You are here -> HOME – RETROVILLE – 1961

Welcome to Retroville! It’s 1961!


  • John F. Kennedy becomes the 35th President
  • Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in as Vice President
  • The Berlin Wall goes up between East and West Germany
  • U.S. breaks diplomatic relations with Cuba
  • Peace Corps is founded
  • Freedom Riders are attacked in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Jimmy Hoffa becomes president of the Teamsters Union
  • Soviets put the first man into orbit when Major Yuri A. Gagarin orbits the Earth on April 12
  • U.S. launches Commander Alan B. Shepard, Jr. into space sending him 116.5 miles up on a 302-mile trip
  • U.S. gets a second astronaut, Virgil Grissom, into space sending him 118 miles up on a 303-mile flight over the Atlantic Ocean
  • Soviets send Gherman Stepanovich Titov into space on Vostok II achieving 17.5 orbits in 25 hours during a 434,960 mile trip
  • Soviets test a 50-megaton hydrogen bomb creating the biggest explosion in history
  • The U.S. now has 2,000 military advisors in Viet Nam
  • Baseball legend Ty Cobb dies
  • Roger Maris hits 61 home runs to take the home run record
  • NY Yankees defeat the Cincinnati Reds to take the World Series
  • A.J. Foyt sets a new land speed record (139.130 mph) at the Indianapolis 500


  • Cavalcade of America
  • CBS Radio Mystery Theater
  • Death Valley Days
  • Fibber McGee and Molly
  • Fred Allen Show
  • Gunsmoke
  • Jack Benny Show
  • Jungle Jim


  • The Defenders
  • Dennis the Menace
  • Lassie
  • Candid Camera
  • Bullwinkle Show
  • Car 54 Where Are You?
  • The Rifleman
  • Ben Casey
  • I’ve Got a Secret
  • The Price is Right
  • Bugs Bunny
  • Dick Van Dyke Show
  • Dobie Gillis
  • Steve Allen Show
  • Naked City
  • Bob Newhart Show
  • Donna Reed Show
  • The Untouchables
  • Dr. Kildare
  • Hazel
  • Route 66
  • The Flintstones
  • The Andy Griffith Show
  • The Avengers


  • Non-dairy creamers
  • Valium
  • Slip-n-Slide
  • Frosty the Sno-cone Machine
  • Dick Tracy Wristwatch Radio
  • Lie Detector (the game)


  • Car: $2,275
  • Gasoline: 31 cents per gallon
  • House: $18,800
  • Bread: 21 cents per loaf
  • Milk: $1.05 per gallon
  • Postage Stamp: 4 cents
  • Average Annual Salary: $6,471
  • Minimum Wage: $1.15 per hour


  • West Side Story – romantic musical drama by Robert Wise starring Natalie Wood


  • Bye Bye Birdie – based on the book by Michael Stewart, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Lee Adams, choreographed by Gower Champion, starring Chita Rivera, Dick Van Dyke, Kay Medford, Paul Lynde, and Dick Gautier


  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (fiction)
  • All the Way Home by Tad Mosel (drama)
  • Between War and Peace: The Potsdam Conference by Herbert Feis (history)
  • Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War by David Donald (biography)
  • Times Three: Selected Verse From Three Decades by Phyllis McGinley (poetry)


  • Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjold, Sweden, 1905-1961, United Nations Secretary General (awarded posthumously)


  • The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens
  • Take Good Care of My Baby by Bobby Vee
  • Let There Be Drums by Sandy Nelson
  • Tossin’ and Turnin’ by Bobby Lewis
  • Big Bad John by Jimmy Dean
  • Runaway by Del Shannon
  • Pony Time by Chubby Checker
  • Blue Moon by The Marcels
  • Runaround Sue by Dion
  • Travelin’ Man by Ricky Nelson
  • Hit the Road Jack by Ray Charles
  • Surrender by Elvis Presley
  • Can’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis Presley
  • Stand By Me by Ben E. King
  • Bristol Stomp by The Dovells
  • Twist Again by Chubby Checker
  • Crazy by Patsy Cline
  • Pretty Little Angel Eyes by Curtis Lee
  • Please Mr. Postman by The Marvellettes
  • Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow by The Shirelles
  • There’s a Moon Out Tonight by The Capris
  • Dedicated to the One I Love by The Shirelles
  • Hello Mary Lou by Ricky Nelson
  • Spanish Harlem by Ben E. King
  • Crying by Roy Orbison
  • Raindrops by Dee Clark