On This Day

What Happened in October 1961

Historical Events

  • Oct 1 The Beach Boys record their debut single "Surfin", introducing a new musical style
  • Oct 1 A volcanco believed to be extinct erupts in Tristan da Cunha
  • Oct 1 East & West Cameroon merge as Federal Republic of Cameroon
  • Oct 1 KGIN TV channel 11 in Grand Island, NB (CBS) begins broadcasting

Music Premiere

Oct 1 Premiere of Dmitri Shostakovich's 12nd Symphony

Baseball Record

Oct 1 NY Yankees right-fielder Roger Maris becomes MLB’s all-time home run leader when he passes Babe Ruth's mark with No. 61 off Boston rookie Tracy Stallard in 1-0 win at Yankee Stadium

  • Oct 1 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • Oct 1 WOLO TV channel 25 in Columbia, SC (ABC) begins broadcasting
  • Oct 1 WYAH TV channel 27 in Portsmouth, VA (IND) begins broadcasting
  • Oct 2 American medical drama series "Ben Casey", starring Vince Edwards and Sam Jaffe, premieres on ABC-TV
  • Oct 2 USSR performs 250 kilo-ton nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya, USSR
  • Oct 2 WETA TV channel 26 in Washington, D.C. (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • Oct 2 WHRO TV channel 15 in Hampton-Norfolk, Vitginia (PBS) begins broadcasting

Television Premiere

Oct 3 "The Dick Van Dyke Show" created by Carl Reiner starring Dick van Dyke premieres on CBS-TV

  • Oct 3 TV sitcom "Mr Ed" premieres on CBS
  • Oct 3 "Sail Away" opens at Broadhurst Theater NYC for 167 performances
  • Oct 3 KMED (now KTVL) TV channel 10 in Medford, OR (CBS) begins broadcasting
  • Oct 4 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR

Sports History

Oct 4 NY Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford records 3rd straight Baseball World Series shutout in Yankees 2-0 win v Cincinnati Reds in Game 1 at Yankee Stadium; NY wins series, 4-1

  • Oct 5 China & Nepal sign treaty

Film Premiere

Oct 5 "Breakfast at Tiffany's" film, based on the novella by Truman Capote, directed by Blake Edwards, and starring Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, and Buddy Ebsen, premieres

Historic Event

Oct 6 JFK advises Americans to build fallout shelters

  • Oct 6 USSR performs nuclear tests at Kapustin Yar & Novaya Zemlya USSR

Musical Finale

Oct 7 Charles Strouse and Lee Adams' musical "Bye Bye Birdie", starring Dick Van Dyke, Chita Rivera, and Dick Gautier, closes at Martin Beck Theater, NYC, after 607 performances and 4 Tony Awards

  • Oct 7 15th NHL All-Star Game, Chicago Stadium, Chicago, IL: All-Stars beat Chicago Black Hawks, 3-1
  • Oct 8 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya, USSR
  • Oct 8 NY Yankee pitcher Whitey Ford breaks Babe Ruth's record of 29-2/3 consecutive scoreless innings in the World Series; he goes on to extend the streak to 33-2/3, which stands until 2000
  • Oct 8 American Phil Hill's Ferrari team does not participate in season ending US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen having already clinched World Drivers Championship; English driver Innes Ireland wins Lotus' first ever Grand Prix
  • Oct 9 Tanganyika, in east Africa, becomes independent within British Commonwealth
  • Oct 9 US members of communist party obliged to report themselves to police
  • Oct 9 Volcanic eruptions on Tristan de Cunha (South Atlantic)
  • Oct 9 Baseball World Series: New York Yankees win 19th championship, 4-1; rout Cincinnati Reds, 13-5 at Crosley Field in Game 5; MVP: Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford
  • Oct 10 "Milk & Honey" opens at Martin Beck Theater NYC for 543 performances
  • Oct 10 Expansion draft to stock Houston Astros & NY Mets
  • Oct 10 Otis M Smith appointed to Michigan Supreme Court
  • Oct 10 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

