  35. TV dinner (Swanson): 69 cents for a one-pound package
  36. Watermelon: Five cents a pound
  37. Yogurt (ShopRite): Two half-pint containers for 29 cents
In 1968, McDonald’s introduced the legendary Big Mac.

In 1968, McDonald’s introduced the legendary Big Mac.

2. What Was the U.S. Economy Like in 1968?

  • Was there a recession in 1968? According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, a 12-month recession began in December 1969 following an economic slump that had begun in 1968. The downturn ended “the third longest economic expansion in U.S. history which had begun in February 1961.”
  • America was knee-deep in the Vietnam War, and the U.S. government was spending hard and fast to support the war effort. This was fueling inflation.
  • Academic.oup.com tells us that in March 1968, there was “a speculative run on gold that Time magazine called ‘the largest gold rush in history, a frenetic speculative stampede . . . threatened the Western world.’” Robert Collins explains that the speculative gold rush was brought on by a combination of factors, the most deeply-rooted one being the chronic U.S. balance-of-payments deficit. Collins adds that “The Johnson administration's massive expenditures on the Vietnam War seriously aggravated the balance-of-payments problem and also fueled inflation.”

Income, Housing, and Transportation:

  1. In 1968, the median household income was $7,743.00, up about 8% from 1967.
  2. In June 1968, U.S. employers created 251,000 jobs.
  3. The average new home cost $26,600, up 9% from the previous year. (Adjusted for inflation, that amount is equal to $204,384 today.)
  4. A new house had an average floor area of 1,665 square feet.
  5. The average price per square foot of living space in a home was $111.
  6. Central air conditioning was found in only about 45% of houses.
  7. The mortgage rate averaged 7.5%. (In February 2021, a 15-year fixed mortgage was 2.34%, and a 30-year fixed mortgage was 2.83%.)
  8. The average rent was $130.00 per month.
  9. The average price for a new car was $2,822. For example, a Ford Mustang hardtop cost $2,707, and a Chevrolet Impala sport coupe was $3,468. A BMW cost $2,597, and a Toyota Corona was $1,930.
  10. A gallon of gas averaged 34 cents.
  11. The average car got about 14 miles per gallon. (Today, the average is about 25 MPG.)
  12. In 1968, just over half of cars had air conditioning.

Consumer Prices:

  1. A gallon of milk cost $1.07, eggs were 53 cents a dozen, and hamburger buns were 25 cents for an eight-ounce package.
  2. Surf laundry detergent cost 64 cents for a 50-ounce box, and Dove dishwashing detergent was 57 cents for a 22-ounce bottle.
  3. Bactine antiseptic spray cost $1.49 for a 4.5-ounce container.
  4. Prell shampoo was 99 cents for an 11-ounce bottle.
  5. A Hotpoint washing machine cost $159.00.
  6. A Hotpoint refrigerator (11.6 cubic feet) was $199.95.
  7. A 30” gas range cost $129.88.
  8. A two-gallon watering can was $1.66.
  9. A California redwood picnic table set cost $28.80.
  10. The average price of house paint was $4.69-$5.99 a gallon.
  11. Men’s Bostonian shoes were $19.95-$25-95 a pair.
  12. A men’s golf jacket cost $4.88-$8.95.
  13. A women’s knit dress was $17.99-$23.00.
  14. Women's Naturalizer shoes were $11.00-$19.00 a pair.
  15. A boy’s sports coat cost $19.95-$24.95.
  16. Movie tickets were $1.50 apiece.
  17. A first-class stamp cost six cents.
  18. Annual tuition at Harvard University was $2,000.

The U.S. Economy:

  1. In December 1968, unemployment was 3.4%.
  2. Inflation was 4.19%. InflationTool.com points out that “The inflation rate in the United States between 1968 and today has been 668.77%, which translates into a total increase of $668.77. This means that 100 dollars in 1968 are equivalent to 768.77 dollars in 2021. In other words, the purchasing power of $100 in 1968 equals $768.77 today.”
  3. The minimum wage was $1.60 per hour.
  4. In 1968, the average closing price for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was 903.96.
  5. On the last day of trading for the year, the Dow closed at 943.
  6. The DJIA low for the year was 825.13.
  7. On December 2, the prime rate was 6.5%. (By June 9, 1969, the prime had increased to 8.5%.)
  8. GDP growth was 4.9%.
  9. The price of gold averaged $43.50 per troy ounce.
In 1968, SPAM was all the rage.

