1973 Fun Facts, Trivia, and History
History Facts From the Year 1973
What are some fun facts, trivia, and history from the year 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.
Back in 1973, U.S. unemployment was 5.6%, the average family income was $12,900, a new house cost around $32,500, and the retail price for a gallon of gas averaged 38.5 cents. 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. “Far out” was slang for something cool, a “boob tube” was a television, and “foxy” meant good looking.
Here are some more history facts from the year 1973: 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 top 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.
Famous people in the news back in 1973 included Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Leonid Brezhnev, George Steinbrenner, Pope Paul VI, Henry Kissinger, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, John McCain, Queen Elizabeth II, Billie Jean King, Stevie Wonder, Mary Tyler Moore, Barbra Streisand, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Tom Bradley.
Whether you’re a millennial, a 50-something, or a baby boomer, this article teaches you fun facts, cool trivia, and history from the year 1973. Find out about popular TV shows, movies, music, books, cars, interesting foods, sports facts, fashion fads, and other pop culture trends to get the right mix of trivia questions for your 1970s-themed party game.
Table of Contents
For your convenience, I have divided this article into the following categories:
- Grocery Prices in the Year 1973
- History Facts From the USA and World
- Random Sports Facts
- Miscellaneous Fun Facts, Trivia, and Pop Culture Trends
- Ten Bestselling Books
- Most Popular Movies
- 1973/1974’s Most Popular Television Shows (according to Nielsen)
- Cool Pop Music Artists
- Top Music Hits for the Year
- Famous People Born in 1973
- Famous People Who Died in the Year 1973
- Popular Foods & Beverages
- America’s Biggest Companies
- Retailers From 1973 That No Longer Exist
- Companies Established in 1973
1. Grocery Prices in the Year 1973
These facts from the American grocery industry have been made available courtesy of the Morris County Public Library in Whippany, NJ.
- Acorn squash - 10 cents per pound
- Apples - 28 cents per pound
- Applesauce - Five 16-ounce cans for $1.00
- Back ribs - 89 cents per pound
- Ballantine Beer - Six 12-ounce cans for 99 cents
- Beef bones - 59 cents per pound
- Beef liver - 79 cents per pound
- Broccoli - 39 cents per bunch
- Butter - $1.00 for a one-pound package
- California oranges - 25 for $1.00
- California strawberries - Three pints for $1.00
- Canfield’s Draft Root Beer - Six 16-ounce bottles for 79 cents (no deposit required)
- Carrots - 19 cents per pound
- Cascade - Giant size for 59 cents
- Chicken livers - $1.09 per pound
- Chop suey meat - 89 cents per pound
- Chun King Egg Rolls - Six-ounce package for 59 cents
- Coca-Cola - Eight 16-ounce bottles for 79 cents (plus deposit where required)
- Covered Wagon Sliced Beef - Three three-ounce packages for $1.00
- Creamed cottage cheese - 49 cents for 16 ounces
- Crisco Shortening - Three-pound can for 69 cents
- Cucumbers - Four for 39 cents
- Diet Rite or Dr. Pepper - Eight 16-ounce bottles for 69 cents (plus deposit where required)
- Drewrys Beer - 12 12-ounce bottles for $1.79
- Eggs - 69 cents per dozen
- El Dorado Pre-Cooked Shrimp - 10-ounce package for 79 cents
- Folgers Coffee - Three-pound can for $2.19
- Frozen orange juice - Three 12-ounce cans for $1.00
- Gain Laundry Detergent - Giant size for 69 cents
- Garlic - 19 cents per head
- Green Giant Niblets Corn - Four 12-ounce cans for $1.00
- Green beans - 29 cents per pound
- Green cabbage - 19 cents per pound
- Green onions - Four bunches for 39 cents
- Green peppers - Four for 39 cents
- Ground chuck - 99 cents per pound
- Haddock - 89 cents per pound
- Hamm’s Beer - 12 12-ounce cans for $2.05
- Hot dogs - 85 cents for a 12-ounce package of 10
- Ice cream (assorted varieties) - 79 cents per half gallon
- Italian sausage - 79 cents per pound
- Ivory Dish Detergent - Giant size for 49 cents
- Kraft Salad Oil - 48-ounce jug for 99 cents
- Lemons - Five for 59 cents
- Macaroni - One-pound bag for 25 cents
- Margarine - 39 cents for a one-pound package
- Miracle Whip - 56 cents per quart
- Monarch Charcoal - 20-pound bag for 97 cents
- Northern Paper Towels - Three jumbo rolls for $1.00
- Onions - 19 cents per pound
- Oreos - 19-ounce package for 59 cents
- Parkay Margarine - 29 cents for a one-pound package
- Parmesan cheese - 95 cents for eight ounces
- Parsley - 19 cents per bunch
- Peanut butter - 99 cents for a 2½ pound jar
- Pork loin - 98 cents per pound
- Pork roast - 63 cents per pound
- Pot roast - 79 cents per pound
- Potatoes - 10 pounds for 89 cents
- Purex Bleach - 49 cents for a gallon jug
- Radishes - Four bunches for 39 cents
- Red plums - 39 cents per pound
- Roasting chickens - 39 cents per pound
- Sliced bacon - $1.09 per pound
- Sour cream - 49 cents for 16 ounces
- Sunshine Hi-Ho Crackers - 16-ounce box for 43 cents
- Swanson Chicken TV Dinner - 49 cents each
- Swiss steak - 99 cents per pound
- Tomatoes - 19 cents per pound
- White Cloud Bath Tissue - Two-roll package for 14 cents
- White bread - Five 1¼ pound loaves for $1.00
- Yams - 19 cents per pound
- Yogurt (assorted varieties) - 29 cents for eight ounces
2. History Facts From the USA and World
- Richard Nixon was President of the United States and Spiro Agnew was Vice President.
