MARY BRASWELL: Looking Back - 1973

HISTORY COLUMN: A look back at 1973, Annette Bowling’s first year at Albany Advocacy Resource Center.

Mary Braswell

Mary Braswell

Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or mary.braswell@albanyherald.com.

The year was 1973 when Annette Bowling came to Albany Advocacy Resource Center. At that time, it was impossible to project what growth was in store for the agency over the next four decades. Bowling may have turned over the reins of executive director, but she is by far the greatest advocate for people needing special services that all of Georgia (at least) has ever encountered. In no particular order, here is a look back at the world that year. Annette Bowling, this one’s for you!


Which of the following was brand new in 1973?

a) Pong video game

b) Bic disposable lighters

c) Push-through tabs on cans

d) Post-It-Notes

See the answer at the end of this column.

— The cost of new house was $32,500, while the average income per year was $12,900. The cost of a gallon of gas was 40 cents and a dozen eggs averaged 45 cents.

— Mazda, with its new automatic transmission model, was speeding ahead of competitors Ford Pinto and Chevrolet Vega.

— ABC turned its most popular TV movie ever, “The Night Stalker” starring Darren McGavin, into a sequel.

— President Richard Nixon, on national TV, accepted responsibility, but not blame, for the Watergate scandal.

— The Album of the Year was “The Concert for Bangladesh” featuring George Harrison, Ravi Shanker, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Eric Clapton and Klaus Voormann.

— In his second inaugural speech, President Richard Nixon told the nation that the Vietnam War was ending and that in the “new era of peace, the American people must look more to themselves than to their government to solve problems.”

— Cars that were popular included the AMC Javelin, Oldsmobile 442, Ford Galaxie, Dodge Colt, Plymouth Duster and the Pontiac LeMans.

Secretariat won the Triple Crown, the first horse to do so in 25 years.

— The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City were dedicated. The buildings ran $225 million over budget and three years behind the original construction schedule.

— Roger Moore took over as 007 in the new James Bond movie, “Live and Let Die.”

— The federal debt was $466.3 billion.

— For the first time since World War II, a major oil company began rationing gasoline. Amoco limited individual sales to 10 gallons per car.

— A new Saturday morning cartoon makes its debut. “Star Trek” featured the voices of the actors from the original show of the 1960s.

— Skylab astronauts William Pogue and Ed Gibson spent a record six hours and 34 minutes outside the orbiting space station, making repairs and loading film in cameras.

New on television: “Barnaby Jones,” “The Young and the Restless” and “The Six Million Dollar Man.”

— A seven-year record set by the Beatles in 1965 was shattered for drawing the largest crowd to a single concert performance anywhere in the U.S. Led Zeppelin attracted close to 57,000 at the second night concert of its U.S. tour in Tampa. The Beatles 1965 record was 55,000.

— Radio Shack offered the new Texas Instrument SR-20 calculator with multiple functions and up to 13-digit answers. The two-pound device cost $239.

George Foreman won the World Heavyweight title after a bout with Joe Frazier in Kingston, Jamaica.

— The 36th president of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson, died at the age of 64. Betty Grabel, actress and 1940s pin-up favorite, died at the age of 57.

— General Motors rolled out the first automobile with an air bag. A $225 option, the car was a cinnamon-colored Oldsmobile Tornado Brougham.

— Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigned from office and pleaded no contest to tax evasion charges.

— Four of the most popular movies of the year were “The Exorcist,” “High Plains Drifter,” “American Graffiti” and “The Sting.”

— The War on Drugs began in earnest as Congress and the Nixon administration formed the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

— The Endangered Species Act was passed and signed by President Nixon. It saved bald eagles, whooping cranes, and wolves from extinction.

Inspired by Captain Kirk of “Star Trek,” Martin Cooper patented the radio telephone system. He made the first cellular call on April 3, 1973, in front of reporters and passers-by on a New York City street.

— The Vietnam War ended. The White House announced that the last American soldier would be withdrawn and the last American prisoner of war freed, ending the U.S. military presence in South Vietnam.

— Elvis Presley signed a new two-year contract with the Las Vegas Hilton believed to be around $150,000 a week, the highest of any attraction there.

— The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a woman has a constitutional right to an abortion until viability. The Roe v. Wade decision defined “viable” as being “potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid,” adding that viability “is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks.”

— In an effort to prevent hijackings, passenger screenings began at all major airports in the U.S.

“All in the Family” was the top-ranked TV show, followed by “Sanford and Son” and “The Waltons.”

— The national average unemployment was 5.6 percent.

— Music was abundant and concert tickets were hot commodities. Favorites, just to name a few, included Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Jackson Browne, Paul McCartney and Wings, Pink Floyd and Stevie Wonder.

— The Miami Dolphins became the first NFL team to complete a perfect season.

Safe plastic soda bottles were patented. Previously, plastic bottles could not contain carbonated beverages.

— Fashion and style included bell bottoms, macrame belts, denim jackets, mutton chop sideburns, tie-dyed shirts, long hair, big hair, afros, platform shoes, paisley shirts, leisure suits and just about anything made from polyester knit.

— The first really big Super Bowl ad was aired advertising Nozema shaving cream featuring Joe Namath and Farrah Fawcett.


New in 1973 was (b) the Bic disposable lighter. Pong came along in 1972, Post-It-Notes in 1974 and push-through tabs in 1975.