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What Happened in 1963 Important News and Events, Key Technology and Popular Culture

What happened in 1963 Major News Stories include Start of Beatlemania, Zip codes implemented, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his "I have a dream" speech, Members of Ku Klux Klan dynamite Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, Sabin oral Polio Vaccine which is taken with a lump of sugar is given nationwide in US and UK, The Profumo Crisis in the UK, President John F Kennedy assassinated

1963 The biggest news from 1963 was the assassination of the US President Kennedy on November 22 which thrust Lyndon Johnson into the role of president and the murder two days later of Lee Harvey Oswald by nightclub owner Jack Ruby. This was a difficult time to become president with the mounting troubles in Vietnam where the Viet Cong Guerrillas had now killed 80 American Advisers and the continued campaign for civil rights by the black community caused violent reactions from whites including Mississippi, Virginia and Alabama where the black civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr was arrested. Films included "The Birds" and "The Great Escape" and popular TV programmes "The Virginian" and "Lassie". ladies fashion clothes and hairstyles included fur boots and towering hair do's for evening wear. In music the beginning of Beatlemania after they release "I Want To Hold Your Hand/I Saw Her Standing There" and "Meet the Beatles".

U.S. -- Kennedy Assassination

President John F Kennedy assassinated in the United States

More Information and Timeline For Kennedy Assassination

1. John F. Kennedy assassinated on Friday, November 22nd , 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas

1a. 1:00 PM CST the 35th President of The United States John Fitzgerald Kennedy is declared dead at Parkland Hospital's Trauma Room

2. Suspects description is given to Dallas Police

3. 13:35 CST Dallas police officer, J. D. Tippit called Lee Harvey Oswald ( Matches Suspects description ) over to the patrol car.

4. Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed Dallas police officer, J. D. Tippit

5. 13:37 CST Oswald enters a nearby movie theater without buying a ticket

6. 13:40 CST Oswald is arrested by police officer, M.N. McDonald

7. Oswald is charged later that evening with the murder of President John F. Kennedy and Officer J. D. Tippit

8. Jack Ruby murders John F. Kennedy's suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald During the transportation of Oswald from Dallas Police Headquarters to the Dallas County Jail on November 24 News Events live on television.

9.President Lyndon Baines Johnson sworn in as President on Air Force One at Love Field Airport in Dallas just over two hours after President Kennedy assassinated

The ten-month investigation by the commission set up by President Lyndon Baines Johnson, The Warren Commission, 1963 - 1964, concluded that the President was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone and that Jack Ruby acted alone when he killed Oswald before he could stand trial

Conspiracy theories are still expounded and discussed in books and the media nearly 50 years after the Kennedy Assassination and range from the The Soviet KGB to the United States CIA,

Caribbean -- Hurricane Flora

1. Hurricane Flora began as a tropical depression that formed on September 26th near the Cape Verde Islands.

2. By September 30th it achieved hurricane status and was officially named Flora.

3. After it became a hurricane it first hit Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada. For a short moment the storm became a Category 5 hurricane with winds exceeding 170 miles per hour.

4. On October 2nd it hit Haiti as a Category 4 hurricane.

5. October 4th through October 8th the storm hit Cuba where it did a tremendous amount of damage.

6. The storm began dissipating on October 9th.

7. The reports of the death toll vary between about 6,000 and 8,000, making it one of the deadliest hurricanes to hit the Atlantic in the 20th Century. It also did millions of dollars worth of damage and destroyed thousands of homes and buildings throughout the Caribbean.

United States -- Alcatraz Penitentiary Closes

1. Alcatraz, located in the San Francisco Bay, is first explored by Juan Manuel de Ayala who named it after the pelicans that inhabited the island in 1775.

2. The United States government bought the island in 1849.

3. It was turned into a fort which was used during the Civil War.

4. After that it was turned into a military prison, in 1909 the U.S. Army demolished the fort and began building a prison which was finished in 1912.

5. In 1933 control of the the island was transferred to the United States Department of Justice.

6. The Justice Department turned it into a maximum security prison which began operating on July 1, 1934.

7. The prison at Alcatraz, known as "The Rock," was intended to house the most unruly and dangerous prisoners from other facilities.

