The Wood Tiger
The Class of 1974. Eighteen and fresh outta high school, I was just as confused as the world around me. Old school parents said marriage and kids, not college, for women like me. This was not my vision, but soon my reality. It took 50 years to get what I wanted. Never give up on your dreams.
Music was evolving in the U.S. and Britain. Marijuana, though illegal, was popular among students and musicians. LSD, PCP, and heroin took the lives of many young, talented people. The Vietnam War was winding down. A President resigned, and nuclear testing was practically a monthly occurrence. A serial killer was preying on young college girls, ending the carefree days of hitchhiking. The Beatles were formally disbanded, and the world was more chaotic than ever.
The world population was 4.378 billion people. The population of the United States was 213,853,928. The life expectancy was 72 years of age in the U.S., and unemployment was at 5.6%.
People magazine debuted with Mia Farrow on the cover.
Mikhail Baryshnikov defected from Russia and joined the American Ballet Theatre.
The Godfather Part II, The Towering Inferno, and Chinatown were playing in theaters.
Richard Nixon imposed the 55 MPH speed limit nationwide. Later in the year, he resigned as the 37th President of the United States, and Gerald Ford became the 38th President of the U.S. Nelson Rockefeller was appointed his Vice President.
The worst fire in Argentine history destroyed 1.2 million acres.
The United Kingdom began a three-day workweek during the energy crisis.
In response to the 1973 energy crisis, the United States implemented daylight savings time four months early.
The first report from scientists that freon gasses from aerosol sprays were destroying the ozone layer. I often wonder how the ozone layer is doing? We only hear about climate change and global warming. So, has the ozone layer stopped shrinking?
The final episode of Love American Style aired in January. It was also the end of the Dean Martin Show.
Happy Days T.V. sitcom began an 11-year run on ABC. Stars included Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Marion Ross, and Tom Bosley.
Doubleday published Jaws by Peter Benchley.
The $6 Million Man starring Lee Majors premiered on ABC.
Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the first heterotopic heart transplant, adding a donor heart without removing the old one.
The First Lady, Betty Ford, underwent a radical mastectomy. She’s also known as the “first lady of recovery,” starting up The Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage in 1982 to help persons with substance dependence issues.
Christine Chubbuck, a T.V. news reporter for WXLT-TV in Florida, shot herself on a live broadcast. She was the 1st person to commit suicide on live T.V. The tape of her suicide has been locked away for decades due to her brother’s diligence. At the time, she was diagnosed with depression at the age of 15; however, her brother feels she was bipolar. Mental illness was never discussed openly until the 21st century.
The Exorcist won the 31st Golden Globe Award.
“The Way We Were” hit number one on the chart, making it Barbra Streisand’s first number one hit.
Chimpanzee Nim Chimsky was two and a half months old when he signed his first word.
Patty Hearst, Randolph Hearst’s 19-year-old daughter, was kidnapped from her apartment in C.A. by the Symbionese Liberation Army.
British miners began a strike in reaction to a three-day workweek.
U.S. House of Representatives began determining grounds for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.
Mel Brooks Blazing Saddles opened in theaters. In 2020, the movie is considered racist and removed from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and all cable networks.
Good Times premiered on CBS. The Flip Wilson Show ended on NBC.
The hit show Mash, starring Alan Alda, won the 26th Emmy Awards, as did Mary Tyler Moore.
Three U.S. astronauts returned to Earth after 85 days in the U.S. space station, Skylab.
Dorothy Hamill won the U.S. female Figure Skating Championship.
Muhammad Ali knocked out George Foreman to regain the world heavyweight boxing title.
The first Laura Ashley store opened in San Francisco.
Henry Kissinger unveiled the Nixon Administration’s seven-point “Project Independence” plan to make the U.S. energy independent. It wasn’t until 2019 that the U.S. became energy independent from the world.
Watergate grand jury indicted seven presidential aides. They found Richard Nixon was involved in the Watergate cover-up. He was subsequently impeached from office, and Gerald Ford was sworn into the Presidential office. In today’s politics, you don’t have to have any evidence to impeach a President. The media is not your friend, and dumbing down is the new norm in American politics—slogans like “vote blue no matter who” will be the demise of our Republic.
All the President’s Men written by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, both investigative reporters, detailed the Watergate investigation. The book was published by Simon and Schuster.
As President, Gerald Ford signed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a federal United States tax and labor law that establishes minimum standards for pension plans in private industry.
Isabel Peron, an Argentine politician who served as President of Argentina from 1974 to 1976, became the world’s first woman president. She was serving as vice president under her husband, President Juan Peron, and when he died, she succeeded him. She was eventually ousted from office and went into exile in Spain. Her term in office was characterized by political violence and economic instability until the military overthrew her.
Stevie Wonder won Best Album for “Innervisions,” and Roberta Flack won the Best record for “Killing Me Softly.” Racism alive and well in America. NOT!!
Jefferson Starship began their first tour. Patti Smith released what is considered to be the first punk rock single, “Hey Joe.” The Steve Miller Band’s “The “Joker” hit number one on the charts.
The rock group “Yes” lost its keyboardist Rick Wakeman when he quit the group, his first time out of four.
Loretta Lynn and Charlie Rich won the 9th Academy of Country Music Awards.
The rock group, The Raspberries, broke up. “Go All the Way” later became a part of the soundtrack to three movies: Almost Famous (2000), Dark Shadows (2012), and Guardians of The Galaxy (2014). After the Raspberries disbanded in 1974, Eric Carmen pursued a highly successful solo career with a string of hits that included “All by Myself” (1976).
