1966 was a difficult year for the country. The Vietnam War raged on, and support of the war continued to wane (a Gallup poll showed support went from 52% to 37%). Heavyweight boxing champion Muhammed Ali declared himself a conscientious objector and refused to enlist, and protests for the war and the civil rights movement continued.
It was also a year of firsts, especially for the government. The concept of “Miranda rights” became U.S. law following Miranda v. Arizona, which states that if police do not inform people they arrest about certain constitutional rights, including their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, then their confessions may not be used as evidence at trial. 1966 was also the year that President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a bill to form the United States Department of Transportation in October, and the Black Panthers formed that same month. Also, Ronald Reagan was elected as Governor of California.
This was an innovative time for music as well, with the releases of pivotal albums like Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde, The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, and The Beatles’ Revolver. Other Beatles news – John Lennon received major backlash for declaring in an interview that the band was “more popular than Jesus,” and the stress of touring led them to perform their last ever concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.
On the TV side, Star Trek, Batman, and The Monkees all debuted, and, in December, How The Grinch Stole Christmas aired for the first time, marking it the first year of an annual holiday tradition.
There were also two major Disney events: The Disneyland ride It’s a Small World premiered, and Walt Disney sadly died in December. The Jungle Book was the last film to be made under his supervision.