1970 (The Musical)

1970 was an amazing year. Most people don’t realize this. They think of 1970 as the year after 1969 but they would be wrong. It was actually the year before 1971, which wasn’t that great a year. 1970 was the first year that had a “7” in it since 1967, the year of the “Summer of Love!” By 1971, the “7” had already been around for a year. Many of you who are 50 years of age or older were probably around in 1970.

Coincidentally, 1970 was also the year that the Class of 1970 graduated from many high schools around the country. Even more coincidentally, it was the year that I graduated from Beachwood High School in Beachwood, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. When they called my name out, it was probably the last time that any teacher or administrator thought of me for the rest of eternity. But I showed them. I have outlived some of them. So far.

Anyway, I just want to remind all of you of some of the incredible things that happened during the calendar year 1970. [1]

1970 was the year that proved the proposition that no good deed goes unpunished. To kick off the new year, on January 7th, neighboring farmers filed suit for damages against dairy farmer, Max Yasgur, who donated the use of his land for a little concert that some of you may remember as “Woodstock.” I remember it as an event that I didn’t even learn about until sometime after it was over. I was very up on current events during my junior year. I think there may have been a movie made about it.

Yasgur’s neighbors sued him for $35,000.00 which in today’s economy would be about Twelve gazillion dollars Chinese. The end result was that in 1971 Max sold his famous farm and moved to Florida where he died of a heart attack a year and a half later at the age of 53.

The point to be learned from all of this? Avoid dairy.

Also in 1970, one of the great musical groups of all times decided to call it quits. Despite world renown and a multitude of smash hits, the members decided it was time to go their separate ways. Of course, I am talking about that super-group, 1910 Fruitgum Company.

Another fairly well known group also decided they had had enough of a good thing. On April 10th Paul McCartney shocked the world by announcing that The Beatles had decided to dis-band (although McCartney wasn’t as clever as I and didn’t use the term “dis-band” when making his announcement, instead simply saying he was taking “a rest” from The Beatles.). Many people thought that the reason for the breakup was Yoko Ono. No, no. The long hidden truth is that McCartney simply wanted to take a break and relax, no longer having the pressure of trying to keep up with the prolific 1910 Fruitgum Company.

Although The Beatles released their final albums in 1970 (“The Beatles Again” aka the “Hey Jude” album and “Let It Be”) the void caused by the loss of 1910 Fruitgum Company  and The Beatles was quickly filled. First by the release of that toe tapper, “Jingle Jangle” by The Archies and later by the release of the album known as “Lie” by music legend Charles Manson (yes, THAT Charles Manson) on March 1st. Who among us will ever forget where we were when we first heard cut #11 from the album, entitled “(Clang Bang Clang Went The) Big Iron Door? Manson believed in writing what he knew about.

In legal news, 1970 was the year that our beloved, pre-disgraced president, Richard M. Nixon, nominated G. Harold Carswell for an appointment to the United States Supreme Court. Apparently Nixon had completely missed or ignored the fact that Carswell had voiced support for racial segregation and white supremacy while previously running, surprisingly unsuccessfully, for a position in the Georgia legislature. Just as a kicker, Carswell was also an opponent of women’s rights. For once, the U.S. Senate got it right and rejected his nomination.

Nixon announced that he would do a better job of “vetting” with his next nomination, and that his subsequent proposal would have extensive experience with, and knowledge of, the judicial system. Not long thereafter Nixon submitted his next choice: Charles Manson.

The 26th Amendment to the Constitution was passed in 1970, thus lowering the voting age to 18. History establishes that those 18, 19 and 20 year olds who were affected by the new voting expansion (which included those of us who graduated in 1970!) were morons with drug addled brains as we re-elected Richard M. Nixon by the fourth largest margin in election history. I can honestly say I did not vote for Dick in 1972 (although I firmly support gay rights!). George McGovern finished a distant second and I think Charles Manson was close behind.