Television Premiere

Oct 10 Variety TV show "The Bob Newhart Show" premieres on NBC in the US

  • Oct 11 USAF Major Robert M White takes X-15 to 66,100m
  • Oct 11 USSR performs nuclear test
  • Oct 12 "Let It Ride" opens at Eugene O'Neill Theater NYC for 68 performances
  • Oct 12 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • Oct 14 Frank Loesser's musical "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying", starring Robert Morse and Rudy Vallée, opens at 46th Street Theatre, NYC; runs for 1415 performances, winning 7 Tony Awards, and a Pulitzer Prize
  • Oct 14 Ryder Cup Golf, Royal Lytham & St Annes: Jerry Barber captains US to 14½-9½ win

LPGA Championship

Oct 15 LPGA Championship Women's Golf, Stardust CC: Mickey Wright convincingly wins her 3rd LPGA title by 9 strokes from Louise Suggs

  • Oct 17 22nd congress of CPSU opens in Moscow
  • Oct 17 Battle of Paris-police kill 210 Algerians

Historic Event

Oct 17 NY Museum of Modern Art hangs Henri Matisse's "Le Bateau" upside-down It wasn't corrected until December 3rd

  • Oct 18 Emergency crisis proclaimed in South Vietnam due to communist attack

Film Release

Oct 18 Film adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical "West Side Story", directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, and starring Natalie Wood, debuts (Academy Award - Best Picture, 1962)

Music History

Oct 21 Barbra Streisand opens in "Another Evening with Harry Stones"

  • Oct 21 USSR performs nuclear test at Sary Shagan USSR
  • Oct 22 75,000 Flemings demand equal rights & Flemish language in Belgium
  • Oct 23 "Kwamina" opens at 54th St Theater NYC for 32 performances
  • Oct 23 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR
  • Oct 24 "Evening with Yves Montand" opens at John Golden Theatre, NYC for 55 performances
  • Oct 25 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR
  • Oct 26 First test flight of Saturn launch vehicle
  • Oct 27 1st Saturn launch vehicle makes an unmanned flight test
  • Oct 27 American Basketball League starts play
  • Oct 27 Outer Mongolia & Mauritania become 102nd & 103rd members of United Nations
  • Oct 27 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya & Sary Shagan USSR
  • Oct 28 "Fiorello!" closes at Broadhurst Theater NYC starring Tom Bosley after 796 performances and a Pulitzer Prize
  • Oct 28 Ground broken for Municipal (Shea) Stadium for NY Mets
  • Oct 29 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • Oct 29 13th NASCAR Sprint Cup: Ned Jarrett wins
  • Oct 30 Soviet Union tests a 58 megaton hydrogen bomb named Tsar Bomba, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated

Historic Event

Oct 30 Soviet Party Congress unanimously approves a resolution removing Stalin's body from Lenin's tomb in Red Square as part of de-Stalinization efforts

  • Oct 31 Hurricane Hattie kills 400 in British Honduras
  • Oct 31 Federal judge rules that laws in Birmingham, Alabama, against integrated playing fields are illegal