- The U.S. population was 211,908,788.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Because of the recession, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Chrysler closed a number of plants affecting 100,000 workers.
- Due to the increase in gas prices, Japanese cars with smaller engines had an impact on the U.S. auto industry.
- In May 1973, a gallon of gas cost 38.5 cents. By 1975, the price was up to 57 cents a gallon.
- 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.”
- Watergate hearings began and Richard Nixon told the nation in November: “I am not a crook.”
- Archibald Cox was appointed the special prosecutor in the Watergate scandals.
- 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.
- In a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court (Roe vs. Wade), abortion was legalized.
- On November 16, 1973, President Nixon signed legislation that approved construction of the Alaska pipeline.
- The Endangered Species Act was passed.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was invented.
- 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.
- An ounce of gold was $106.48.
- The minimum wage was $1.60 per hour.
- The average household income was $12,900.
- The average home price was $32,500.
- The average monthly rent was $175.
- The prime rate was 9.75%.
- The mortgage interest rate was 8.82%.
- The Consumer Price Index was 44.4.
- Unemployment was 5.6%.
- The Dow Jones high for 1973 was 1,051; the low was 788.
- Federal spending was $245.71 billion.
- Great Britain, Ireland, and Denmark join the EEC.
- The “Cod Wars” continued between Great Britain and Iceland.
- The Bahamas gained independence from Great Britain.
- Syria and Egypt attacked Israel on Yom Kippur.
- The “three-day working week” was announced in the UK.
3. Random Sports Facts
This information has been made available courtesy of Pop-Culture.us. Generally suitable for all age groups, sports trivia questions and answers are a welcome addition to any party game.
- 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
4. Miscellaneous Fun Facts, Trivia, and Pop Culture Trends
For the first time in U.S. history, women were allowed to serve on juries in all 50 states.
Life expectancy was 71.4 years.
The first metric-distance road signs in the United States were posted between Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio.
The first Wrexham Asda Superstore opened in the UK.
Carl Sontheimer invented the Cuisinart.
Motorola engineer Martin Cooper invented the first handheld mobile phone.
The Oldsmobile Toronado was the first car to have airbags.
Average college tuition at a public four-year school was $358 and $1,561 at a private four-year school.
The Sydney Opera House opened.
The Sears Tower opened in Chicago and was the tallest building in the world until the Petronas Towers in Malaysia was completed in 1998.
Popular baby names were Amy, Jennifer, Kimberly, Michelle, Christopher, James, Jason, and Michael.
Miss USA was Amanda Jones (Illinois).
Miss America was Terry Meeuwsen (Wisconsin).
The cost of a Super Bowl ad was $88,000.
Popular Christmas gifts included Anti-Monopoly, Raleigh Chopper bikes, Dungeons & Dragons, Pente, and Shrinky Dinks.
Time Magazine’s "Man of the Year" was John Sirica.
Actor Allan “Rocky” Lane died. Between 1961-1966, he was the voice of the talking horse on the television show Mister Ed.
American playwright William Motter Inge also passed away. He was the author of film classics like Picnic, Splendor in the Grass, and Bus Stop.
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.
Promise Margarine and Stove Top Stuffing first appeared on U.S. grocery shelves.
Flame seedless grapes first appeared in American grocery stores.
Charms Blow Pop, a candy and bubble gum in one, was branded in 1973.
California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) was founded in Santa Cruz, California.
For the first time in U.S. history, sales of vodka surpassed whiskey sales.
H.J. Heinz was unable to fill ketchup orders to McDonald’s because of a tomato shortage.
Colman's Mustard celebrated its 150th anniversary.
The following television shows ended their runs in 1973: Bonanza, Laugh-In, Mission Impossible, and The Mod Squad.
The following television shows premiered in 1973: Kojak, Barnaby Jones, Police Story, and The Young and the Restless.
