February 1967: Munich resident Helmut G. Winter was sick and tired of the noise of military aircraft flying low over his house. So he built a catapult and started launching Bavarian potato dumplings at the planes.
In one week he launched 120 dumplings. He never managed to score a direct hit. But eventually both the West German Luftwaffe and American pilots conceded defeat and agreed to a flight path that avoided his house.
Reportedly, he gave the Americans a model of his dumpling cannon as a gesture of thanks, inscribed "As a souvenir and a warning — Helmut G. Winter, The Bavarian Dumpling Shot." I bet this model has now been lost or thrown away, instead of being in a museum where it belongs.
Every so often the media needs to sound the alarm about a new drug that's corrupting the youth of the nation. In the summer of 1967, that drug was the periwinkle plant. The entire scare was based on one group of teenagers in Florida who experimented with the plant, but still it generated plenty of headlines.
Can smoking periwinkle actually get you high? Probably. Over at erowid.org there are some reports of people experimenting with it. Though despite the scare of 1967, it never caught on as a popular drug.
Dr. George Dame, a health officer in Manatee County, warned that periwinkle could have all kinds of unpleasant side effects (such as "withering of muscle tissue") because periwinkle is the source of some drugs (vinblastine and vincristine) used in chemotherapy. However, an expert on those drugs disagreed with him. From Newsweek (June 26, 1967):
A chemist at Eli Lilly & Co. of Indianapolis, where the drugs vincristine and vinblastine were developed, said last week that the perils may not be as great as Dame suspects. Both vincristine and vinblastine, he pointed out, are highly unstable and probably do not get into the smoke of burning periwinkle leaves in an active form. Nonetheless, the chemist was quick to put down the periwinkle cult. "Periwinkle," he said, "like most inedible plants, is toxic. You might get pretty sick to your stomach."
It seems that circa 1962, pro football and the bread companies decided to engage in some mutual branding, offering loaves of bread of the same kind ostensibly enjoyed by the players. It seems likely that all these loaves emerged from the same factory and got a different team name slapped on them depending on their destination. Not much difference between brands of sliced whited bread to begin with, after all.
I am surprised the current-day NFL has not picked up on this, especially with the Superbowl coming up.
Jackson, Mississippi. 1966: Rev. Dennis McDonald, being a new preacher in town, visited local residents with his two sons to invite them to his church. But he was shocked (shocked!) when he paid a visit to Mrs. Pendergrass and found her sunbathing outside in her birthday suit. Naturally he had to report her to the police, who fined her $50.
But Mrs. Pendergrass appealed the fine, and the court took her side, noting that a) she was on her own property, not in public; and b) if the minister was so shocked, why did he hang around at her house for 45 minutes?
In 1967, Creative Playthings began selling the French-made "Little Brother" doll in America. It was an anatomically correct baby boy doll designed to encourage "acceptance of body differences."
However, some American mothers regarded the thing as an abomination and protested to have it removed from the market. Said one protester, "We believe children should not relate sex organs with play. We think this is carrying 'educational' playthings too far."