On a spring Sunday morning, television viewers watched a Connecticut senator talk about gun control. Sound familiar? Only this Sunday political conversation took place nearly 45 years ago. You’ll see it this Sunday in our Face the State flashback.
On May 5, 1968, Channel 3’s Tom Eaton interviewed Senator Abraham Ribicoff about the issues facing the state and the country during that tumultuous period in history. It took place a month after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Junior, and a month before Senator Robert Kennedy would be gunned down.
The number one song that week was “Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro, the hit movie was “the Odd Couple,” and the most watched television show was “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in.”
The big issue of spring 1968 was Vietnam. After the Tet Offensive, opposition to the war started to ramp up, and it fueled the presidential candidacies of Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy. The weeks before the interview with Senator Ribicoff were ones of tremendous change. On March 31, 1968, President Johnson stunned the nation by announcing he would not run for re-election. On April 4, Dr. King was killed, and riots broke out across the country, including in Hartford. The call was loud and clear for lawmakers to do something to quell the unrest and to stop gun violence.
You can watch the entire interview with Senator Ribicoff this Sunday morning at 11 on Face the State, and if you want a taste of what it was like in 1968, the new season of Mad Men takes place then. The premiere ended with the case celebrating New Year’s ’68.