Famous Birthdays

  • Oct 1 Corrie van Zyl, South African cricket all-rounder, coach, administrator (RSA coach 2010-11), born in Bloemfontein, Orange Free State
  • Oct 1 Gary Ablett Snr, Australian Rules Football forward (All Australian 1992-95; Norm Smith Medal 1989; Coleman Medal 1993-95; Geelong), born in Drouin, Victoria
  • Oct 1 Robert Rey, Brazilian-American plastic surgeon and television personality
  • Oct 2 Robbie Nevil, American pop singer-songwriter and producer ("A Place Like This"; "C'est La Vie"), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Oct 3 Robbie Jaymes, British rock keyboardist (Modern Romance), born in London
  • Oct 4 David W Harper, American actor (The Waltons - "Jim Bob"), born in Abilene, Texas
  • Oct 4 (Juan) "Jon" Secada, Cuban-American Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter ("Just Another Day"), born in Havana, Cuba
  • Oct 4 Mary Ellen Stuart, American actress (Frannie Crawford-As the World Turns), born in Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Oct 4 Kazuki Takahashi, Japanese author
  • Oct 4 Mike Sharperson, American baseball infielder (MLB All Star 1992; World Series 1988, 95), born in Orangeburg, South Carolina (d. 1996)
  • Oct 5 Sharon Cheslow, American musician, composer and artist, born in Los Angeles, California
  • Oct 5 Matthew Kauffman, American journalist and George Polk Award winner
  • Oct 5 David Kirk, New Zealand rugby union footballer
  • Oct 6 Kathrin Dörre, East German marathoner (Olympic bronze 1988)
  • Oct 6 Tim Burgess, English drummer (T'Pau), born in Macclesfield
  • Oct 7 Matthew Roloff, American reality star, born in San Francisco, California
  • Oct 7 Brian Mannix, Australian rock singer (Uncanny X-men - "How Do You Get Your Kicks?"), and actor, born in Melbourne, Australia
  • Oct 7 Thomas "Tom" Perez, American Chair of the Democratic National Committee, born in Buffalo, New York
  • Oct 7 Tony Sparano, American football coach (Miami Dolphins 2008-11; Oakland Raiders 2014), born in West Haven, Connecticut (d. 2018)
  • Oct 8 Ted Kooshian, American jazz pianist, born in San Jose, California
  • Oct 9 Arlene Boxall, Zimbabwean field hockey player (Olympic gold 1980)
  • Oct 9 Jean Sagal, American actress (Kate-Double Trouble; Grease 2), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Oct 9 Liz Sagal, American actress (Allison-Double Trouble; Grease 2), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Oct 9 Trevor Matich, American NFL center, 1985-96 (New England Patriots, Washington Redskins, and 3 other teams), born in Washington, D.C.
  • Oct 9 Julian Bailey, British racing driver, born in Woolwich, London
  • Oct 10 Brian Lee Diemer, American steeplechase athlete (Olympic bronze 1984), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • Oct 10 Martin Kemp, English rock bassist (Spandau Ballet - "True"), born in London, England
  • Oct 10 Jodi Benson, American voice actress (Ariel-The Little Mermaid), born in Rockford, Illinois
  • Oct 10 Henrik Jørgensen, Danish marathon runner, born in Copenhagen
  • Oct 11 Steve Young, American NFL quarterback (Super Bowl 1988-89, 94 [MVP]; Pro Bowl 1992–98; NFL passing TD leader 1992–94, 98; SF 49ers), born in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Oct 11 Neil Buchanan, English television presenter (Finders Keepers), born in Aintree, Liverpool, England
  • Oct 11 Amr Diab, Egyptian singer (Leily Nehary), born in Port Said, Egypt
  • Oct 13 Derek Harper, American NBA guard (NY Knicks, Orlando Magic), born in Elberton, Georgia
