Looking back on Dec. 1967 — from Morris Mechanic Theatre's first holiday season to Otis Redding's death

Christmas arrived in Baltimore in 1967 with the news that the United States had renewed its bombing of North Vietnam. The big show at the Baltimore Museum of Art was a crowd pleaser, “Man in Sport.” It was the first holiday season for the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre. “The Fantasticks” played in December and was followed by Ginger Rogers in “Hello, Dolly!,” which proved to be a sellout hit. “The Valley of the Dolls” was at The Senator, and “Camelot” played The New, at premium prices. Downtown Baltimore had a new movie house, the Tower, at Charles and Saratoga streets. Its gala opening was covered by WMAR-TV’s Sylvia Scott, Dave Stickle and Ron Meroney. “The Comedians” was the opening bill.

Mayor Thomas J. D’Alesandro III took a trip to Montreal to view subway cars that ran on rubber tires. The Baltimore City Council had a new member, Robert C. Embry Jr., and George Russell Jr., a judge, moved on to be Baltimore City Solicitor.

The Baltimore Sun had ads for club cellar wood-like paneling. Stewart’s department store recommended English Leather cologne. The Toy Barn’s hot seller was Hasbro’s talking GI Joe. The dime store W.T. Grant had electric candles for windows at three for a dollar. Ads said these lights would give the home “a Williamsburg look.”

Otis Redding died in a plane crash, and the No. 1 soul hit in Baltimore was “I Heard It Thru the Grapevine” by Gladys Knight and the Pips. TV fare included “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol,” “Mannix,” “Petticoat Junction” and “Hogan’s Heroes.” E. J. Korvette's had sales on the Cowsills, Righteous Brothers, Herman’s Hermits and the Lovin’ Spoonful.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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