February 28, 1960: Let It Be Me

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(Pictured: Team USA and the Soviet Union at the Winter Olympics, February 27, 1960.)

February 28, 1960, is a Sunday. This afternoon, closing ceremonies are held at the Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California. One day after a hard-fought 3-2 win over the Soviet Union, the United States wins the gold medal in ice hockey, scoring six third-period goals to beat Czechoslovakia, 9-4. The only other event held today is ski jumping. The Soviets won the medal race with 21, including seven gold; the United States takes 10 medals, three of which are gold. In addition to the hockey gold, Americans David Jenkins and Carol Heiss won gold in men’s and women’s figure skating.

The New York Times publishes a brief item on an order issued by top Air Force brass regarding unidentified flying objects. They are to be treated as “‘serious business’ directly related to the nation’s defense.” Also today, newspapers report on the first test of the 1960 presidential campaign, the New Hampshire primary, one week from Tuesday. Also in the Sunday papers: stories on Friday’s surprise announcement by Britain’s Princess Margaret that she plans to marry a commoner, photographer Antony Armstrong Jones, and on the demolition of Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, which began this past week. On a visit to Los Angeles, Dr. Martin Luther King speaks at three different churches. Tomorrow, he will return to Montgomery, Alabama, and surrender to authorities on a charge of perjury regarding purportedly fraudulent tax returns. In Vancouver, British Columbia, future model Dorothy Stratten is born. In rural Wisconsin, after the cows are milked tonight, a young farm couple goes to the hospital for the birth of their first child, whose due date was last Thursday.

At Southern States Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina, Richard Petty wins today’s NASCAR race on the half-mile dirt track. It’s his first NASCAR win. Three games are played in the National Basketball Association today. The league-leading Boston Celtics get 27 points each from Bill Russell and Bob Cousy and 26 from Bill Sharman to beat the New York Knicks 129-125. The Philadelphia Warriors come from behind to beat the Detroit Pistons 113-111; Warriors’ rookie sensation Wilt Chamberlain plays all 48 minutes and scores 23 points. Also today, the Western-Division leading St. Louis Hawks beat the last-place Cincinnati Royals 122-105. The NBA’s other two teams, the Syracuse Nationals and Minneapolis Lakers, are idle today. Two games are played in the National Hockey League: the Chicago Black Hawks beat Detroit 5-2 and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat New York 5-3.

On TV tonight, the networks roll out a number of westerns: Colt .45, Maverick, The Lawman, The Rebel, and The Overland Trail. Not quite a western is The Alaskans, an adventure show starring Roger Moore. Ed Sullivan welcomes Bobby Darin, Connie Francis, Della Reese, and a couple of his regular guests, comedians Corbett Monica and Senor Wences. On What’s My Line, panelists include Arlene Francis and Ben Gazzara, and the mystery guest is singer Peggy Lee. Other shows on TV tonight include Lassie, General Electric Theater, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and The Loretta Young Show.

At WOKY in Milwaukee, “Wild One” by Bobby Rydell takes over the #1 position on the new Hit Parader Survey, knocking “Handy Man” by Jimmy Jones to #2. “He’ll Have to Go” by Jim Reeves, “Harlem Nocturne” by the Viscounts, and “Theme From A Summer Place” by Percy Faith make strong moves within the Top 10; “Theme From ‘A Summer Place'” is concluding its first week at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Also in the WOKY Top 10: Jack Scott’s “What in the World’s Come Over You,” “Teen Angel” by Mark Dinning, “Let It Be Me” by the Everly Brothers, the Four Preps’ “Down by the Station,” and “Beatnik Fly” by Johnny and the Hurricanes. Elsewhere on the chart: Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea,” “Running Bear” by Johnny Preston, “El Paso” by Marty Robbins, and Paul Anka’s “Puppy Love.”

Perspective From the Present: Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy won their New Hampshire primary races in undramatic fashion. Martin Luther King would be freed on bail after returning home and acquitted of perjury charges during a spring trial. Richard Petty would win 199 more times before retiring in 1992 as the greatest stock-car racer of them all. Wilt Chamberlain would be named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year and its Most Valuable Player for the 1959-60 season. In 1980, Dorothy Stratten would become Playboy‘s Playmate of the Year and be murdered by her estranged husband. “Theme From A Summer Place” would spend nine weeks at #1 in Billboard. And I would be born on the 29th, four days late and a little behind ever since.

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