In 1968, SPAM was all the rage.

3. History Facts From the USA and World

  1. On January 1, ABC Radio split its network operations into four demographic networks—American Contemporary Radio, American Entertainment Radio, American Information Radio, and ABC FM Radio. The four new networks started out with about 600 affiliated stations.
  2. On January 2, Cecil Day-Lewis became the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom.
  3. On January 7, the price of a first-class stamp increased from five cents to six cents.
  4. On January 7, Surveyor 7—the last “lunar lander” of the American Surveyor program sent to explore the surface of the Moon—was launched. On January 10, Surveyor 7 soft-landed on the Moon’s surface.
  5. On January 14, in Super Bowl II, the Green Bay Packers beat the Oakland Raiders, 33-14.
  6. On January 23, Joe Medwick was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  7. On January 28, Goose Goslin and Kiki Cuyler were also admitted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  8. On January 31, the turning point of the Vietnam War took place when 85,000 North Vietnamese troops launched the Tet Offensive—a coordinated series of attacks on more than 100 cities and outposts in South Vietnam.
  9. On February 1, Richard Nixon announced that he was running for U.S. president.
  10. At midnight on February 1, the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central Railroad merged. Oreilly.com explains that “This was the largest merger to date: It created America's sixth largest corporation and the nation's largest transportation company. A merger of such size and consequence was without precedent.”
  11. On February 1, Vince Lombardi stepped down as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers.
  12. On February 11, New York City’s Madison Square Garden closed. Built in 1925, MSG III “was the home of the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League and the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association, and also hosted numerous boxing matches, the annual Millrose Games, concerts, and other events.”
  13. On February 19, the acclaimed children’s show, Mister Rogers, debuted on NET (now PBS). The series was created and hosted by Fred Rogers, who hosted 895 episodes of the program until 2001.
  14. On February 27, during a CBS News Special Report, CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite declared that he was certain that "the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate."
  15. On March 5, Solar Explorer 2, “the second satellite of the notable Explorer mission series that launched the United States into the Space Age,” lifted off from Cape Canaveral to study the sun. NASA tells us that Explorer 2 “did not reach the same success as its predecessor, Explorer 1. On launch day, the fourth stage of the Jupiter-C rocket carrying the satellite failed to ignite, and the mission was scrubbed.”
  16. On March 12, by a very slim margin of just 300 votes, “President Johnson defeated anti-war Democrat Eugene McCarthy in the New Hampshire Democratic primary election. This indicated that political support for Johnson was seriously eroding.”
  17. On March 12, public opinion polls revealed that after the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, President Johnson's overall approval rating had slipped to 36 percent, while approval of his Vietnam war policy had fallen to 26 percent.
  18. On March 16, Robert Kennedy announced that he was running for U.S. President.
  19. On March 16, General Motors manufactured its 100 millionth automobile, an Oldsmobile Toronado.
  20. On March 20, President Johnson signed a bill “eliminating the ‘gold cover’ (i.e., the reserve backing by gold) for Federal Reserve notes.”
  21. On March 31, President Johnson announced that he would not seek re-election. He also announced a partial bombing halt north of the 20th parallel, including Hanoi, and urged Hanoi to begin peace talks. Johnson stated: "We are prepared to move immediately toward peace through negotiations." As a result, peace talks soon began.
