Historical Events in 1961

Events 1 - 200 of 664

  • Jan 1 Briggs Stadium, home of baseball's Detroit Tigers is officially renamed Tigers Stadium
  • Jan 1 Largest check issued, National Bank of Chicago to Sears ($960.242 billion)
  • Jan 1 Russia introduces a new ruble worth $1.11
  • Jan 1 1st AFL Championship, Jeppesen Stadium, Houston; Houston Oilers beat Los Angeles Chargers, 24-16; QB George Blanda 3 TD passes, 3 conversions and a field goal
  • Jan 2 Hawaii's, then all time low temperature, 14°F recorded atop Haleakale
  • Jan 2 47th Rose Bowl: #6 Washington beats #1 Minnesota, 17-7
  • Jan 2 27th Sugar Bowl: #2 Mississippi beats Rice, 14-6
  • Jan 2 27th Orange Bowl: #5 Missouri beats #4 Navy, 21-14
  • Jan 3 Adam Clayton Powell elected Chairman of US House Education & Labor Committee
  • Jan 3 US breaks diplomatic relations with Cuba
  • Jan 3 An explosion at the Nuclear Reactor Testing Station in Idaho Falls kills three operators
  • Jan 4 Longest recorded strike ends as the Danish barbers' assistants end a 33 year strike
  • Jan 7 1st NFL Playoff Bowl (runner-up bowl)-Detroit beats Cleveland 17-16
  • Jan 7 Trucial States (now UAE) issue their 1st postage stamps
  • Jan 8 Bollingen Prize for poetry awarded to Yvor Winters
  • Jan 8 The French vote for Algerian independence from French rule in the wake of seven years of guerrilla war

  • Jan 9 Twins agree on $500,000 payment to AA for Minn/St Paul territory
  • Jan 11 Racial riot at University of Georgia
  • Jan 12 "Show Girl" opens at Eugene O'Neill Theater NYC for 100 performances
  • Jan 12 UN genocide pact goes into effect
  • Jan 14 Chic Bear Willard Dewveall becomes 1st NFLer to join AFL

Sport awardNFL Pro Bowl

Jan 15 11th NFL Pro Bowl, LA Memorial Coliseum: Western Conference beats Eastern Conference, 35-31; MVPs: Johnny Unitas, Baltimore Colts, QB; Sam Huff, NY Giants, LB

NFL Quarterback Johnny Unitas
NFL Quarterback
Johnny Unitas
  • Jan 15 Supremes signed with Motown Records
  • Jan 16 "Conquering Hero" opens at ANTA Theater NYC for 8 performances
  • Jan 16 Russian espionage ring detected in Great Britain

MurderAssassination

Jan 17 Eisenhower allegedly orders assassination of Congo's Patrice Lumumba

34th US President & WWII General Dwight D. Eisenhower
34th US President & WWII General
Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Jan 17 President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers a televised farewell address to the nation three days before leaving office, in which he warns against the accumulation of power by the "military-industrial complex".

Sport awardNBA All-Star Game

Jan 17 11th NBA All-Star Game, Onondaga County Coliseum, Syracuse, NY: West beats East, 153-131; MVP: Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals, PG; at 22, youngest player to receive All-Star MVP honours, 23 points & 14 assists

NBA Player Oscar Robertson
NBA Player
Oscar Robertson
  • Jan 18 Zanzibar's Afro-Shirazi party wins 1 seat by a single vote & parliament by a single seat
  • Jan 19 1st episode of "Dick Van Dyke Show" is filmed
  • Jan 20 Francis Poulenc's "Gloria" premieres in Boston

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 20 Robert Frost recites "Gift Outright" at JFK's inauguration

Poet Robert Frost
Poet
Robert Frost
35th US President John F. Kennedy
35th US President
John F. Kennedy
  • Jan 20 Yugoslav ex-vice-president Milovan Djilas flees
  • Jan 20 The Democrat J.F. Kennedy is inaugurated as President of the United States, the youngest ever sworn in
  • Jan 21 "Conquering Hero" closes at ANTA Theater NYC after 8 performances
  • Jan 21 KIFI TV channel 8 in Idaho Falls, Idaho (NBC) begins broadcasting
  • Jan 21 Portuguese rebels seize cruise ship Santa Maria
  • Jan 23 Supreme Court rules cities & states have right to censor films
  • Jan 23 Venezuela adopts constitution

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 24 Edward Albee's "American Dream" premieres in NYC

