GIDGET GOES TO WASHINGTON
Katie Couric’sInterview with John McCain and Sarah Palin(with Gidget footage superimposed on interview)
“Gidget, The Little Girl With Big Ideas”
The 1959 movie was adapted from a 1957 novel by Frederick Kohner titled “Gidget, The Little Girl with Big Ideas” follows the adventures of a teenage girl and her surfing friends on the beach at Malibu . Gidget the movie was frivolous, lighthearted entertainment whose demographic were teeny boppers.
That same year teeny boppers and rock and roll fans in general mourn the loss of of rock- and-roll stars Buddy Holly (22), Ritchie Valens (17) and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson (28).They had just finished performing at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake. Buddy Holley and the Crickets had 2 hit songs “Oh Boy” and “Maybe Baby,” Valens had the 2-sided hit “Donna” and “La Bamba,” Richardson was popular for his song “Chantilly Lace”, whose plane crashed on Feb February 3, 1959 near Clear Lake, Iowa.
For the pre-teen set on March 9/1959 the Barbie doll was unveiled at the American Toy Fair in New York City. The Barbie Doll No. 1 was introduced by Mattel Toy Company for $3. Ruth Handler (d.2002), co-founder of Mattel, created the Barbie doll. The doll was produced by Mattel Toy Co. in Hawthorne, Ca. In 1994 it sold for $4000 as a collector’s item
An interesting foot note while teeny boppers the world over were vicariously soaking up the Mailibou beach culture; on Jul 26, 1959 there was a nuclear reactor meltdown at Rocketdyne’s Santa Susana Field Laboratory 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles
. A report in 2006 said it may have caused hundreds of cases of cancer in the community, and that chemicals threaten to contaminate ground and water.www.atsdr.cdc.gov/HAC/PHA/santa/san_p1.html
IN 1959 BOOK LOVERS WERE READING:
“The Tin Drum”(1959) by Gunter Grass, German author, the book criticized German authorities for supplying arms to the Turkish government. An English translation was published in 1963.
“The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” by Mordecai Richler.
“Sweet Bird of Youth” (1959) by Tennessee Williams. The play was about an aging movie queen and a male gigolo visiting his Gulf Coast home town. It was made into a 1962 film with Geraldine Page and Paul Newman who also starred in the original play. “The Zoo Story and The Sandbox”(1959) by Edward Albee
HOWEVER BOOK LOVERS WERE NOT READING:
“Lady Chatterley’s Lover“ because on Jun 11, 1959, the Postmaster General banned D.H. Lawrence’s book. Charles Rembar began a 7-year fight against obscenity laws when he contested the US postmaster general’s ban on Lady Chatterley’s Lover. In 1968 Rembar authored “The End of Obscenity.” In 1980 he authored a history of American law: “The Law of the Land.”
The year that Gidget was filmed(1959) moviegoers were watching:
“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, “The Defiant Ones”, “Separate Tables” “The Old Man and the Sea”
“I Want to Live” “The Big Country”,”The Brothers Karamazov”, “Lonelyhearts” and another film which was filmed in a country that just went through a revolution which to this day has hostile relations with the United States. The country is Cuba and the movie is “Our Man In Havana” which is described as a comedy/drama and it’s about a hapless spy
recruited to forward intelligence to MI6
, who invents material in order to cover his inadequacies.
“Our Man In Havana” was a novel written by Graham Greene in 1958 and the following year he wrote the screenplay. Graham Greene was a novelist, a playwright, a journalist and also a spy. He was recruited into The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), colloquially known as MI6 by his sister Elizabeth.
Fidel Castro‘s government gave permission for this film, which presents the fallen regime of Fulgencio Batista, in an unflattering light and also condemns American and British meddling, to shoot on location in Havana, only months after the revolution. It was completed during the brief period in 1959 before Cuba had aligned itself with the Soviet Union. Filmed on location in Havana three months after Castro’s January 1959 Revolution, the script had to be submitted to Cuba’s Minister of the Interior, where it was insisted that 39 changes be made to make it appear that life during the Battista regime was more unfavorable.
Greene returned to Havana between 1963 and 1966, but his disagreement with the regime’s treatment of Catholics, intellectuals, and homosexuals left him at odds with the government, and his work is not commemorated in Cuba.
On Feb 16, 1959 Fidel Castro becomes Prime Minister. Castro starts the distribution of land in the Sierra Maestrathat he promised during his time there. The Cuban governments nationalizes the telephone industry – an affiliate of the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation. Back in Cuba, Castro signs the Agrarian Reform Act, which expropriates farm lands larger than 1,000 acres and bans land ownership by foreigners. Two hundred thousand peasants receive titles to land. Meanwhile people hostile to Castro drop leaflets on Havana from a small airplane. Contra revolutionaries bombed Havana. Two Cubans are said to have been killed and 45 wounded.
In 1959 the Soviet Union posed a real danger to the free world.
In Canada, Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker purchased American-made Bomarc missiles as a means of bomber defence, in the event of a Soviet nuclear bomber attack from the north.
Fear of the Soviet Union was so high that on Sep 6 Cardinal Spellman saw danger in Khrushchev’s visit to the United States and calls on the Roman Catholics in his New York Archdiocese to participate in an hour of prayer “for our beloved country.”