  22. On April 4, civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee by James Earl Ray, a convicted felon whose criminal history spanned nearly 20 years. Riots broke out in over U.S. 100 cities following King’s assassination.
  23. On April 11, President Johnson signed the 1968 Civil Rights Act into law.
  24. TheHistoryPlace.com reports that on May 10, “peace talks began in Paris between the U.S. and North Vietnam, but soon were soon stalled as the U.S. insisted that North Vietnamese troops withdraw from the South, while the North Vietnamese insisted on Viet Cong participation in a coalition government in South Vietnam. This marked the beginning of five years of on-again, off-again official talks between the U.S. and North Vietnam.”
  25. On May 25, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis was dedicated.
  26. On May 29, President Johnson signed the Truth in Lending Act into law.
  27. On June 5, New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles shortly after midnight PST. “Earlier that evening, the 42-year-old junior senator from New York was declared the winner in the South Dakota and California 1968 Democratic Party presidential primaries.” The assassin was 24-year-old Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian Christian militant. In 1969, Sirhan was convicted of murdering Senator Kennedy and sentenced to death. In 1972, his sentence was lessened to life in prison.
  28. On June 8, James Earl Ray, the alleged assassin of Martin Luther King Jr., was captured.
  29. On June 21, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren announced that he would resign once a successor was found.
  30. TheHistoryPlace.com reports that on July 1, “The Phoenix program was established to crush the secret Viet Cong infrastructure (VCI) in South Vietnam. The VCI, estimated at up to 70,000 Communist guerrillas, had been responsible for a long-standing campaign of terror against Americans, South Vietnamese government officials, village leaders, and innocent civilians.”
  31. On July 3, Cleveland recorded its lowest temperature ever for July—41°F.
  32. On July 9, 15.68" of rainfall fell in Columbus, Mississippi, setting a 24-hour state record.
  33. On August 8, Richard M. Nixon was chosen as the Republican presidential candidate and promised "an honorable end to the war in Vietnam."
  34. On August 21, Hubert Humphrey was chosen as the Democratic presidential candidate.
  35. On September 24, the news magazine, 60 Minutes, premiered on CBS.
  36. On October 7, the Motion Picture Association of America adopted the current film-rating system. FilmRatings.com explains that “MPAA chairman Jack Valenti replaced the earlier moral censorship guidelines, known as the Hays Code, with a revolutionary new parent-focused rating system.”
  37. On October 14, the rebuilt Euston railway station opened in London.
  38. On October 18, the Circus Circus Hotel opened in Las Vegas. It is the largest permanent big top in the world.
  39. On October 19, Golden Gate Bridge began to collect tolls, but only in the southbound direction.
  40. On October 31, President Johnson announced a complete halt to the U.S. bombing of North Vietnam, in the hope of restarting the peace talks.
  41. On November 5, Republican Richard M. Nixon defeated Democrat Hubert Humphrey in the U.S. presidential election.
  42. On November 14, Yale University announced that it was going co-ed.
  43. On November 27, President-elect Nixon asked Harvard professor Henry Kissinger to become his National Security Advisor. Kissinger accepted.
  44. On December 30, the temperature fell to -48°F in both Mazama and Winthrop, Washington, setting a state record.
  45. TheHistoryPlace.com tells us that by year’s end, U.S. troop levels in Vietnam had reached 495,000. Approximately 30,000 Americans had died thus far in the war, and over a thousand soldiers perished every month during 1968. “An estimated 150,000 soldiers from North Vietnam infiltrated the South via the Ho Chi Minh trail in 1968. Although the U.S. conducted 200 air strikes each day against the trail in late 1968, up to 10,000 NVA supply trucks are en route at any given time.”
In 1968, the Boston Celtics were the NBA champs.

