April 26, 1970: The Hands of Time

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(Pictured: Raquel Welch and Tom Jones pass the time backstage, 1970.)

April 26, 1970, is a Sunday. This morning at 2AM, clocks in most places across the country went forward one hour for this year’s start of Daylight Saving Time. Today, President Nixon issues a National Security Council Decision Memorandum authorizing US forces to operate in Cambodia. When the decision becomes public later in the week, the nation’s college campuses will explode in protest. In the Sunday papers, reporters and colunnists examine the aftermath of the aborted mission of Apollo 13 earlier this month and the first Earth Day, celebrated last week. Also this past week, the House of Representatives voted in favor of a Constitutional amendment abolishing the Electoral College in favor of direct election of the president by popular vote. The measure now goes to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future. Another big story from the past week involves Florida’s U.S. Senate race, which took a turn when G. Harrold Carswell jumped in, leaving the federal bench to run for the Republican nomination to face Democratic incumbent Spessard Holland in the fall. Earlier this month, Carswell failed to win confirmation to a seat on the United States Supreme Court, the second of Nixon’s nominees to be rejected for the seat vacated by the resignation of Associate Justice Abe Fortas. In Yugoslavia today, Melanija Knavs is born. She will later modify the spelling of her name to Melania Knauss, pursue a career as a fashion model, and in 2005, marry New York real estate developer Donald Trump. In Des Moines, Iowa, Tionne Watkins is born. She will adopt the stage name T-Boz as part of the group TLC. Burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee dies at age 59.

In the National Hockey League today, the Boston Bruins qualify for the Stanley Cup Final, completing a four-game sweep of the Chicago Black Hawks with a 5-4 win. The Pittsburgh Pengins beat the St. Louis Blues 2-1 to tie their semifinal series at 2. Game 5 will be in St. Louis on Tuesday night. In Chicago, Ron Santo’s sixth-inning grand slam propels the first-place Cubs to a 6-3 win over the Houston Astros. Ferguson Jenkins is the winning pitcher. Other winning pitchers on this day include Tom Seaver for the Mets, Luis Tiant for Minnesota, Mel Stottlemyre for the Yankees, Phil Niekro for Atlanta, and Bob Gibson for St. Louis. The NBA Finals will resume tomorrow night in New York; the Knicks took Game 1 over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, 124-112.

On a farm near Poynette, Wisconsin, the Sound Storm Festival concludes its three-day run with a performance by the Grateful Dead. In Providence, Rhode Island, Judy Collins closes Brown University’s Spring Weekend. Other stars performing at Brown this weekend included Ray Charles, the Jefferson Airplane, Delaney and Bonnie, James Taylor, and John Mayall. In Minneapolis, Rod Stewart and the Small Faces play the Labor Temple with Alice Cooper opening, Joe Cocker plays the Fillmore West in San Francisco, and Jimi Hendrix plays Sacramento, California. On TV tonight, Ed Sullivan welcomes Richie Havens, Lesley Gore, Jane Morgan, John Gary, Moms Mabley, Stiller and Meara, and Robert Klein, along with Victor Julian and his performing dogs. Also on CBS tonight, Raquel Welch stars in her first TV special, Raquel!. Guest stars are Tom Jones, John Wayne, and Bob Hope, who performs the Beatles’ “Rocky Raccoon” with Welch. At the movies this weekend, Patton tops the box office for the fourth week. Other popular movies include Airport, M*A*S*H, The Boys in the Band, and Woodstock.

At KYA in San Francisco, “Woodstock” by Crosby Stills Nash and Young has fallen out of the station’s Top 10 and is now at #11, and “Airport Love Theme” by Vincent Bell is at #24. The Jackson Five’s “ABC” is #1, and the Guess Who’s two-sided hit, “American Woman” and “No Sugar Tonight” is up to #2. “Turn Back the Hands of Time” by Tyrone Davis holds at #3. “Cecelia” by Simon and Garfunkel and “What Is Truth” by Johnny Cash make strong moves into the Top 10.

In Wisconsin, it’s a regular Sunday that will be far down the memory hole a half-century hence. A 10-year-old boy and his family most likely go to church and maybe for dinner at a restaurant afterward. Then it’s home to watch TV or play, maybe have homemade pizza for dinner and popcorn with TV in the evening, and then off to bed before another week in the fourth grade.

9 thoughts on “April 26, 1970: The Hands of Time

  1. Mmmmmm, homemade pizza.

    April 26, 1970, was one of the last NHL games for promising Pengins — er, Penguins — rookie Michel Briere, who led the team in scoring during the playoffs. He was seriously injured in a car crash a few weeks later, after his team was eliminated from the playoffs, and died the following year.

  2. Alvaro Leos

    Wonder if you heard this weekend’s retro “American Top 40”. Somebody requested “Stairway to Heaven” as a Long Distance Dedication, and they played the whole thing! Ok, Casey talked over the first 30 seconds but they didn’t edit it.

    1. I did not hear that, but I have heard Casey talk up “Stairway to Heaven.” (Maybe the same show on an earlier repeat.) I have long had in the back of my mind that I should do research into how that intro became sacrosanct.

  3. Wesley

    Wow, what an incredible summary of what looks in retrospect like a key date in American history. Carswell’s racist record still might not get him on the Supreme Court even today, but I give him props for inspiring Sen. Roman Hruska to defend him by saying mediocre people are entitled to representation, one of the most memorably stupid statements ever by a politician. I’ll hold off from commenting on the other political stories here.

    The songs listed here hold up marvelously well in my opinion, even the sort-of-gimmicky “Airport Love Theme” (why not just “Theme from Airport”? Did anyone really associate love with this disaster film?). Can’t imagine something as biting as “What is Truth?” on the pop or country charts nowadays, alas.

    The Raquel special was described in Time magazine as the year’s worst along with John Wayne’s Sing Out Sweet Land. Even so, the fact that it gave us this great photo makes me think it wasn’t a total wash.

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