What Happened in 1972 – Trivia, Movies, Songs, Sports, Born In

Trivia, Movies, Songs, Sports, Celebrities Born In 1972, News, Fun Facts and more.

Ever wonder, “What Happened in 1972?”

Well if you if you are planning a birthday party, trivia game night, wedding anniversary event, class reunion or just curious about 1971 movies, music, tv, famous people born, news and fun facts; well you are in luck. Party Game Ideas has pulled together a list of fun and interesting things that happened in 1972, so you can create trivia game questions or activities based on 1972. If you need games for a 1972 birthday party, check out our Born in 1972 – Birthday Party Game Pack.

1972 Items – Page Topics Listed in Order
1972 History & News, 1972 Fun Facts
1972 Top Movies, Notable Quotes, Top 40 Songs of 1971, Sports
Celebrities Born in 1972, Top TV Shows of 1972, Saturday Morning Cartoons
What Did Things Cost in 1972, and we have a 1972 Calendar too.


1972 History & News

  • The Watergate scandal erupts in June and eventually leads to President Nixon stepping down from office in 1974.
  • President Nixon orders the development of a space shuttle program.
  • NASA’s Apollo 17 mission marks the last crewed moon landing of the 20th century.
  • US President Nixon visits China in February, 1972. The visit ended 25 years of no communication or diplomatic ties between the two countries, this was the first step in working to normalize relations.
  • Spacecraft Mariner 9 send back over 7,300 photos of Mars during it’s mission and help provide evidence that water had flowed on Mars.
  • NASA launches the Pioneer 10 spacecraft which is to be the first man-made satellite to leave the solar system.
  • The third-to-last WWII Japanese soldier, Shoichi Yokoi, surrenders after spending 28 years in the Guam jungle.
  • Hurricane Agnes hits and goes up the east coast killing 117 people and causing over $3 billion in damages.
  • Terrorists attack at Munich Summer Olympics. 11 Israelis and 1 German were killed, along with 5 out of 8 of the terrorists.
  • Time Man of the Year: Richard Nixon & Henry Kissinger

Interesting & Fun Facts about 1972

  • Mark Spitz wins enters 7 Olympic events, wins 7 Gold Metals, and sets 7 world records.
  • The Price is Right hosted by Bob Barker premieres on CBS.
  • Atari introduces the video arcade version of Pong
  • The first commercial home video game console, The Magnavox Odyssey is released for $99.95.
  • 1st Popeyes fast food restaurant opens in Arabi, Louisiana.
  • Bounce dryer sheets are introduced and clothes smelled better and had less static cling ever since.
  • Bobby Fischer defeats Boris Spassky in a chess match to become the first American chess champion.
  • HBO, Home Box Office, is founded and begins operating as a pay television service.
  • Silly String is invented by accident, by two inventors looking to create a spray on cast product for arms and legs.
  • Country singer Loretta Lynn becomes the first woman to win the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award.
  • The band Kiss is formed in NYC in December, 1972.
  • The band ABBA forms in Sweden. The name is derived from the first letters of their first names, Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad.
  • The first female FBI agents are hired.
  • The Bare Look, where skin is in, was the women’s fashion trend where halter, tank and even bikini tops became the summer look.
  • The Dow Jones closes above 1,000 for the first time.
  • The comedian George Carlin was arrested in Milwaukee for violating obscenity laws after performing his “Seven Dirty Words You Can’t say on TV’ bit on stage.
  • Monty Python produces the SPAM restaurant comedy sketch. Many say this sketch is the reason we call unwanted email “spam.”

World Population – 3,837,000,000


Top Movies 1972 – US Box Office in millions
This list represents the earnings of movies that were released in 1972, based on our research. We did find some differing facts on earnings, but The Godfather is at the top and almost all of these were in the Top 10 list we reviewed. We were kind of surprised at how few movies were released, compared to today.