In 1968, the Boston Celtics were the NBA champs.

4. Sports Trivia

Generally suitable for all age groups, sports questions are a welcome addition to any trivia quiz.

  1. Indianapolis 500: Bobby Unser
  2. Kentucky Derby: Forward pass
  3. AFL Champions: New York Jets
  4. NBA Champions: Boston Celtics
  5. NCAA Basketball: UCLA
  6. NCAA Football Champs: Ohio State
  7. NFL Champions: Baltimore Colts
  8. Orange Bowl: Oklahoma over Tennessee
  9. Rose Bowl: USC over Indiana
  10. Stanley Cup Champs: Montreal Canadiens
  11. Sugar Bowl: LSU over Wyoming
  12. Super Bowl II: Green Bay Packers
  13. U.S. Open Golf: Lee Trevino
  14. U.S. Open Tennis (men/women): Arthur Ashe/Virginia Wade
  15. Wimbledon (men/women): Rod Laver/Billie Jean King
  16. World Series Champions: Detroit Tigers
In 1968, the Detroit Tigers won the World Series.

In 1968, the Detroit Tigers won the World Series.

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.)

  1. In 1968, popular baby names were Michael, David, John, James, Lisa, Michelle, Kimberly, and Jennifer.
  2. The average life expectancy at birth in the U.S. was 69.95 years.
  3. The most popular holiday gifts included Battling Tops, Hot Wheels, Silly Putty, and Whirlee Twirlee.
  4. What about fashion trends in 1968? TheTrendSpotter.net tells us that “Some of the trends to emerge from the 1960s included mod and shift dresses, skirts paired with colorful tights, bold patterns, and prints, including tie-dye, go-go boots, and mini skirts. It was a decade that revolutionized womenswear and had a rebellious and youthful attitude.”
  5. Fashion icons for the year were Ann-Margret, Carol Burnett, Diahann Carroll, Julie Christie, Yvonne Craig, Barbara Eden, Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn, Peggy Lipton, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Montgomery, Julie Newmar, Elke Sommer, Barbra Streisand, Sharon Tate, Marlo Thomas, Twiggy, and Raquel Welch.
  6. Debra Barnes (Kansas) was crowned Miss America.
  7. Dorothy Anstett (Washington) became Miss USA.
  8. Time magazine’s “Persons of the Year” were the Apollo 8 astronauts William Anders, Frank Borman, and Jim Lovell.
  9. Cars that were introduced in 1968 include the Chevrolet Malibu, Dodge Charger III, Ford Corcel, Ford Falcon (XT), Ford Torino, Mercury Montego, Opel GT, Plymouth Road Runner, Triumph TR5, Triumph TR6, and the Volkswagen Type 4.
  10. Consumer products introduced in 1968 include bean bag chairs, the enchirito (a Taco Bell menu item), Hot Wheels (a brand of toy cars), Hunt’s Snack Pack, lava lamps, Pringles, Steak-umms (thinly sliced steaks), Tic Tacs, Ziploc bags, and ZotZ (candy).
  11. On January 1, ABC Radio split its network operations into four demographic networks—American Contemporary Radio, American Entertainment Radio, American Information Radio, and ABC FM Radio. The four new networks started out with about 600 affiliated stations.
  12. On January 22, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In premiered on NBC.
  13. On February 8, the science-fiction film, Planet of the Apes, starring Charlton Heston, was released in New York City.
  14. On February 19, the acclaimed children’s show, Mister Rogers, debuted on NET (now PBS). The series was created and hosted by Fred Rogers, who hosted 895 episodes of the program until 2001.
  15. On April 2, the science fiction film, 2001: A Space Odyssey—directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood—premiered at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C.
  16. On April 10, the 40th Academy Awards honored the best films of 1967. Here were some of the winners: In the Heat of the Night won an Oscar for Best Picture, and Mike Nichols (The Graduate) won an Oscar for Best Director. Likewise, Rod Steiger (In the Heat of the Night) won an Oscar for Best Actor, and Katharine Hepburn (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner) won an Oscar for Best Actress. Finally, George Kennedy (Cool Hand Luke) won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and Estelle Parsons (Bonnie and Clyde) won an Oscar for Best supporting Actress.
  17. On April 29, the rock musical, Hair, opened at the Biltmore Theater in NYC where it would run for 1,750 performances.
  18. On May 8, a Pulitzer Prize was awarded to American author William Styron for his fiction book, Confessions of Nat Turner.
  19. On May 11, actor and singer Richard Harris released the song MacArthur Park.
  20. On May 19, at the 20th Primetime Emmy Awards, Get Smart (NBC) won an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, and Mission: Impossible (CBS) won an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. Likewise, Don Adams (Get Smart) (NBC) won an Emmy for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series, and Lucille Ball (The Lucy Show) (CBS) won an Emmy for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series.
  21. On June 12, the horror film, Rosemary’s Baby, was released.
  22. On July 15, the soap, One Life to Live, debuted on ABC.
  23. On July 17, the Beatles’ animated film, Yellow Submarine, was released in London.
  24. On September 21, the police drama, Adam-12, premiered on NBC.
  25. On September 24, the news magazine, 60 Minutes, debuted on CBS.
  26. On September 26, the action police drama, Hawaii Five-O, premiered on CBS.
  27. On October 1, the horror film, Night of the Living Dead—directed by George A. Romero, and starring Duane Jones and Judith O'Dea—debuted in Pittsburgh.
  28. On October 7, the Motion Picture Association of America adopted the current film-rating system. FilmRatings.com explains that “MPAA chairman Jack Valenti replaced the earlier moral censorship guidelines, known as the Hays Code, with a revolutionary new parent-focused rating system.”
  29. On November 4, country singer Glen Campbell released his 12th album—Wichita Lineman.
  30. On November 14, the film version of Morris West’s best-selling book, The Shoes of the Fisherman, was released.
  31. On February 16, the first 911 call in the United States was made in Haleyville, Alabama.
  32. About 98.5% of U.S. farms had electricity, and 83% of them had telephones.
  33. McDonald’s introduced the legendary Big Mac.
  34. Smucker introduced Goober, which are “alternating vertical stripes of peanut butter and either grape or strawberry flavored jelly.”
  35. The first Red Lobster restaurant opened in Lakeland, Florida.
In 1968, Arthur Hailey’s cliff-hanging suspense novel—Airport—was the best-selling fiction book.

