Friday, August 28, 1964: Spaghetti Westerns

Directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood as The Man With No Name, "Per un pugno di dollari" ("A Fistful of Dollars") opens in Florence, Italy. The movie, shot in Spain, was influential in the genre that came to be known as the "Spaghetti Western." From the Spaghetti Western Database:

The spaghetti western was born in the first half of the sixties and lasted until the second half of the seventies. It got its name from the fact that most of them were directed and produced by Italians, often in collaboration with other European countries, especially Spain and Germany. The name "spaghetti western" originally was a depreciative term, given by foreign critics to these films because they thought they were inferior to American westerns. Most of the films were made with low budgets, but several still managed to be innovative and artistic, although at the time they didn't get much recognition, even in Europe. In the eighties the reputation of the genre grew and today the term is no longer used disparingly, although some Italians still prefer to call the films western all'italiana (westerns Italian style). In Japan they are called macaroni westerns, in Germany Italowestern.

* The movie's early success led to its opening in Rome on September 12, but it was not released in the United States until 1967.
* The Sergio Leone biography linked below quotes him as saying the film opened on August 27. However, he goes on to talk about the film's poor attendance on Friday (August 28) and Saturday; also, most Italian websites list the date as August 28.

* "A Fistful of Dollars" entry from Turner Classic Movies: @
* "Westerns ... All'Italiana!" (blog): @
* "Spaghetti Westerns: The Good, the Bad and the Violent" (Thomas Weisser, 1992): @
* "Once Upon A Time in the Italian West: The Filmgoers' Guide to Spaghetti Westerns" (Howard Hughes, 2004): @
* "Sergio Leone: Something to Do with Death" (Christopher Frayling, 2000): @
* "The Films of Sergio Leone" (Robert C. Cumbow, 2008): @
* www.fistful-of-leone.com: @ 


Thursday, August 27, 1964: 'Mary Poppins'

Adapted by Walt Disney Productions from the books by P.L. Travers, "Mary Poppins" premieres in Los Angeles. The movie was a financial and critical success -- No. 1 at the box office for the year and nominated for 13 Academy Awards (winning five, including best actress for Julie Andrews and best song for "Chim Chim Cher-ee").

* Movie trailer: @
* Footage from premiere: @
* Review (Life magazine, September 25, 1964): @
* "At last Hollywood 'discovers' the toast of Broadway" (Life, November 13, 1964): @
* ' 'Mary Poppins' Lifts Disney to New Heights" (Associated Press, June 1965): @
* Official film site: @
* Entry from Turner Classic Movies: @
* Entry from "Movies of the '60s" (2004): @
* "Becoming Mary Poppins" (The New Yorker magazine, December 2005): @
* "How we made Mary Poppins" (The Guardian, December 2013): @
* "Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P.L. Travers" (Valerie Lawson, 2013): @
* "Myth, Symbol and Meaning in 'Mary Poppins': The Governess as Provocateur" (Giorgia Grilli, 2007): @ 


Saturday, August 22, 1964: Fannie Lou Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

Fannie Lou Hamer, vice chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, testifies before the credentials committee in the days leading up to the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She tells of trying to register to vote in 1962, and of being jailed and beaten in June 1963. Her statement was the most dramatic point of the MFDP's effort to represent the state instead of the all-white regular delegation. The committee offered to seat 2 members of the MFDP as delegates-at-large, which the group rejected. (The regular delegation was also unwilling to accept the compromise, as it required them to sign a "loyalty oath" to support the party platform and the presidential ticket in November.) The MFDP then left the convention and returned to Mississippi.

Fannie Lou Hamer
* Complete text and audio of testimony (American Rhetoric): @
* Partial video (networks cut away to televise an impromptu news conference by President Johnson, who wanted to divert attention from Hamer's testimony): @
* Johnson's remarks (American Presidency Project): @
* "LBJ Tells Governors Voters Won't Gamble" (Associated Press): @
* Biography (Mississippi Historical Society): @
* Biography (PBS): @
* Oral history (1972-73, University of Southern Mississippi): @
* Transcript of Hamer interview on June 1963 events in Winona, Mississippi: @
* Audio of 1965 interview with Hamer (Pacifica Radio Archives): @
* FBI files: @
* Links (Civil Rights Digital Library): @
* Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO (Jackson State University): @
* Hamer Institute videos: @
* Fannielouhamer.info: @
* "This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer" (Kay Mills, 1993): @
* "For Freedom's Sake: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer" (Chana Kai Lee, 1999): @

* Summary ("Encyclopedia of the Sixties," 2012): @
* Summary and links (Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement): @
* Summary and links (civilrightsteaching.org): @
* Summary (Digital Library of Georgia): @
* Summary (Online Archive of California): @
* Links (Civil Rights Digital Library): @ 
* An extensive collection of related documents are available online at the Wisconsin Historical Society's Freedom Summer Digital Collection: @ (search for "Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party")
* "Basis for the development of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party" (MFDP): @
* "Brief Submitted by the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party" (to the credentials committee): @
* Statement by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to credentials committee (The King Center): @
* "A Primer for Delegates to the Democratic National Convention Who Haven't Heard About the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party" (The King Center): @
* "The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party: Background and Recent Developments" (Steve Max, Political Education Project, 1965): @
* Freedom Vote ballot (October-November, 1964; University of Southern Mississippi): @
* Congressional resolution recognizing 40th anniversary of MFDP (July 21, 2004): @

