1973 Fun Facts, Trivia, and News

Updated on January 9, 2019
Gregory DeVictor profile image

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

What are some fun facts, trivia, and news from 1973? For openers, the U.S. economy was plagued with high inflation, an oil crisis, rising unemployment, and the worst recession since the 1930s. The Senate Watergate Committee began its televised hearings, Stove Top Stuffing first appeared in U.S. grocery stores, and the average college tuition at a public four-year school was $358 and $1,561 at a private four-year school.

In 1973, life expectancy was 71.4 years, Martin Cooper invented the first handheld mobile phone, and the Sears Tower opened in Chicago and was the tallest building in the world for the next 25 years. A McDonald’s Big Mac cost 65 cents, the Oakland Athletics won the World Series, and Roberta Flack won three Grammy Awards for “Killing Me Softly with His Song.”

U.S. unemployment was 5.6%, the average family income was $12,900, and a new house cost around $32,500. Oreos were 59 cents for a 19-ounce package, Miracle Whip was 56 cents per quart, and Folgers Coffee was $2.19 for a three-pound can. “Killer diller” was slang for something awesome, a “boob tube” was a television, and “foxy” meant good looking.

Walkie Talkies and Raleigh Triumph bicycles were favorite Christmas gifts, long-running soap “The Young and the Restless” premiered, and Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby. Jonathan Livingston Seagull was a national bestseller, Michael and Jennifer were popular baby names, and the Oldsmobile Toronado was the first car with a passenger airbag.

On the international stage, Syria and Egypt attacked Israel on Yom Kippur, the “Cod Wars” continued between the UK and Iceland, and the “three-day working week” was announced in the United Kingdom.

Whether you’re a millennial, a 50-something, or a baby boomer, this article teaches you fun facts, trivia, and news from 1973.

Table of Contents

For your convenience, I have divided this article into the following categories:

  1. Grocery Prices in 1973
  2. Major News Events
  3. Sports Trivia
  4. Miscellaneous Fun Facts and Trivia from 1973
  5. Ten Bestselling Books
  6. Most Popular Movies
  7. 1973/1974’s Most Popular Television Shows (according to Nielsen)
  8. Biggest Pop Artists
  9. Top 25 Songs
  10. Heartthrobs & Hunks
  11. Famous People Born in 1973
  12. Famous People Who Died in 1973
  13. Popular Foods & Beverages
  14. America’s Biggest Companies
  15. Retailers From 1973 That No Longer Exist
  16. Companies Established in 1973

Long-running soap “The Young and the Restless” premiered in 1973. Here are the original cast members.
Long-running soap “The Young and the Restless” premiered in 1973. Here are the original cast members.