In 1968, Arthur Hailey’s cliff-hanging suspense novel—Airport—was the best-selling fiction book.

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 1968 has been made available courtesy of NobelPrize.com.

  • Chemistry: Lars Onsager
  • Literature: Yasunari Kawabata
  • Peace: René Cassin
  • Physics: Luis Walter Alvarez
  • Physiology or medicine: Robert W. Holley, Har Gobind Khoranaand, and Marshall Nirenberg

7. Best-Selling Books

This book trivia from 1968 has been made available courtesy of PublishersWeekly.com.

Fiction books:

  1. Airport by Arthur Hailey
  2. Couples by John Updike
  3. The Salzburg Connection by Helen MacInnes
  4. A Small Town in Germany by John Le Carré
  5. Testimony of Two Men by Taylor Caldwell
  6. Preserve and Protect by Allen Drury
  7. Myra Breckinridge by Gore Vidal
  8. Vanished by Fletcher Knebel
  9. Christy by Catherine Marshall
  10. The Tower of Babel by Morris L. West

Nonfiction books:

  1. Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book by the BH&G Editors
  2. The Random House Dictionary of the English Language: College Edition edited by Laurence Urdang
  3. Listen to the Warm by Rod McKuen
  4. Between Parent and Child by Haim G. Ginott
  5. Lonesome Cities by Rod McKuen
  6. The Doctor's Quick Weight Loss Diet by Erwin M. Stillman and Samm Sinclair Baker
  7. The Money Game by Adam Smith
  8. Stanyan Street & Other Sorrows by Rod McKuen
  9. The Weight Watcher's Cook Book by Jean Nidetch
  10. Better Homes and Gardens Eat and Stay Slim by the BH&G Editors

8. Most Popular Television Shows From 1968-69

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 1968-69:

  1. Rowan and Martin's Laugh In (NBC)
  2. Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. (CBS)
  3. Bonanza (NBC)
  4. Mayberry R.F.D. (CBS)
  5. Family Affair (CBS)
  6. Gunsmoke (CBS)
  7. Julia (NBC)
  8. The Dean Martin Show (NBC)
  9. Here's Lucy (CBS)
  10. The Beverly Hillbillies (CBS)
In 1968, Gunsmoke was a popular television show.

In 1968, Gunsmoke was a popular television show.

9. Highest-Grossing Films

These movie facts have been made available courtesy of The-Numbers.com.

  1. Funny Girl
  2. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  3. The Odd Couple
  4. Bullitt
  5. Romeo and Juliet
  6. Oliver!
  7. Planet of the Apes
  8. Rosemary’s Baby
  9. Yours, Mine and Ours
  10. The Lion in Winter
  11. The Green Berets
  12. Blackbeard's Ghost
  13. The Fox
  14. The Boston Strangler
  15. Candy

10. 10 Best Horror Movies of 1968

This film trivia has been made available courtesy of IMDB.com.