Democratic National Convention
* Convention photos and summary (Take Stock): @
* Photos (Library of Congress): @
* Video clips (eFootage): @
* "Civil Righters Demand Seats At Convention" (United Press International, August 21): @
* "Challenges of Mississippi, Alabama Delegations Heard" (Associated Press, August 22): @
* "Shocking Mississippi Testimony" (Jet magazine, September 3): @
* "Miss. Compromise Try Fails" (UPI, August 25): @
* "Mississippi Delegates Withdraw, Rejecting a Seating Compromise; Convention Then Approves Plan" (New York Times, August 25): @
* "Mississippi in Boycott" (AP, August 26): @ 
* "Showdown at the 1964 Democratic National Convention" (John C. Skipper, 2012): @ 
* For a Voice and the Vote" (Lisa Anderson Todd, 2014): @ 


Tuesday, August 18, 1964: South Africa banned from Summer Olympics

South Africa has been barred from taking part in the 18th Olympic Games in Tokyo over its refusal to condemn apartheid. The International Olympic Committee announced the decision in Lausanne, Switzerland, after South Africa failed to met an ultimatum to comply with its demands by 16 August. The IOC originally withdrew South Africa's invitation to Japan during the winter games in Innsbruck, Austria. It said the decision could be overturned only if South Africa renounced racial discrimination in sport and opposed the ban in its own country on competition between black and white athletes.
     -- From BBC; link: @

* "South Africa is banned from the Olympic Games" (South African History Online): @
* Excerpt from "The Politics of South African Football" (Oshebeng Alpheus Koonyaditse, 2010): @ 


1964: Predictions

The 60-hour week of 1914 that became the 40-hour week of 1964 probably will be the 30-hour workweek of 2014 -- a six-hour day five days a week.
     -- U.S. News & World Report, 1964

Shopping for food has undergone a radical change -- we now buy nearly everything hygenically packed from the display shelves of the many self-service stores -- and perhaps quite soon our purchases will be delivered to us by conveyor belt.
     -- "Home Management," edited by Alison Barnes, 1964

The new towns will inevitably awaken the public to the possibilities for better housing and environments. They may revolutionize the public taste, creating stronger demand for both sales and rental units.
     -- "New towns for America," House & Home, February 1964

One will be able to browse through the fiction section of the central library, enjoy an evening's light entertainment viewing any movie that has ever been produced (for a suitable fee, of course, since Hollywood will still be commercial) or inquire as to the previous day's production figures of tin in Bolivia -- all for the asking via one's remote terminal.
     -- Arthur L. Samuel, "The Banishment of Paper-Work," New Scientist, February 27, 1964

Man may have landed on the surface of Mars by 1984. ... Astronauts will be shuttling back and forth on regular schedules from the Earth to a small permanent base of operations on the Moon.
     -- Dr. Wernher von Braun, "Exploration to the farthest planets," New Scientist, April 21, 1964

No one will be willing any longer to earn his living by mending your watch or re-soling your shoes. When a watch goes wrong or a shoe sole wears down at the toe, the thing will just have to be thrown away and replaced by a mass-produced replica.
     -- Arnold J. Toynbee, "At Least the Beginnings of One World," April 21, 1964 

The U.S. population will reach 322 million to 438 million in 2010. (Actual number: 309 million.)
     -- "U.S. Population Estimates Listed," United Press International, July 1964; Census Bureau report: @

There is every likelihood that highways at least in the more advanced sections of the world will have passed their peak in 2014; there will be increasing emphasis on transportation that makes the least possible contact with the surface.
     -- Isaac Asimov, "Visit to the World's Fair of 2014," August 16, 1964

One of the great medical discoveries of the near future will be a method of suspended animation, so that a man can sleep away down the centuries and in this manner travel into the future. This technique, which may possibly be based on deep freezing, will one day be used to send into the future people suffering from diseases or ailments beyond the ability of present-day medical science to cure.
     -- Arthur C. Clarke, BBC's "Horizon," September 21, 1964

"Earning" a livelihood may no longer be a necessity but a privilege; services may have to be protected from automation and be given social status; leisure time activities may have to be invented in order to give new meaning to a mode of life that may have become "economically useless" for a majority of the populace.
     -- "Report on a Long-Range Forecasting Study," T.J. Gordon and Olaf Helmer for The RAND Corporation, September 1964 

The woman of tomorrow will wear pleats and tights, and live in a house spun from glass fiber, with patent-leather walls and no furniture at all.
     -- "Designs on Your Future," The Saturday Evening Post, October 17, 1964


Wednesday, August 5, 1964: Everett Alvarez Jr.