1. Grocery Prices in 1973

  1. Acorn squash - 10 cents per pound

  2. Apples - 28 cents per pound

  3. Applesauce - Five 16-ounce cans for $1.00

  4. Back ribs - 89 cents per pound

  5. Ballantine Beer - Six 12-ounce cans for 99 cents

  6. Beef bones - 59 cents per pound

  7. Beef liver - 79 cents per pound

  8. Broccoli - 39 cents per bunch

  9. Butter - $1.00 for a one-pound package

  10. California oranges - 25 for $1.00

  11. California strawberries - Three pints for $1.00

  12. Canfield’s Draft Root Beer - Six 16-ounce bottles for 79 cents (no deposit required)

  13. Carrots - 19 cents per pound

  14. Cascade - Giant size for 59 cents

  15. Chicken livers - $1.09 per pound

  16. Chop suey meat - 89 cents per pound

  17. Chun King Egg Rolls - Six-ounce package for 59 cents

  18. Coca-Cola - Eight 16-ounce bottles for 79 cents (plus deposit where required)

  19. Covered Wagon Sliced Beef - Three three-ounce packages for $1.00

  20. Creamed cottage cheese - 49 cents for 16 ounces

  21. Crisco Shortening - Three-pound can for 69 cents

  22. Cucumbers - Four for 39 cents

  23. Diet Rite or Dr. Pepper - Eight 16-ounce bottles for 69 cents (plus deposit where required)

  24. Drewrys Beer - 12 12-ounce bottles for $1.79

  25. Eggs - 69 cents per dozen

  26. El Dorado Pre-Cooked Shrimp - 10-ounce package for 79 cents

  27. Folgers Coffee - Three-pound can for $2.19

  28. Frozen orange juice - Three 12-ounce cans for $1.00

  29. Gain Laundry Detergent - Giant size for 69 cents

  30. Garlic - 19 cents per head

  31. Green Giant Niblets Corn - Four 12-ounce cans for $1.00

  32. Green beans - 29 cents per pound

  33. Green cabbage - 19 cents per pound

  34. Green onions - Four bunches for 39 cents

  35. Green peppers - Four for 39 cents

  36. Ground chuck - 99 cents per pound

  37. Haddock - 89 cents per pound

  38. Hamm’s Beer - 12 12-ounce cans for $2.05

  39. Hot dogs - 85 cents for a 12-ounce package of 10

  40. Ice cream (assorted varieties) - 79 cents per half gallon

  41. Italian sausage - 79 cents per pound

  42. Ivory Dish Detergent - Giant size for 49 cents

  43. Kraft Salad Oil - 48-ounce jug for 99 cents

  44. Lemons - Five for 59 cents

  45. Macaroni - One-pound bag for 25 cents

  46. Margarine - 39 cents for a one-pound package

  47. Miracle Whip - 56 cents per quart

  48. Monarch Charcoal - 20-pound bag for 97 cents

  49. Northern Paper Towels - Three jumbo rolls for $1.00

  50. Onions - 19 cents per pound

  51. Oreos - 19-ounce package for 59 cents

  52. Parkay Margarine - 29 cents for a one-pound package

  53. Parmesan cheese - 95 cents for eight ounces

  54. Parsley - 19 cents per bunch

  55. Peanut butter - 99 cents for a 2½ pound jar

  56. Pork loin - 98 cents per pound

  57. Pork roast - 63 cents per pound

  58. Pot roast - 79 cents per pound

  59. Potatoes - 10 pounds for 89 cents

  60. Purex Bleach - 49 cents for a gallon jug

  61. Radishes - Four bunches for 39 cents

  62. Red plums - 39 cents per pound

  63. Roasting chickens - 39 cents per pound

  64. Sliced bacon - $1.09 per pound

  65. Sour cream - 49 cents for 16 ounces

  66. Sunshine Hi-Ho Crackers - 16-ounce box for 43 cents

  67. Swanson Chicken TV Dinner - 49 cents each

  68. Swiss steak - 99 cents per pound

  69. Tomatoes - 19 cents per pound

  70. White Cloud Bath Tissue - Two-roll package for 14 cents

  71. White bread - Five 1¼ pound loaves for $1.00

  72. Yams - 19 cents per pound

  73. Yogurt (assorted varieties) - 29 cents for eight ounces

Anti-Monopoly was a popular Christmas gift in 1973.
Anti-Monopoly was a popular Christmas gift in 1973.

2. Major News Events

Domestic news:

  1. Richard Nixon was President of the United States and Spiro Agnew was Vice President.
  2. The U.S. population was 211,908,788.
  3. In 1973, inflation was 6.22% and put an end to post-World War II economic expansion. The inflation rate rose to 11.04% in 1974 and dropped to 9.13% a year later. (Between 1975 and 2018, the average inflation rate was 3.66% per year.)
  4. To make matters worse, 1973 marked the beginning of a recession in the U.S. and Europe that lasted until 1975. In the United States, the recession came about because of an OPEC oil embargo against the U.S., major government spending on the Vietnam War, a large Soviet purchase of corn, wheat, and soybeans during 1972, and a Wall Street crash that caused a bear market.
  5. Because of the recession, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Chrysler closed a number of plants affecting 100,000 workers.
  6. Due to the increase in gas prices, Japanese cars with smaller engines had an impact on the U.S. auto industry.
  7. In May 1973, a gallon of gas cost 38.5 cents. By 1975, the price was up to 57 cents a gallon.
  8. In 1973, the average miles per gallon was 13. According to the EPA, “GM's fuel economy rose to 23 miles per gallon in 2017.”
  9. Watergate hearings began and Richard Nixon told the nation in November: “I am not a crook.”
  10. Archibald Cox was appointed the special prosecutor in the Watergate scandals.
  11. The Paris Peace Accords were signed on January 27, 1973, ending U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. The agreement was signed between the United States, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and the Viet Cong.
  12. In a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court (Roe vs. Wade), abortion was legalized.
  13. On November 16, 1973, President Nixon signed legislation that approved construction of the Alaska pipeline.
  14. The Endangered Species Act was passed.
  15. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was invented.
  16. Nathaniel Wyeth received a patent for shatter-resistant PET (polyethylene terephthalate) beverage bottles. Over the years, the PET bottle has replaced the glass bottle for many consumer products including alcohol, beer, cooking oils, household cleaning agents, juice, personal care items, soda, water, and wine.
  17. An ounce of gold was $106.48.
  18. The minimum wage was $1.60 per hour.
  19. The average household income was $12,900.
  20. The average home price was $32,500.
  21. The average monthly rent was $175.
  22. The prime rate was 9.75%.
  23. The mortgage interest rate was 8.82%.
  24. The Consumer Price Index was 44.4.
  25. Unemployment was 5.6%.
  26. The Dow Jones high for 1973 was 1,051; the low was 788.
  27. Federal spending was $245.71 billion.

International news:

  1. Great Britain, Ireland, and Denmark join the EEC.
  2. The “Cod Wars” continued between Great Britain and Iceland.
  3. The Bahamas gained independence from Great Britain.
  4. Syria and Egypt attacked Israel on Yom Kippur.
  5. The “three-day working week” was announced in the UK.

3. Sports Trivia

These facts have been made available courtesy of Pop-Culture.us.

  • World Series Champions - Oakland Athletics
  • NFL Champions - Miami Dolphins
  • NBA Champions - New York Knicks
  • Stanley Cup Champs - Montreal Canadiens
  • NCAA Football Champions - Alabama & Notre Dame
  • NCAA Basketball Champions - UCLA
  • U.S. Open Golf - Johnny Miller
  • U.S. Tennis (men/women) - John Newcombe/Margaret Smith Court
  • Wimbledon (men/women) - Jan Kodes/Billie Jean King
  • Kentucky Derby - Secretariat

Stove Top Stuffing first appeared in U.S. grocery stores in 1973.
Stove Top Stuffing first appeared in U.S. grocery stores in 1973.

4. Miscellaneous Fun Facts and Trivia from 1973

  1. For the first time in U.S. history, women were allowed to serve on juries in all 50 states.

  2. Life expectancy was 71.4 years.

  3. The first metric-distance road signs in the United States were posted between Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio.

  4. The first Wrexham Asda Superstore opened in the UK.

  5. Carl Sontheimer invented the Cuisinart.

  6. Motorola engineer Martin Cooper invented the first handheld mobile phone.

  7. The Oldsmobile Toronado was the first car to have airbags.

  8. Average college tuition at a public four-year school was $358 and $1,561 at a private four-year school.

  9. The Sydney Opera House opened.

  10. The Sears Tower opened in Chicago and was the tallest building in the world until the Petronas Towers in Malaysia was completed in 1998.

  11. Popular baby names were Amy, Jennifer, Kimberly, Michelle, Christopher, James, Jason, and Michael.

  12. Miss USA was Amanda Jones (Illinois).

  13. Miss America was Terry Meeuwsen (Wisconsin).

  14. The cost of a Super Bowl ad was $88,000.

  15. Popular Christmas gifts included Anti-Monopoly, Raleigh Chopper bikes, Dungeons & Dragons, Pente, and Shrinky Dinks.

  16. Time Magazine’s Man of the Year was John Sirica.

  17. Actor Allan “Rocky” Lane died. Between 1961-1966, he was the voice of the talking horse on the television show “Mister Ed.”

