The fall of '73 was a pursuit of power in thoughts, words, and deeds on several fronts. Even the National League playoffs had a skirmish when Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds barreled into Bud Harrelson of the Mets while trying to break up a double play. The benches cleared. When Rose took the field the next inning, debris rained down on the field, and the umpires stopped the game until order could be restored. Willie Mays and other Mets players managed to quell the crowd, and the game continued. The Mets won the playoffs but lost to Oakland in the World Series. This was the last year for Willie Mays.
Two days prior to the baseball brawl, Egypt and Syria went after Israel in the Yom Kippur War. In an interview, Abba Eban remarked that the Arabs caused a scare in Israel. Because the U.S. backed Israel, the Arabs cut the oil supply to the U.S. which caused shortages of gasoline and heating oil. Lines at gas stations lengthened, sales of large cars slumped, highway speed limits were reduced to 55mph, and GM cut production of big cars.
The sports world had another battle that fall. This time it was in tennis: Billy Jean King v Bobby Riggs in the "Battle Of The Sexes" at the Astrodome. The aging Riggs felt that women couldn't equal men in the game of tennis. Wrong! King beat Riggs, and this gave the women's movement a shot in the arm. References to that match-up were made by popular comediennes Phyllis Diller, Lilly Tomlin and Bea Arthur on Maude. Also there was a change in New Jersey that girls could play Little League baseball --- if they could hit. Dolores Studendort was the first female to play tiny mite football (Thethel Park, Penn.) Roe v Wade arrived a bit earlier that year. The best selling book was "The Joy of Sex. Erica Jong put out a book "The Fear of Flying" which was about female anger and passion. In New York City, women began going on patrol with men.
Fat ties for men were in style. Pants suits for women were popular too, but not at the Supreme Court. Mini skirts showed up too...and showed quite a lot. Jill Vine Volner was the first female attorney on the Watergate prosecution team, and she wore a mini skirt. It was noted that pictures of Volner were usually full length shots, whereas pictures of the male attorneys were usually waist up shots. And speaking of Watergate....
This all began some months earlier with a small burglary at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters in the Watergate Building, whence the name. There were allegations that the White House was participating in a cover-up of the burglary, so in May the Senate began hearings with Sam Ervin as the chairman. Things get sticky as the investigation progresses. Robert Haldeman, Nixon's Chief of Staff, and John Erlichman, Nixon's Domestic Adviser, resigned, John Dean, Special Counsel to the President, was fired, and John Dean, former Attorney General, was indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice. It gets messier when it is learned that that there were tape recordings made in the Oval office. Attorney General Elliot Richardson had appointed Archibald Cox to be the special prosecutor, and Cox subpoenaed the tapes. The White House refused. Transcripts of the tapes were offered, but nothing more was to be requested. All of this power struggle led up to what came to be known as the "Saturday Night Massacre." It began earlier in the afternoon when the White House wanted wanted Cox fired and ordered Richardson to do it. He refused. Carl Feldbaum, Cox's attorney advised Cox's staff to protect the evidence because they feared a White House take over. At one in the afternoon, Cox goes on TV to explain his position. At two, Richardson refuses to fire Cox for insubordination and turned in his resignation. At five, Richardson briefs William Ruckelshaus, Deputy Attorney General, on the situation. Alexander Haig, Chief of Staff, ordered Ruckelshaus to fire Cox. He didn't and was fired. Solicitor General Robert Bork was the next in line to fire Cox. He did. Leon Jaworski became the Special Prosecutor.
To make a long, complicated story just a bit shorter, but still complicated. Tapes were handed over to Judge John Sirica. One of the tapes had an 18 minute dead spot which didn't go over too well. Eight "Impeach Nixon" resolutions were introduced in Congress. Nixon resigned and never went to trial. In the middle of all that, Vice President Spiro Agnew was accused of bribery and extortion, but was charged with tax evasion. He was out and Gerald Ford was in. He pardoned Nixon after he took over as president.
Time Magazine took an editorial position regarding the Watergate Scandal, the first time in its 50 year history they had done that. Special Prosecutors are now called Independent Counsels.
There were lots of good interviews in this show with the people involved in this slice of history.
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