Navy Lt. (j.g.) Everett Alvarez Jr. is captured after he ejects from his plane, which was hit during a raid on a North Vietnamese base. He is the first U.S. pilot to be shot down over North Vietnam and held as a POW; he would be released on February 12, 1973.

Photo from Corbis Images. Caption: "In this photo from a Japanese documentary film taken by a Japanese cameraman who was on the scene accidentally when this incident took place, a man identified as Lt. Everett Alvarez (left) is escorted by a North Vietnamese sailor. Alvarez, a U.S. airman, was shot down the U.S. retaliatory raid on North Vietnamese PT boat installations in August."

* Summary from www.pownetwork.org: @
* Summary from U.S. Department of Defense: @
* "Chained Eagle" (Alvarez and Anthony Pitch, 1989): @
* 1981 interview (wgbh.org): @
* 2013 interview (www.historynet.com): @
* "U.S. Retaliation: Air Strike is 'Devastating' " (Associated Press, August 5, 1964): @
* "U.S. Pilot Is Marched By Captors" (Associated Press, August 11, 1964): @
* "First Prisoner Release Completed" (New York Times, February 1973): @
* Earlier post on POW Floyd James Thompson (March 26, 1964): @
* "Two Men, Two Fates" (Stars and Stripes): @


August 1964: Gulf of Tonkin

Note: The story of what exactly happened in early August off the coast of North Vietnam -- in particular, the events of August 4 -- has been revisited and rewritten several times through the years, as various accounts and documents have come to light. What follows are newspaper excerpts from those days, since that reflects the general public's understanding of the situation at the time. For a review of the military actions as we now understand them, a good place to start is with "The Truth About Tonkin." (Naval History Magazine, February 2008; link: @

     -- Photo from U.S. Navy (link: @). Caption: "Photograph taken from USS Maddox (DD-731) during her engagement with three North Vietnamese motor torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin, 2 August 1964. The view shows all three of the boats speeding towards the Maddox."

Sunday, August 2
     "Three Communist patrol boats attacked the destroyer USS Maddox in international waters off the coast of North Viet Nam Sunday with torpedoes and gunfire and the American ship, joined by U.S. Navy jets, fired back." -- United Press International: @
     * "President Johnson has ordered U.S. naval forces beefed up in the Tonkin Gulf area, off Viet Nam, and has ordered them to destroy any force that attacks them." -- Associated Press: @

Tuesday, August 4
     "The defense department announced Tuesday night that a second 'deliberate attack' was made on American destroyers patrolling off North Vietnam." -- Associated Press: @
     "President Johnson announced Tuesday night that 'air action is now in execution against gunboats' of North Vietnam which attacked U.S. destroyers twice in the Gulf of Tonkin." -- Associated Press: @
     * Video and transcript of August 4 speech (Miller Center): @
     * President's Message to Congress (August 5): @
     * "LBJ's Fateful Day: Aug. 4, 1964" (New York Times, 2008): @

Friday, August 7
      "The House of Representatives and the Senate approved today the resolution requested by President Johnson to strengthen his hand in dealing with Communist aggression in Southeast Asia." -- New York Times: @

August 10
     "President Johnson signed the congressional resolution supporting his actions in Southeast Asia and said he hopes it is read around the world as it states plainly 'where America stands.' " -- Associated Press: @
     * Joint Resolution: @
     * Resolution and roll call tally: @

Other resources
* Summary from "The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War" (2011): @
* Summary from U.S. Department of State: @
* Summary from Naval History and Heritage Command: @
* "USS Maddox (DD-73), 1944-1972: Actions in the Gulf of Tonkin, August 1964" (NHHC): @
* Selected documents (from NHHC): @
* Chronology of events (U.S. Air Force, October 1964): @
* "Presidential Decisions: The Gulf of Tonkin Attacks of August 1964" (Vietnam Information Group, 1968): @
* USS Maddox deck log, August 2: @
* "The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, 40 Years Later" (National Security Archive, 2004): @
* "Skunks, Bogies, Silent Hounds, and the Flying Fish: The Gulf of Tonkin Mystery, 2-4 August 1964" (Robert J. Hanyok, Cryptologic Quarterly, 2001): @
* Excerpt from "Vietnam and America: A Documented History" (1995): @
* "Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam" (Fredrick Logevall, 1999): @ 


August 1964: Looney Tunes

"Señorella and the Glass Huarache" is the last "Looney Tunes" cartoon short released by Warner Brothers' animation division, which had closed as the classic theatrical cartoons gave way to less expensive fare for moviehouses and TV.

* Watch the cartoon: @
* Entry from The Big Cartoon Database: @
* "That WASN'T All, Folks: Warner Bros. Cartoons 1964-1969" (from looney.goldenagecartoons.com): @
* "Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies" (from The Cartoon Scrapbook): @
* "Warner Bros. Animation Chronology" (from hughlevin.com): @
* "Reading the Rabbit: Explorations in Warner Bros. Animation" (edited by Kevin S. Sandler, 1998): @ 

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