  18. American playwright William Motter Inge also passed away. He was the author of film classics like Picnic, Splendor in the Grass, and Bus Stop.

  19. English author and poet J.R.R. Tolkien died. He was the author of “high fantasy” works such as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

  20. Promise Margarine and Stove Top Stuffing first appeared on U.S. grocery shelves.

  21. Flame seedless grapes first appeared in American grocery stores.

  22. Charms Blow Pop, a candy and bubble gum in one, was branded in 1973.

  23. California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) was founded in Santa Cruz, California.

  24. For the first time in U.S. history, sales of vodka surpassed whiskey sales.

  25. H.J. Heinz was unable to fill ketchup orders to McDonald’s because of a tomato shortage.

  26. Colman's Mustard celebrated its 150th anniversary.

  27. The following television shows ended their runs in 1973: Bonanza, Laugh-In, Mission Impossible, and The Mod Squad.

  28. The following television shows premiered in 1973: Kojak, Barnaby Jones, Police Story, and The Young and the Restless.

  29. The most popular CDs in 1973 were Brothers and Sisters (Allman Brothers), Chicago VI (Chicago), Goat’s Head Soup (Rolling Stones), Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John), and Living in a Material World (George Harrison).

  30. Academy Award winners included The Sting (Best Picture), Jack Lemmon (Best Actor), Glenda Jackson (Best Actress), and George Roy Hill (Best Director).

  31. Grammy Award winners included Bette Midler (Best New Artist) and Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly with His Song” (Best Pop Female Vocal, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year)

  32. Emmy Award winners included Masterpiece Theatre: Upstairs, Downstairs (PBS, Best Drama), M*A*S*H* (CBS, Best Comedy), Alan Alda (Best Actor in Comedy), Mary Tyler Moore (Best Actress in Comedy), and the Carol Burnett Show (Best Variety).

  33. A first-class stamp cost $0.08.

  34. Airmail was 10 cents per ounce.

  35. A postcard cost $0.05.

  36. A Ford Galaxie 500 cost $3,883.

  37. An AMC Javelin was $2,900.

  38. A walkie-talkie set cost $13.88.

  39. An eight-track stereo tape player was $44.50.

  40. A crock pot cost $17.79.

  41. A pair of men’s paisley slacks was $23.49.

  42. A metal ice cube tray cost 91 cents.

  43. A Raleigh Triumph bicycle was $97.95.

  44. Famous quotes of the year included:

The Exorcist was the most popular film of 1973.
The Exorcist was the most popular film of 1973.

5. Ten Bestselling Books

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

  1. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
  2. Once Is Not Enough by Jacqueline Susann
  3. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
  4. The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth
  5. Burr by Gore Vidal
  6. The Hollow Hills by Mary Stewart
  7. Evening in Byzantium by Irwin Shaw
  8. The Matlock Paper by Robert Ludlum
  9. The Billion Dollar Sure Thing by Paul. E. Erdman
  10. The Honorary Consul by Graham Green

6. Most Popular Movies

This film news has been made available courtesy of BoxOfficeMojo.com

  1. The Exorcist
  2. Papillon
  3. The Sting
  4. American Graffiti
  5. Robin Hood
  6. The Day of the Jackal
  7. Jesus Christ Superstar
  8. High Plains Drifter
  9. Enter the Dragon
  10. Westworld

7. 1973/1974’s Most Popular Television Shows (According to Nielsen)

1. All in the Family (CBS)

2. The Waltons (CBS)

3. Sanford and Son (NBC)

4. M*A*S*H (CBS)

5. Hawaii Five-O (CBS)

6. Maude (CBS)

7. Kojak (CBS)

8. The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour (CBS)

9. The Mary Tyler Moore Show (CBS)

10. Cannon (CBS)

M*A*S*H (CBS) was a popular television show in 1973.
M*A*S*H (CBS) was a popular television show in 1973.

