Backstage at San Francisco Opera > April 2012 > When Nixon Visited China
When Nixon Visited China
As we prepare for the opening of Nixon in China on June 8, we started thinking about the year the opera takes place: 1972. It was a year of many firsts for women, a lot of violence in Northern Ireland, the birth of the video game, the Watergate scandal and when President Nixon visited China. Read on for a timeline of fun facts to impress your friends with from that fateful year.

January 3
NBC broadcasts MGM’s Show Boat (1951); this marks the first complete network telecast of any version of Show Boat.

January 4
The first scientific hand-held calculator (HP-35) is available for the sale price of $395. [Below: HP-35 calculator; photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Twylo]

January 5
President Richard Nixon orders the development of a space shuttle program.

January 16
The Dallas Cowboys defeat the Miami Dolphins 24–3 at Super Bowl VI.

January 20
The number of unemployed citizens in the United Kingdom exceeds 1 million for the first time since World War II.

January 25
Shirley Chisholm, the first African American Congresswoman, announces her candidacy for president of the United States of America.

January 30
Bloody Sunday: In Derry, Northern Ireland, the British Army kills 14 unarmed civil rights marchers.

February 3–February 13
The Winter Olympics are held in Sapporo, Japan.

February 5
Inspection of passengers and baggage becomes mandatory for all US airlines.

February 9
The British government declares a state of emergency over a miners' strike.

February 21–February 28
President Richard Nixon visits the People's Republic of China and meets with Mao Zedong. [Below: Nixon in China opera; photo by Tim Matheson]

March 2
The Pioneer 10 spacecraft is launched from Cape Kennedy, making it the first man-made satellite to leave the solar system.

March 13
Journalist and author, Clifford Irving, admits to a New York court that he had fabricated Howard Hughes' "autobiography."

March 24
Francis Ford Coppola’s film The Godfather is released nationally in the US.

March 25
ABC airs its final episode of Bewitched, starring Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick Sargent, titled, "The Truth, Nothing but the Truth, So Help Me Sam."

April 7
Vietnam War veteran Richard McCoy, Jr. hijacks a United Airlines airplane and extorts $500,000; he is later captured.

April 17
The Boston Marathon is held—this is the first time women are officially allowed to compete.

April 29
The fourth anniversary of the Broadway musical Hair is celebrated with a free concert in New York City’s Central Park, followed by dinner at the Four Seasons. Thirteen Black Panther protesters and the show's co-author, Jim Rado, are arrested for disturbing the peace and for possession of marijuana.

May 24
The Magnavox Odyssey video game system is first demo-ed, marking the dawn of the video game age; it goes on sale to the public in August.

June 3
Sally Priesand becomes the first female US rabbi.

June 17
Watergate scandal: Five White House operatives are arrested for burglarizing the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate Hotel

June 23
Watergate scandal: President Richard Nixon and White House chief of staff H. R. Haldeman are taped talking about using the CIA to obstruct the FBI's investigation into the Watergate break-ins.

June 28
President Richard Nixon announces that no new draftees will be sent to Vietnam.

Actress Jane Fonda tours North Vietnam, during which she is photographed sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun.

July 8
The US sells ¼ of the nation’s grain supply to the Soviet Union for $750 million. Within a few months, food prices sharply rise across the country as the result of US grain stores being depleted. [Below: wheat field; photo from]

July 21
Comedian George Carlin is arrested by Milwaukee police for public obscenity for reciting his "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" at Summerfest.

August 4
Arthur Bremer is jailed for 63 years for shooting conservative Alabama governor George Wallace.

August 12
The last US ground troops are withdrawn from Vietnam.

August 21
The Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida, re-nominates President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew for a second term.

September 4
The first episode of The Price Is Right, hosted by Bob Barker, airs on CBS.

September 21
Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos issues Proclamation No. 1081[5], placing the entire country under martial law.

October 25
The first female FBI agents are hired.

November 7
US presidential election: Republican incumbent Richard Nixon defeats Democratic Senator George McGovern in a landslide. The election had the lowest voter turnout since 1948, with only 55 percent of the electorate voting.

November 19
Seán Mac Stíofáin, a leader of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, is arrested in Dublin after giving an interview to RTÉ.

November 29
Atari kicks off the first generation of video games with the release of their seminal arcade version of Pong, the first game to achieve commercial success. 

December 11
Apollo 17 lands on the moon. This is the last manned mission to the moon of the 20th century. [Left: moon; photo from]

December 31
The US ban on the pesticide DDT takes effect.

For even more information on the year 1972, please visit Wikipedia.

All above information acquired from Wikipedia through the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

Posted: 4/9/2012 5:11:12 PM by Sheeda Jamsheed (Marketing Associate)
Filed under: 2011-12Season, Adams, NixonInChina


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