1969 Facts and Trivia

By Elspeth Sweatman

From the cost of a gallon of milk to the top radio hits, here are some facts and figures about the year that inspired the story of A Walk on the Moon—1969!

A young girl reading the Washington Post, July 21, 1969. Photo by Jack Weir. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
US President

Richard M. Nixon


San Francisco: 715,600
United States: 202,676,900
World: 3,609,000,000

Cost of Living

Value of today’s dollar: $6.94
Average income: $8,550 per year
Minimum wage: $1.60 per hour
Average new car: $2,000
Gallon of gas: $0.35
Average house: $27,900
Gallon of milk: $1.10
Dozen eggs: $0.62
Pound of sugar: $0.12
Black-and-white television: $125
Color television: $800

Autographed posed publicity photo of Barbra Streisand for 1969 film Hello, Dolly! Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Top-Grossing Movies

1. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
2. Midnight Cowboy
3. Easy Rider
4. Hello, Dolly!
5. Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

Famous Books Published in 1969

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
The Godfather by Mario Puzo
The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton 

The Temptations (L to R: Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams, and Dennis Edwards)
in a 1969 press publicity photograph for Motown Records and The Ed Sullivan Show.
Photo by Bernie Ilson, Inc. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Billboard’s Top Five Singles 

1. “Sugar, Sugar,” by the Archies
2. “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” by the 5th Dimension
3. “I Can’t Get Next to You,” by the Temptations
4. “Honky Tonk Women,” by the Rolling Stones
5. “Everyday People,” by Sly and the Family Stone


Car: Chevrolet Bel Air/Biscayne/Impala
Motor Trend Car of the Year: Plymouth Road Runner
Christmas gift: Chemistry Set
Board game: Ouija
Other: Rickie Tickie stickers


Popular hairstyles: the Mop Top, the Modern Bouffant
Clothes: long, slender shapes; the Mod style; bright, swirling colors; tie-dye; fashion tights; caftans; animal print

A Walk on the Moon
runs through July 1 at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater. Click here to purchase tickets. Want to learn more about the year 1969? Order a copy of Words on Plays, A.C.T.’s in-depth performance guide series.

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