Celebrating 50 years of news

Mary Ann Kearns - [email protected]

The year was 1968 and what a year it was.

Dr. Christian Barnard performed the first successful heart transplant and our collective hearts were broken with the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy.

The Beatles and the Rolling Stones were topping the music charts and Big Macs made their début at 49 cents a pop.

In January, North Korea seized the USS Pueblo and inApril, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968. In November, Richard Nixon won the presidency, beating Hubert Humphrey by just 0.7 percent of the popular vote.

Gas costs 34 cents a gallon and the new muscle car to put it in costs an average of about $3,000. Parking the car in front of your new home would cost you about $15,000 or $130 a month if you were renting.

Taking in “The Planet of the Apes” or “Rosemary’s Baby” at the local movie theater cost $1.50 a ticket each out of your $1.60 an hour minimum wage job. On date night, you dressed up in your bell bottom pants or mini skirt.

Laugh In was all the rage on television while Gomer Pyle USMC and Bonanza were also popular shows.

Emergency 911 dialing was introduced and protesters were asking us to give peace a chance.

In sports, O.J. Simpson, running back for the USC Trojans, was the overwhelming choice for the Heisman Trophy and the Detroit Tigers won the World Series. Arthur Ashe won the U.S. Open, becoming the first black man to win a Grand Slam tennis tournament. Skater Peggy Fleming was champion in her sport and the first Black power salute is seen on television worldwide during an Olympics medal ceremony.

And in Maysville, on Sept. 17, readers learned that the two local newspapers had been bought and were joining forces, creating The Ledger Independent.

Over the ensuing half century there have been many changes to the newspaper that was born all those years ago. Today’s edition comes in many forms we may not have envisioned in 1968 – from the print edition that many readers still prefer to find on their doorstep each morning to multiple platforms delivered electronically to your computer or phone five days a week.

What hasn’t changed is the commitment of those who are charged with bringing you the news each day – from the reporters, photographers and advertising reps who fill its pages, to the press and mail room staff who print and put it together to the carriers who make sure the paper copy gets to your home on time.

For the next 50 days, take a trip through time as we republish the stories that made headlines over the past 50 years – and what a ride it has been. We invite you to come along.

Mary Ann Kearns

[email protected]