On January 21st Pan Am Airlines was proud to introduce the world to their new Boeing 747 wide body “Jumbo Jet” with a successful flight from New York to London. Unfortunately, none of the passengers’ luggage could be located at the conclusion of the flight.

On March 5th the movie “Airport” starring Burt Lancaster and Dean Martin was released and all of the missing Pan Am “Jumbo Jet” luggage was found at the luggage claim at fictional “Lincoln International Airport” in Chicago.

On February 13th a man eating tiger is reported to have killed 48 people just outside of New Dehli. No women were injured.

The 14 year old girl with whom Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary fame was accused of “taking immoral liberties” on March 26th was not so lucky. Peter was apparently a girl eater.

Just in case you were wondering, on the same date the 16th National Film Awards were held in India and the Las Vegas odds-on favorite “Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne” won the Golden Lotus.

The National Football League formally chose the Wilson sporting goods company as the official maker of all NFL footballs on March 18th. This decision was apparently reached after extended discussions with a Mr. Thomas Brady, Sr. who had conducted extensive tests on the Wilson made ball and advised the league that the Wilson ball was the easiest of all the balls he tested, to inflate and deflate. Brady said he couldn’t wait to have a grandson so that he could teach him the ins and outs of the Wilson football.

On June 17th Edwin Land patented the Polaroid SX-70 Camera that could take and develop color photographs instantaneously thus making it much easier to take nude pictures of your girlfriend and/or boyfriend. It became the #1 “must have” product on college campuses. It is also the reason that so many otherwise highly qualified candidates for political office are now afraid to run for election and we are left with candidates who look like Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Lincoln Chafee and Donald Trump. Nobody wasted any SX-70 film on any of them. (It is probably safe to say that with the invention of the “smartphone” and its digital camera and ability to take photos at absolutely no cost, by the year 2022 nobody will be able to run for any political office, whatsoever. We can only hope.)

Casey Kasem’s “American Top 40” debuted on the radio on July 4th.  Despite exhaustive probes, investigators were never able to definitively connect this event with the subsequent drug overdose deaths of Jimi Hendrix, Janice Joplin, and/or Jim Morrison.

On September 11, Ford introduced the Ford Pinto automobile. The whole country cheered and applauded this new technological marvel; until it actually started to roll off the assembly line. Sales of the Pinto were literally blowing up. The Pinto was ultimately named the worst car ever manufactured. It had a slight defect. The car would explode and turn into a ball of fire if it was tapped in the rear. The car actually killed more people than Charles Manson.

L.S.D. proponent, Professor Timothy Leary escaped from a California jail on September 12th. Well, at least he thought he did.

On September 25th Ringo Starr released his solo album “Beaucoups of Blues.” That’s funny enough in-and-of itself. Nothing more need be said.

“Love Story,” based on the novel by Erich Segal and starring Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw was released on December 16th. “Love” may mean never having to say you’re sorry, but the release of this movie does.

The year ended with the United States Congress authorizing the minting of the Eisenhower silver dollar coin. This was a wonderful idea because apparently the paper dollar bill didn’t handle the nation’s needs to enable paying for things that cost $1.00 or less. So rather than make a new coin or bill bearing Eisenhower’s likeness with a denomination of, say, $2.50, Congress decided to duplicate the dollar. Just to show how popular the coin was, they stoped minting it in 1978 because, other than in Las Vegas, nobody used the coin. One great American tradition that did come about as a result of the Eisenhower dollar was that brilliant tradition of “sagging” one’s pants (i.e. people wearing their pants below their ass). This came about because the coin was relatively heavy and, if you will recall, people had started wearing “hip hugger” bell bottom jeans around this time. If you put more than three Eisenhower dollars in your pockets, your pants would fall down. Eisenhower would have been very proud. Kennedy would have been prouder since he was the one who predicted a “moon” shot by the end of the decade.

So, there you have it. 1970. I defy you to beat that, 1971!

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[1] Yes, there are some historical events of 1970 that are not discussed in this article, but they have already had a lot of publicity and discussion and should not be disrespected by appearing on my blogsite.