Playwright Edward Albee
Playwright
Edward Albee
  • Jan 24 Lazard Brothers Ltd draw a check for $334,867,807.68

Conference meetingConference of Interest

Jan 25 1st live, nationally televised presidential news conference with JFK

35th US President John F. Kennedy
35th US President
John F. Kennedy
  • Jan 25 Military coup in El Salvador

Film release premierFilm Release

Jan 25 Walt Disney's animated film "101 Dalmatians", based on the novel by Dodie Smith and directed by Clyde Geronimi and Hamilton Luske is released in the US

Animator Walt Disney
Animator
Walt Disney

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 25 Toronto left wing Frank Mahovlich scores twice, giving him 39 for the season, and making him highest single season goal scorer in Maple Leafs' history, as Toronto beats Montreal Canadiens, 5-3

NHL Legend Frank Mahovlich
NHL Legend
Frank Mahovlich

Music release#1 in the Charts

Jan 26 "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" by Elvis Presley hits #1

Singer & Cultural Icon Elvis Presley
Singer & Cultural Icon
Elvis Presley
  • Jan 26 1st woman personal physician to a US President - Janet G. Travell (to John F. Kennedy)
  • Jan 27 "Sing Along with Mitch" [Miller] premieres on NBC TV

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 27 Leontyne Price and Franco Corelli make their debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in "Il trovatore", final curtain call lasts 35 mins

Opera Soprano Leontyne Price
Opera Soprano
Leontyne Price
  • Jan 27 Australian Championships Women's Tennis: Margaret Court retains title; repeat of previous year's final beating Jan Lehane O'Neill 6-1, 6-4

Sport awardAustralian Tennis Open

Jan 27 Australian Championships Men's Tennis: Roy Emerson beats fellow Australian Rod Laver 1-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 for his first Grand Slam title

Tennis Player Roy Emerson
Tennis Player
Roy Emerson
Tennis Player Rod Laver
Tennis Player
Rod Laver
  • Jan 28 Republic of Rwanda proclaimed
  • Jan 29 US female Figure Skating championship won by Laurence Owen
  • Jan 29 US male Figure Skating championship won by Bradley Lord
  • Jan 30 Bobby Darin is youngest performer to headline a TV special on NBC
  • Jan 30 JFK asks for an Alliance for Progress & Peace Corps
  • Jan 30 KAET TV channel 8 in Phoenix, AZ (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • Jan 30 Lance Gibbs takes hat-trick (Mackay, Grout, Misson) at Adelaide

Music releaseMusic Single

Jan 30 "I Fall to Pieces" single released by Patsy Cline (Billboard Song of the Year 1961)

Country Music Singer Patsy Cline
Country Music Singer
Patsy Cline

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 31 David Ben-Gurion resigns as Prime Minister of Israel

First Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion
First Israeli Prime Minister
David Ben-Gurion
  • Jan 31 Ham the chimpanzee is 1st primate in space (158 miles) aboard Mercury/Redstone 2
  • Jan 31 Houston voters approve bond to finance luxury domed stadium
  • Jan 31 Kanhai completes twin tons (117 & 115) v Aust at Adelaide
  • Jan 31 NATO secretary-general Paul-Henri Spaak says he'll resign
  • Jan 31 USAF launches Samos spy satellite to replace U-2 flights

Film release premierFilm Premier

Jan 31 "The Misfits" premieres in NYC, final movie for Clark Gable & Marilyn Monroe

  • Jan 31 West Indian cricket batsman Rohan Kanhai scores back-to-back centuries in the drawn 4th Test against Australia in Adelaide; follows 1st innings 117 with 115 in 2nd knock
  • Feb 1 1st full-scale test of US Minuteman ICBM is successful
  • Feb 1 British minister Enoch Powell makes medical insurance more expensive
  • Feb 1 Australian tail-enders Ken Mackay (62no) and Lindsay Kline (15no) hang on for 100 minutes to earn a famous draw on the final day vs West Indies in 4th cricket Test in Adelaide
  • Feb 2 Prince Bernhard opens new RAI building in Amsterdam
  • Feb 3 6th largest snowfall in NYC history (17.4" (44.2cm))
  • Feb 4 Sputnik 7 launches into Earth orbit; probable Venus probe failure
  • Feb 4 "Angolan War of Independence" begins
  • Feb 6 "Jail, No Bail" Jail-in movement starts in Rock Hill, South Carolina
  • Feb 6 KOAP TV channel 10 in Portland, OR (PBS) begins broadcasting