8. Some famous inmates included gangster Al Capone, George “Machine-Gun” Kelly, Robert Stroud (known as the Birdman of Alcatraz), and James “Whitey” Bulger.

9. Due to the high cost of daily maintenance and repairs, Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary closes on March 21st, 1963.

10. In November of 1969, a group of Native American protesters claimed the island as native land and demanded that it be turned into a Native American cultural center. The occupation ended in June of 1971 after Federal Marshals removed remaining occupiers from the island.

11. In 1972, the United States Congress established the Golden Gate National Recreation Area which included Alcatraz and the following year it was opened to the public.

12. In 1986 it was declared a National Historic Landmark.

Space - Mariner 2 Mission Ends

NASA loses contact with the Mariner 2 spacecraft on January 3rd, bringing an end to the successful mission. The Mariner 2 spacecraft had been launched on August 27, 1962. In December of 1962 it became the first mission to successfully observe another planet when it flew past Venus. Before contact was lost, it had transmitted data back to Earth about the temperature, atmosphere, magnetic fields, and radiation of Venus.

USSR - The First Woman in Space

The Soviet Union launches the Vostok 6 spacecraft, carrying Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space.

More Information for Vostok 6

The Soviet Union launches the Vostok 6 spacecraft during June . The mission carried cosmonaut Valentina V. Tereshkova as she became the first woman in space. During the mission medical experiments were conducted to test the effects of space travel on a female body and live video of Tereshkova was broadcast on television in the Soviet Union. The flight also involved the Vostok 5 spacecraft which was also in space at the time. The two crafts flew together and communicated with each other by using two-way radio throughout the mission. The Vostok 6 was in space for 3 days, after which it came to an end and Valentina Tereshkova safely returned to Earth.

United States - ZIP Codes Introduced

ZIP Codes are implemented in the U.S.

More Information for ZIP Codes

1. The United States Postal Service launches the ZIP Code System during July of 1963.

2. The name ZIP stood for "Zoning Improvement Plan" and was a system developed to make mail delivery more efficient within the United States.

3. Prior to the ZIP code's roll-out the Postal Service expanded distribution centers and began to assign a five digit code for every address in the United States.

4. Each digit in a ZIP code represents different geographical markers with the first digit representing a general region in the U.S., the second and third for a sectional center, and the last two digits for a local post office or postal zone.

Cost of Living 1963 - How Much things cost

Yearly Inflation Rate USA 1.24%

Year End Close Dow Jones 762

Average Cost of new house $12,650.00

Average Income per year $5,807.00 -

Average Cost of a new car $3,233.00 -

Cost of a gallon of Gas 29 cents

Loaf of bread 22 cents

Oven ready Turkeys 39 cents per pound

Sirloin Steaks 89 cents per pound

Eggs per dozen 45 cents

Below are some Prices for UK guides in Pounds Sterling

Average House Price 2,950

New Ford Cortina 591

Yearly Inflation Rate UK 1.8%

Few Examples of Houses For Sale


Lowell Massachusetts

New Homes on large tree wooded plots, colored bath and kitchen fixtures, full basement formica kitchen 3 bedrooms
From $15,500


Frederick Maryland

3 bedroom ranch, 2 baths, modern kithen with built in appliances , full basement oil fired heating , with double garage


Mansfield Ohio

Two story Brick Built large living room built in fireplace, den , dining room , kitchen , 3 bedrooms , attached garage house needs repairs and decorating


Van Nuys California

Custom Built Home 3 bedrooms living room , dining room and seperate detatched guest house double garage small orchard

Popular Culture 1963

This was the year an Insurance firm State Mutual Life Insurance invented the Smiley Face found on anything and everything around the world including T Shirts , it's popularity was at it's peak in the 1960's

The Beatles release their first album Please Please Me.

The first episode of the BBC television series Doctor Who is broadcast

Bob Dylan walks off the Ed Sullivan show

Beatles Release I Want To Hold Your Hand/I Saw Her Standing There and Meet the Beatles which is the beginning of Beatlemania.

