Jackson High School

Class of 1961


55th Reunion

June 3rd & 4th, 2016

1961 Looking Back In Time

As Mad Magazine pointed out on its cover for the March 1961 issue, this is the first "upside-up" year - i.e., one in which the numerals that form the year look the same as when the numerals are rotated upside down - since 1881, and the last until 6009.

World Events

  • US breaks diplomatic relations with Cuba (Jan. 3).
  • 1,200 US sponsored anti-Castro exiles invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs (April 17); the attackers are all killed or captured by Cuban forces.
  • The Soviet Union erects the Berlin Wall between East and West Berlin (Aug. 13).
  • USSR test detonates a 58-megaton yield thermonuclear bomb for the largest man made explosion in history (Oct. 30).
  • OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) formally constituted.
  • Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gargarin becomes the first human in space after a single orbit of the earth (April 12).

US Events

  • John F. Kennedy inaugurated as 35th president of the US (Jan. 20).  John F Kennedy succeeded Dwight D. Eisenhower in office. Lyndon B. Johnson was Kennedy's vice president succeeding Richard M. Nixon.  Outgoing President Eisenhower issues a warning about the development of a "military industrial complex" in his Farewell Address.
  • US astronaut, Navy Cmdr. Alan B. Shepard, Jr. becomes first American in space during a suborbital flight aboard Mercury 3 (May 5); Virgil Grissom follows 2 months later.
  • US President John F. Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps (Mar. 1).
  • The Twenty-Third Amendment to the US Constitution is ratified.  This amendment allows the residents of Washington, DC to vote in presidential elections (Mar. 29)
  • US "Freedom Riders" begin interstate bus rides to test new US Supreme Court integration decision (May 4).
  • US President John F. Kennedy sends "military advisers" to South Vietnam.  The undeclared war officially begins with the arrival of 400 US personnel and helicopters in Saigon (Dec. 11).


  • World Population:  3.08 billion
  • US Population:  183,691,481
  • US Life Expectancy:  70.2 years
  • Federal Spending:  97.72 billion
  • Federal Debt:  292.6 billion
  • Consumer Price Index:  29.9
  • Unemployment:  5.5%
  • First Class Stamp:  $0.04
  • Average Cost of a New Home:  $12,500
  • Average Income per Year:  $5,315
  • Gal. of Gas:  $0.27
  • New Car:  $2,850
  • Doz. Eggs:  $0.30
  • Lb. Bacon:  $0.67

World Leaders

  • Australia:  Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies
  • Brazil:  Presidents Juscelino Kubitschek, Janio Quadros, Ranieri Mazzilli, Joao Goulart
  • Canada:  Prime Minister John Diefenbaker
  • China:  Chairman of the People's Republic Liu Shaoqi
  • France:  President Charles de Gaulle
  • Germany: Chancellor Konrad Adenauer
  • India:  Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru
  • Italy:  Prime Minister Amintore Fanfani
  • Japan:  Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda
  • Mexico:  President Adolfo Lopez Mateos
  • Russia/Soviet Union:  First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Nikita Krushchev
  • South Africa:  Prime Minister Hendrik Frensch Verowerd
  • United States:  President Dwight D. Eisenhower thru Jan. 20, John F. Kennedy from Jan. 20.
  • United Kingdom:  Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.


  • World Series:  NY Yankees over Cincinnati
  • NBA Championship:  Boston over St. Louis Hawks
  • Stanley Cup:  Chicago over Detroit
  • Wimbledon:  Women-Angela Mortimer & Men-Rod Laver
  • Kentucky Derby:  Carry Back
  • NCAA Basketball:  Cincinnati over Ohio State
  • NCAA Football:  Alabama (11-0-0) & Ohio State (8-0-1)