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Feb 7 Jane Fonda made her acting debut in the NBC drama "A String of Beads"

Actress Jane Fonda
Actress
Jane Fonda
  • Feb 9 Joseph Ileo appointed Premier of Congo
  • Feb 10 AFL's LA Chargers move to San Diego
  • Feb 10 Niagara Falls hydroelectric project begins producing power
  • Feb 10 Walter Piston's 7th Symphony premieres
  • Feb 11 Robert Weaver sworn in as Administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency, the 1st African American to be appointed to a US cabinet-level position

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Feb 12 Celtic Bill Russell grabs 40 rebounds to beat Warriors 136-125

Basketball Player Bill Russell
Basketball Player
Bill Russell
  • Feb 12 Pakistani cricketer Mushtaq Mohammad scores his 1st test cricket century for Pakistan at 17 years of age
  • Feb 12 USSR launches Venera 1 toward Venus

Music releaseMusic Recording

Feb 13 Frank Sinatra launches Reprise label under Warner Bros Records

Singer and Actor Frank Sinatra
Singer and Actor
Frank Sinatra
  • Feb 13 Soviet Union fires a rocket from Sputnik V to Venus
  • Feb 14 Element 103, Lawrencium, 1st produced in Berkeley Calif
  • Feb 15 Australia beat West Indies 2-1 in one of best Test Cricket series ever
  • Feb 15 Entire US figure skating team is killed in an air crash outside Brussels airport in Belgium whilst flying to World Championships in Prague from NYC; 72 passengers, including 34 American skaters, coaches, officials, and other members of extended team are lost
  • Feb 16 1st all-solid-propellant rocket put in orbit, Wallops Island, Virginia
  • Feb 16 China uses its 1st nuclear reactor
  • Feb 16 US satellite Explorer 9 is launched
  • Feb 18 Henk van der Grift becomes world champion skater
  • Feb 19 Albania disavows Chinese "Revisionism"
  • Feb 19 Henk van der Grift (Neth) becomes world champ all-round skater
  • Feb 21 Friedrich Durrenmatt's "Die Physiker" premieres in Zurich
  • Feb 21 Gabon adopts constitution
  • Feb 21 Mercury-Atlas 2 reentry Test reaches 172 km
  • Feb 24 Explorer (10) fails to reach Earth orbit
  • Feb 25 Niagara ends St Bonaventura's 99-game home basketball win streak
  • Feb 25 Paul Bikle in glider climbs from 1208 m at release to record 14,10
  • Feb 26 3rd Daytona 500: Marvin Panch wins in a 1960 Pontiac owned by Smokey Yunick when race leader Fireball Roberts' car suffered a blown engine with 13 laps remaining
  • Feb 27 The first congress of the Spanish Trade Union Organisation is inaugurated

AppointmentAppointment of Interest

Feb 28 JFK names Henry Kissinger special advisor

US Secretary of State and Political Scientist Henry Kissinger
US Secretary of State and Political Scientist
Henry Kissinger
35th US President John F. Kennedy
35th US President
John F. Kennedy
  • Mar 1 Cellist Jacqueline du Prés debut in Wigmore Hall
  • Mar 1 US President JFK establishes the Peace Corps
  • Mar 2 "13 Daughters" opens at 54th St Theater NYC for 28 performances
  • Mar 3 King Hassan II ascends to throne of Morocco
  • Mar 4 Paul-Henri Spaak resigns as Secretary-General of NATO
  • Mar 4 8th ACC Men's Basketball Tournament: Wake Forest beats Duke, 96-81

  • Mar 6 1st London minicabs introduced
  • Mar 6 Dutch Queen Juliana celebrates 12½ year jubilee
  • Mar 6 Dutch guilder revalued 4.74%
  • Mar 8 Jean Kerr's "Mary, Mary" premieres in NYC

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Mar 8 US nuclear submarine Patrick Henry arrives at Scottish naval base of Holy Loch from South Carolina in a record underseas journey of 66 days 22 hrs

American Revolutionary and Founding Father Patrick Henry
American Revolutionary and Founding Father
Patrick Henry
  • Mar 9 Soviet flight Sputnik 9 carries and returns from orbit a dog named Chernushka (Blackie), frogs and a guinea pig
  • Mar 9 Mine cave-in in Japan, kills 72
  • Mar 9 Supremes release "I Want A Guy" & "Never Again"

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Mar 9 Wilt Chamberlain of NBA Philadelphia Warriors scores 67 points vs NY Knicks

