Rolling back the years: October 1963
The times were a-changing in the United States, with the civil rights movement on the march. One of the rallying points was the arrest of soul singer Sam Cooke and his band when they tried to register as guests at a "whites only" motel in Louisiana. It prompted him to pen one of the anthems of the era, 'A Change Is Gonna Come'.
There was little sign of change in apartheid South Africa. The United Nations General Assembly urged the white supremacist regime to abandon the Rivona Trial under which 10 members of the African National Congress, including Nelson Mandela, were charged with 221 acts of sabotage designed to overthrow apartheid. The appeal fell on deaf ears.
The winds of change were evident in Britain too, where the youthquake led by The Beatles was rocking the Establishment. The term "Beatlemania" was coined by 'The Daily Mirror' on October 15. Days earlier, the Prime Minister Harold Macmillan resigned from office as a result of the Profumo Affair.
He was forced into retirement after his Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, was revealed to have had an affair with Christine Keeler, who was reputed to be also sharing her bed with a Soviet spy. This didn't go down well at the height of the Cold War. The official reason for Macmillan's step-down was that he was suffering very ill health, but the fact he went on to live to the ripe old age of 92 suggested otherwise.
As the Cold War deepened there was a sham general election in Communist East Germany. It surprised few when 434 deputies were elected to the Volkskammer Parliament, every one of them representing the Communist Party. The newly created James Bond movie franchise came out with its own light-hearted take on the Cold War with its second installment, 'From Russia With Love'.
RTE television was in its infancy, but in October 1963 the national broadcaster hit on a programme which would sit amongst the top-rated shows for two decades. Narrated by the eco-pioneer Eamon de Buitlair and illustrated by Dutch artist Gerrit Van Gelderin, 'Amuigh Faoin Speir' ('Out Under The Sky') introduced the many to the wonders of Ireland's countryside and wildlife. It is still fondly remembered by viewers of a certain vintage as poetry in motion.
Number One Single
'Do You Love Me?' – Brian Poole And The Tremeloes
'The Shoes Of The Fisherman' – Morris L West
Jean Cocteau, French author and film-maker
Sean Lemass (left)
top Box office
'The VIPs' starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor