September 1966 – 50 years ago

September 1966

1 September – Due to an incorrect altimeter settin, Britania Airways Flight 105 crashed into trees while attempting to land under cloudy conditions at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport (Brnik) in Slovenia. The plane from London Luton airport was carrying 117 people of which 98 were killed.

September 19665 September – Jerry Lewis was raising money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) in the US since the 1950s. The first Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon was broadcast on 5 September 1966 where it raised $1 million for MDA. The yearly event peaked in 2008 when it raised $65 million. The shows length and format changed drastically 2011. 2014 was the final telecast of the event. Over it’s life nearly $2.75 billion was raised for MDA.

6 September – The master mind behind apartheid was Hendrik Verwoerd. He was later to become the Prime Minister of South Africa. An attempt to assassinate him in 1960 failed but on 6 September 1966 after entering the House of Assembly, Verwoerd was stabbed four times by parliamentary messenger Dimitri Tsafendas. Hendrik Verwoerd died en route to the hospital. The still blood-stained carpet where Hendrik Verwoerd lay after his murder remained in Parliament until it was removed in 2004.

10 September – US Air Force pilot Capt. Douglas Peterson was shot down in Vietnam and taken prisoner by the North Vietnamese. He remained a POW for more than six years. He was later to become a politician and diplomat and was the first US Ambassador to Vietnam in 1997. While there he met Australia’s senior trade commissioner, Vi Le, who he later married. He moved to Melbourne with his wife in 2002 and acquired Australian citizenship in 2009.

22 September – Ansetter-ANA Flight 149 crashed while making an emergency descent near Winton in Queensland. The aircraft was on a flight from Mt Isa to Longreach when fire broke out in one of its engines, spreading to the fuel tank and ultimately caused the breakup of one of its wings. Flight 149 crashed and burst into flames on Nadjayamba Station 25 kilometres short of Winton. All 24 on board were killed.

29 September – “Black Thursday” marked the beginning of a five-day-long massacre of Ibo refugees who had fled the Eastern Region of Nigeria to the Northern Region, where the Hausa residents, with attacks against merchants, civil servants and civilians. At least 1,000 people were slaughtered before the central government stepped in. Other estimates place the death toll at 30,000.

September 1966
A first-generation Camaro – 1967 SS model shown (CC BY 2.0)

29 September – As many as 1,000 people were killed, and 60,000 people left homeless in Haiti when Hurricane Inez hit. Damage totalled $20.35 million in Haiti, prompting the United States government to send aid for the first time in nearly ten years due to previous mishandling of funds. Inez weakened quickly over Hispaniola, although it re-intensified into a major hurricane before striking southeastern Cuba on September 30. In the country, 125,000 people were forced to evacuate, and there were three deaths and $20 million in damage. The hurricane also took the lives of 293 people in Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico.

29 September – Originally known as the Panther, the Chevrolet Camaro went on sale in the US for the 1967 model year.

30 September – The Bechuanaland Protectorate was granted independence from the UK and became the Republic of Botswana with Sir Seretse Khama being the first president. It remains the oldest democracy in Africa and has maintained a strong representative democracy.



September 1966 – Music, Movies, Books and TV

September 1966
This comparison between Kane and Betty Boop was published in Photoplay’s April 1932 issue, one month before the lawsuit.

On 24 September1966 Jimmy James, guitarist with “Jimmy James and the Blue Flames”, decided to launch a solo career. He changed his stage name to Jimi Hendrix.

Helen Kane passed away from breast cancer on 26 September 1966 at the age of 62. Remembered for the 1928 hit “I Wanna Be Loved By You” but also for the animated character, Betty Boop. Though Kane’s appearance and voice were likely sources for the character, Kane lost the law suit she filed against the creators of the cartoon.

September also saw the Beatles’ Revolver album hit number one and the Rolling Stones first appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Other big songs in September 1966 were Donovan’s “Sunshine Superman”, Jim Reeves’ “Distant Drums”, “All or Nothing” by The Small Faces, the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” and “Eleanor Rigby”, “You Can’t Hurry Love” by the Supremes, The Association’s “Cherish”, “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys and Napoleon’s “They’ve Come to Take Me Away”.

At the movies nothing much changed since August in September 1966. It seems the only thing people went to the cinemas for was “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”.

Similarly the Bestsellers for the month were still “Valley of the Dolls” (Jacqueline Susann), “The Adventurers” (Harold Robbins) and “Tai-Pan” (James Cavell).

There were some big TV debuts in September 1966, though, including Star Trek, The Monkees, Family Affair and Mission Impossible.



How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?”