Popular Music

  • Chubby Checker:  "Pony Time", "Let's Twist Again"
  • Shirelles:  "Will You Love Me Tomorrow", "Dedicated to the One I Love"
  • Patsy Cline:  "I Fall To Pieces", "Crazy"
  • Lawrence Welk:  "Calcutta"
  • Elvis Presley:  "Surrender", "Wooden Heart", "Little Sister", "His Latest Flame"
  • Ben E. King:  "Stand By Me". "Spanish Harlem"
  • Del Shannon:  "Runaway"
  • Dion:  "Runaround Sue"
  • Ricky Nelson:  "Hello Mary Lou", "Travelin' Man"
  • Ray Charles: "Hit the Road, Jack"
  • Roy Orbison:  "Crying", "Running Scared", "Candy Man"
  • Gary US Bonds:  "Quarter to Three"

Popular Movies

  • West Side Story
  • The Hustler
  • The Parent Trap
  • The Guns of Navarone
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's
  • 101 Dalmations
  • Judgement at Nuremberg

Popular Television Shows

  • Wagon Train
  • Bonanza
  • Gunsmoke
  • Hazel
  • Perry Mason
  • The Red Skelton Show
  • The Andy Griffith Show
  • The Danny Thomas Show
  • Dr. Kildare
  • Candid Camera
  • Twilight Zone
  • I've Got A Secret
  • Mr. Ed
  • Ben Casey
  • What's My Line
  • Ed Sullivan

New Books

  • Catch-22, Joseph Heller
  • Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller
  • Franny and Zooey, J. D. Salinger
  • The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark
  • The Winter of Our Discontent, John Steinbeck
  • Mila 18, Leon Uris
  • The Carpetbaggers, Harold Robbins
  • James and the Giant Peach, Robert Dahl
  • The Judas Tree, A. J. Cronin
  • Thunderball, Ian Fleming
  • Call of the Dead, John le Carre


  • First human in space is Yuri Gargarin from the USSR
  • First in flight movie is shown on TWA
  • First electric toothbrush is produced by Squibb Co.
  • First US space flight by Alan Sheppard
  • Niagra Falls produces hydroelectric power
  • First "quasar" is discovered by Allan Sandage at Mt. Palomar, CA observatory
  • IBM introduces the Selectric Typewriter with the "golfball" typehead design
  • P&G introduces Pampers, the first disposable diaper
  • Element 103 in the Periodic Table of Elements, Lawrencium (Lr) is synthesized for the first time at the University of California.


  • Barack Obama - 44th US President
  • Wayne Gretzky - Canadian hockey player
  • George Stephanopoulos - American political consultant and commentator
  • Eddie Murphy - American actor and comedian
  • George Clooney - American actor
  • Michael J. Fox - Canadian actor
  • Diana - Princess of Wales (d. 1997)
  • Melissa Etheridge - American musician and singer
  • Isiah Thomas - American basketball player, coach and team owner
  • "Boy George" - British musician and producer
  • Billy Ray Cyrus - American singer and Miley's (Hanna Montana) dad
  • Nadia Comaneci - Romania gymnast


  • Erwin Schrodinger - Austrian physicist, Nobel Prize laureate
  • Dashiell Hammett - American writer
  • Gary Cooper - American actor
  • Carl Jung - Swiss psychiatrist
  • Lee DeForest - American inventor
  • Ernest Hemingway - American writer, Nobel Prize laureate
  • Eero Saarinen - Finnish architect
  • Dag Hammarskjold - Swedish UN Secretary General, recipient of Nobel Peace Prize
  • Chico Marx - American comedian
  • James Thurber - American humorist
  • Ty Cobb - American baseball player
  • Max Weber - Polish-American artist

And Introducing Who America Has Long Been Waiting For.....

"Here he is...the boyfriend for Barbie the Teen-Age Fashion Model.  All Barbie fans will want Ken and his smartly tailored wardrobe of finest quality materials for perfect fit and finish...with miniature accessories...plus a special arm tag identity for the only genuine Ken Doll."