By Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst, and Courtney Schuster
5 minute read
10:13 AM EDT, Fri August 21, 2015
Pop culture and politics collided on December 21, 1970, when the King of Rock 'n' Roll, Elvis Presley, visited President Richard Nixon in the White House Oval Office. The '70s may have been many things, but boring sure wasn't one of them. Check out 70 of the most unforgettable moments of the decade. For more, watch the CNN Original Series "The Seventies."
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Apollo 13 returns safely to Earth —
The Apollo 13 spacecraft was intended to be the third landing on the moon, but the NASA crew aborted its mission after an oxygen tank exploded on board. The astronauts landed in the South Pacific on April 17, 1970. Here, lunar module pilot Fred W. Haise Jr. is about to be hoisted up to a recovery helicopter from the USS Iwo Jima.
NASA/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Kent State massacre —
Four students died and nine others were wounded on May 4, 1970, when members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on students protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State University in Ohio. In this Pulitzer Prize-winning photo, taken by Kent State photojournalism student John Filo, Mary Ann Vecchio can be seen screaming as she kneels by the body of slain student Jeffrey Miller.
The Beatles call it quits —
The "Fab Four," pictured here in 1970, released their final album, "Let It Be," on May 8, 1970. The album came one month after Paul McCartney announced the group's breakup.
Hans J. Hoffmann/ullstein bild/Getty Images
'Flying Bobby' —
In one moment, Bobby Orr became a hockey legend. On May 10, 1970, Orr scored an overtime goal in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals, giving the Boston Bruins their first championship since 1941. In 1971, Orr signed the first million-dollar contract in NHL history -- $200,000 a year for five years -- and in 1979 he became the youngest NHL Hall of Famer when he was inducted at the age of 31.
Ray Lussie/Boston Herald American/AP
Gay rights movement gains popularity —
Gay rights activists Foster Gunnison and Craig Rodwell lead a gay rights march in New York on June 28, 1970, then known as Gay Liberation Day. The march was held on the first anniversary of the police raid of the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in New York's Greenwich Village. The raid led to demonstrations and protests by the gay community. The Stonewall riots helped bring together the gay community in New York, and by 1971 gay rights groups had formed in almost all of the major cities in America.
Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images
'Hey! Ho! Let's go!' —
The '70s ushered in a new musical movement that put a premium on speed, simplicity and raw power. Bands like the Ramones, pictured, and the Sex Pistols put to waste the trippy, hippie music of the '60s, replacing it with short, fast songs filled with attitude and angst. It could only be called one thing: punk.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Indira Gandhi re-elected —
Indira Gandhi, the only woman to ever hold the office of Prime Minister of India, won a second term in a landslide victory in March 1971. She would be re-elected to a fourth term in 1980, but she was assassinated by two of her bodyguards in 1984.
Fox Photos/Getty Images
Disney World opens —
A crowd in Orlando waits for Walt Disney World's Main Street to open in October 1971. The park cost an estimated $400 million to build and now attracts around 25 million visitors annually. When Disney World opened in 1971, the price for admission was $3.50. A single-day ticket now is $105 for anyone over 10 years old.
'Bloody Sunday' —
On January 30, 1972, British soldiers opened fire against protesters in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, who were marching against British rule. Thirteen people were killed on the scene, and more than a dozen were injured. After the shooting, recruitment and support for the Irish Republican Army skyrocketed. Three decades of violence known as The Troubles followed, and almost 3,000 people died.
Nixon in China —
Richard Nixon became the first U.S. President to visit China. His trip in February 1972 was an important step in building a relationship between the two countries.
'Napalm Girl' —
Associated Press photographer Nick Ut photographed terrified children running from the site of a napalm attack during the Vietnam War in June 1972. A South Vietnamese plane accidentally dropped napalm on its own troops and civilians. Nine-year-old Kim Phuc, center, ripped off her burning clothes while fleeing. The image communicated the horrors of the war and contributed to the growing anti-war sentiment in the United States. After taking the photograph, Ut took the children to a hospital.
'Hanoi Jane' —
In July 1972, in the midst of the Vietnam War, actress Jane Fonda visited the North Vietnamese city of Hanoi and criticized the U.S. role in the war, leading many to call her "anti-American." Earlier this year, Fonda called the trip an "incredible experience" but expressed some regret. "It hurts me, and it will to my grave, that I made a huge, huge mistake that made a lot of people think I was against the soldiers," Fonda said during an appearance in Frederick, Maryland.
Porn goes mainstream —
In any other year it might sound strange, but in 1972 one of the most popular films of the year was a porno. "Deep Throat" was one of the first pornographic films to receive mainstream attention, and it made $3 million in its first six months of release. It also took on an additional layer of cultural significance when the secret informant in the Watergate scandal went by the pseudonym "Deep Throat."
Cold War chess championship —
American Bobby Fischer, right, and Russian Boris Spassky play their last game of chess together in Reykjavik, Iceland, on August 31, 1972. Fischer defeated Spassky to become the World Chess Champion, ending a Soviet win streak that dated to 1948.
J.W. Green/Getty Images
Terror at the Olympics —
On September 5, 1972, the Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, were in the throes of a hostage crisis. Two Israeli athletes had been killed and nine taken hostage by members of Black September, a Palestinian terrorist movement demanding the release of political prisoners by the Israeli government. Hours later, all nine hostages, five terrorists and one police officer were dead.
The perfect season —
The Miami Dolphins, coached by Don Shula, win Super Bowl VII in January 1973 and become the only NFL team in history to win a championship with an undefeated record.