1967 was a big year for the City of Angels. From youth culture and music to sports and movies: LA was everywhere. Here at LAExplained it’s the kind of year that honestly has some of the best photos. So much exciting stuff was happening at the time and the city was ascending to its place as a global city. As the Super Bowl is right around the corner, it would be appropriate to start our 1967 deep-dive with something BIG that happened at the top of the year on January 15th, 1967. The first AFL-NFL World Championship Game, today known as Super Bowl I, was held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
CREDIT: Art Rogers Via The LA Times
CREDIT: Walter Iooss Jr. for Sports Illustrated
The two teams that met on the field that day were the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs (with the Packers winning 35-10). Apart from being the first Super Bowl, there are other facts that made the game unlike any other in Super Bowl history – even up until the current day.
CREDIT: Focus On Sport / Getty Images
Firstly, it was broadcast on two networks. As CBS held the rights to broadcast AFL games and NBC held those played by the NFL, this was uncharted territory – and it ignited a competition between the two networks. At the actual game the tensions resulted in a fence being built between the two camps. In the end, CBS received a 22.6 rating and a market share of 43 while NBC received an 18.5 rating and a market share of 36. Both networks scrubbed their game tapes (common at the time) and for years there were very few clips of the first Super Bowl until 2016 when the NFL spliced together found videos and presented a restored version in 2016.
The first Big Game was also the only one that wasn’t a sellout – out of 94,000 seats, 33,000 sat empty.
CREDIT: The Forum
Miles southeast of the Coliseum, another temple of LA sports was under construction in 1967: the Forum. Perhaps the person to thank most for its construction is Jack Kent Cooke – then owner of the Lakers. A hockey fan as well, when Cooke heard that the NHL was going to add new franchises to the league he jumped at the opportunity. His bid, which was in direct competition with fellow LA sports team owner Dan Reeves (owner of the Rams), was chosen and he paid $2 million for the Kings. When his “Fabulous Forum” opened at the end of the year it was home to both the Kings and Cooke’s other team the Lakers.
Outside of sports arenas, LA was a center of youth culture in the late 60s. From music, to movies, to fashion – the California lifestyle was BIG.
CREDIT: Kent Kanouse
Two of the biggest bands of the year both came out of Los Angeles: The Doors and The Monkees. Representing two sides of the pop music spectrum, the two groups both spent weeks at number one with songs like “Light My Fire” and “I’m a Believer” respectively.
The Doors, founded by Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek in Venice in 1965, started as the house band for a couple of Sunset Strip clubs like the Whisky a Go Go. In 1966 the group was discovered by the president of Elektra Records and within a few months they recorded their first album which came out January 4th, 1967. Their overt sexuality and rebelliousness made them extremely popular – and a nightmare for the establishment. When the group appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in September ‘67, Morrison famously sang the word “higher” in their song “Light My Fire” even after TV execs had asked for it to be omitted because it was a potential drug reference.
CREDIT: Bobby Klein, The Doors Archive
The Monkees, another band formed in LA, saw their TV and music success come simultaneously in 1966 with their hit show on NBC as well as their first #1 hit “Last Train to Clarksville.” By the following year they’d already racked up a slew of hits and were very popular, even with a full-scale attack waged by the press questioning their musical abilities.
CREDIT: Monkees Monthly
Members of both bands were frequently seen in the bars and clubs along the Sunset Strip and in Hollywood – areas where the scene was really happening. The melting pot of music and fashion that was The Strip during that era changed the course of history.
While Los Angeles had been the center of TV and film for decades at this point – that didn’t mean that LA was always the location setting of the things produced. Two big films of the year that were set in part in LA were The Graduate and Valley of the Dolls. With overt sexuality and drug use – both films embodied some of the changes happening across the country. Other films being made in ‘67 around LA? Planet of the Apes as seen here with Dr. Zaius waiting to catch the bus.
CREDIT: Dennis Stock
The city itself was changing too. After years of demolition, Bunker Hill was a shell of its former self. Very few of the grand old Victorian homes that once hung onto its hillsides were left – namely the Castle and the Salt Box (they both would meet their tragic ends in 1969 in what was supposed to be their forever home at Heritage Square). Pictures from that year of downtown are both eerie and stunning. The images make for great photos today and also show a time in LA that can’t really be imparted through osmosis – which is one of the reasons why we started @LAExplained.