1. The Godfather $86.3
2. The Poseidon Adventure $42
3. What’s Up, Doc? $28
4. Deliverance $22.5
5. Jeremiah Johnson $21.9
6. Cabaret $20.3
7. Deep Throat $20
8. The Getaway $18
9. Lady Sings the Blues $9.7
10. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex $8.9

Other notable films of 1972
• Conquest of the Planet of the Apes – The 4th out of 5 movies in the Planet of the Apes series.
• Last Tango in Paris

  • Academy Award for Best Picture 1972 – The French Connection
  • Best Actor 1972 – William Friedkin for The French Connection
  • Best Actress 1972 – Jane Fonda for Klute

Since the Oscars for movies released in 1972 are given out in 1973, we want to include which films won the following Academy Awards.

  • Academy Award for Best Picture 1973 – The Godfather
  • Best Actor 1973 – Marlon Brando for The Godfather
  • Best Actress 1973 – Liza Minnelli for Cabaret

Notable Quotes from 1972

“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse”
– Marlon Brando, in The Godfather

New Advertising & Jingles

“Hey, Mikey! He likes it!”
– Life cereal

“Nothing Runs Like a Deere.”
– John Deere – Originally used for the John Deere snowmobiles in 1972, it later came a corporate slogan.


Born in 1972 Party Games Milestone Birthday Games Over the Hill 50th Birthday
Learn more about our Born in 1972 Birthday Party Games.


Top 40 Songs of 1972 – Ratings are based on Hot 100 Charts from Dec. 4, 1971 – Nov. 18, 1972 ranking by Billboard

1. “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” Roberta Flack
2. “Alone Again (Naturally)” Gilbert O’Sullivan
3. “American Pie” Don McLean
4. “Without You” Harry Nilsson
5. “The Candy Man” Sammy Davis Jr.
6. “I Gotcha” Joe Tex
7. “Lean on Me” Bill Withers
8. “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me” Mac Davis
9. “Brand New Key” Melanie
10. “Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast” Wayne Newton
11. “Let’s Stay Together” Al Green
12. “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” Looking Glass
13. “Oh Girl” The Chi-Lites
14. “Nice to Be with You” Gallery
15. “My Ding-a-Ling” Chuck Berry
16. “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right” Luther Ingram
17. “Heart of Gold” Neil Young
18. “Betcha by Golly, Wow” The Stylistics
19. “I’ll Take You There” The Staple Singers
20. “Ben” Michael Jackson
21. “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” Robert John
22. “Outa-Space” Billy Preston
23. “Slippin’ into Darkness” War
24. “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” The Hollies
25. “How Do You Do” Mouth & MacNeal
26. “Song Sung Blue” Neil Diamond
27. “A Horse with No Name” America
28. “Popcorn” Hot Butter
29. “Everybody Plays the Fool” The Main Ingredient
30. “Precious and Few” Climax
31. “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All” The 5th Dimension
32. “Nights in White Satin” The Moody Blues
33. “Go All the Way” Raspberries
34. “Too Late to Turn Back Now” Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose
35. “Back Stabbers” The O’Jays
36. “Down by the Lazy River” The Osmonds
37. “Sunshine” Jonathan Edwards
38. “Starting All Over Again” Mel and Tim
39. “Day After Day” Badfinger
40. “Rocket Man” Elton John

Other Notable Songs and Facts from 1972
“I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash #47, “Burning Love” by Elvis Presley #48, “Puppy Love” by Donny Osmond #67, “Anticipation” by Carly Simon #72, “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper #75, “Doctor My Eyes” by Jackson Browne #92, “I’d Like to Teacher the World to Sing” by The New Seekers #93 and also by The Hillside Singers #97

The novelty song “My Ding-a-Ling” by Chuck Berry was at Number 1 for two weeks in October. It was his only number one song. The songs crafty lyrics (even though it was a cover) and the obvious double entendre lead some stations to refuse to play the song, which of course made people want to hear it even more. The song finished the year as the 15th most popular song of 1972.