NBA Legend Wilt Chamberlain
NBA Legend
Wilt Chamberlain
  • Mar 11 Then NHL record 40 penalties, Black Hawks & Maple Leafs (20 each)
  • Mar 13 Elizabeth Gurley Finn (70) becomes President of US Communist Party

Sport defeatBoxing Title Fight

Mar 13 Floyd Patterson KOs Ingemar Johansson in 6 for heavyweight boxing title

Boxer and Undisputed Heavyweight Champion Floyd Patterson
Boxer and Undisputed Heavyweight Champion
Floyd Patterson
  • Mar 13 JFK sets up the Alliance for Progress
  • Mar 13 Landslide in USSR, kills 145
  • Mar 13 Old type, black & white notes cease to be legal tender
  • Mar 14 George Weiss becomes President of NY Mets
  • Mar 15 South Africa withdraws from British Commonwealth

Film tv awardsGolden Globes

Mar 16 18th Golden Globes: "Spartacus", Burt Lancaster, & Greer Garson win

  • Mar 17 NY DA arrests professional gamblers who implicate Seton Hall players
  • Mar 17 South Africa leaves British Commonwealth

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Mar 17 Jaguar head William Lyons debuts the first E-Type model at the Geneva International Motor Show, creating a sensation

Mr Jaguar William Lyons
Mr Jaguar
William Lyons
  • Mar 18 6th Eurovision Song Contest: Jean-Claude Pascal for Luxembourg wins "Nous les amoureux" in Cannes
  • Mar 21 Art Modell purchases Cleveland Browns for then record ($3,925,000)
  • Mar 21 The Beatles' first appearance at the Cavern Club in Liverpool
  • Mar 24 NY Senate approves $55M for a baseball stadium at Flushing Meadows
  • Mar 25 "13 Daughters" closes at 54th St Theater NYC after 28 performances
  • Mar 25 "Gypsy" closes at Broadway Theater NYC after 702 performances

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Mar 25 23rd NCAA Men's Basketball Championship: Cincinnati beats Ohio State, 70-65 (OT); Buckeyes' future Hall of Fame forward Jerry Lucas is MOP for 2nd straight year

NBA Forward Jerry Lucas
NBA Forward
Jerry Lucas
  • Mar 25 Elvis Presley performs live on the USS Arizona
  • Mar 25 Explorer 10 launched into elongated Earth orbit (177/181,000 km)
  • Mar 25 Sputnik 10 carries a dog into Earth orbit; later recovered
  • Mar 25 3rd place game is one of the wildest contests in NCAA Tournament history as St Joseph's defeats Utah, 127-120 in quadruple overtime
  • Mar 25 115th Grand National: Bobby Beasley wins aboard Nicolaus Silver, 5 lengths ahead of defending champion Merryman II; first grey winner for 90 years
  • Mar 27 Black demonstrators in Charleston staged ride-ins on street cars
  • Mar 27 Failed assassination attempt on King Saif al-Islam Achmad of Yemen
  • Mar 29 23rd Amendment to the US Constitution ratified, allowing Washington, D.C. residents to vote in presidential elections

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Mar 29 After a 4½ year trial Nelson Mandela is acquitted of treason in Pretoria

Anti-apartheid activist and South African President Nelson Mandela
Anti-apartheid activist and South African President
Nelson Mandela
  • Mar 29 KCPT TV channel 19 in Kansas City, MO (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • Mar 30 NASA civilian pilot Joseph A Walker takes X-15 169,600' (51,690 m)
  • Mar 30 The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is signed at New York

  • Mar 31 Aklilou Habtewold becomes 1st premier of Ethiopia
  • Mar 31 8th National Film Awards (India): "Anuradha" wins the Golden Lotus
  • Apr 3 "Happiest Girl in the World" opens at Martin Beck NYC for 97 performances
  • Apr 3 Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia is sold to J Schleifer Properties

Appears on tv showTV Show Appearance

Apr 5 Barbra Streisand appears on "Jack Paar Show"

Singer-Songwriter and Actress Barbra Streisand
Singer-Songwriter and Actress
Barbra Streisand
  • Apr 5 Dutch governor Platteel installs New Guinea Council
  • Apr 8 "Show Girl" closes at Eugene O'Neill Theater NYC after 100 performances
  • Apr 8 British liner "Dara" explodes in Persian Gulf, kills 236

Sport awardUS Masters Golf

Apr 10 25th US Masters Tournament, Augusta National GC: South African Gary Player beats defending champion Arnold Palmer and amateur Charles Coe by 1 stroke to become first international champion; Monday finish because of rain

