Some of the most important historical events took place in 1961 – John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th President of the United States in January and established the Peace Corps in March. In April, Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin was the first man to be launched into space, and the American Alan Shepard followed in May.
However, the year still held great uncertainty. The Cold War continued to worsen, the attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro, called the “Bay of Pigs,” was unsuccessful, the USA authorized secret operations against the Viet Cong, and the construction of the Berlin Wall began in August.
Although life saw extreme changes at the beginning of the decade, there were also positive moments in the pop culture world in 1961. Disney released its first live action musical film, Babes in Toyland, the first Six Flags opened in Texas, and Pampers, the first disposable diaper, was introduced. Also noteworthy: the first in-flight movie was shown on airlines, and IBM began selling its highly successful new Selectric typewriter, “The Golfball.”