Historical Events in December 1961

  • Dec 1 The independent Republic of West Papua is proclaimed in modern-day Western New Guinea.
  • Dec 2 26th Iron Bowl: Alabama beats Auburn 34-0 in Birmingham
  • Dec 2 CFL Grey Cup, CNE Stadium, Toronto: A 6th title for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers; beat Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 21-14

Historic Event

Dec 2 Fidel Castro declares he's a Marxist & will lead Cuba to Communism

  • Dec 2 Wind Bell, journal of San Francisco Zen Center, begins publishing
  • Dec 3 Dutchman Anton Geesink becomes 1st non-Japanese judo world champion
  • Dec 3 George Blanda of Houston Oilers kicks 55-yard field goal
  • Dec 3 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • Dec 4 1962 NFL Draft: Ernie Davis from University of Syracuse first pick by Washington Redskins

Boxing Title Fight

Dec 4 Floyd Patterson KOs Tom McNeeley in 4 for heavyweight boxing title

Historic Event

Dec 4 Museum of Modern Art hangs Matisse's Le Bateau upside down for 47 days

  • Dec 4 Smallest NY Knick, 49th St Madison Square Garden crowd-1,300 (snowstorm)
  • Dec 4 Tanganyika becomes 104th member of UN

Historic Event

Dec 4 The female contraceptive 'pill' becomes available on the National Health Service in Britain

  • Dec 4 WXGA TV channel 8 in Waycross, GA (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 6 27th Heisman Trophy Award: Ernie Davis, Syracuse (HB) (1st African American to win)
  • Dec 8 Antwerp Belgium diocese forms
  • Dec 8 Larry Costello scores 32 consecutive pts without a miss (NBA rec)

NBA Record

Dec 8 Philadelphia Warriors center Wilt Chamberlain scores 78 points in 151-147 3OT defeat to LA Lakers at Philadelphia Civic Center; 2nd highest game total in the NBA history

  • Dec 8 South Africa v NZ, Durban debuts for Eddie Barlow & Peter Pollock
  • Dec 9 "From the Second City" closes at Royale Theater NYC after 87 performances
  • Dec 9 "Let It Ride" closes at Eugene O'Neill Theater NYC after 68 performances
  • Dec 9 Tanganyika gains independence from Britain, takes name Tanzania - with Ukuru (Freedom) Torch lit on the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro

Sports History

Dec 10 Houston Oilers utility back Billy Cannon gains AFL record 373 yards combined rushing/receiving in 48-21 win over NY Titans at the Polo Grounds, NYC

Nobel Prize

Dec 10 Robert Hofstadter and Rudolf Ludwig Mössbauer win the Nobel Prize in Physics for their pioneering studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and discoveries concerning the structure of the nucleon

  • Dec 10 US performs nuclear test at Carlsbad New Mexico (underground)
  • Dec 10 USSR & Albania break diplomatic relations
  • Dec 11 "Please, Mr. Postman" by Marvelettes released

#1 in the Charts

Dec 11 Elvis Presley's "Blue Hawaii" album goes #1 & stays #1 for 20 wks

Historic Event

Dec 11 JFK provides US military helicopters & crews to South Vietnam

  • Dec 12 Amateur radio satellite Oscar 1 launched with military Discoverer 36

Ballon d'Or

Dec 12 Ballon d'Or: Juventus' Argentine forward Omar Sívori wins award for best football player in Europe ahead of Spanish midfielder Luis Suárez and English forward Johnny Haynes

Film Premiere

Dec 13 "The Young Ones" directed by Sidney J. Furie, starring Cliff Richard, Robert Morley and Carole Gray premieres in London

Historic Event

Dec 13 Gideon Hausner in Jerusalem demands death penalty for Adolf Eichmann

Agreement of Interest

Dec 13 The Beatles sign a formal agreement to be managed by Brian Epstein

  • Dec 14 Jimmy Dean's "Big Bad John" is 1st country song to get a gold record
  • Dec 15 Adolf Eichmann is sentenced to death for war crimes in Israel
  • Dec 15 Equal access rule, political parties get TV broadcasting time
  • Dec 15 JFK visits Puerto Rico
  • Dec 15 L. J. Suenens appointed archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels
  • Dec 16 "Evening with Yves Montand" closes at John Golden Theatre, NYC after 55 performances

Historic Event

Dec 16 Martin Luther King Jr. joins over 500 jailed demonstrators who had been arrested in Albany, Georgia [1]

  • Dec 17 India seizes Goa & 2 other Portuguese colonies
  • Dec 17 Niteroi Circus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil catches fire; 323 die after disgruntled employee sets fire to the tent
  • Dec 18 For 2nd consecutive year, AP names Wilma Rudolph female athlete of year
  • Dec 18 India annexes Portuguese colonies of Goa, Damao & Diu
  • Dec 18 KAIL TV channel 53 in Fresno, CA (IND) begins broadcasting

Historic Event

Dec 19 Indonesian President Sukarno proclaims general mobilization

Historic Event

Dec 21 Gangster Joe Gallo is sentenced to 7 to 14 years in state prison for extortion

Meeting of Interest

Dec 21 US President John F. Kennedy and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan meet in Bermuda

  • Dec 22 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • Dec 23 Fidel Castro announces Cuba will release 1,113 prisoners from failed 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion for $62M worth of food & medical supplies
  • Dec 23 KICU TV channel 43 in Visalia-Fresno, CA (IND) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 23 Train accident in Italy, 70 die
  • Dec 24 AFL Championship, Balboa Stadium, San Diego: Houston Oilers beat San Diego Chargers 10-3; Billy Cannon scores game's only TD
  • Dec 27 Belgium & Congo resume diplomatic relations

Music Premiere

Dec 27 Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green's musical "Subways Are For Sleeping" premieres at St James Theater, NYC; runs for 205 performances

  • Dec 28 50th Davis Cup: Australia beats Italy in Melbourne (5-0)

Historic Event

Dec 28 Tennessee Williams' "Night of the Iguana" premieres in NYC

Music Premiere

Dec 30 Premiere of Dmitri Shostakovich's 4th Symphony in Moscow (completed 1936)

  • Dec 31 "lrma La Douce" closes at Plymouth Theater NYC after 527 performances
  • Dec 31 Failed coup by Syrian group in Lebanon
  • Dec 31 Marshall Plan expires after distributing more than $12 billion

NFL Championship

Dec 31 National Football League Championship, City Stadium, Green Bay: Green Bay Packers shutout NY Giants 37-0; first of 5 NFL titles won in 7-season span by Packers and head coach, Vince Lombardi

  • Dec 31 The Beach Boys play their debut gig under that name