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Time Capsule of High School Class of 1961


Key Facts of 1961:

  • President: John F. Kennedy
  • Vice President: Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Cost of a gallon of gas: 31 cents
  • Cost of a gallon of milk: 49 cents
  • Cost of a dozen of eggs: 57 cents
  • Cost of a new home: $17,200
  • Cost of a first class postage stamp: 4 cents
  • Unemployment: 5.5%

Notable Inventions of 1961:

  • Valium
  • Non-dairy creamer

Time Capsule of 1961:

  • The CIA-backed invasion of the Bay of Pigs in Cuba is a disastrous failure strengthening Fidel Castro's ties with the Soviet Union.
  • East Germany erects the Berlin Wall to stop the flow of refugees to the West.
  • President Kennedy asks Americans to build nuclear fallout shelters as the cold war tensions increase.
  • The civil rights movement mobilizes some 70,000 freedom riders to help integrate facilities in the deep south.
  • Yo-yos are the biggest selling toy.
  • Roger Maris breaks Babe Ruth's single season home-run record.
  • Vince Lombardi's Green Bay packer dynasty begins with an NFL title win over the New York Giants.
  • Movies: The film version of West Side Story earns the Oscar for best picture. Other notable movies for 1961 were Two Women, Breakfast at Tiffany's, 101 Dalmations, Guns of Navarone, The Absent-Minded Professor and El Cid.
  • Television: Federal Communications Commissioner Newton Minow calls commercial television a vast wasteland.  The golden age of TV westerns continues as three of the most popular shows are Wagon Train, Bonanza, Gunsmoke.  Other popular series were Hazel, Perry Mason and The Red Skelton Show.

1961 Kennedy InaugurationChevrolet Print Ad 1961


The Top Musical Artists of 1961 Were:

  • Elvis Presley, Brenda Lee, Chubby Checker, Connie Francis, The Shirelles, Jackie Wilson, Bobby Vee, Fats Domino, Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison, Brook Benton, The Everly Brothers, Bobby Rydell, Linda Scott, Ben E. King, Adam Wade, Del Shannon, Hank Ballard & The Midnighters, Ray Charles, Bobby Lewis.

Fats DominoThe ShirellesJackie Wilson



Top Musical Artist Debuts of 1961:

  • Gene Pitney, Mary Wells, Carla Thomas, Chuck Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Del Shannon, The Tokens, Linda Scott, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Spinners, Ray Stevens, The Marvelettes, The Lettermen, Solomon Burke, Glen Campbell, Vic Dana

Del ShannonMarvelettesGene Pitney


Other Musical Tidbits:

  • The Top Song of 1961 was Tossin' and Turnin' by Bobby Lewis which remained number 1 for 7 weeks
  • The Top Recording Artist for 1961 was Elvis Presley

What songs were the high school class of 1961 listening to? Just sit back and listen to the songs from the graduation class of 1961. Keep in mind these are the songs from your senior year which was normally from the months September 1960-June 1961.

1961 Radio





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