Fifty-Four Years Ago

New York City Ballet in Amsterdam Suzanne Farrell. 25th August 1965.

Here’s a picture of “baby ballerina” Suzanne Farrell of New York City Ballet, mid-pirouette while on tour in Amsterdam fifty-four years ago. 25th August 1965.

Farrell’s autobiography is Holding On to the Air.

On this day: a choreographer and his muse.

This is the edition of LIFE Magazine for the 23rd of August, 1965.

The cover features choreographer George Balanchine, who was born into a Georgian family in Saint Petersburg before moving to the United States and becoming the so-called “father of American ballet”.

With him is Suzanne Farrell, a young ballerina who was arguably the most famous of his “muses”. She had just turned twenty when this magazine came out.

They are in costume for the roles of Don Quixote and his “ideal woman” Dulcinea in Balanchine’s version of Don Quixote for New York City Ballet. This version is unrelated to the world-famous production that is regularly performed today. However, the version starring Farrell became a signature piece and showcase for both her as a ballerina, and for her famous Balanchine technique.

LIFE INTERNATIONAL cover 08-23-1965 Choreographer George

On this day: the premiere of Romeo and Juliet

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Romeo and Juliet as it was intended to be: Gable and Seymour in the roles created for them, in a 1965 performance.

Kenneth Macmillan’s acclaimed ballet version of Romeo and Juliet premiered at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on the 9th of February, 1965.

Even though the ballet had been specifically created for Christopher Gable and Lynn Seymour, the intervention of Russian-American tour organiser Sol Hurok meant they were not allowed to dance first cast in the lead roles.

Instead, Gable and Seymour, critically acclaimed dancers who had personal input into the choreography, were forced to teach their roles to Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn, who would also go on to feature in the video recording of the ballet.

In further controversy, choreographer John Cranko, whose earlier production of the ballet is eerily similar to Macmillan’s version in a number of scenes, was said to be horrified by what he saw as plagiarism of his work.

On this day: a Ku Klux Klan conviction in Alabama

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Murder victim Viola Liuzzo.

On the 3rd of December, 1965 a jury in the US southern state of Alabama convicted three Ku Klux Klan members in relation to the murder of white woman Viola Liuzzo.

A fourth man, who had been part of the crime but who worked for the FBI, was not convicted as he testified against the others.

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Liuzzo was helping as a driver for civil rights activists at the time of her murder. She was driving a car and escorting a black man, Leroy Moton, when the Klan members shot her through the window.

Moton was unhurt in the attack, which took place on the 25th of March.

viola-liuzzo

Immediately after the murder, authorities tried to cover up the facts, and the FBI attempted to destroy Liuzzo’s character in order to distract from one of their own being involved in the crime.

At the time of Liuzzo’s death she was thirty-nine years old, married, and the mother of five.

On this day: the premiere of Days of Our Lives

American soap opera Days of Our Lives had its premiere on the 8th of November, 1965.

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The Horton family cast in 1966. X

Famous for its outlandish storylines, including characters being possessed by the devil, and people coming back from the dead multiple times, it is one of the longest-running scripted shows in history.

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The 2010 logo.

Due to Days’ popularity, episodes were expanded from half-hour to one hour length in April 1975.

On this day: the Palm Sunday tornado outbreak

Picture of the double tornado that hit the Midway Trailer Park in Indiana, killing 14. 11th April 1965.

The Palm Sunday tornado outbreak occurred across the US states of Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa on the 11th and 12th of April, 1965.

Forty-seven tornadoes struck, including the “double tornado” in Indiana (above) that killed fourteen people. 271 deaths were confirmed across all states.

On this day: the US Embassy Bombing

On the 30th of March, 1965 the United States embassy in Saigon, Vietnam was bombed by the Viet Cong. The attack killed twenty-two people and injured 183 others.

The vehicle containing the bomb held 300 pounds of plastic explosives. Even though it was suggested, US President Lyndon B. Johnson refused to authorise retaliatory raids on North Vietnam.

1965 Embassy bombing 30th March 1965 US Embassy Vietnam.