1964 Events & Facts

What Happened in 1964?


  • After completing what would have been the final year of John F. Kennedy’s first term, President Johnson re-elected in a landslide over Barry Goldwater
  • President Johnson declares "war on poverty," introduces a variety of federal welfare programs, including Medicare (initially proposed by Kennedy in 1960)
  • Three civil rights workers murdered in Mississippi during "Freedom Summer"
  • 24th Amendment to Constitution adopted, ensuring fair voting practices
  • Race riots break out in Harlem and other U.S. cities
  • Investigating the Kennedy assassination, the Warren Commission determines that "Oswald acted alone" in killing the president
  • U.S. military forces launch attacks on North Vietnam in response to an alleged attack on a U.S. destroyer off the Vietnamese coast; Congress passes Gulf of Tonkin resolution that gives the President greater freedom to authorize combat actions in Vietnam
  • Soviet leader Khrushchev falls from power, is ultimately replaced by Leonid Brezhnev
  • Anchorage, Alaska hit by massive earthquake
  • Turkey attacks Cyprus


  • Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa convicted of fraud, conspiracy and jury tampering
  • The average hourly wage for blue collar workers has increased from between 50 and 75 percent since 1949


  • Space probe Mariner IV flies by Mars, transmitting pictures of the planet’s surface back to earth
  • The world’s longest suspension bridge, the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in New York, opens
  • Concern in Britain over "brain drain," or the mass emigration of British scientists to the U.S.
  • World’s Fair held in New York
  • First lung transplant
  • Sony introduces the first VCR Home Video Recorder

1964 SPORTS:

  • World Series: St. Louis over New York Yankees, 4-3
  • Olympics held in Tokyo
  • Cassius Clay (the future Muhammad Ali) defeats Sonny Liston to win heavyweight boxing title


  • Movies: Lord of the Flies, A Hard Day’s Night, My Fair Lady, Goldfinger, Zorba the Greek, Mary Poppins
  • Songs: I Want to Hold Your Hand, Hello Dolly!, She Loves You, Can’t Buy Me Love, Do Wah Diuly Diuly, Oh Pretty Woman, Baby Love, My Guy
  • TV Shows: The Munsters, The Virginian, Daniel Boone, Outer Limits, Gilligan’s Island, Man From UNCLE, Flipper, Dr. Kildare, Voyage the the Bottom of the Sea
  • Books: A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemmingway (posthumous publication); Herzog, Saul Bellow; In His Own Write, John Lennon
  • "Beatlemania" spreads as the Beatles become a global phenomenon
  • Musicals Hello Dolly, Fiuller on the Roof debut
  • Elizabeth Taylor marries Richard Burton after divorcing Eulie Fisher 10 days before
  • Cole Porter dies


  • According to some reports, not a single juvenile crime is reported in New York City the night of the Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964
  • Ticket to the movies $1.25
  • Jeff Bezos, Barry Bonds, Nicolas Cage born


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