27 Dec A quick look back, then into the crystal ball
FOR ANYONE born in 1969 it was the most important year in history.
But, except for the moon-shaking event in July, when Neil Armstrong took that “giant step for mankind,” it has no other claim to go down in the books with 1066. 1492 or 1867.
However, it was a busy 12 months and every day of them was used for serious or silly, tragic or trivial purposes.
Sex, which has been with us since the first amoeba crawled ashore and divided itself in two, became more pervasive than the weather.
Maybe it was because, with their clothes on, it was getting harder and harder to tell the boys and girls apart that so many of them started taking them off, at least on the stage and in the movies. Whether or not this had artistic validity, it spun an enormous amount of publicity for such plays as Oh! Calcutta and the film, I Am Curious (Yellow).
The locally made picture, A Married Couple, also profited by apparently widespread, if latent, voyeurism. Instead of having to peek in the windows of Antoinette and Billy Edwards, the Stars of Alan King’s film, the curious (any color) go to the movie instead and gape at the intimacies of the Edwards’ home life without being arrested as Peeping Toms.
Exhibitionism reached into the fashion field with see-through lace pajamas (for party weap and coyly deployed chains intended to reveal more than they covered.
Mini-skirts, worn over panty-hose, began to seem almost demure by comparison.
Literature, too, continued to pander to the pornography fanciers. The year’s best sellers vere Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint and Jacqueline Susann’s The Love Machine, both of which contributed generously to the vicarious sex life of those who didn’t have enough of their own.
Socially, sex made a few breakthroughs too. Unwed mothers used to be turned from the door in snow storms on Christinas Eve, but this year two prominent actresses, Vanessa Redgrave and Mia Farrow, cheerfully and publicly announced their pregnancies by men whom, they said, they had no intention of marrying.
The sex symbol of the 20th century, Mae West, was making a comeback in the movie, Myra Breckinridge. Although in her seventies, she was said to be giving a lot of annoyance if not actual competition to Raquel Welch, the star of the picture and S.S. of the decade.
Two girls whose charms continued to pay off in diamonds during the year were Jacqueline Onassis and Elizabeth Burton, both of whose husbands gave them jewels valued in the millions.
If sex was one preoccupation this year, astrology was another and to indulge in this you didn’t have to have charm, go out at night or even read dirty books. You could enjoy it sitting home alone, working out what the stars have in store for you.
Aside from the daily, weekly or monthly horoscopes provided by many publications, the significance of your astrological sign can now be emphasized by buying jewelry, clothes and household decorations with the appropriate symbols on them. There are even recipes and means available to provide special yummies for each section of the Zodiac.
Those whose appetites are not influenced by whether they are Scorpios or Aquarius found a new star to follow — Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet of TV.
This long-legged Australian who does his antic cooking in an Ottawa studio, this year became the idol of not only the hot stove ladies but of everyone who enjoys a good show as well as a tasty treat.
His only competition as TV personality of ’69 is Prince Charles, who turned up in July not only as Prince of Wales and future king, but also as a deft and delightful performer who could probably pinch-hit for David Frost if he finds his present profession doesn’t pay off.
His father. Prince Philip, indicated on his last visit over here in the fall that things are so bad at Buckingham Palace they may all be looking for work. Prince Philip’s choice of a job probably wouldn’t involve travelling, at least to Canada, he also said: “We don’t come over here for our health, you know.”
Whether or not Prince Philip comes back to see us, we have King Edward VII with us for ever, if only in effigy. A larger than life equestrian statue of him, cast off by the Republic of India, settled down in Queens Park early last summer to gaze eternally upon the traffic-clogged vista of Avenue Rd.
Among guests who did seem to enjoy Toronto in 1969 were John and Yoko, who came back for their second visit at Christmas time. They seem to have chosen this city as the dispensary of their peace drive in North America and sent thousands of our residents cards announcing: “The War is Over, if you want it.” Where’s that cease fire?
Another Beatle, Paul McCartney, was the victim or promoter of the year’s most macabre rumors. Despite his visibility, his death was proven in any number of ways, including de-coding pictures of him on album covers to running records backward. Despite this ingenuity on the part of the diligent, he seems to be alive and well and recently married.
And so is Tiny Tim — at least he’s married (we all saw it happen just last week) but nobody can be sure about the first two.
That was one of the surprises in 1969.
Another was that the biggest news Prime Minister Trudeau made at his first Commonwealth Conference last spring was taking a Miss Eva Ritting-Hausen (who?) out to lunch.
A former politician. Miss Judy LaMarsh, also hit the front pages and radio and TV programs by simply writing a book. It gave her candid and cantankerous opinions on everything from two prime ministers to how mean everyone is to women.
She isn’t the only woman who felt she was having a tough time in 1969. A whole lot of them got together, both in the States and up here, to demand equal rights and equal wages. They seemed to feel that if they didn’t use lipstick, fix their hair or wear bras and girdles it would help their cause.
Who knows? They may win. The Mets did.
A lot of other unexpected things happened this year. Think of all of those travellers who ended up, courtesy of skyjackers, in Cuba when they were only looking forward to Fort Lauderdale.
Do you even remember what EVERYONE said was going to happen last spring? That California was going to fall into the sea. that’s what. Well, with even a quick glance, you can prove it’s still there.
And, happily so are we, so 1969 must have been a pretty good year at that.