  • Apr 10 Dutch foreign minister Luns talks to JFK about New Guinea
  • Apr 10 Washington Senators play first game in franchise history with President John F. Kennedy in attendance; lose a 4-3 decision to the Chicago White Sox

Execution'The Banality of Evil'

Apr 11 Trial of Adolf Eichmann for war crimes in World War II begins in Jerusalem, Israel
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Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann sits in the dock at his 1961 trial in Jerusalem
Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann sits in the dock at his 1961 trial in Jerusalem

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Apr 11 Bob Dylan makes his 1st appearance at Folk City, Greenwich Village

Singer-Songwriter Bob Dylan
Singer-Songwriter
Bob Dylan
  • Apr 11 15th NBA Championship: Bos Celtics beat St Louis Hawks, 4 games to 1
  • Apr 11 Austrian 4th & last government of Raab resigns

Music awardsGrammy Awards

Apr 12 3rd Grammy Awards: Theme From a Summer Place, Ray Charles wins 4

Musician Ray Charles
Musician
Ray Charles

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Apr 12 Douglas MacArthur declines offer to become baseball commissioner

US WWII General Douglas MacArthur
US WWII General
Douglas MacArthur

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Apr 12 Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first person to orbit Earth (Vostok 1)

Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin
Cosmonaut
Yuri Gagarin
  • Apr 13 "Carnival!" opens at Imperial Theater NYC for 719 performances
  • Apr 13 UN General Assembly condemns South-Africa's apartheid
  • Apr 14 1st live television broadcast from Soviet Union
  • Apr 14 Cuban-American invasion army departs Nicaragua
  • Apr 14 US element 103 (Lawrencium) discovered
  • Apr 15 "Music Man" closes at Majestic Theater NYC after 1375 performances
  • Apr 15 France wins it’s 2nd outright Five Nations Rugby Championship with an 15-3 victory over Ireland at Lansdowne Road, Dublin
  • Apr 16 15th Tony Awards: Becket & Bye Bye Birdie win
  • Apr 16 Stanley Cup Final, Olympia Stadium, Detroit, MI: Chicago Blackhawks beat Detroit Red Wings, 4-1 for a 4-2 series victory

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Apr 17 1,400 Cuban exiles land in Bay of Pigs in a doomed attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro

Cuban Revolutionary and President Fidel Castro
Cuban Revolutionary and President
Fidel Castro

Film tv awardsAcademy Awards

Apr 17 33rd Academy Awards: "Apartment" wins best film, Burt Lancaster & Elizabeth Taylor win best actor, actress

  • Apr 17 65th Boston Marathon won by Eino Oksanen of Finland in 2:23:39; his 2nd event title

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Apr 17 Jimmy Stewart accepts an honorary Oscar on behalf of his friend Gary Cooper, who is too ill to attend

  • Apr 18 CONCP is founded in Casablanca as a united front of African movements opposing Portuguese colonial rule
  • Apr 20 American Harold Graham makes 1st rocket belt flight
  • Apr 21 Dirk Stikker chosen as secretary general of NATO
  • Apr 21 French army revolts in Algeria
  • Apr 21 USAF Maj Robert M White takes X-15 to 32,000 m
  • Apr 22 Uprising of French parachutist of General Salan and Challe in Algeria
  • Apr 23 "Tenderloin" closes at 46th St Theater NYC after 216 performances
  • Apr 23 Algiers putsch by French generals.
  • Apr 24 JFK accepts "sole responsibility" following Bay of Pigs

Sinking ShipThe Sinking of the Vasa

Apr 24 17th century Swedish warship Vasa, which sunk on her maiden voyage in 1628, is salvaged
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Swedish warship Vasa sinking in Stockholm harbor
Swedish warship Vasa sinking in Stockholm harbor
  • Apr 25 Belgium government of Gaston Eyskens falls over the Unitary Law
  • Apr 25 "Young Abe Lincoln" opens at Eugene O'Neill Theater NYC for 27 performances
  • Apr 25 France performs nuclear test at Reggane Proving Grounds Algeria
  • Apr 25 Mercury/Atlas rocket lifted off with an electronic mannequin
  • Apr 25 Premier Moise Tsjombe of Katanga arrested in Congo
  • Apr 25 Robert Noyce patents integrated circuit
  • Apr 25 Unmanned Mercury test explodes on launch pad
  • Apr 26 French paratroopers' revolt suppressed in Algeria