  1. Rosemary’s Baby
  2. Night of the Living Dead
  3. Hour of the Wolf
  4. Black Cat
  5. Targets
  6. The Devil Rides Out
  7. Omnibus (Episode: Whistle and I’ll Come to You)
  8. Witchfinder General
  9. Twisted Nerve
  10. Spirits of the Dead

The Beatles: Hello, Goodbye

11. Biggest Pop Music Artists

Popular music artists from 1968 included Aretha Franklin, the Beatles, Barbara Acklin, Bobby Goldsboro, the Delfonics, the Dells, Dionne Warwick, the Doors, Elvis Presley, Gary Pucket & the Union Gap, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Herb Alpert, James Brown, Jerry Butler, the Impressions, the Intruders, Marvin Gaye, the Monkees, Otis Redding, the Rascals, Sly & the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, the Supremes, the Temptations, and Wilson Pickett.

12. Number One Songs for the Year

This music trivia from 1968 has been made available courtesy of Pop-Culture.us.

  • December 30, 1967 - January 19, 1968: The Beatles - Hello, Goodbye
  • January 20 - February 2: John Fred & His Playboy Band - Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)
  • February 3 - February 9: The Lemon Pipers - Green Tambourine
  • February 10 - March 15: Paul Mauriat - Love Is Blue
  • March 16 - April 12: Otis Redding - (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay
  • April 13 - May 17: Bobby Goldsboro - Honey
  • May 18 - May 3: Archie Bell & the Drells - Tighten Up
  • June 1 - June 21: Simon & Garfunkel - Mrs. Robinson
  • June 22 - July 19: Herb Alpert - This Guy's in Love with You
  • July 20 - August 2: Hugh Masekela - Grazing in the Grass
  • August 3 - August 16: The Doors - Hello, I Love You
  • August 17 - September 20: Young Rascals - People Got to Be Free
  • September 21 - September 27: Jeannie C. Riley - Harper Valley P.T.A.
  • September 28 - November 29: The Beatles - Hey Jude
  • November 30 - December 13: Diana Ross & the Supremes - Love Child
  • December 14 - January 31: Marvin Gaye - I Heard It Through the Grapevine
In 1968, chicken pot pie was a real crowd-pleaser.

In 1968, chicken pot pie was a real crowd-pleaser.

13. 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 1968.

  1. 7-Up (a lemon and lime-flavored soft drink)
  2. 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.”)
  3. 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.)
  4. Chicken a la King
  5. Chicken pot pie
  6. Chocolate fondue
  7. Coca-Cola
  8. Coffee-Mate
  9. Cool Whip
  10. Diet Pepsi
  11. Domino’s pizza (Domino’s is the largest pizza delivery chain on the planet.)
  12. 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.”)
  13. Easy Cheese
  14. 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.”)
  15. Frozen dinners
  16. Gatorade
  17. Hires root beer
  18. Instant mashed potato flakes
  19. Lipton Onion Soup dip
  20. Lucky Charms
  21. Meatloaf
  22. Mountain Dew (a citrus-flavored soft drink)
  23. Orange Crush (an orange-flavored soft drink)
  24. Pepsi-Cola
  25. Pop Tarts
  26. Quaker Oats instant oatmeal
  27. Royal Crown Cola (aka RC Cola)
  28. 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.”)
  29. Spaghetti-Os
  30. 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.”)
  31. Squirt (a grapefruit-flavored soft drink)
  32. Swedish meatballs (Swedish meatballs “are cooked in a rich, roux-based, creamy gravy made with beef or bone broth and sour cream.”)
  33. Tang
  34. Tuna noodle casserole
  35. Tunnel of fudge cake
In 1968, Quaker Oats instant oatmeal was all the rage.

In 1968, Quaker Oats instant oatmeal was all the rage.

14. Famous Birthdays

Here are some of the famous people who were born in 1968:

  1. Barry Sanders: Football player
  2. Celine Dion: Pop singer
  3. Gary Coleman (1968-2010): TV actor
  4. Gillian Anderson: TV actress
  5. Helen McCrory: Movie actress
  6. Hugh Jackman: Movie actor
  7. Josh Brolin: Movie actor
  8. Kenny Chesney: Country singer
  9. Lisa Marie Presley: Pop singer
  10. Molly Ringwald: Movie actress
  11. Owen Wilson: Movie actor
  12. Rachael Ray: Chef
  13. Terry Crews: TV actor
  14. Vanessa Marcil: TV actress
  15. Will Smith: Movie actor

15. Notable Weddings

These wedding facts have been made available courtesy of OnThisDay.com.