In spite of this paranoia both leaders were visiting each other’s countries and The “Spirit of Camp David” is born. However this didn’t stop the U.S.S. R from
fighting proxy wars in Viet Nam, Afghanistan and they cemented their relationship with Egypt when in October 31, 1959 the USSR and Egypt signed contracts for building the Aswan Dam.
On Jul 23, 1959 Nixon flew to Moscow to open the US Trade and Cultural Fair in Sokolniki Park, organized as a goodwill gesture by the USSR.
The following day VP Richard M. Nixon got into a “kitchen debate” with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev at a US exhibition. Nixon correctly said that the $100-a-month mortgage for the model ranch house was well within the reach of a typical American steelworker. Khrushchev is annoyed. He proposes a toast “to the elimination of all military bases on foreign lands.” Nixon says, “I am for peace. We will drink to talking – as long as we are talking we are not fighting.”
On Aug 1/1959 Vice President Nixon speaks on Soviet television. He criticizes communism and warns against any attempt to spread Communist ideology beyond the borders of the Soviet Union.
Khrushchev and President Eisenhower meet at Camp David
On Sep 15/1959 Khrushchev and his wife begin a 13-day visit in the United States. They are greeted by President Eisenhower.
Khrushchev and his wife spent several days traveling across America, making stops in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Des Moines, Iowa. When Kruschchev speaks to students on Sep23/1959 at Iowa State College and students cheer Khrushchev, Senator Hubert H. Humphrey says that the United States must not be lulled by Khrushchev’s visit into accepting a “live and let live” agreement with the Communists.
During the visit Khrushchev debated with Richard Nixon. He also saw the filming of Can Can and the found the dance immoral(earlier in his visit Khrushchev was disappointed that he couldn’t visit DisneyLand because it posed too high a security risk. . Bassetts produced 50 tubs of borscht sorbet in honor of Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to Philadelphia.
Eisenhower said he was entering the Camp David talks with high hopes. He warned, however, that real progress could be achieved only if the Soviets eased their confrontational approach.
At Camp David Khrushchev enjoyed chatting with Eisenhower’s grandchildren. The “Spirit of Camp David” is born. In a joint communiqué, issued after two days of meetings, the leaders said they “agreed that these discussions have been useful in clarifying each other’s position on a number of subjects.” They believed that “the question of general disarmament is the most important one facing the world today. A Paris summit meeting is planned.
Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev concluded his visit to the United States Sep 27, 1959 .
On May 1, 1960, over Sverdlovsk. Soviets had shadowed Francis Gary Power’s U-2 plane from a lower altitude, then took him down as he crossed over Sverdlosk, which was deep in Soviet airspace. Powers was unable to activate the plane’s self-destruct mechanism, as instructed, before he parachuted to the ground, right into the hands of the KGB.
Ultimately the whole incident was a set back for any future the peace talks for quite awhile. On August 17, 1960, Powers was convicted of espionage against the Soviet Union. He was sentenced to a total of 10 years in prison, three years of imprisonment followed by seven years of hard labor. Powers was held in the famous “Vladimirsky Central” prison in the city of Vladimir, east of Moscow. This prison had been used to hold other high-profile prisoners, such as the son of Joseph Stalin. The prison, which is still active today, contains a small museum that includes an exhibit on Powers, who, it is said, had a good rapport withRussian prisoners during his time there. On February 10, 1962, twenty-one months after his capture, he was exchanged along with American student Frederic Pryor in a spy swap for Soviet KGB Colonel Vilyam Fisher (aka Rudolf Abel) at the Glienicke Bridge in Berlin, Germany.
Besides the world’s preoccupation with the Soviet Union there were other historical events that would change the course of history forever:
Oct 31, A former U.S. Marine from Fort Worth, Texas, announced in Moscow that he would never return to the United States. His name: Lee Harvey Oswald. He does return to the United States and assassinates President John F Kennedy. The assassination of John F. Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States, took place on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas,at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time (18:30 UTC) in Dealey Plaza. Kennedy was fatally wounded by gunshots while riding with his wife Jacqueline in a Presidential motorcade
Ho Chi Minh declares a “people’s war” to unite all of Vietnam, including a rising in the southern half of Vietnam, to complete what was sought in the war against the French and denied by those who ignored the peace agreement made with the French in 1954. The Peoples’ Army of Vietnam’s Military Transportation Group 559 formed on the 69th birthday of Vietnamese revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh. It ultimately resulted in the creation of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The trail was intended to facilitate the infiltrating of troops and transporting supplies from North Vietnam to support the revolution in SouthVietnam. Finally, in January 1959, the North’s Central Committee issued a secret resolution authorizing an “armed struggle”. This authorized the southern communist to begin large-scale operations against the South Vietnamese military. However, North Vietnam supplied troops and supplies in earnest, and the infiltration of men and weapons from the north began along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. In May, South Vietnam enacted Law 10/59, which made politicalviolence punishable by death and property confiscation. The first American advisors were killed in Vietnam during a communist attack near Bien Hoa Air Base. That triggered the transition that by 1968 led to more than 500,000 American combatants in Southeast Asia.
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