Beatle's Release "She Loves You" in UK which goes to Number 1 for 4 weeks August 23rd

Popular Films


The Longest Day

Lawrence of Arabia

Mutiny on the Bounty

To Kill a Mockingbird

Popular Musicians

The Beatles

Roy Orbison

Buddy Holly

The Drifters

Jim Reeves

Popular TV Programmes

Coronation Street

The Andy Griffith Show

The Flintstones

Mister Ed

The Avengers

The Dick Van Dyke Show

World -- Beatlemania The Early Years

Beatles Release I Want To Hold Your Hand/I Saw Her Standing There and Meet the Beatles

More Information and Timeline For The Early Years of Beatlemania

1a. October 5th 1962 Beatles release first single in UK "Love Me Do" reached Number 17 in UK charts

1b. April 27th 1964 Beatles release single in U.S.A. "Love Me Do" reached Number 1 in US charts

2a. January 11th Beatles release second single in UK "Please Please Me" reached Number 1 in UK New Musical Express Chart

2b. February 25th Beatles release second single in U.S.A. "Please Please Me" with "Ask Me Why" on the B-side, no impact on US Charts

2c. January 3rd 1964 Beatles re-released single in U.S.A. "Please Please Me" with "From Me to You" on the B-side, reached number 3 in the US Hot 100

3a. November 29th Beatles release single "I Want to Hold Your Hand" with "This Boy" on the B-side which charts at Number 1 in UK

3b. November 29th 1963 Beatles release single "I Want to Hold Your Hand" with "I Saw Her Standing There" on the B-side which charts at Number 1 in the US Hot 100

4. Following TV shows, press interviews, and a weekly radio show in the UK the term Beatlemania is born

5. Beatlemania took hold in the United States after The Beatles performed live on The Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday February 9th, 16th and 23rd 1964

The Beatles could do no wrong from 1963 to when they split in late 1969 with fans accepting and embracing each change in music style, I was lucky enough to be a teenager in those years and looking back now 50 years later it was a great time in popular culture to be a teenager.

Beatles recorded their very first full-length album "Please Please Me"

The iconic rock band the Beatles recorded their very first full-length album during February and early the entire album was recorded in one day. The album was titled Please Please Me after their single and featured a mix of original songs by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, as well as popular covers. Some of the most popular tracks from the album included "I Saw Her Standing There," "Love Me Do,"and "Twist and Shout." It was released in March of that year and topped the charts in the United Kingdom for thirty weeks until it was replaced by another Beatles album, "With The Beatles."

UK -- The Profumo Scandal

The Profumo Crisis in the UK causing resignations from the cabinet caused by war minister John Profumo having an affair with Christina Wheeler who was also involved with a Soviet Navy officer

More Information and Timeline For The Profumo Affair

1. 1961 John Profumo meets Christine Keeler, a London call girl at a house party at Cliveden, the Buckinghamshire mansion owned by Lord Astor.

2. July 1961 John Profumo begins affair with Christine Keeler

3. 1961 Christine Keeler is also sleeping with drug dealer Johnny Edgecombe

4. 1961 Christine Keeler is also having an affair with Yevgeni Ivanov, a naval attache at the embassy of the Soviet Union

5. August 1961 Sir Roger Hollis head of MI5 asks Cabinet Secretary, Sir Norman Brook to talk to John Profumo to end relationship with Christine Keeler

6. 1962 Affair becomes public when press releases story

7. March 1963 John Profumo stated to the House of Commons that there was "no impropriety whatever" in his relationship with Keeler

8. On June 5th John Profumo resigns following his admission that he had lied to the House re: relationship with Christine Keeler

Reading through this now seems pretty tame compared with many other scandals over the years but because of Soviet Connection, his role as Secretary of State for War and Christine Keeler's other affairs with gangland figures and drug dealers it was a major news story.

