december 1968

  • someone: my zodiac -
  • me: the zodiac killer was a serial killer who operated in northern california in the late 1960s and early 1970s. the killer's identity remains unknown. the zodiac murdered victims in benicia, vallejo, lake berryessa, and san francisco between december 1968 and october 1969. four men and three women between the ages of 16 and 29 were targeted. the killer originated the name "zodiac" in a series of taunting letters sent to the local bay area press. these letters included four cryptograms (or ciphers). of the four cryptograms sent, only one has been definitively solved.

Earthrise : Whats that rising over the edge of the Moon? Earth. About 47 years ago, in December of 1968, the Apollo 8 crew flew from the Earth to the Moon and back again. Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders were launched atop a Saturn V rocket on December 21, circled the Moon ten times in their command module, and returned to Earth on December 27. The Apollo 8 missions impressive list of firsts includes: the first humans to journey to the Earths Moon, the first to fly using the Saturn V rocket, and the first to photograph the Earth from deep space. As the Apollo 8 command module rounded the farside of the Moon, the crew could look toward the lunar horizon and see the Earth appear to rise, due to their spacecrafts orbital motion. Their famous picture of a distant blue Earth above the Moons limb was a marvelous gift to the world. via NASA

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On 17 December, 1968, 20-year-old Barbara Mackle was at a Decatur, Georgia, hotel with her mother, Jane. She had been suffering from influenza, as was most pupils from the Emory University. Her mother had picked her up and taken her to a hotel to get over the sickness.

During the evening, Gary Stephen Krist knocked on the hotel door, claiming that Barbara’s boyfriend had been in a road traffic accident. As the women let him him, Krist and his accomplice, Ruth Eisemann-Schier, dragged the two women to the ground and placed a chloroform-soaked rag over their faces. The duo then bound and gagged Jane before bundling Barbara into their car. They drove Barbara to a remote area in Gwinnett County where there was a pre-dug trench. Inside the trench was a fibreglass-reinforced box fitted with an air pump, a lamp and water and food laced with sedatives. Barbara was forced into the box.

Gary and Ruth demanded a $500,000 ransom from Barbara’s father, who was a wealthy land developer. The ransom drop was arranged, however two policemen driving by spooked the duo, leading them to flee on foot.  When their car was searched, the found a photograph of Barbara inside the box, holding a sign which read “Kidnapped.” A second ransom drop was arranged and Ruth called the police, giving directions to where they could find Barbara. After spending three days trapped underground, Barbara was rescued.

Both Gary and Ruth were soon apprehended, with Ruth being the first women to appear on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted. Ruth was paroled after four years while Gary was paroled after ten years. 

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On this day in music history: November 16, 1968 - “Electric Ladyland” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 2 weeks. Produced by Jimi Hendrix, it is recorded at Olympic Studios in London and The Record Plant in New York City from July - December 1967, January 1968, and April - August 1968. The third and final album of new material released by the band, the sixteen track double LP set is a musical tour de force, showcasing Hendrix’s musical diversity. It features several of Hendrix’s best known songs including “Crosstown Traffic”, “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)”, “Burning Of The Midnight Lamp” and his cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” (#20 Pop), which becomes his biggest chart single in the US. The album also features guest musicians such as Steve Winwood, Al Kooper, Brian Jones, Jack Casady, and Dave Mason. “Electric Ladyland” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.

Miss Pamela singing at the Shrine Auditorium, December 1968.

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The Glamour & The Grit

Photos from the 1960s taken by Observer photo-journalist, David Newell-Smith, who passed away in June 2017, aged 80. 

1. Mick Jagger, 1964. 
2. Artist Bridget Riley, May 1964.
3. The Cavern Club, Liverpool, October 1964. 
4. Commuter at Charring Cross railway station, London c. 1965 during a ‘go-slow’ by Southern Region railwaymen demanding a £3 3s per week bonus. 
5. Abandoned cars on Walworth Road in London, May 1966.
6. Rescuers at The Aberfan Disaster, 22 October 1966.
7. A man on a bench in George Square, Glasgow on New Year’s Eve, 1966. 
8. Twiggy, early 1967.
9. Anti-Vietnam war demonstrators on Downing Street, London, 27th October 1968.
10. Jean-Luc Goddard with the Rolling Stones on 17th November, 1968, after or during the filming of Sympathy For The Devil, Goddard’s documentary film on the Stones. This is a cutting of this photo, the original is now lost. 
11. Bruce Reynolds, the mastermind behind the Great Train Robbery, is lead from Linslade Magistrates Court in Bedfordshire on 9th November 1968.
12. The Gorbals, Glasgow, 18th May 1968.
13. Judy Garland with her fiance Mickey Deans arriving from New York into London’s Heathrow airport, 28th December 1968. The couple married on 15th March 1969, then on 22nd June 1969, Deans discovered Garland dead in their rented Chelsea mews house.
14. The Rolling Stones perform a free concert in Hyde Park on 5th July 1969, a couple of days after the death of Brian Jones.
15. The Monty Python team, first published in the Observer magazine on the 12th October 1969.

Photos: David Newell-Smith.