Raquel Welch became a bonafide sex-symbol in her 'prehistoric' bikini from"One Million Years B.C.," which opened in the USA on this date in 1967. Ursula Andress was offered the role of Loana, but passed on the project due to salary demands.
The box office success of One Million Years B.C. was largely due to Ray Harryhausen's remarkable special effects. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) and Jason and the Argonauts (1963) had both featured Harryhausen's stop-motion animation creatures (the 'Dynamation' process), and had been very profitable. Hammer's film exploited this trend.
Another contributing factor to the film's success was Raquel Welch's casting as Loana. Dressed in a bikini-styled fur costume , her image on the film's posters soon became iconic. Welch's performance earned her sex symbol status and contributed to her later success, but her selection for the role was partly due to the British audience's fascination with American stars. In the British version of the film her name is first on the credits, while in the US cut she only receives second billing.
Pictured here: Raquel Welch "One Million Years B.C." 1966 Twentieth Century Fox / The Hollywood Archive
On February 3, 1959, rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson were killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, together with the pilot, Roger Peterson. The event later became known as "The Day the Music Died", after singer-songwriter Don McLean so referred to it in his song "American Pie".
At the time, Holly and his band, consisting of Waylon Jennings, Tommy Allsup, and Carl Bunch, were playing on the "Winter Dance Party" tour across the Midwest. Rising artists Valens and Richardson had joined the tour as well.
Buddy Holly had been the biggest star of the group, known for such hits as “That’ll Be the Day” and “Peggy Sue.” The teenage Ritchie Valens was an up-and-coming performer having nearly made it to the top of the charts in 1958 with his ode to his high school sweetheart with the song “Donna.” J.P. Richardson, better known as “The Big Bopper,” was a Texas songwriter and radio DJ who caught the nation’s ear with the catchy tune “Chantilly Lace.”
The long journeys between venues on board the cold, uncomfortable tour buses adversely affected the performers, with cases of flu and even frostbite. After stopping at Clear Lake to perform, and frustrated by such conditions, Holly fatefully decided to charter a plane to reach their next venue in Moorhead, Minnesota. Richardson, who had flu, swapped places with Jennings, taking the latter's seat on the plane, while Allsup lost his seat to Valens on a coin toss.
Soon after take-off, late at night and in poor, wintry weather conditions, the pilot lost control of the light aircraft, a Beechcraft Bonanza, which subsequently crashed into a cornfield, leaving no survivors.
Pictured here: Buddy Holly, circa 1958/ The Hollywood Archive
On the eve of 2016, The Hollywood Archive flashes back 50 years to 1966...
Happenings in 1966: 1966 inflation grew as part of the effect to fund the war in Vietnam continued. Race riots continued to increase across cities in America. Both the US and USSR continued in their space race to see who would be the first to land a man on the moon. The most popular groups included The "Beach Boys" with Pet Sounds, The "Rolling Stones" with Under my Thumb and The "Beatles" with Revolver, and Yesterday and Today.
Cost of Living: Average Cost of new house $14,200 Average Income per year $6,900 Average Cost of a new car $2,650.00 Cost of a gallon of Gas 32 cents
... and remembering -
"Fantastic Voyage" 1966 20th Century Fox Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach, "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" 1966 Mike Connors, star of "Mannix" and Peter Graves, star of "Mission Impossible" circa 1966 Claudia Cardinale, circa 1966. Jayne Mansfield at home, circa 1966 The Monkees' Davy Jones circa, 1966 Adam West (left) and Burt Ward (right) as Batman and Robin, "Batman", 1966 Doris Day, circa 1966 Ron Ely, "Tarzan", Circa 1966