United States -- Studebaker Ends Production

Studebaker the US Car Maker goes out of business and Ends production

More Information and Timeline For Studebaker

1. 1852 Studebaker Founded in South Bend, Indiana to produce wagons for farmers, miners, and the military

2. 1857 Studebaker begins making horse drawn wagons for the US Army

3. 1902 Studebaker begins making Electric vehicles

4. 1904 Studebaker began making gasoline-engined five-passenger touring cars in partnership with Garford

5. 1920's Annual production capacity was 180,000 cars employing 23,000 staff

6. 1920's multiple plants in Detroit, South Bend and Walkerville Canada

7. Great Depression Studebaker like many other car makers struggled following the Wall Street Crash of 1929 till the later 30's

8. World War II Studebaker produced the Studebaker US6 truck and the M29 Weasel cargo and personnel carrier

9. World War II Studebaker produced the Studebaker US6 truck and the M29 Weasel cargo and personnel carrier

10. Early 1950s Industry price war between Ford and General Motors leaves smaller manufacturers like Studebaker struggling to compete

11. 1954 Packard takes over Studebaker

12. 1963 December 20th South Bend plant produced its last Studebaker car in the United States

13. 1966 the last Studebaker plant in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada ends production

Following the dominance of Ford and GM with aggressive pricing, streamlined production and lower labor costs few independent car makers survived and Studebaker is one of many who were swallowed up or ended car production.

1963 Mens and Womens Fashion Clothes

Fashion Clothing Examples From 1963 Oxford Step In Dress, Whipcord Suits, Dramatic Gown, Tapered Shirt, Roman Coin Print Tunic, Insulated Suit

Fashion Accessories Examples From 1963 Tapestry Hat and Bag, Velvet Ringlet, Buckle Oxford, Needletoe Western Boot, Draped Turban

Toys From The Year 1963

1963 Toys including Moon Robot, Toy Dog Set, Tiny Chatty Babies, Little Miss Echo, Indianapolis 500 Racer, DigiCompi

U.S. -- Final Project Mercury Mission

NASA's final Project Mercury mission carrying astronaut Gordon Cooper launches from Cape Canaveral.

More Information for Mercury-Atlas 9

The final Project Mercury mission, Mercury-Atlas 9, is launched by NASA during May . The Faith 7 spacecraft carried astronaut Gordon Cooper into space for about 34 hours during which he orbited the Earth 22 times. The purpose of the mission was to test the limits of the Mercury space capsule. Cooper's flight was about three times longer than any other human space flight that had been completed at that point in history. It also marked the final time that NASA launched a solo orbital mission. Near the end of the flight Cooper experienced several technical problems but was able to overcome them and successfully returned to Earth.

United State - Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

The US Senate approves the PTBT.

More Information for the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

The United States Senate approved ratification of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) during September . The Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty banned all nuclear weapon testing that was not conducted underground, prohibiting atmospheric, outer space, and under water tests. It was originally signed by the United States, United Kingdom and Soviet Union. The ban helped to slow down the nuclear arms race and eventually 123 more countries ratified the treaty, making it nearly universal..

Yugoslavia -- President Tito

Yugoslavia declares President Tito President for Life.

More Information for President Tito.

The nation of Yugoslavia became the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in April and the country's leader, Josip Broz Tito, was named as the "President for Life." The changes to the European nation's name and Tito's authority were a part of several socialist reforms added into the country's constitution during that year. With his increased authority, Tito relaxed many religious and political restrictions and helped to improve the economy by encouraging foreign tourism and the expansion of private enterprise. Tito was generally liked by the people and was commended for going against Soviet-era communism and developing a successful form of socialism. Tito died in 1980 and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia broke up in 1992.

More News and Key Events From 1963

South Korea - Civilian Rule

Korea returns to Civilian Rule

UK - American Express

American Express introduces Credit Cards Into The UK

Libya - earthquake

An earthquake in Libya destroys the village of Barce - 500 dead

Yugoslavia -- earthquake

An Earthquake Strikes Skopje, Yugoslavia destroying 80% of the city

Greece -- Bloodless Military coup

Bloodless Military coup deposes President George Papadopoulos

Saipan -- Typhoon Olive

Typhoon Olive with 110MPH Winds destroyed most of the homes on the Island of Saipan

United States - Alcatraz

Alcatraz federal penitentiary known as "The Rock" closes

Haiti -- Hurricane Flora

Hurricane Flora a massive storm kills 6,000 in Haiti, Cuba, Trinidad, and Tobago, Grenada,

Germany - Berlin Wall

1st Beeching Report suggests closing 25% of British Rail

U.S. -- Polio Vaccine

The Sabin oral Polio Vaccine which is taken with a lump of sugar is given nationwide in US and UK

Kenya -- Independence

Kenya Gains Independence from Britain

US - Gideon v. Wainwright

In the Supreme Court case of Gideon v. Wainwright rules that a fair trial "cannot be realized if the poor man charged with [the] crime has to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him."

