Boomers Watched the Academy Awards Show in 1973

The 45th Annual Academy Awards presentation was held on March 27, 1973. Fifty years ago, the youngest boomer was aged nine, and probably saw at least part of the telecast. The program honored films that were released in 1972, many of which are now considered classics of American cinema.

The Best Picture award went to The Godfather. Best Directing was given to Bob Fosse for Cabaret. Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor awards went to Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey, respectively, for Cabaret.

But, the telecast is forever memorable for another reason, and that is when Sacheen Lightfeather (Maria Cruz) appeared in Native American dress in place of Marlon Brando when he was announced the winner for Best Actor. In announcing Brando would not accept the award, she gave the reason he had sent her there was because of “the treatment of American Indians today in the film industry…” Ms. Lightfeather added, “I beg at this time that I have not intruded upon this evening,” … and that … “in the future, our hearts and our understandings will meet with love and generosity.”

Though the audience reaction was mixed, Lightfeather, also an actress, was blacklisted and said years later that J. Edgar Hoover personally told people in the industry not to hire her. On September 17, 2022, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued a formal apology for the manner in which she was treated during the speech and the following years, acknowledging the incident ended her film career. Lightfeather died on October 2, 2022, after a long battle with breast cancer.

Certainly, Mister B did watch the memorable telecast of the 1973 Academy Awards. While there have been many years when Mister Boomer saw few, if any, Academy Award-nominated films, in 1973 he was of adult age and had seen several that had been nominated in various categories. Movies were often reserved for a date night. Aside from The Godfather (though to this day he has not seen either sequel) and Cabaret, he went to the movies to see The Candidate, Sleuth, The Poseidon Adventure and Deliverance.

For other boomers, there was a host of amazing nominated movies made in 1972 to see, including 1776, The Ruling Class, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoise, Butterflies Are Free, Fat City, Young Winston, Travels with My Aunt, Sounder, Lady Sings the Blues and The Heartbreak Kid.

Did you watch the Academy Awards telecast in 1973, boomers?

Boomers Remember 60 Years Ago

Where were you in ’62? If you are an early-years or mid-generation boomer, then you probably have memories of August, 1962. Mister Boomer remembers brightly-colored summer clothes and a hint of foreboding in the air that back-to-school time was drawing near.

See if you recall these facts and events:

• John Kennedy was President of the United States.
• The month began with the death of Marilyn Monroe, from a fatal overdose of medication.
• The Soviet Union conducted the second largest nuclear test in history by exploding a 40-megaton hydrogen bomb.
• Patsy Cline released her final album, Sentimentally Yours. She died in a plane crash in March of 1963.
• Herbert Hoover was present to dedicate and open The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, in West Branch, Iowa. Hoover, the 31st President of the United States, was celebrating his 88th birthday.
• The Soviet Union leapfrogged past the U.S. space program by launching two manned spacecrafts into orbit back to back. Volstak 3 was launched on August 11, 1962, and Volstak 4 launched one day later. The plan for the two spacecraft was to have parallel orbits, allowing them to establish radio contact until their return to Earth on August 15. At their closest point, the two spacecraft were just over 3 miles apart. The effects of space on the cosmonauts’ health was part of the main mission.

• Pete Best was fired as the drummer of The Beatles, on August 16. He was replaced by Ringo Starr, making his first appearance as a Beatle two days later.

• John Lennon married Cynthia Powell in a secret ceremony in Liverpool.
• Mariner 2, the first successful space probe launched to another planet, was launched by NASA on August 27. It reached Venus on December 14, 1962. Both the U.S. and the Soviet Union had previously failed attempts at missions to Venus.
• On Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, the number one hits of August 1962 were Roses Are Red (My Love) by Bobby Vinton and Breaking Up Is Hard to Do by Neil Sedaka. Familiar names in the Top 10 that month included Pat Boone (Speedy Gonzales), The Orlons (The Wah Watsusi), Ray Charles (I Can’t Stop Loving You), Ray Stevens (Ahab, the Arab) and Little Eva (The Loco-motion).

Mister Boomer recalls the death of Marilyn Monroe as it was reported on TV. He also remembers hearing Neil Sedaka’s and the other songs of August 1962 playing on his transistor radio. His mother favored Bobby Vinton’s Red Roses (For a Blue Lady), which is why Mister B has that 45 in his collection now. Though an avid fan of the Space Race early on, Mister B can’t say he remembers anything about the Volstak 3 & 4 missions.

How about you, boomers? What do you remember about August 1962?