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Weather This Week In 1962

San Joaquin Valley, California FogWhile it may not have snow in the winter, central California’s San Joaquin Valley still has hazardous winter weather. The area is subject to a phenomenon known as the Tule fog, and over a four-day period from January 28-31, 1962, 28 people died in traffic crashes due to the fog in central California. Eleven people died in a single crash when a bus was hit by a freight train. The other eleven people were killed in separate accidents along US-99 under conditions of visibility of less than 100 feet. The cloud cover did not dissipate until February 2. Unfortunately, such accidents are not a rare occurrence, and there have been multiple vehicle pileups of over 74 vehicles in 1998 and 108 vehicles in 2007, currently the worst on record there. Three people died that year, also on old US-99.

So what makes the area so dangerous in winter? The San Joaquin Valley is somewhat of a large bowl of air trapped by mountains on all sides. After the autumn rains, there is often a lot of moisture that begins to evaporate in the winter sunshine. Colder mountain air drifts down and traps the moisture, creating fog. If it becomes dense enough to prevent daytime sunshine from fully evaporating the fog, it can stay for days and reduce visibility to as little as 10 feet. Once the fog has formed, strong turbulent air is necessary to break up the fog layer, and that sometimes doesn’t occur for days. This apparently happens a lot: a Dense Fog Advisory was in effect for Fresno as I wrote this article!

California’s central valleys filled with fog, January 17, 2011. (NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen with data from the Land Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE).)


Candy you ate as a kid®

Music This Week In 1962

"The Twist" by Chubby Checker finally ended its record-setting run at #1 on January 26, 1962. It had originally been a hit in September, 1960, but as all hit records do, "The Twist" faded away. The dance craze it popularized did, too. But a full year after the song’s initial success, a gossip item in the New York papers noted that actress Merle Oberon and the exiled Prince Serge Obolensky of Russia were Twisting the night away at the Peppermint Lounge. Suddenly, American adults pushed it back on the charts, where “The Twist” reclaimed the #1 spot on January 13th and stayed there for two weeks. It was the first and only time a pop single has fallen completely out of Billboard's "Hot 100" and then returned to the #1 spot in a completely separate release. And, the Twist craze was not done yet, because Joey Dee and The Starliters’ “The Peppermint Twist” went to the top spot until February 10, 1962!



Other News This Week In 1962

Daytona International Speedway 24 hour course
January 27 -
The launch of the Mercury 7 capsule to carry astronaut John Glenn was postponed after the countdown clock stopped just 20 minutes before liftoff. I remember watching live TV coverage and was quite disappointed when there was no launch. It was initially stopped due to technical difficulties, but then the skies became overcast with thick cloud cover, and the mission was scrubbed a couple hours later. The launch was made successfully on February 20, 1962 and Glenn completed 3 orbits.
January 28 -
The last streetcar ran in Washington, D.C., as the transit company retired its 27 car fleet. By 1962, only ten American cities still had trolleys. Several decades later, new subway and streetcar lines have been constructed all over the country, including lines in Washington. The city has a new 22-mile system under construction…too bad we threw away all the old infrastructure and had to recreate it.
Last weekend in January -
Dan Gurney wins the initial 1962 Daytona Continental despite engine failure near the finish, by letting gravity take his Lotus from the top of a steep bank down to the finish line. This 3 hour race eventually became today’s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona race, and is run on a modified 3.56-mile course at Daytona International Speeday.
January 30 -
Little noted at the time, the current King Abdullah II of Jordan was born. He is named after his great grandfather, King Abdullah I, who founded modern Jordan The king ascended the throne in 1999 upon the death of his father King Hussein. Some claim that he is the 43rd-generation direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammad.

Daytona International Speedway 24 hour course (Public domain image by Will Pittenger from Wikimedia.)


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1962 Comic Buy of the Week

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Lonestar Comics  

The long-running comic series Classics Illustrated ceased publishing new titles in August, 1962. The series began in 1941 under the name Classic Comics. In 1947 it was changed to Classics Illustrated with “The Three Musketeers”, an adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ novel of the same name. The publisher, Gilberton, kept the comics in print for decades, often with new covers, new interior art, or sometimes page reductions resulting in abridged versions. The Classics Illustrated name was also licensed in many other countries for editions in languages other than English, including Portuguese, Greek, and Norwegian. It appears sales lagged by 1962, perhaps due to television and the popularity of Cliff's Notes as a way to get a quick read of classic literature. The final issue in 1962 was “Faust”. Two additional issues apparently planned for that year were finally released in 1969.

scan from Grand Comics Database


More Fun Retro Reading - Atlanta Time Machine

Atlanta Greetings PostcardIf you’re at all interested in the history of Atlanta, Georgia, check out the Atlanta Time Machine. This is a repository of postcards and other photos of Atlanta over the past century. There are many gems from the early 1960s, including the First National Bank under construction during 1960, many other downtown buildings that have since been demolished. You can even see programs for the Playboy Club for the shows presented in 1962. There’s also Atlanta's only surviving drive-in theatre, the Starlight Drive-In, and early shopping centers.

undated postcard

 

US-6 Featured Trip Segment

Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge and Restaurant, Council Bluffs, IowaFor Day 24 of the US-6 roadtrip, we traveled 128 miles from Des Moines, Iowa. Come travel along and look out across the Missouri River as we end the day at Council Bluffs, Iowa. Along the way, we stop at an original lodge of the Grand Army of the Republic, the organization that US-6 is named for, buy some local potato chips, and find more surprises.

Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge and Restaurant, Council Bluffs, Iowa (from 1963 postcard)

 

Museum of the Week

Bayliss Park Fountain, Council Bluffs, IowaIf my US-6 trip has you interested in Council Bluffs, Iowa, check out the Council Bluffs Public Library. The library’s Special Collections page on Flickr has an excellent collection of photos spanning the city’s history. You can find places from 1962, photos of historic floods, Richard Nixon’s 1960 campaign visit, spectacular fires, and much, much more. Every city should have an archive like this!

Bayliss Park Fountain, Council Bluffs, Iowa, ca. 1950 (Photo from Council Bluffs Public Library Special Collections, used by permission.)


US-23 Featured Trip Segment

Murdicks Fudge shop, Mackinaw City, MichiganIn case you’ve never read our other roadtrip, stop in for Day 1 of a 1962 trip down US-23. The trip begins in Mackinaw City, Michigan and travels for a couple of days down the beautiful Lake Huron shore. You can enjoy some history, beaches, and views of ships on the lake. Just don’t forget to buy some delicious Mackinaw Island fudge before you leave town!

Murdicks Fudge shop, Mackinaw City, Michigan


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Video of the Week

Here’s the whole country twisting to the new #1 song for February 10, 1962, “The Peppermint Twist” by Joey Dee and The Starliters!


 
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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!


 

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Just a short trip for Day 26, from Omaha to Lincoln, Nebraska, for old-fashioned good eating, and a lighthouse on the prairie.


 

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Events Calendar: happening for over 50 years!

Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona Race, Daytona Beach, Florida

- January 24-25, 2015. 53 cars from 10 different automobile manufacturers began on the green flag this year. Click for this year’s winner and other stats.


 

Weather for Fresno, California on January 26, 1962, from the National Climatic Data Center:

  • Low = 30°F
  • High = 58°F
  • Precipitation = 0
  • Mean Wind Speed = 2 MPH

 

Current weather for Fresno, California, from WeatherForYou.com:

Fresno, California, weather

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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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  U.S. Route 6 Tourist Association