8. Biggest Pop Artists

These fun facts and trivia from 1973 have been made available courtesy of Pop-Culture.us:

Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Barry White, Billy Preston, Bobby Womack, The Carpenters, Dawn featuring Tony Orlando, Diana Ross, Donny Osmond, Eddie Kendricks, Elton John, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Helen Reddy, The Jackson 5, James Brown, Jim Croce, Joe Simon, Johnnie Taylor, Kool & the Gang, Curtis Mayfield, Love Unlimited, The Manhattans, Marvin Gaye, Maureen McGovern, The O'Jays, Paul McCartney & Wings, Paul Simon, The Spinners, The Staple Singers, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, The Stylistics, The Temptations, Three Dog Night, Tower of Power, and War

9. Top 25 Songs

This pop culture news has been made available courtesy of MusicOutfitters.com:

  1. Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree - Tony Orlando and Dawn

  2. Bad, Bad Leroy Brown - Jim Croce

  3. Killing Me Softly With His Song - Roberta Flack

  4. Let's Get It On - Marvin Gaye

  5. My Love - Paul McCartney and Wings

  6. Why Me - Kris Kristofferson

  7. Crocodile Rock - Elton John

  8. Will It Go Round in Circles - Billy Preston

  9. You're So Vain - Carly Simon

  10. Touch Me In the Morning - Diana Ross

  11. The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia - Vicki Lawrence

  12. Playground In My Mind - Clint Holmes

  13. Brother Louie - Stories

  14. Delta Dawn - Helen Reddy

  15. Me and Mrs. Jones - Billy Paul

  16. Frankenstein - The Edgar Winter Group

  17. Drift Away - Dobie Gray

  18. Little Willy - Sweet

  19. You Are the Sunshine of My Life - Stevie Wonder

  20. Half-Breed - Cher

  21. That Lady, Parts 1 & 2 - The Isley Brothers

  22. Pillow Talk - Sylvia

  23. We're An American Band - Grand Funk Railroad

  24. Right Place, Wrong Time - Dr. John

  25. Wildflower - Skylark

Charms Blow Pop, a candy and bubble gum in one, was branded in 1973.
Charms Blow Pop, a candy and bubble gum in one, was branded in 1973.

10. Heartthrobs & Hunks

Heartthrobs included Jacqueline Bisset, Christie Brinkley, Carol Burnett, Dyan Cannon, Veronica Carlson, Diahann Carroll, Karen Graham, Pam Grier, Margaux Hemingway, Lauren Hutton, Beverly Johnson, Peggy Lipton, Maureen McCormick, Liza Minnelli, Mary Tyler Moore, Caroline Munro, Suzanne Pleshette, Diana Ross, Cybill Shepherd, Maria Schneider, Barbra Streisand, Jane Seymour, and Twiggy.

Hunks included Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Richard Roundtree, and Marlon Brando.

11. Famous People Born in 1973

  1. Seth MacFarlane - Actor, filmmaker, and singer
  2. Adrien Brody - Actor and producer
  3. Tori Spelling - Actress, television personality, socialite, and author
  4. Juliette Lewis - Actress and singer
  5. Heidi Klum - Model, television personality, businesswoman, fashion designer, singer, television producer, author, and actress
  6. Neil Patrick Harris - Actor, writer, producer, comedian, magician, and singer
  7. Pharrell Williams - Rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, performance artist, and fashion designer
  8. Kate Beckinsale - Actress
  9. Dave Chappelle - Stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and producer
  10. Tyra Banks - Television personality, producer, businesswoman, actress, author, former model, and occasional singer
  11. Ichiro Suzuki - Former professional baseball outfielder
  12. Monica Lewinsky - Activist, television personality, fashion designer, and former White House intern

