A Look Back At 1969

(Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone Magazine)

A Look Back At 1969

By Selma Komisky

As it marks the 50 year anniversary of the many events that changed out history, I wanted to share 4 that changed mine. Let’s look at the highlights in this 1969 flashback.

Apollo 11 – The First Man on the Moon

It was the summer of 1969 and I can remember the excitement and anticipation of all my family gathering around the television to watch history happen. Imagine a man blasting off into outer space and stepping down a ladder onto the moon’s surface proclaiming: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Unheard of! It was as if it was right out of a scene of a science fiction movie. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first humans to step on the moon. A vivid memory for me was watching Armstrong hop around on the moon’s surface and stick a U.S. flag into the moon while I watched it wave in the atmosphere. Hard to believe its been 50  years since that happened.

Fun fact:  Buzz Aldrin upon exiting the Apollo at mission control’s request for a scheduled pause before the door opened to an unknown lunar planet, personally took a moment of silence, read scripture, prayed, and partook of communion. Aldrin a Christian and elder at Webster Presbyterian Church had gotten permission beforehand to take communion for the first time in space.


(Photo courtesy of Daily Mail)

The Brady Bunch

Back in the day Friday night was dedicated to watching the ‘60s beloved family, The Brady Bunch. Everyone would singalong to the catchy opening song “Here’s the story/of a lovely lady/ who was living with three very lovely girls…” The TV show was centered around a  family, three girls, three boys, and a dog living in a nice neighborhood home with their quirky housekeeper (who could forget Alice?). It was so fun watching siblings fight or go  to school, or go on their first date. Equally cool was watching celebs like Davy Jones (The Monkees) or Don Drysdale (baseball player of the Dodgers) make special appearances.

Fun Fact: Hair color played a big factor in the casting of the actors for this show. When brown-haired Robert Reed was cast as the dad, Michael Paul Lookinland who played Bobby had to dye his hair to match under studio lights. Susan Olsen who played Cindy, was naturally blonde, but not light enough in the eyes of producers and therefore bleached her hair until orders were given to stop after clumps began to fall out. Not so groovy.

(Photo courtesy of George Vreeland Hill)

The Beatles – Abbey Road

As a kid I grew up loving the Beatles music. Who didn’t like The Beatles? The Beatles were trendsetters and extremely talented. Young girls swooned at these Fab Four from Liverpool: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Star. The Beatles artistically released so many number one hits on the US billboards and overseas. According to Rolling Stone magazine, “Abbey Road was the last they recorded, but Let It Be was the last they released.” September of 1969 was never the same with the release of this new album.

Fun Fact: Scottish photographer Iain Macmillan stood on a ladder in the middle of the street to take the iconic photo on Abbey Road itself. For the first time on a Beatles album, the front cover contained neither the group’s name nor the album title – just that iconic photograph. It was a fun alum cover concept because everyone was about looking for all the clues regarding the whole McCartney was dead legend (i.e. license plate, the girl in blue dress, clothes they had on, Paul’s bare feet, etc.) besides all the great music on this timeless record.

(Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone Magazine)


During the height of the hippie’s counterculture, Woodstock happened. Of course, I was much too young to attend Woodstock (lol), but I clearly recall all the news talking about it. If you don’t know Woodstock, it was the largest and most famous music festival event over a period of  three days. These young hippies took in the performances of acts like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Joan Baez, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, The Who and many more. There were surprisingly few episodes of violence and a number of musicians performed songs expressing their opposition to the Vietnam War. The bottom line – there was no cutting edge, high-tech hologram of Tupac like at Coachella these days. These musicians were passionate about getting a message out to the world about peace and anti-war. They played and sang their hearts out and the rest was history in motion.

Fun Fact: Max Yasgur a dairy farmer who defied his neighbors and agreed to host the 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Festival on his 600-acre dairy property in Bethel, New York quoted on stage at Woodstock: “The important thing that you’ve proven to the world is that a half a million kids — and I call you kids because I have children that are older than you can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but fun and music, and God Bless You for it!” In addition, Yasgur was paid $75,000 for the use of 600 acres of his land and to clean it up afterwards. They were not expecting too many people and eventually had to stop selling tickets because a half a million attended in all. Therefore, Woodstock became a free event.

(Photo courtesy of elliottlandy.com)