  1. On January 20, actress Sharon Tate married actor and director Roman Polanski.
  2. On March 1, singer, songwriter, and actress June Carter wed singer and songwriter Johnny Cash.
  3. On May 20, The Who guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend married Karen Astley.
  4. On July 8, MLB player Reggie Jackson wed his college sweetheart Jennie Campos.
  5. On August 6, children's author Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) married Audrey Stone Dimond.
  6. On August 9, detective writer Erle Stanley Gardner wed his long-time secretary Agnes Jean Bethell.
  7. On August 25, actress Jane Russell married actor Roger Barrett.
  8. On September 5, author Ken Follett wed Mary Emma Ruth Elson.
  9. On September 16, actress Sally Field married Steven Craig.
  10. On September 30, jazz musician Miles Davis wed singer Betty Mabry.
  11. On October 5, actor Charles Bronson married Jill Ireland.
  12. On October 17, jazz trumpeter Quincy Jones Jr. wed actress Ulla Andersson.
  13. On October 20, Jacqueline Kennedy married Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis.
  14. On October 26, lawyer and politician Rudy Giuliani wed Regina Peruggi.
  15. On December 22, author and cooking show host Ina Garten married dean Jeffrey Garten.
In 1968, the Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl II.

In 1968, the Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl II.

16. Famous People Who Died

This information has been made available courtesy of OnThisDay.com.

  1. January 1: Andy Oberlander (an American Football Hall of Fame halfback and coach)
  2. February 11: Howard Lindsay (an American playwright, actor, and director)
  3. February 21: Howard Florey (an Australian pathologist and pharmacologist who purified penicillin)
  4. March 27: Yuri Gagarin (a Russian cosmonaut who was the first man to journey into outer space)
  5. April 4: Martin Luther King Jr. (an American clergyman and the leader of the Civil Rights Movement)
  6. April 24: Tommy Noonan (an American actor, screenwriter, and producer who played in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Promises Promises)
  7. June 1: Helen Keller (an American political activist who was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree)
  8. June 6: Robert F. Kennedy (a former U.S. attorney general and New York state senator)
  9. June 15: Wes Montgomery (an American jazz guitarist)
  10. June 15: Sam Crawford (an MLB baseball pitcher)
  11. July 2: Francis Brennan: (a U.S. cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church)
  12. August 28: Nick Castle (an American choreographer who worked with Dinah Shore and July Garland)
  13. August 29: Ulysses S. Grant III (an American soldier)
  14. August 30: William Talman (an American actor who is best known for playing Los Angeles District Attorney Hamilton Burger on the television series Perry Mason)
  15. August 31: Dennis O’Keefe (an American actor who played in the film Suspicion))
  16. September 19: Red Foley (an American country singer)
  17. October 13: Bea Benaderet (an American actress who played on the sitcom Petticoat Junction)
  18. November 20: Helen Gardner (an American silent film actress who played in the film Sandra)
  19. November 25: Upton Sinclair (an American author who is probably best known for his novel The Jungle)
  20. December 10: Thomas Merton (a French-American Catholic writer and Trappist monk)
  21. December 20: John Steinbeck (an American writer famous for his novel The Grapes of Wrath)

17. U.S. Automobile Production Figures for the Year

Here are the U.S. automobile production figures for 1968:

  1. Chevrolet: 2,139,290
  2. Ford: 1,753,334
  3. Pontiac: 910,977
  4. Plymouth: 790,239
  5. Buick: 651,823
  6. Dodge: 627,533
  7. Oldsmobile: 562,459
  8. Mercury: 360,467
  9. AMC/Rambler: 272,726
  10. Chrysler: 264,853
  11. Cadillac: 230,003
  12. Lincoln: 46,904
  13. Imperial: 15,367
  14. Shelby: 4,451
  15. Checker: 992
On January 1, ABC Radio split its network operations into four demographic networks—American Contemporary Radio, American Entertainment Radio, American Information Radio, and ABC FM Radio.

