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Animals in Space
The U.S. launched fruit flies into space, to test the effects of radiation, as early as 1947. The first primate in space was a rhesus monkey, called Albert 11, which reached an altitude of 134 kilometres in 1949 but was killed when its parachute failed to open.
In 1951, the Soviet Union launched two dogs into space and successfully recovered them. These were were the first higher animals successfully recovered from a spaceflight.
In 1957, a dog Laika aboard a Soviet spacecraft became the first animal to orbit the Earth. Laika died during the fight. In 1960, the Soviets launched two dogs into orbit and returned them alive.
In January 1961, the U.S. launched a chimp, named Ham, but aborted the mission because of problems with the oxygen supply. The spacecraft, which had reached an altitude of 253 kilometres, was sinking in the Atlantic when it was recovered but Ham was unharmed.
On 12 April, Yuri Gargarin made the first human spaceflight.

View the events of any day:

John Kennedy announcing plans to put a man on the Moon

The Music of 1961

Australian Radio in 1961

Television in 1961

The Lone Ranger 1949-61 cast
The Nelsons 1952-66 cast  
Father Knows Best 1954-63 cast  
Lassie 1954-72    
Cheyenne 1955-62 cast  
Gunsmoke 1955-75 cast  
Hancock's Half Hour 1956-61 & 63 cast  
Bachelor Father 1957-61 cast  
Sugarfoot 1957-61 cast  
Maverick 1957-62 cast  
Leave It to Beaver 1957-62 cast  
The Real McCoys 1957-62 cast  
Have Gun Will Travel 1957-63 cast  
Wagon Train 1957-61 & 63 cast  
Perry Mason 1957-65 cast
Pick-a-Box 1957-71    
(Australian) Bandstand 1957-72    
Yogi Bear 1958-62 cast  
Huckleberry Hound 1958-62 cast  
Naked City 1958-62    
77 Sunset Strip 1958-63 cast  
The Rifleman 1958-63 cast  
Rawhide 1958-66 cast
The Black & White Minstrel Show 1958-78    
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis 1959-62 cast  
Laramie 1959-62    
Six O'Clock Rock 1959-62    
Dennis the Menace 1959-63 cast  
The Untouchables 1959-63 cast  
Dr Finlay's Casebook 1959-65    
Alfred Hitchcock Presents 1959-65  
Bonanza 1959-71 cast
Route 66 1960-63    
Ben Casey 1960-65 cast  
The Flintstones 1960-65 cast
Mr Ed 1960-65 cast  
The Andy Griffiths Show 1960-68 cast
Z Cars 1960-78    
My Three Sons 1960-71 cast  
Top Cat 1961 cast  
Dick van Dyke Show 1961-65 cast  
Dr Kildare 1961-66    
The Avengers 1961-69 cast
Four Corners 1961-current    

Movies in 1961

Title Cast Academy Awards Buy
The Absent-minded Professor directed by Robert Stevenson Fred MacMurray
Nancy Olson
Keenan Wynn
Tommy Kirk
Ed Wynn
Leon Ames
Blue Hawaii directed by Norman Taurog Elvis Presley
Angela Lansbury
Joan Blackman
Click here to purchase
Can Can directed by Walter Lang Frank Sinatra
Shirley Maclaine
Maurice Chevalier
Louis Jordan
Juliet Prowse
Marcel Dalio
Dr No
(first James Bond movie)
directed by Terence Young
Sean Connery
Ursula Andress
Jack Lord
El Cid directed by Anthony Mann Charlton Heston
Sophia Loren
Raf Vellone
John Fraser
Genevieve Page
Gary Raymond
Flower Drum Song directed by Henry Koster Nancy Kwan
James Shigeta
Miyoshi Umeki
The Guns of Navaronne directed by J. Lee Thompson Gregory Peck
David Niven
Anthony Quinn
Stanley Baker
James Darren
Richard Harris
Best Special Effects
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One-eyed Jacks directed by Marlon Brando Marlon Brando
Karl Malden
Katy Jurado
Pina Pellicer
Ben Johnson
Slim Pickens
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One Hundred and One Dalmatians directed by Wolfgang Reitherman
Hamilton Luske
Clyde Geronimi
Rod Taylor
Lisa Davis
The Parent Trap directed by David Swift Hayley Mills
Maureen O'Hara
Brian Swift
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A Taste of Honey directed by Tony Richardson Dora Bryan
Rita Tushingham
Robert Stevens
Marray Melvin
Through a Glass Darkly directed by Ingmar Bergman Harriet Andersson
Gunnar Bjornstrand
Max von Sydow
Best Foreign Film
Two Women directed by Vittorio de Sica Sophia Loren
Jean-Paul Belmondo
Raf Vallone
Eleanora Brown
Best Actress
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West Side Story directed by Jerome Robbins
Robert Wise
Natalie Wood
Richard Beymer
George Chakiris
Russ Tamblyn
Rita Moreno
Best Picture
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best Direcor
Best Art & Set Directing
Best Cinematography
Best Costume Design
Best Editing
Best Score
Best Sound
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Watch a free movie from 1961 now:

Books of 1961

Riders in the Chariot Patrick White Click here to purchase
Lady Chatterley's Lover unexpurgated
(written in 1928)
DH Lawrence Click here to purchase
A Severed Head Iris Murdoch Click here to purchase
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Muriel Spark Click here to purchase
The Heart of the Hunter Laurens van der Post  
Herzog Saul Bellow Click here to purchase
Catch 22 Joseph Heller Click here to purchase
What Makes Sammy Run? Bud Schulberg Click here to purchase
Rabbit, Run John Updike Click here to purchase
A House for Mr Biswas   VS Naipaul Click here to purchase
The Carpetbaggers Harold Robbins Click here to purchase
Stranger in a Strange Land Robert Heinlein Click here to purchase

1961 Memorabilia now available (at eBay):

Click on an item to view details and, if you wish, bid.