1961 – McDonald’s Takes Over

  • To compete against the popular soft drink 7-Up Coca-Cola brings Sprite on the scene.
  • The Selectric typewriter is introduced by IBM. There are those who may remember these were the typewriters which were the”bouncing ball” type.
  • Along came Ray Kroc and grabbed a hold of his hamburger chain empire by buying out the McDonald brothers. He then went on the open up 200 McDonalds in California and we know this story has no end. The photo is of a McDonalds in Riga, Latvia.
  • Tylenol was produced by Johnson & Johnson. I didn’t know Tylenol came about in my childhood in our household it was Bayer aspirin that ruled.

  • Kids everywhere were walking around dangling something from a string usually looped around one finger. Yes, the Yo-Yo became the biggest selling toy and newest craze this year. I remember I was so frustrated by it because I couldn’t do half the tricks. If YouTube had been around I could have watched a demo video.
  • A literary great ended his life tragically. This was the year when Ernest Hemmingway committed suicide by shooting himself.


  • This is the year when Del Shannon scored a number 1 hit with”Runaway”. This was also the song which introduced the”musitron” which was an early form of a synthesizer.
  • Recently arrived on the scene in Detroit, Michigan Motown records featured soul-based music. This year did them proud as the Marvelettes song ”Please Mr. Postman” hit number 1 on the pop charts. A song with a catchy tune it’s still popular today.
  • Also, the year when soul music started gaining popularity and many fine artists started making their debut like James Brown, Sam Cooke, Solomon Burke and the once lead singer with the former Drifters Ben E. King’s song ”Stand By Me” became the number 1 R&B hit.
  • And on a sad note, this was the year when Elvis Presley gave his last live performance for fans to feast their eyes and it would have to be a sight to last them for the next eight years because Elvis was army bound.


  • An exciting year for Yankee fans as it was 1961 when the New York Yankees won the World Series defeating Cincinnati in five games.
  • There was also competition as Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle went all out to try to beat Babe Ruth’s record of 60 home runs. This year on October 1 Maris hits number 61.
  • In the world of football, the Green Bay Packers defeat the New York Giants to win the NFL title.

Movies and Television

  • The Oscar for Best Picture goes to”West Side Story”.
  • For her role in the movie”Two Women” Sophia Loren gets named Best Actress.
  • Audrey Hepburn performs in one of her all-time greatest roles in the movie”Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.
  • Other popular movies this year were Disney’s “101 Dalmatians”, “Guns of Navarone”, Disney’s “The Absent-Minded Professor” and “El Cid”.
  • It was a banner year for TV as the most popular shows were Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and Wagon Train. Other favorites were Hazel, Perry Mason, and The Red Skelton Show.


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