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Dayhoff: Events of tumultuous year nationally and in Carroll set in motion in 1967

Dayhoff: Events of tumultuous year nationally and in Carroll set in motion in 1967
The late Dwight Dingle of WTTR was a fan of the “The Mamas & the Papas” March 1966 album “If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears.” In this June 6, 2007 digitally altered photocollage by Kevin Dayhoff, Dingle is depicted in the bathtub with the band on the album cover. (Kevin Dayhoff photo collage)

It was more than 50 years ago, on June 2, 1967; the Beatles released their eighth album, “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

Although musical taste can be fiercely debated; many music critics and publications consider this album to be one of the most influential of all time. Rolling Stone magazine lists it as the No. 1 album in their 2003 list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”

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In recent months, a number of media accounts have waxed poetically about the 50-year anniversary of 1968. Make no mistake about it, 1968 was a tumultuous year. However, in many respects, much of 1968 was the climax of very difficult dynamics that were set into motion in the late 1960s, especially the previous year —1967.

Over 10 years ago, I wrote several articles about many of the difficult events that took place in the late 1960s. Since then, on July 31, 2104, CNN published an article that clearly explained why “1968 remains arguably the most historic year in modern American history. Revered leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated. North Korea captured a U.S. ship; Olympic athletes raised fists in Black Power salute. With the Apollo 8 mission, for the first time in history humans orbited the Moon …”

On Jan. 30, 1968, “North Vietnam launches the Tet Offensive against the United States and South Vietnam. … In many ways, the bloody Tet Offensive signified the beginning of the end of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. The coordinated attack by 85,000 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese targeted 36 major cities and towns in South Vietnam. It caught U.S.-led forces by surprise …”

For “Star Trek” trivia fans, on Nov. 22, 1968, the first reported “interracial kiss” on TV was aired in an episode entitled, “Plato's Stepchildren.” According to the 2014 CNN article, “Enterprise Capt. James Kirk, a white man played by William Shatner, [kissed] Nichelle Nichols' character, Lt. Nyota Uhura, a black woman. Censors at NBC insisted on filming an alternate version sans smooch — fearing that local TV affiliates in the Deep South would refuse to air the episode. Shatner is reported to have purposefully ruined all the alternative takes so the network would be forced to air the kiss. Appropriately, Kirk has this line in the episode: ‘Where I come from, size, shape or color makes no difference.’”

In other events in late 1960s, Spiro T. Agnew was elected governor of Maryland on Nov. 8, 1966. In that same election Robert McKinney, Scott Bair Jr., and Paul Walsh were chosen for the Carroll County Board of Commissioners. And Ronald Reagan was elected governor of California.

Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, and Boog Powell played for the Baltimore Orioles. As 1967 began, the network news anchors were Walter Cronkite on CBS, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley on NBC; Howard K. Smith and a 28-year-old Peter Jennings on ABC.

1967 was the 100th anniversary of Memorial Day observances at the Westminster Cemetery. The Memorial Day observances chair was F. Kale Mathias, the Parade Marshall was Atlee Wampler and the American Legion Post 31 Commander, Arthur Wilson, was the master of ceremonies. Published accounts cite, “the crowd numbered 15,000 people.”

The population of Carroll County was 62,100. The population of Westminster was slightly in excess of 6,123. In 1969, according to the Democratic Advocate, “The largest group of county wage earners — 5,108 — earned between $10,000 and $14,999.”

To put music in 1967 in context the top songs that year were: "Kind of a Drag" by The Buckinghams; "Ruby Tuesday" by The Rolling Stones; "Love Is Here and Now You're Gone" by The Supremes; "Penny Lane" by The Beatles and "Happy Together" by The Turtles.

Other songs on the charts as the Sgt. Pepper album was released were "I'm a Believer" by The Monkees and "Somethin' Stupid" by Nancy and Frank Sinatra.

Although I must admit that I am a Beatles fan, “Sgt. Pepper” is not my favorite Beatles album. That honor belongs to the “White Album” which was released the following year on Nov. 22, 1968. Rolling Stone lists it as number 10 on their 2003 “500 Greatest Albums.”

In a 2007 interview with the late Dwight Dingle, a radio personality with WTTR for many decades beginning in 1974, he said that he was a “The Mamas & the Papas” fan. He was a student at Towson State College when the “Sgt. Pepper” album came out.

Dingle thought the album cover for “Sgt. Pepper” was fascinating but said that “it doesn’t compare with The Mamas & the Papas March 1966 album ‘If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears’ cover with the all the members of the band in the bathtub ...”

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