US - Ku Klux Klan

Members of Ku Klux Klan dynamite Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama killing 4 young girls causing US Wide public outrage and Condemnation for the action.

Bangladesh - Tsunami

A hurricane and resulting Tsunami cause Flooding in East Pakistan Bangladesh kills 22,000

U.S. - Indiana State Fair Coliseum

Indiana State Fair Coliseum Explosion kills 74

World -- Religeon

World Religions status: 890 million Christians, 200 million Buddhists, 365 million Hindus, 13 million Jews

U.S. - USS Thresher

Nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Thresher sinks in the Atlantic Ocean

Venezuela - Student riots

Student riots break out all over Coro and Valencia, Venezuela.

Vatican - Pope John XXIII

Pope John XXIII dies on June 3rd

Pope Paul VI is elected by College of Cardinals.

Russia / US - "hot line" established

The United States and the Soviet Union agree to establish a "hot line" on June 20th a direct communication system between the two nations to prevent a possible Nuclear War.

UK - Great Train Robbery

The Great Train Robbery takes place in Buckinghamshire, England

U.S. - Lottery

First US State Lottery in New Hampshire

U.S. - Martin Luther King, Jr

Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his "I have a dream" speech

U.S. - James Meredith

James Meredith becomes the first African American to graduate from the University of Mississippi

Born This Year in 1963

Big Kenny ( Big & Rich ) November 1st

Tatum O'Neal November 5th

Michael Jordan February 17th

Johnny Depp June 6th

Brad Pitt December 18th

Whitney Houston August 9th

Lisa Kudrow July 30th

Quentin Tarantino March 27th

Helen Hunt June 15th

George Michael June 25th


AT&T introduces touch tone phones

Flymo Sells first Hover Mower

The first prototype Learjet takes off

Zip codes implemented in US

Lava Lamp or The Astro Lamp Launched by Edward Craven Walker

Inventions Invented by Inventors and Country ( or attributed to First Use )

Tape Cassette Netherlands ( Philips ) used to record and play audio

Pull Tab Can As Used For Soda U.S.A. Alcoa Company

Calendar For The Year 1963

1963 Calendar

Major World Political Leaders

Australia -- Prime Minister -- Sir Robert Menzies --

Brazil -- President -- Joao Goulart --

Canada -- Prime Minister -- John Diefenbaker -- till April 22,

Canada -- Prime Minister -- Lester B. Pearson -- from April 22,

China -- Chairman of the People's Republic of China -- Liu Shaoqi --

France -- President -- Charles de Gaulle --


Germany -- Chancellor -- Konrad Adenauer -- Till 16 October

Germany -- Chancellor -- Ludwig Erhard -- From 16 October

India -- Prime Minister -- Jawahar Lal Nehru --

Italy -- Prime Minister -- Amintore Fanfani -- Till 21 June

Italy -- Prime Minister -- Giovanni Leone -- From 21 June

Italy -- Prime Minister -- Giovanni Leone -- Till 4 December

Italy -- Prime Minister -- Aldo Moro -- From 4 December

Japan -- Prime Minister -- Hayato Ikeda --

Mexico -- President -- Adolfo Lopez Mateos --

Russia / Soviet Union -- First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union -- Nikita Khrushchev --

South Africa -- Prime Minister -- Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd --

United States -- President -- John F. Kennedy -- Till November 22,

United States -- President -- Lyndon B. Johnson -- From November 22,

United Kingdom -- Prime Minister -- Harold Macmillan -- Till 19 October

United Kingdom -- Prime Minister -- Sir Alec Douglas-Home -- From 19 October