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).
Academy Award winners included The Sting (Best Picture), Jack Lemmon (Best Actor), Glenda Jackson (Best Actress), and George Roy Hill (Best Director).
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)
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).
A first-class stamp cost $0.08.
Airmail was 10 cents per ounce.
A postcard cost $0.05.
A Ford Galaxie 500 cost $3,883.
An AMC Javelin was $2,900.
A walkie-talkie set cost $13.88.
An eight-track stereo tape player was $44.50.
A crock pot cost $17.79.
A pair of men’s paisley slacks was $23.49.
A metal ice cube tray cost 91 cents.
A Raleigh Triumph bicycle was $97.95.
5. Ten Bestselling Books
This book trivia has been made available courtesy of PublishersWeekly.com.
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
- Once Is Not Enough by Jacqueline Susann
- Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
- The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth
- Burr by Gore Vidal
- The Hollow Hills by Mary Stewart
- Evening in Byzantium by Irwin Shaw
- The Matlock Paper by Robert Ludlum
- The Billion Dollar Sure Thing by Paul. E. Erdman
- The Honorary Consul by Graham Green
6. Most Popular Movies
This film news has been made available courtesy of BoxOfficeMojo.com
- The Exorcist
- The Sting
- American Graffiti
- Robin Hood
- The Day of the Jackal
- Jesus Christ Superstar
- High Plains Drifter
- Enter the Dragon
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)
8. Cool Pop Music 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 Music Hits for the Year
These history facts from the American music industry have been made available courtesy of MusicOutfitters.com:
Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree - Tony Orlando and Dawn
Bad, Bad Leroy Brown - Jim Croce
Killing Me Softly With His Song - Roberta Flack
Let's Get It On - Marvin Gaye
My Love - Paul McCartney and Wings
Why Me - Kris Kristofferson
Crocodile Rock - Elton John
Will It Go Round in Circles - Billy Preston
You're So Vain - Carly Simon
Touch Me In the Morning - Diana Ross
The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia - Vicki Lawrence
Playground In My Mind - Clint Holmes
Brother Louie - Stories
Delta Dawn - Helen Reddy
Me and Mrs. Jones - Billy Paul
Frankenstein - The Edgar Winter Group
Drift Away - Dobie Gray
Little Willy - Sweet
You Are the Sunshine of My Life - Stevie Wonder
Half-Breed - Cher
That Lady, Parts 1 & 2 - The Isley Brothers
Pillow Talk - Sylvia
We're An American Band - Grand Funk Railroad
Right Place, Wrong Time - Dr. John
Wildflower - Skylark
10. Famous People Born in 1973
- Seth MacFarlane - Actor, filmmaker, and singer
- Adrien Brody - Actor and producer
- Tori Spelling - Actress, television personality, socialite, and author
- Juliette Lewis - Actress and singer
- Heidi Klum - Model, television personality, businesswoman, fashion designer, singer, television producer, author, and actress
- Neil Patrick Harris - Actor, writer, producer, comedian, magician, and singer
- Pharrell Williams - Rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, performance artist, and fashion designer
- Kate Beckinsale - Actress
- Dave Chappelle - Stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and producer
- Tyra Banks - Television personality, producer, businesswoman, actress, author, former model, and occasional singer
- Ichiro Suzuki - Former professional baseball outfielder
- Monica Lewinsky - Activist, television personality, fashion designer, and former White House intern
11. Famous People Who Died in the Year 1973
William Nolde - last U.S. soldier killed in Vietnam
Wallace "Wally" Cox - American comedian and actor (Mister, Underdog, Peepers, Hollywood Squares)
Pearl S. Buck - American author (Good Earth)
Murat "Chic" Young - U.S. comic strip artist (Blondie)
Noel Coward - English playwright (Private Letters)
Ralph Miller - 19th century baseball player (Brooklyn Bridegrooms & Baltimore Orioles)
Harvey S. Firestone, Jr. - U.S. tire manufacturer
Elizabeth "Betty" Grable - American singer, dancer, pin-up girl, and actress (I Wake Up Screaming, How to Marry a Millionaire, Gay Divorcee)
Richard Marshall - U.S. Army General
J.R.R. Tolkien - British author (The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings)
Paavo “Flying Finn” Nurmi - athlete who won six Olympic gold medals
David Ben-Gurion - founding father of Israel
12. Popular Foods & Beverages
These fun facts and trivia from 1973 have been made available courtesy of TheDailyMeal.com.
- Black forest cake
- Carrot cake
- Cheese balls & logs
- Deviled eggs
- Hamburger Helper
- Hungry Man Frozen Entrees
- Jello salads
- 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.
- Pasta primavera
- Zucchini bread
13. America’s Biggest Companies
Goodyear Tire & Rubber
Procter & Gamble
14. 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.
15. 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
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