20 Facts: The Year 1972

1972 was an interesting year. I was only born in 1977 so I have no recollection of this year personally but I’ve read up a lot about this year in history. The 20th Century was definately one of the most interesting ones (in my opinion). According to measurements of Coordinated Universal Time or UTC it was the longest year ever. 2 leap seconds were added during this year. Such an event has not since been repeated. The photo on this post is of a cover of Time Magazine which was published on the 6th of March 1972. In a previous post about Wimpy in the good old days a photo of the popular South African fast food chain’s menu is included on the post (if you’re the nostalgic type like moi). The Facts category is regularly updated on this blog. Also check out the 10 facts section for more interesting facts posts. You may also want to check out the daily updates in the Photography and Babes categories.

Here’s 20 facts about the year 1972 that are worthy of being mentioned:

  1. Hewlett Packard introduced the world’s first pocket scientific calculator, the HP-35 in 1972.
  2. Rose Heilbron became the first woman judge at the Old Bailey in London in the United Kingdom in 1972.
  3. In Denmark Margaret II succeeded her father, King Frederick IX as the Queen regnant of the country in 1972.
  4. In 1972 Shoichi Yokoi (a Japanese soldier) was discovered on the island of Guam. He had spent 28 years in the jungle. He was the third last Japanese soldier to surrender after the end of the 2nd World War in 1945.
  5. In 1972 Yugoslavian air stewardess Vesna Vulović was the only survivor when her plane crashed in Czechoslovakia. She survived after falling 10,160 meters in the tail section of the aircraft.
  6. The Winter Olympics were held in Sapporo, Japan in 1972 and the Summer Olympics were held in Munich, Germany in the same year. American Swimmer Mark Spitz won a record 7 gold medals in the Summer Olympics in 1972.
  7. The Munich Massacre occured on the 6th of September 1972. Eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics were murdered after 8 members of the Arab terrorist group Black September invaded the Olympic Village in Munich. 5 guerillas and 1 policeman was also killed in a failed hostage rescue. This massacre later became the subject of the Steven Spielberg film Munich in 2005.
  8. On the 4th of February 1972 Mariner 9 sent back pictures from the planet Mars. Pioneer 10 (the first man-made spacecraft to leave the solar system) was launched from Cape Kennedy in the United States in the same year.
  9. In 1972 Volkswagen Beetle sales exceeded those of the Ford Model-T when the 15,007,034th VW Beetle was produced.
  10. The Soviet unmanned spaceship Luna 20 landed on the Moon in February 1972. The spacecraft returned with 55 grams of lunar soil.
  11. In February 1972 US President Richard Nixon made an unprecedented 8-day visit to the People’s Republic of China and met with Chinese leader Mao Zedong.
  12. The Club of Rome (a global think tank) published its Limits of Growth report (a book modeling the consequences of a rapidly growing world population and finite resource supplies) in 1972.
  13. The 44th Annual Academy Awards are held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles in the United States. The French Connection won the Oscar for Best Picture. Gene Hackman won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in the film. Jane Fonda won the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Klute (a film which also starred Donald Sutherland). Ben Johnson won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting role for The Last Picture Show. Cloris Leachman walked away with the honours in the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category for her role in the same film. William Friedkin (who went on to direct The Exorcist in 1973, Blue Chips in 1994 and Rules of Engagement in 2000) won the Academy Award for Best Director for The French Connection.
  14. Famous South Africans born in 1972 include the frontman of the rock band Springbok Nude Girls, Arno Caarstens and Springbok Rugby player Os Du Rant. In South Africa conscription for all white males was extended from 9 to 12 months and followed by a 19-day annual call-up for 5 years. The South African police was deployed in Namibia in the same year. The Golden Lions rugby team won the Currie Cup in the same year.
  15. The 968.9-carat Star of Sierra Leone diamond was discovered in February 1972. It ranks as the 3rd largest gem-quality diamond and the largest alluvial diamond ever discovered.
  16. Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney co-founded Atari in 1972. They released Pong in the same year which would go on to be the first commercially successful video game in history.
  17. In 1972 Comedian George Carlin was arrested by Milwaukee, Wisconsin police for public obscenity, for reciting his “Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television” at Summerfest.
  18. A Fairchild FH-227D passenger aircraft (Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571) transporting a rugby union team crashed at about 14,000 ft (4267 m) in the Andes mountain range near the Argentina / Chile border. 16 of the survivors were found alive in December 1972. They had to resort to cannibalism in order to survive.
  19. On the 30th of January 1972 the British Army killed 13 unarmed Roman Catholic civil rights marchers in Derry, Ireland. The incident is referred to as “Bloody Sunday” by future generations. This was the inspiration behind the protest song Sunday Bloody Sunday by Irish rockers U2.
  20. Stuart Townsend (Actor), Ben Affleck (Actor), Robin Tunney (Actress), Jason Statham (Actor), Leonor Varela (Actress), Selma Blair (Actress), Saffron Burrows (Actress), Amanda Peet (Actress), Gwyneth Paltrow (Actress), Jennifer Garner (Actress), Claire Forlani (Actress), Julie Benz (Actress), Thandie Newton (Actress), Cameron Diaz (Actress), Alyssa Milano (Actress), Carmen Electra (Actress and Model), Nicole Eggert (Actress), Marlon Wayans (Comedian and Actor), Chris Tucker (Comedian and Actor), Jenny McCarthy (Model and Actress) and Sofia Vergara (Model) were all born in 1972.

Related Links:
1972 – People History
1972 – Brainy History
1972 – Info Please

Watch this space for regular updates in the Facts category on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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Henno Kruger
Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant and co-founder of SA Music Zone

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  • Phillip Gibb

    more notably
    I was born in 1972
    much cheering, fan fare and celebration

    • Running Wolf

      Phillip: Thx for the comment

  • Deirdre

    We are busy with a reunion and this is a great place to do research on! Thanks!!

    • Running Wolf

      Deirdre: Glad I can help 🙂

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