Gregory DeVictor is a trivia enthusiast who loves to write articles on American nostalgia.
What Happened in the Year 1973?
What are some fun facts, trivia, and history events from the year 1973? What were some of the top news stories in the U.S. and around the world, and what major events took place in the business and financial sectors? What was popular in everyday life, and what happened in science, technology, sports, and in the entertainment industry? From world leaders to pioneers to innovators, who were the most influential people in 1973? What about famous birthdays, marriages, and deaths that year, as well as how much things cost at the grocery store? Finally, what was the year 1973 best known for, and was it a good or bad year overall?
Here is a summary of what took place in 1973:
- The U.S. economy was plagued with high inflation, an oil crisis, rising unemployment, and the worst recession since the 1930s. 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.
- Inflation tripled from 3.4% to 9.6% and put an end to post-World War II economic expansion.
- General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler laid off 100,000 workers. Wall Street was in a bear market, and stagflation presented a dilemma for U.S. economic policy.
- The Senate Watergate Committee began to televise its hearings, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion, and the Endangered Species Act was passed.
- President Nixon signed legislation that approved construction of the Alaska pipeline.
- Martin Cooper invented the first handheld mobile phone, and Nathaniel Wyeth received a patent for shatter-resistant beverage bottles.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was invented by a team led by John Mallard.
- The 110-story Sears Tower opened in Chicago, and the Oldsmobile Toronado was the first car with a passenger airbag.
- Sales of vodka surpassed whiskey sales in the U.S. for the first time.
- The “Cod Wars” continued between the UK and Iceland.
- The “three-day working week” was announced in the United Kingdom.
- Back in the year 1973, Walkie Talkies were popular Christmas gifts, Stove Top Stuffing first appeared on grocery store shelves, and the average tuition at a four-year public college was $358.
- Michael and Jennifer were favorite baby names, and Hamburger Helper and pasta primavera were all the rage.
- The Exorcist was the most popular film, Jonathan Livingston Seagull was the best-selling fiction book, and All in the Family (CBS) was the top TV show.
- The Sting won an Oscar for Best Picture, M*A*S*H* (CBS) won an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, and Bette Midler won a Grammy for Best New Artist.
- Bonanza, Laugh-In, and Mission Impossible all ended their TV runs.
- The Miami Dolphins were the Super Bowl champs, the Oakland Athletics won the World Series, and the Montreal Canadiens clinched the Stanley Cup.
- In the year 1973, U.S. unemployment was 5.6%, the average family income was $12,900, and a new house cost around $32,500.
- The retail price for a gallon of gas averaged 39 cents, the minimum wage was $1.60 per hour, and an ounce of gold cost $106.48.
- Eggs were 69 cents a dozen, Oreos were 59 cents for a 19-ounce package, and peanut butter was 99 cents for a 2½-pound jar.
Here are the most popular TV shows from 1973-74:
- All in the Family (CBS)
- The Waltons (CBS)
- Sanford and Son (NBC)
- M*A*S*H (CBS)
- Hawaii Five-O (CBS)
Here are ten cool food and beverage trends for the year:
- Carrot cake
- Deviled eggs
- Hamburger Helper
- Jello salads
- Pasta primavera
- Zucchini bread
This article teaches you fun facts, trivia, and historical events from the year 1973. 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 1970s-themed trivia quiz.
Table of Contents
For easier reading and referencing, I have divided this article into the following categories:
- Grocery Prices in the Year 1973
- History Facts From the USA
- International News
- Sports Trivia
- Miscellaneous Fun Facts, Trivia, and Pop Culture Trends
- Best-Selling Books
- Highest-Grossing Films
- Most Popular Television Shows From 1973-74
- Cool Pop Music Artists
- Top Music Hits for the Year
- Food and Beverage Trivia
- Famous People Born in 1973
- Well-Known People Who Died
- America’s Largest Corporations
- Retailers From 1973 That No Longer Exist
- Companies and Brands Established
1. Grocery Prices in the Year 1973
These grocery facts 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
- 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
- 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 tripled from 3.4% to 9.6% 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.)
- 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.
3. International News
- 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
4. Sports Trivia
This information has been made available courtesy of Pop-Culture.us. Generally suitable for all age groups, sports questions and answers are a welcome addition to any trivia quiz.
- 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
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 1970s, radio, film, television, and books defined the essence of American pop culture.
- For the first time in U.S. history, women were allowed to serve on juries in all 50 states.
- Life expectancy at birth was 71.4 years.
- The first metric-distance road signs in the United States were posted between Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio.
- 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.
- 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.
6. Best-Selling 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
7. Highest-Grossing Films
This movie news has been made available courtesy of The-Numbers.com.
- The Exorcist
- The Sting
- American Graffiti
- The Way We Were
- Magnum Force
- Live and Let Die
- Robin Hood
- Paper Moon
8. Most Popular Television Shows From 1973-74
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)
9. 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
10. 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
11. Food and Beverage Trivia
Here are some foods and beverages that were popular in 1973:
- 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
12. 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
13. Well-Known People Who Died
- 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
14. America’s Largest Corporations
- General Motors
- Exxon Mobil
- Ford Motor
- General Electric
- ITT Industries
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 and Brands Established
Startups included 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.
- The Numbers - Top-Grossing Movies of 1973
Top-Grossing Movies of 1973
- Patagonia Mission Statement - Our Reason For Being
Our values reflect those of a business started by a band of climbers and surfers, and the minimalist style they promoted. Read our mission statement here.
- Carpentersville Illinois Grocery Advertisements from the 60's and 70's - Look at those prices !!
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- Grocery Prices in 1973 | The Common Room
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- Retail Hell Underground: Grocery Newspaper Ad From 1973
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Gregory DeVictor