Celebrating 40

Super Bowl is not alone; try Batman for company

Super Bowl is not alone; try Batman for company

February 06, 2006|by KRISTIN WILSON

Chris Rock is doing it this year.

So is Mike Tyson, Adam Sandler and Halle Berry.

That's right, Super Bowl XL is not alone in celebrating 40 this year.

There's been much ado about the Super Bowl's "Road to Forty" this football season, including a national sweepstakes contest and television commercials that feature Super Bowl stars past and present.

So much football history has been recorded in 39 games and the event has become part of America's identity.

Super Bowl Sunday regularly draws one of television's largest audiences for a single event and it has become known as a day to hold celebrations and parties.


The past 40 years of American history have been equally loaded with memorable moments.

Here's a snapshot of some of America's events and icons celebrating 40 years alongside the Super Bowl:

Pop culture

Forty years ago, America said goodbye to Walt Disney, an animation innovator and the creator of Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney World. From Disney's humble beginnings as an animation filmmaker, he built an entertainment empire that is now one of the country's largest, most well-known companies.

Disney became synonymous with the Super Bowl in 1987 when then Super Bowl MVP Phil Simms exclaimed "I'm going to Disney World" when asked what he was going to do next, after winning Super Bowl XXI.

While this year represents the 40th Super Bowl game to be played since the championship event debuted Jan. 15, 1967, the Super Bowl will not celebrate its 40th anniversary until next year. But things that started in 1966 will celebrate 40th anniveraries this year.

Among them, two famous TV shows debuted in 1966 and another well-known show of the '60s ended a five-year run.

The final episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show - considered a trailblazer show of the early television age - aired September 1966.

"Batman" premiered on ABC starring Adam West and Burt Ward. While the show was at first popular, it was taken off the air in 1968.

NBC followed ABC, debuting what would become one of the biggest cult classic shows of television history: "Star Trek." Star Trek did not initially catch on, however, and was canceled in 1969. Since then, the science-fiction series has inspired four spin-off television shows, several movies and an entire culture for "Trekkies."

Forty years ago, television as a whole made a big change. In 1966, the three networks - ABC, NBC and CBS - started regularly broadcasting all shows in color.

In the news

This year represents the 40th anniversary of the famous Supreme Court ruling on Miranda v. Arizona, which requires any person taken into custody to be read their rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. The reading of the rights has since become a TV show staple.

Medicare turns 40 this year. The health insurance program for the elderly and disabled went into effect as an amendment to Social Security legislation in 1966.

It was also in 1966 that health warning labels began appearing on cigarette packages. Smoking was first found to be a cause of lung cancer in 1964, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1965, Congress passed the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, that required all cigarette packages to read: "Caution: Cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health."

Institutions, attractions

To push for greater societal equality for women and to eliminate discrimination and harassment of women in the workplace and in schools, the feminist activism organization National Organization for Women (NOW) was founded in 1966. Forty years later the organization is considered the largest organization of feminist activists in the U.S., according to NOW's Web site.

Forty years ago a new holiday celebration was born. Kwanzaa was first celebrated from Dec. 26, 1966, to Jan. 1, 1967.

Kwanzaa founder Ron Karenga, created the holiday to help African-Americans reconnect with African culture and heritage. The seven-day celebration promotes the "Seven Principles of Kwanzaa," including unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

The city of St. Louis is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Gateway Arch through July 16, 2006. The arch was constructed between 1963 and October 1965. The 630-foot stainless steel structure is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial that commemorates the Louisiana Purchase and the establishment of the first civil government west of the Mississippi River. It is also the tallest monument in the National Park system.

The arch's design was crafted by architect Eero Saarinen, who won the nationwide design contest for the memorial. The memorial has become synonymous with the city of St. Louis and its role as the Gateway to the West.

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