Theme Day - 1968

It's a Theme Day over on The DreamCage and AlbieMedia today, celebrating the year 1968. As well as all the great articles on both sites, here's Fifty Random Facts from the headlines and pop culture of the year...

Read all the 1968 articles on The DreamCage and AlbieMedia.

First Class post was first introduced in the UK in 1968 with a stamp costing 5d instead of 4d and leading to complaints of “over-complicating an already complicated process.”

The number one song in the US Billboard Year-end Hot 100 was Hey Jude by the Beatles.

1968 saw the very first performance of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat by pupils of Colet Court preparatory school in Hammersmith

The film version of the musical Oliver! hit the big screens in 1968, forever cementing Ron Moody as everyone’s mental image of Fagin.

BBC Radio Nottingham hosted the UKs first ever radio phone-in programme in 1968 about problems with the council called What Are They Up to Now?

The best-selling single in the UK charts in 1968 was Louis Armstrong’s (What A) Wonderful World

Tom Wolfe's books The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and The Pump House Gang are published on the same day. Both go on to become best-sellers and cement Wolfe's status as one of the generation's leading social critics and chroniclers of the counterculture of the 1960s.

The Theatres Act 1968 abolished censorship of the stage in the United Kingdom, receiving royal assent on 26 July 1968, after passing both Houses of Parliament.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 1968 saw the publication of Philip K Dick’s iconic novel that inspired the Blade-runner films.

1968 saw the first appearance of The Wombles in a book by Elizabeth Beresford.

In 1968 we were introduced to The Wizard of Earthsea as the first of the Earthsea trilogy by Ursula le Guin is published

Erich von Däniken’s ground breaking hypothesis that the technologies and religions of many ancient civilizations were given to them by ancient astronauts who were welcomed as gods is published in 1968 as Chariots of the Gods?

The autobiographical account of the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA was written by James D. Watson and published in 1968.

Cecil Day-Lewis (father of Sir Daniel) is announced as the new Poet Laureate of the UK after the death of John Masefield.

MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors was a 1968 novel by Richard Hooker (the pen name for former military surgeon Dr. H. Richard Hornberger and writer W. C. Heinz) and was the inspiration for the film and TV series.

Top five fiction books in the US in 1968:
     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

In 1968, John Lennon, after taking a large amount of LSD, called an emergency meeting of The Beatles to inform them that he was in fact, Jesus Christ reincarnated.

In 1968 there was not one but four mysterious submarine disappearances. The USS Scorpion, the Israeli submarine INS Dakar, the French submarine Minerve and the Soviet submarine K-129 all went down. No reason has ever been given.

Robert Kennedy was assassinated during the same week that the Rolling Stones were recording Sympathy for the Devil. The original lyrics were "I shouted out 'Who killed Kennedy?'" but Jagger changed it to "I shouted out 'Who killed the Kennedys?'"

In 1968, after an argument, Ringo Starr temporarily quit the Beatles during the recording of the White Album. The drum track for Back In the U.S.S.R. was played by Paul McCartney.

Night of the Living Dead (1968) is a public domain film because when distributors changed the name from "Night of the Flesh Eaters" to "Night of the Living Dead", they accidentally removed the copyright indication on the prints.

In 1968, Roy Jacuzzi invented the first self-contained, fully integrated whirlpool bath

The Ford Escort was introduced in 1968, replacing the Ford Anglia.

Enoch Powell is dismissed from the Shadow Cabinet by Opposition leader Edward Heath due to the Rivers of Blood Speech, despite several opinion polls stating that the majority of the public shared Mr Powell's fears.

The BBC sitcom Dad's Army is first aired on television in July 1968.

The US musical Hair opens in London following the removal of theatre censorship. The director of the London production of Hair, Tom O'Horgan, said: "I think that the famed nude scene has been greatly over-emphasised.

The M1 motorway is completed in October 1968 when the final 35-mile section opens between Rotherham and Leeds.

The first Big Mac goes on sale in McDonalds in the US costing 49 cents

Anti-Vietnam war demonstrations turn violent in London as 8,000 to 10,000 protesters marched from Trafalgar Square to the United States Embassy in Grosvenor Square.

The Intel Corporation was founded in Santa Clara, California during July 1968 by engineers Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce

Following the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968

London Bridge wasn’t falling down in 1968, it was sold for £1 million and later re-erected in Arizona. It was only then the buyers discovered that they thought it was Tower Bridge.

The Kray twins were arrested for the murders of George Cornell and Jack 'The Hat' McVitie, members of the London underworld.

The Zodiac serial murderer begins his reign of terror in California in what has been described as the perfect crime. He claimed in letters sent to the newspapers to have murdered 37, but police files put the number at 11. ( He has never been caught )

Stanley Kubrick told journalists to pronounce the "2001" in "2001: A Space Odyssey" as "two thousand and one" in the hope that the movie would influence the pronunciation of that year.

The 21st Cannes Film Festival was cut short after a volatile period of civil unrest in France during May 1968. Only 11 out of the planned 28 films in competition were screened and no awards were handed out.

The film In The Heat of the Night was the big winner at the Oscars, scooping 5 wins out of its 7 nominations including Best Picture

The Booker Prize was created in 1968, although the first award wasn’t handed out until the next year, won by the novel Something to Answer For by P H Newby

The Morecambe and Wise Show began airing in 1968 on BBC2, specifically because it was then the only channel broadcasting in colour.

Cult TV show The Prisoner finished its 17 episode run in 1968. According to one of the series co-creators Number 6 was always meant to be John Drake from the TV series Danger Man, which is why it was Patrick McGoohan.

Even though decimalisation wasn’t introduced until 1971 in the UK, 1968 saw the first 5p and 10p coins come into circulation, at a comparative value of 1 shilling and 2 shillings respectively, in preparation for the changeover.

The film Where Eagles Dare came out in 1968 but it’s not generally known that Alistair McLean wrote the script for the film before the novel of the same name which was published in 1967.

Cliff Richard was second in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1968 with Congratulations by only one vote, with Spain’s La La La winning. There were later allegations of Spanish vote rigging.

Boris Karloff won a Grammy Award in 1968 for his recording of Dr Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas

1968 saw Led Zeppelin perform for the first time, billed as The New Yardbirds (the Yardbirds had disbanded two months earlier, and guitarist Jimmy Page has subsequently formed this new group).

Barbra Streisand won the 1968 Academy Award for Best Actress for the role of Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, sharing it with Katharine Hepburn ( who won for The Lion in Winter), This is the only time there has been a tie in this Oscar category.

The best-selling album of the year for 1968 in the UK was the soundtrack for the film The Sound Of Music despite it being released 3 years earlier.

The Marvel character Iron Man finally got his own comic in 1968 from Writer: Archie Goodwin and Artists: Gene Colan and Johnny Craig. after appearing as a character in Tales of Suspense. Doctor Strange, Captain America and The Incredible Hulk also get their own titles as existing comics series are renamed.

Released in 1968, Barbarella was the first science fiction hero from the comics to be adapted into a feature film, as opposed to a serial (Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, her male predecessors, had only appeared in serials up to this point).

In 1968 a radio appearance led Quentin Crisp to write his autobiography. It was anything but an instant success, selling only 3500 copies and it was only 8 years later, when The Naked Civil Servant was adapted as a film starring John Hurt that it achieved the acclaim it deserved.