  • Oct 13 Doc Rivers, American NBA guard, 1983-96 (Atlanta Hawks and 3 other teams), and head coach, 1999-present (Orlando Magic (NBA Coach of the Year, 2000); Boston Celtics; LA Clippers; Philadelphia 76ers), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Oct 14 Melanie Wilson, American actress (Jennifer-Perfect Strangers), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Oct 14 Isaac Mizrahi, American fashion designer and TV presenter, born in Brooklyn, New York City
  • Oct 16 Billy Taylor, American MLB baseball pitcher, 1994-2001 (Oakland A's, and 3 other teams), born in Monticello, Florida
  • Oct 16 Chris Doleman, American Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end (8 × Pro Bowl; 3 × First-team All-Pro; Minnesota Vikings), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 2020)
  • Oct 16 Wilfried Brookhuis, soccer player (NEC)
  • Oct 16 Randy Vasquez, American actor
  • Oct 16 Marc Levy, French novelist
  • Oct 17 Mike De Palmer, American tennis player and coach (coach Boris Becker), born in Tampa, Florida (d. 2021)
  • Oct 18 Eric Jespersen, Port Alberni BC, star sailor (Olympic bronze 1992, 96)
  • Oct 18 Gladstone Small, English cricketer, born in St. George, Barbados
  • Oct 18 Wynton Marsalis, American 9-time Grammy Award-winning jazz and classical trumpeter (Pulitzer Prize for "Blood on the Fields"; Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra), born in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Oct 19 Tim Belcher, Sparta Ohio, baseball pitcher (Detroit Tigers, KC Royals)
  • Oct 19 David Egerton, English rugby union #8 (7 caps; Bath Rugby) and broadcaster (BBC), born in Pinner, England (d. 2021)
  • Oct 20 Ian Rush, Welsh footballer (Liverpool), born in St Asaph, Wales
  • Oct 20 Michie Tomizawa, Japanese voice actress (Sailor Moon), born in Maruko, Japan
  • Oct 20 Les Stroud, Canadian survival expert (Survivorman), born in Etobicoke, Ontario
  • Oct 21 Mark Finch, film festival organiser
  • Oct 21 Dimitri Vassilakis, Greek jazz saxophonist, composer (Labyrinth), and educator, born in Athens, Greece
  • Oct 22 Barbara Potter, American tennis player (6 WTA singles titles, 19 doubles), born in Waterbury, Connecticut
  • Oct 22 Leonard Marshall, American football defensive end (Pro Bowl 1985, 86; Super Bowl 1986, 90; NY Giants), born in Franklin, Louisiana
  • Oct 22 Sanath Kaluperuma, Sri Lankan cricket all-rounder (4 Tests; 2 ODIs; Bloomfield CC), born in Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • Oct 22 Robert Torti, American actor
  • Oct 23 Laurie Halse Anderson, American writer (Speak), born in Potsdam, New York
  • Oct 23 Don and Ron Harris, American professional wrestlers
  • Oct 23 Andoni Zubizarreta, Spanish footballer (Barcelona), born in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
  • Oct 24 Rafael Belliard, MLB infielder (Atlanta Braves), born in Pueblo Nuevo, Dominican Republic
  • Oct 24 Susan Kilrain [Still], USN commander and astronaut (STS 83, 94), born in Augusta, Georgia
  • Oct 24 Mary Bono, American politician (Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California 1998-2013), born in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Oct 24 Dave Meltzer, American wrestling journalist and sports historian, born in New York
  • Oct 25 Chad Smith, American drummer (Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1988-present - "Under The Bridge"; Chickenfoot), born in Saint Paul, Minnesota
  • Oct 25 Franck Amsallem, French jazz pianist, arranger, composer, singer and educator, born in Oran, French Algeria
  • Oct 26 Dylan McDermott, American actor (The Practice, American Horror Story), born in Waterbury, Connecticut