12. Famous People Who Died in 1973

  1. William Nolde - last U.S. soldier killed in Vietnam

  2. Wallace "Wally" Cox - American comedian and actor (Mister, Underdog, Peepers, Hollywood Squares)

  3. Pearl S. Buck - American author (Good Earth)

  4. Murat "Chic" Young - U.S. comic strip artist (Blondie)

  5. Noel Coward - English playwright (Private Letters)

  6. Ralph Miller - 19th century baseball player (Brooklyn Bridegrooms & Baltimore Orioles)

  7. Harvey S. Firestone, Jr. - U.S. tire manufacturer

  8. Elizabeth "Betty" Grable - American singer, dancer, pin-up girl, and actress (I Wake Up Screaming, How to Marry a Millionaire, Gay Divorcee)

  9. Richard Marshall - U.S. Army General

  10. J.R.R. Tolkien - British author (The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings)

  11. Paavo “Flying Finn” Nurmi - athlete who won six Olympic gold medals

  12. David Ben-Gurion - founding father of Israel

Quiche was a real crowd-pleaser in 1973.
Quiche was a real crowd-pleaser in 1973.

13. Popular Foods & Beverages

These fun facts and trivia from 1973 have been made available courtesy of TheDailyMeal.com.

  1. Black forest cake
  2. Carrot cake
  3. Cheese balls & logs
  4. Crepes
  5. Deviled eggs
  6. Hamburger Helper
  7. Hungry Man Frozen Entrees
  8. Jello salads
  9. Koogle - A peanut spread in flavors like cinnamon, banana, vanilla, and chocolate. Koogle was released by Kraft in 1971 and became an immediate hit among children due to its wacky commercials.
  10. Pasta primavera
  11. Quiche
  12. Spaghettios
  13. Spam
  14. Tab
  15. Zucchini bread

14. America’s Biggest Companies

  1. General Motors

  2. Exxon Mobil

  3. Ford Motor

  4. General Electric

  5. Chrysler

  6. IBM

  7. Mobil

  8. Texaco

  9. ITT Industries

  10. AT&T

  11. Gulf Oil

  12. Chevron Texaco

  13. U.S. Steel

  14. CBS

  15. Amoco

  16. DuPont

  17. Shell Oil

  18. Goodyear Tire & Rubber

  19. RCA

  20. Procter & Gamble

  21. LTV

  22. Navistar International

  23. Eastman Kodak

  24. Conoco

  25. Atlantic Richfield

15. Retailers From 1973 That No Longer Exist

Ames, Arthur Andersen, Bonwit Teller, Crazy Eddie, E.F. Hutton, Eastern Airlines, FAO Schwarz, Fashion Bug, G.C. Murphy, General Foods (not to be confused with General Mills), Howard Johnson’s, J.J. Newberry, McCrory’s, Montgomery Ward, Paine Webber, PanAm, Sam Goody, Service Merchandise, TWA, Thom McAn, Venture, Waldenbooks, Woolworth’s, W.T. Grant, and Zayre.

Here are 21 grocery store chains from 1973 that no longer exist:

A&P, Alpha Beta, Bell Markets, Big Bear, Cala Foods, Dominick’s, Fazio’s, Food Fair, Grand Union, Great Scott, Jitney Jungle, Loblaws, Lucky Stores, Mayfair Markets, National Tea, Pantry Pride, Pathmark, Penn Fruit, Pick-N-Pay, Thorofare, and Waldbaums.

16. Companies Established in 1973

Arctic Circle Air, Argos, Baymont Inn & Suites, Billabong (clothing), Bimota, Bird’s Eye, Cablevision, Chapman’s, Cherokee Inc., Compuware, Crabtree & Evelyn, Expro, FedEx, Glen Dimplex, Good Guys, Lipper, Louisiana-Pacific, Men’s Wearhouse, NHS, Inc., RE/MAX, Republic Airlines, Roots Canada, Viking Air, and Wellby Super Drug

Mission: Impossible (CBS) ended a seven-year run on March 30, 1973.
Mission: Impossible (CBS) ended a seven-year run on March 30, 1973.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Gregory DeVictor

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