Last Week In 1962

Early 1960s spelling bookTwo boys were crowned the champions of the 87th Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 29, 2014. It's the first time there have been co-winners since 1962. The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation's largest and longest-running educational promotion. It is administered on a not-for-profit basis by the media company, The E.W. Scripps Company, and local spelling bee sponsors. Entrants come from all over the United States and our overseas lands, including American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Department of Defense Schools in Europe, the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea.

The purpose of the spelling bee is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives. The first bee was held in 1925, and the winning word was “gladiolus”. The winner that year was Frank Neuhauser of Louisville, Kentucky. Those dual winners of 1962 were Nettie Crawford of El Paso, Texas and Michael Day of St. Louis, Missouri. The winning word was “esquamulose”, and I have no idea what it means. Look it up for more 1962 fun!

Early 1960s spelling book. (from an Etsy sale)

Godzilla Collection DVD
Buy the Godzilla Collection from Books-A-Million

Fun With Godzilla

Original Japanese movie poster for “King Kong vs. Godzilla”This summer saw a new “Godzilla” movie from Warner Brothers, which grossed $93.2 million on its opening weekend in May. Our year 1962 also had a Godzilla movie, AND a King Kong movie. Both characters starred together in “King Kong vs. Godzilla”. The film was the first time both King Kong and Godzilla appeared in color and widescreen format. It was released in Japan, where it was produced, in 1962, but was not released in the United States until the next year. The version we would have seen was also heavily modified, with a subplot involving a submarine so that more American actors could be used. What king of plot was concocted to get the two monsters together, you may ask? Well, a Japanese pharmaceutical company captures King Kong and brings him to Japan to garner better ratings for a TV show they sponsored. However, he escapes from captivity and battles Godzilla, who was accidentally released from the iceberg he had been trapped in since 1955.

Original Japanese movie poster for “King Kong vs. Godzilla”.

1962 Comic Buy of the Week

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Lonestar Comics  

In addition to Spider-Man’s debut in 1962, this year also saw the first stories of our favorite green-skinned character, the Incredible Hulk. Dr. Bruce Banner had his fateful accident with gamma rays in the May, 1962 issue of the self-titled The Incredible Hulk. You may not know it, but the first appearance of the Hulk showed him as gray instead of green! Next issue he was his well-known green, though he has turned gray from time-to-time since. The Hulk only had his own comic for six issues, and was transferred to Tales to Astonish #59 in March, 1963.

Incredible Hulk #1 (Scan from Grand Comics Database.)

1962 In Advertising

Pepsi-Cola ads

Here’s two Pepsi ads from 1962. Though the ad copy is the same, you would not see these used interchangeably in the same magazine. The one on the right was used in most mainstream magazines, such as Life and the Saturday Evening Post. The one on the left appeared only in specialty magazines for Negro audiences, such as Ebony. Just another measure of how segregated we were 50 years ago.

Pepsi-Cola ads (from magazines)

About Roadtrip-'62 TM

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US-6 Featured Trip Segment

Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge, Moline, IllinoisOur virtual roadtrip continues west and crosses the Mississippi River! Check out the sights, the history, and the fun of the Quad Cities area of Illinois and Iowa on US-6 Day 20.

Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge showing former US-6 19th Street approach to west (left) span during I-74 construction, 1973, Moline, Illinois. (Photo from the Bill Fisher Archive at “Flashback Moline, used by permission)


Guest Blog of the Week

1962 CometIf you like old cars, check out the unusual blog at Old Parked Cars. The Piff brothers hunt for old vehicles and photograph them parked in many normal use situations, such as in a driveway or store parking lot. You can find loads of your favorites from 1962 by doing a search on that year. Or, enjoy their random postings.

1962 Comet (Photo by Len Arzoomanian, from his fun Magic World Of Comet website, used by permission.)


US-23 Featured Trip Segment

James Brown’s Live At The Apollo album coverFor Day 18 of our US-23 roadtrip, we traveled from Forsyth to Eastman, Georgia. Along the way, we had a chance to see a city at the heart of 1960s Soul Music, Macon, Georgia . Local performers like Otis Redding and Little Richard honed their craft here, and Macon was also where James Brown recorded his first single "Please Please Please" in 1955.

James Brown’s Live At The Apollo album cover (from advertisement)

Roadtrip-'62 merchandise  

Museum of the Week

Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, OhioWhile the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame was not around in 1962, many of the artists they honor were. We made a virtual stop there when Roadtrip-’62 TM passed through Cleveland, Ohio and you should consider an in-person stop. Artists who have been inducted and were performing in 1962 include Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Darlene Love, Miles Davis, D.J. Fontana, The Beatles, and even their manager Brian Epstein.

Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio


Movies of 1962

23 Highway Drive-In Theatre, Flint, MichiganSpeaking of movies from 1962, there were a lot more besides Godzilla. Check out everything from westerns to cartoons to epics at the Roadtrip-’62's TM ”What’s Playing” page. There are drive-ins and Hollywood news tidbits there too!

23 Highway Drive-In Theatre, Flint, Michigan


Video of the Week

I just realized that I’ve never played any Elvis Presley for you, so here you are! Enjoy Elvis and scenes from some of his movies as he sings “Good Luck Charm”, from 1962.

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Our front page changes almost weekly, so you may have missed some fun stuff if you don't check in frequently. Check the Home Page Archives for all the previous iterations of our front page. Discover links, videos, roadtrip suggestions, and lots of news from 1962!


Remember, you can find ALL the ROADTRIP-'62 TM articles listed conveniently on the Archives page. That will take you to all the great roadtrip destinations. And you can send me a Comment if you want: I'd love to hear from you.

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Today we finish with Illinois and enter the American West, crossing the Mississippi River at the Quad Cities. Fittingly for this farm country, we visit the John Deere factories.


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Events Calendar: happening for over 50 years!

52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

, Baltimore, Maryland - June 22-27, 2014.

OK, this one’s not a festival, and unless you’re a computer geek you probably won ‘t have much fun. And, you may not think of computer programming languages going that far back, but they do and these guys have been discussing them since 1962!


Weather for Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 1962, from the National Climatic Data Center:

  • Low = 66°F
  • High = 86°F
  • Precipitation = 0 in.
  • Mean Wind Speed = 10 MPH


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Music of the week from 1962. Enjoy while you read, and then buy some to take home!



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