Uhuru Kenyatta

Oct 26 Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenyan Prime Minister (2013-) and son of Jomo Kenyatta, born in Nairobi, Kenya

  • Oct 27 Håkan Hardenberger, Swedish classical trumpet soloist, and conductor, born in Malmö, Sweden
  • Oct 27 Igor Butman, Russian-American jazz saxophonist, composer, and bandleader born in Lenningrad, USSR (now St. Petersburg, Russia)
  • Oct 27 Joanna Scanlan, English actress (After Love), born in West Kirby, England
  • Oct 28 Darrell Lavigne, American jazz pianist, composer, and educator, born in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Oct 29 Cornelia Oschkenat, German hurdler, born in Neubrandenburg, East Germany
  • Oct 29 Joel Otto, American NHL center (Philadelphia Flyers, Team USA Olympics 1998), born in Elk River, Minnesota
  • Oct 29 Randy Jackson, American singer and musician, ninth Jackson brother (Jackson 5-ABC), born in Gary, Indiana
  • Oct 30 Hans Segers, Dutch soccer goalkeeper and coach (Wimbledon), born in Eindhoven, Netherlands
  • Oct 30 Scott Garrelts, American baseball player (San Francisco Giants), born in Urbana, Illinois

Dmitry Muratov

Oct 30 Dmitry Muratov, Russian journalist (Novaya Gazeta, 2021 Nobel Peace Prize), born in Kuibyshev, Russia, Soviet Union

  • Oct 31 Alonzo Babers, American track and field athlete, 400m/4X400m relay (Olympic gold 1984), born in Montgomery, Alabama
  • Oct 31 Christine Bridged, Australian European class sailor (Olympics 1996), born in Melbourne Australia
  • Oct 31 Larry Mullen, Jr, Irish rock drummer (U2 - "I Will Follow"), born in Dublin, Ireland
  • Oct 31 Sterling Hinds, Canadian 4X100m relayer (Olympic bronze 1984), born in Toronto, Ontario

Peter Jackson

Oct 31 Peter Jackson, New Zealand film director (Lord of the Rings - Academy Award, Best Director, 2003), born in Wellington, New Zealand

  • Oct 31 Kate Campbell, American folk music singer-songwriter, born in New Orleans, Louisiana

Famous Weddings

  • Oct 14 American"The Vampire Chronicles" author Anne O'Brien (20) weds American poet and painter Stan Rice (18) in Denton, Texas

Upton Sinclair

Oct 14 American "The Jungle" author Upton Sinclair (83) weds Mary Elizabeth Willis (79-ish)


Famous Deaths

  • Oct 1 Donald Cook, American actor (Too Young To Go Steady), dies at 60
  • Oct 2 Reggie Spooner, English cricket batsman (10 Tests; dual cricket/rugby union international), dies at 80
  • Oct 4 Max Weber, Polish-Russian-American painter, dies at 80
  • Oct 4 Benjamin (Fedchenkov), Bishop of the Russian Church and Orthodox missionary, dies at 81
  • Oct 5 Don Barbour, American singer (The Four Freshmen), dies at 34
  • Oct 8 Tom Howard, American photo-journalist, dies at 67
  • Oct 11 Leonard "Chico" Marx, comedian (Marx Brothers), dies at 74

Eugene Bullard

Oct 12 Eugene Bullard, 1st African-American military pilot, flew for France in World War I as part of the French Foreign Legion, dies of stomach cancer at 66

  • Oct 13 Maya Deren (born Eleanora Derenkowskaia) American filmmaker dies of a brain hemorrhage aged 44
  • Oct 13 Zoltan Korda, Hungarian-British film director (Jungle Book, 4 Feathers), dies at 66
  • Oct 14 Paul Ramadier, French lawyer and politician (Prime Minister, 1947), dies at 73
  • Oct 14 Harriet Shaw Weaver, British political activist, and magazine editor (The Egoist), dies at 85
  • Oct 18 Tsuru Aoki, Japanese-born American silent film actress (The Dragon Painter) dies at 69
  • Oct 19 Benjamin Merkelbach, Dutch architect and city builder of Amsterdam, dies at 60
  • Oct 19 John Axel Fernstrom, Swedish composer, dies at 63
  • Oct 21 Nils Johan Einar Ferlin, Swedish poet (Barfotabarn), dies at 62
  • Oct 25 Peter Jensen, Danish-American engineer, entrepreneur (Magnavox), and co-inventor (moving-coil loudspeaker), dies at 75
  • Oct 26 Edgar Mayne, Australian cricketer (4 Tests for Australia around WWI), dies at 79
  • Oct 26 Milan Stojadinović, Serbian-Yugoslav political figure and 12th Prime Minister of Yugoslavia (1935-39), dies at 73
  • Oct 30 Luigi Einaudi, economist/1st president Italy, dies