The Beatles formally are disbanded, and Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham join Fleetwood Mac.
George Harrison announced his first concert tour in the U.S. John Lennon’s visa was revoked for a conviction in London on marijuana but mostly because of his activism against the Vietnam War. Ringo Starr released the single “You’re 16” in the U.K. Paul McCartney and Wings released “Band on the Run.”
California Jam rock concert, also known as Cal Jam, was attended by over 200,000 people at the Ontario Speedway in California. Deep Purple and Emerson, Lake and Palmer were just two of the rock bands featured. One of the last great rock festivals of the era.
Steely Dan released “Rikki Don’t Lose that Number.” Shortly after, guitarist Jeff Baxter quit Steely Dan and joined the Doobie Brothers. Any music titles you see here and haven’t listened to, ask Alexa to play them. I remember this music as if it were yesterday.
“Feel Like Makin’ Love” by Roberta Flack became Billboard Song of the Year in 1974.
John Denver released his 8th studio album, Back Home Again, and became Billboard Album in 1975.
On August 23, 1974, John Lennon reported seeing a UFO in NYC. Only the rich have access to good drugs. Maybe it was the hit single’s inspiration, “Whatever Gets You Through The Night,” which was released in September of ’74.
Walt Disney, Florida, opened Discovery Island. Luna 23 launched a mission to the moon and landed there safely.
A law was implemented banning discrimination of sex or marital status in credit applications.
Ma’a lot massacre: Palestinian terrorists took a school hostage, killing 25 children and injuring 68 others.
There were two walls in Germany; one separated East and West Germany since the end of WWII, and the second wall was known as the Berlin Wall, which was erected in 1961 and torn down in 1989. The people between East and West Germany celebrate together on October 3, known as Unity Day.
One of the largest police shootouts in U.S. History occurred with more than 9,000 rounds fired between the Los Angeles Police Department and the Symbionese Liberation Army. Six SLA members were killed. Today, every one of the police officers involved would have been charged with murder because today, criminals and gangs have more rights than their victims.
Russia, U.S., and France continue to test nuclear bombs throughout the year. To this day, I still wonder if this is the reason cancer is the second leading cause of death in America.
For the first time, the Heimlich maneuver for rescuing choking victims was published in Emergency Medicine.
Cleveland’s 10-cent beer night caused unruly fans to stumble onto the field and forced the Indians to forfeit the game to the Rangers with a tie score of 5-5 in the ninth inning. The 10-cent beer night was never repeated.
Steve Garvey of the L.A. Dodgers was named all-star MVP.
The longest trampoline bouncing marathon, with a team of six people, spent 1,248 hours or 52 days bouncing around. Amazing what people will do for fun!
In London, the Houses of Parliament was bombed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army, causing extensive damage and injuring 11 people.
Chinese farmers near Xi’an discovered the Terracotta Army, with 8,000 clay warrior statues buried to guard China’s first emperor’s tomb, Qin Shi Huang.
China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy, on August 1, put into service their first nuclear-powered submarine.
The first extraterrestrial message was sent from Earth into space.
Most Arab oil-producing nations ended their embargo against the U.S.
The most complete early human skeleton (Lucy) was discovered in Ethiopia.
FOIA: Freedom of Information Act was passed by Congress.
The Universal Product Code, for the first time, was scanned into the system for selling a package of Wrigley’s chewing gum.
The second-largest tornado outbreak occurred over 24 hours with 148 confirmed tornadoes in 13 U.S. states, killing approximately 315 people and injuring nearly 5,500, was called The Super Outbreak and occurred on April 3, 1974. Would this be considered “climate change” or “global warming” today?
Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth’s home-run record by hitting his 714th home run. Nolan Ryan, the pitcher for the Angels, struck out 19 Red Sox in 12 innings in ’74, becoming an MLB pitching legend.
The movie Death Wish, starring Charles Bronson and based on the novel by Brian Garfield, was released in the U.S. Vigilantism at its best.
After it is believed he killed his children’s nanny, mistakenly thinking it was his wife, Lord Richard John Bingham, Seventh Earl of Lucan, disappeared. It is one of the great unsolved mysteries of British criminal history. Some believe he lived happily ever after in India as a hippy.
Ted Bundy, one of the most prolific serial killers in America, started his murderous spree across the U.S. By the end of 1974, he had kidnapped and murdered 11 women. In March, Donna Manson disappeared from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, her body was never found; Susan Rancourt vanished on April 17 from CWU, Ellensburg, Washington; May 6, Roberta Parks disappeared from OSU, Corvallis, Oregon; June 1, Brenda Ball disappeared from Burien, WA; June 11, Georgann Hawkins disappeared from UW, Seattle, WA; July 15, Janice Ott and Denise Naslund disappeared from Lake Sammamish, WA.
By October, Bundy had moved to Utah where he continued his murderous spree adding three women to his tally. Ted Bundy’s victims were between the ages of 15 and 26, except for two 12-year-old girls. He murdered approximately 30 young women between 1974 and 1978, though the body count is suspected to be higher. Only two were able to escape his murderous spree. One is permanently disabled from the vicious attack. Bundy was executed in 1989.
Older generations will tell young people, “back in my day…” but honestly, it wasn’t any better and, sometimes, it was worse. Our life path is never a straight road, so keep pushing through the curves.