Fifty years ago, on Aug. 12, President Richard Nixon signed the Postal Reorganization Act, the law that began the transformation of the Post Office Department into the U.S. Postal Service. To help mark the law’s golden anniversary, here are 11 other memorable topics from 1970.
1. Breaking up was hard to do. The Beatles disbanded, Simon & Garfunkel released their final album, and Diana Ross and the Supremes performed for the last time together.
2. We cared about the Carpenters. “(They Long to Be) Close to You,” “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “Merry Christmas, Darling” were hits for the clean-cut musical siblings.
3. “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” The Apollo 13 mission to the moon went awry when an oxygen tank exploded on April 13, leading to a tense multi-day effort to bring the astronauts on board safely back to Earth.
4. The 747 took off. The world’s first jumbo jet, the Boeing 747, made its maiden commercial flight in January, carrying 332 passengers and 18 crew members to London from New York.
5. We were weary of war. The Vietnam War spilled into Cambodia when U.S. and South Vietnamese troops invaded the neutral country, further fueling antiwar protests throughout America. Campus unrest of the era was marked by student deaths during demonstrations at Kent State University in Ohio and Jackson State University in Mississippi.
6. Ballots were recast. The U.S. voting age was lowered to 18 from 21.
7. We counted on/with Casey. “American Top 40,” a popular radio program counting down hit songs of the week, premiered with Casey Kasem as host.
8. We saw you, PBS. The Public Broadcasting Service went on the air for the first time.
9. A center of attention grew up. In December, the North Tower of the World Trade Center was topped out at 1,368 feet, making it the world’s tallest building at the time.
10. Dramas did well at the movies. “Patton” won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and the top-grossing film at the U.S. box office was “Airport.”
11. Hello, Mary, and Hail Mary. Notable television debuts in September included “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” on CBS and “NFL Monday Night Football” on ABC.