“Papa Was a Rollin Stone” by the Temptations, “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy, and “Me & Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul all peaked at No. 1 in December of 1972, but because of a gap in tracking (which removed a week of sales data in the rankings) only “Me & Mrs. Jones” (#15) ranked in the End of Year Top 40 of 1973, “Papa Was a Rollin Stone” was #100 and “I Am Woman” did not rank for either ’72 or ’73.

David Bowie releases “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” While the album was not a chart topper in the US in 1972, it is often noted as being one of the top 50 albums of all time. (Rolling Stone)


1972 Year in Sports

  • Football – Super Bowl VI – Dallas Cowboys defeated Miami Dolphins 24-3
  • Football – December 23, 1972 – The Immaculate Reception takes place. The Pittsburgh Steelers win their first playoff game. Down 7-6 with 22 seconds remaining and facing a 4th and 10. Terry Bradshaw dropped back to pass and threw the ball towards Frenchy Fuqua. As it arrived, Raiders safety Jack Tatum collided with Fuqua and the ball ricocheted backwards. Franco Harris remarkably scooped up the ball and raced 60 yards to score.
  • Horse Racing – Kentucky Derby – Riva Ridge
  • Ice Hockey – Stanley Cup – Boston Bruins defeated New York Rangers 4 games to 2
  • NBA Finals – Los Angeles Lakers defeated New York Knicks 4 games to 1 games
  • ABA Finals – Indiana Pacers defeated New York Nets 4 games to 2 games
  • Golf – U.S. Open – Jack Nicklaus
  • Tennis
    Wimbledon Championships – Men’s Stan Smith, Women’s Billie Jean King
    US Open – Men’s Ilie Nastase, Women’s Billie Jean King (1st Woman in Open Era to Repeat as Singles Champion)
  • Baseball – World Series – Oakland Athletics defeated Cincinnati Reds 4 games to 3 games.
  • Tour De France – Eddy Merckx of Belgium wins his fourth straight Tour.
  • 1972 Olympics, Swimming – Mark Spitz wins 7 gold medals ALL in World Record Time! (The record gold medal haul lasted 36 years until Michael Phelps won 8 gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.)

1971 NCAA

  • Football
    Orange Bowl: January 1, 1972 – Nebraska defeated Alabama 38 – 6
    Rose Bowl: January 1, 1972 – Stanford defeated Michigan
    Sugar Bowl : January 1, 1972 – Oklahoma defeated Auburn
    Cotton Bowl: January 1, 1972 – Penn State defeated Texas
  • Men’s Division 1 Basketball – UCLA defeats Florida St. 81 – 76


Celebrities Born in 1972

Check out these famous people born in 1972. Some of these celebs will surprise you because they look so young and others you might say, “I thought they were older.”

Dwayne Johnson The Rock Born in 1972
Dwayne Johnson “The Rock”

Jennifer Garner born in 1972
Jennifer Garner

When was Sofia Vergara Born? 1972
Sofia Vergara

when was Ben Affleck Born 1972
Ben Affleck

When was Shaquille O'Neal Born 1972
Shaquille O’Neal

When was Gabrielle Union born?
Gabrielle Union

More Celebrities and Famous People Born in 1972

  • Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day)
  • Wayne Brady
  • Dane Cook
  • Eric Dane
  • Cameron Diaz
  • Josh Duhamel
  • Idris Elba
  • Carmen Electra
  • Eminem
  • Liam Gallagher (Oasis)
  • Jennie Garth
  • Chipper Jones (Baseball Player)
  • Jude Law
  • Alyssa Milano
  • Wentworth Miller
  • The Notorious B.I.G. (1972 – 1997)
  • Brad Paisley
  • Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Rebecca Romijn
  • Busta Rhymes
  • Maya Rudolph
  • Rob Thomas
  • Marlon Wayans
  • Wil Wheaton

Top Baby Names of 1972

  • Girls Names – Jennifer, Michelle, Lisa, Kimberly, Amy
  • Boys Names – Michael, Christopher, James, David, John

Most Popular TV Shows of 1972
We include the Top 20 TV shows for two seasons, since they are different. Interesting to see the shows shift in popularity over the course of one year.