On January 1, ABC Radio split its network operations into four demographic networks—American Contemporary Radio, American Entertainment Radio, American Information Radio, and ABC FM Radio.

18. 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 1968 FORTUNE 500:

  1. General Motors
  2. Exxon Mobil
  3. Ford Motor Company
  4. General Electric
  5. Chrysler
  6. Mobil
  7. IBM
  8. Texaco
  9. Girl Oil
  10. U.S. Steel

19. American Companies and Brands Established During 1968

  1. American Freight: A retail company located in Kansas City, Missouri that sells furniture, mattresses, and home appliances.
  2. Bank One Corporation: Once the sixth largest bank in the United States, Bank One merged with JPMorgan Chase & Co. in 2004.
  3. Biotek Instruments, Inc.: A Vermont–based manufacturer that produces scientific instruments and “associated software” that is used “in basic research in the life sciences.”
  4. Calvin Klein: An American fashion house that specializes in ready-to-wear clothing for men and women, accessories, jewelery, watches, and home furnishings.
  5. Casey’s: A chain of 2,146 convenience stores that are located in the south and midwest.
  6. Cobalt Boats: A manufacturer of recreational motorboats.
  7. Commercial Tire: A chain of tire stores that is based in Boise, Idaho.
  8. Countrywide Financial: The mortgage division of Bank of America.
  9. Crabtree & Evelyn: Once a brick-and-mortar retailer of body and home care products, Crabtree & Evelyn now operates online only.
  10. Cub Foods: A grocery store chain that operates stores in Minnesota and Illinois.
  11. Entercom: The second largest radio company in the United States. Based in Philadelphia, Entercom owns 235 radio stations across 48 media markets.
  12. HCA Healthcare: A for-profit operator of health care facilities that is based in Nashville, Tennessee. HCA “owns and operates 186 hospitals and approximately 2,000 sites of care, including surgery centers, freestanding emergency rooms, urgent care centers, and physician clinics in 21 states and the United Kingdom.
  13. Intel: The world’s largest semiconductor chip manufacturer.
  14. Long & Foster Real Estate: The largest privately-owned real estate firm in the United States.
  15. MasterCraft: A manufacturer of luxury, high-performance boats.
  16. The North Face: An outdoor recreation product company that manufactures clothing, footwear, and outdoor equipment.
  17. Pathmark: A grocery store chain that once operated stores in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland.
  18. Red Lobster: A casual dining restaurant chain that is headquartered in Orlando, Florida. As of June 23, 2020, the company had 719 locations worldwide.
  19. Rent-A-Wreck: A car rental company that leases vehicles that have been previously owned by individuals or other rental car companies. Rent-A-Wreck “is known for accommodating younger drivers and those with poor or no credit.”
  20. Rutter’s: A chain of convenience stores and gas stations with 78 locations in central Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland.
  21. Shop ‘n Save: A “locally owned and operated grocery store chain based in the Pittsburgh area with dozens of supermarket locations in Western Pennsylvania, Western New York, Eastern Ohio, Northern Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia.”
  22. Spectrum Industries: A company based in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin that “designs and manufactures furniture for learning environments.”
  23. TransUnion: A consumer credit reporting agency, TransUnion “collects and aggregates information on over one billion individual consumers in over thirty countries, including ‘200 million files profiling nearly every credit-active consumer in the United States.’”
  24. USA Gasoline: An oil company that operates gas stations in 10 states, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
  25. Valu Home Centers: A privately-owned home improvement chain that is based in Buffalo, New York.
  26. WesBanco: A bank holding company that is headquartered in Wheeling, West Virginia.
In 1968, TransUnion—one of the “Big Three” credit reporting agencies in the United States—was launched.

In 1968, TransUnion—one of the “Big Three” credit reporting agencies in the United States—was launched.

References:

In 1968, Red Lobster, a casual dining restaurant chain that had 719 locations worldwide in 2020, was launched. The first Red Lobster restaurant opened in Lakeland, Florida.

In 1968, Red Lobster, a casual dining restaurant chain that had 719 locations worldwide in 2020, was launched. The first Red Lobster restaurant opened in Lakeland, Florida.

© 2021 Gregory DeVictor

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