Top TV Shows of 1971 – 1972 Season – based on Nielsen Media
1. All in the Family 34.0
2. The Flip Wilson Show 28.2
3. Marcus Welby, M.D. 27.8
4. Gunsmoke 26.0
5. ABC Movie of the Week 25.6
6. Sanford and Son 25.2
7. Mannix CBS 24.8
T8. Funny Face 23.9
Adam-12
T10. The Mary Tyler Moore Show 23.7
Here’s Lucy
12. Hawaii Five-O 23.6
13. Medical Center 23.5
14. The NBC Mystery Movie 23.2
15. Ironside 23.0
16. The Partridge Family 22.6
17. The F.B.I. 22.4
18. The New Dick Van Dyke Show 22.2
19. The Wonderful World of Disney 22.0
20. Bonanza

Top TV Shows of 1972 – 1973 Season
1. All in the Family 33.3
2. Sanford and Son 27.6
3. Hawaii Five-O 25.2
4. Maude 24.7
T5. Bridget Loves Bernie 24.2
T5. The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie
T7. The Mary Tyler Moore Show 23.6
T7. Gunsmoke
9. The Wonderful World of Disney 23.5
10. Ironside 23.4
11. Adam-12 23.3
12. The Flip Wilson Show 23.1
13. Marcus Welby, M.D. 22.9
14. Cannon 22.4
15. Here’s Lucy 21.9
16. The Bob Newhart Show 21.8
17. ABC Tuesday Movie of the Week 21.5
18. Monday Night Football 21
T19. The Partridge Family 20.6
T19. The Waltons 20.6
T19. Medical Center 20.6

M*A*S*H premieres on CBS in September of 1972, and came in as the #46 most popular show of the 72-73 season. Which was not a very strong showing. However it was moved to Saturday night in it’s sophomore season, become a top ten hit, and remained a ratings hit until it’s record setting farewell episode in 1983.


Popular Saturday Morning Cartoons in 1972

  • Scooby Doo, Where are You!
  • The Bugaloos
  • Josie and the Pussycats
  • The Bugs Bunny Show
  • Jackson 5ive
  • The Jetsons
  • Harlem Globetrotters
  • The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show
  • The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan

What did things cost in 1972
Check out this 1972 prices for food, gas, and even gold. Know that these tend to be average prices for an item in the US during the year. When possible we used US Govt. Economic data.

  • Stamp $0.08
  • Loaf of Bread $0.25
  • Gallon of Milk $1.20
  • Dozen Eggs $0.52
  • Bacon 1 lb. $0.83
  • Gallon of Gas $0.52
  • Movie Ticket $1.70
  • Minimum Wage $1.60
  • One Ounce of Gold $64.90 (Dec. 29th, 1972)
  • New Car $3,879
  • Cost of a 30 second Super Bowl ad in 1972 $86,100

Most likely if you are here researching What Happened in 1972, you are getting ready to plan a big event like a birthday celebration for a spouse or close friend. We hope that our 1972 trivia, fun facts, top movies, top 40 songs of 1972 and other information was helpful and interesting.

If you are hosting a birthday party for someone Born in 1972, be sure to check out these party supplies that will help make your event extra special.

Party Game Ideas may receive compensation if featured items are purchased from linked web sites.


1972 Calendar

Want to know on what day of the week someone was born, an anniversary or just need to check out a specific date from 1972? Then check out our 12 month 1972 calendar.
1972 calendar month day


Thanks for visiting our What Happened in 1972 Trivia page. We hope you had fun reliving the movies, top songs & music, tv shows, actors born in 1972, fun facts and other items from 1972. We created a graphic so you can save this page on Pinterest.