Where we're always on the road, and it's always 1962! TM
When I think about Christmas in 1962, I realize that I had just recently turned 10 years old. So, what do I remember as a 10-year old at Christmas? We always went to grandma’s for dinner, and because I love stuffing I remember that hers was different than my mom’s, and in my opinion it was not as good. I remember driving around town, on some night around Christmas, to see the lights and wishing we had some of our own. I remember having recently watched Magoo’s Christmas Carol (it debuted on December 18, 1962). But mostly, I remember toys! For weeks beforehand, I would scour the Sears, Ward’s, Penney’s and even the Alden’s catalogs, enjoying the toy sections and making my wish lists. Somewhat surprisingly as I look back, I usually received one really nice item from my list along with other miscellaneous toys. Maybe this was the year I got a Kenner Girder And Panel Set!
Kenner Girder And Panel Sets, from Sears 1962 Christmas Catalog (Scan by Todd Lappin at Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic License.)
Of course, I also remember Christmas music. Other than humming some of the songs from Magoo’s Christmas Carol though, I have a hard time remembering just what songs I heard in 1962. Some likely candidates are “Jingle Bells”, “White Christmas”, “Winter Wonderland”, “The Christmas Song”, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town”, "Frosty the Snowman", and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree". There were versions of all these songs on the radio, but I don’t recall what artists I would have heard then, because I’ve since heard so many different versions. And of course there were religious Christmas songs on the air, like "What Child Is This?", "Carol of the Bells", "The Little Drummer Boy", "Joy to the World" and “Adeste Fideles”. I’m sure I heard Tennessee Ernie Ford’s version of “Adeste Fideles” because my grandmother was a fan of his. And though "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" was first released in 1958, it was popular enough in 1962 to hit #39 on the Bilboard Hot 100 chart. So I’m sure I would have heard it in 1962…over and over and over.
collage of Christmas record albums from 1962
Christmas advertising is always something special. As I’ve hunted around for things from 1962, I’ve seen some fun ads. How about Santa dropping into a snow white Corvette as part of the “Let Hertz Put You In The Driver’s Seat” campaign? Or food ads that show the delicious recipes for Christmas goodies like fudge, cakes, Chex mix, egg nog, Jello dishes, and every kind of Christmas cookie imaginable! Many food companies offered holiday cookbooks with new recipes. There were also lots of ads with headlines like “Joy Bringer Specials”, “Santa’s Village”, “Toyland”, and “Annual Christmas Sale”. And of course, there were thousands of ads for toys. But the strangest Christmas ad I’ve ever seen from 1962 is the one pictured below. It’s a magazine ad exhorting you to give Lucky Strike Cigarettes for presents. And they even come in a special holiday decorated box!
Lucky Strike Cigarettes Christmas ad from old magazine
If you're new here, discover what Roadtrip-'62 TM is all about and why it's always 1962 here.
Another of my favorite Christmas presents was always a deck of cards. Not your typical playing cards; a deck of Ed-U-Cards. The variety of games and pictures seemed endless, as did the hours of play they afforded. Learn more about the fun at my Ed-U-Cards history page.
Ed-U-Cards Card Magic set
The Christmas 1962 issue of Walt Disney's Christmas Parade #1 heralded the beginning of a series that would run for nine annual issues, through the end of 1971. Though this comic has a cover date of January, 1963, it would have been on sale in December, 1962. At that time, the cover dates actually served to inform the retailer when he should take the issue OFF his newsstand. What good would it have served to try to sell a Christmas issue in January, anyway? All your favorite Disney cartoon characters that you watched on TV were here, including Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Uncle Scrooge, Goofy, and my favorite, Ludwig Von Drake. Many supporting characters you may not even remember are also inside, like Grandma Duck, Morty and Ferdie Mouse, and Brer Rabbit. Plus, it was a giant 84-page comic, so you could have hours of fun reading!
comic scans from Grand Comics Database
OK, so it’s more of an online museum, but The People History has a fun page of toys that were popular in 1962. The only ones I remember having around the house are the Etch-A-Sketch and a Wood Burning Set. Actually, I think the Wood Burning Set was my mother’s, because I almost never got to use it.
Our US-6 Roadtrip-’62 has advanced to Des Moines, Iowa. Come join me on Day 22 of the journey as we continue west through many small towns in Iowa, including the historic Amana Colonies.
Former Archer Motel sign, Altoona, Iowa (photo by Nels Olson at Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.)
While not all of the images are from 1962, all of them at The House of Retro have the look and feel of that time. They have a nice collection of retro Christmas images from advertising, greeting cards, and other sources to get you in the holiday spirit.
1962 Coca-Cola ad on a drink coaster
Enjoy some random scenes on US-23 Along The Way!, as remembered from the end of the trip back in December, 2011. There are views of crossing the 45th Parallel at Alpena Michigan, Michigan, small towns along the way, and the trip’s end in Jacksonville, Florida.
Dairy Queen in Worthington, Ohio
Today we join the McIntosh family for Christmas 1962. There’s lots of things that I remember from back then: a tree with so much tinsel on it you can hardly find the tree, Yogi Bear toys, lots of little boys running around (we had 4), Matchbox toy cars, and more. Wrapping paper and toys are all over the floor; the toys waiting to get stepped on and broken. One girl finds herself the proud owner of not just a Barbie doll, but a Ken doll in the bargain! Then after dinner, a game of Sorry, played fresh out of the box. And you can watch it all, accompanied by the clickety-clack of an 8mm home movie projector!
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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.
For Day 23 down US-6, we take a tour of Des Moines as we would have seen it in 1962. Find out what remains and what's gone.
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Events Calendar: happening for over 50 years!
- Clayton, New York, December 6, 2014. The parade starts at 6:00pm with fireworks following. This year’s theme is “A Storybook Christmas".
Weather for Clayton, New York on December 6, 1962, from the National Climatic Data Center:
Current weather for Clayton Glen, New York, from WeatherForYou.com:
Music of the week from 1962. Enjoy while you read, and then buy some to take home!
M&Ms Special Holiday Bulk Price, Save 30% off 5lb bulk bags, use code: HOLIDAYBULK
Smokey Bear is the longest running public service ad campaign in Ad Council history, running since 1944. At the beginning, Walt Disney loaned Bambi for use on a poster for one year, but that image proved so popular that it is still being used. The original message was slightly different, as "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires." I hope you enjoy this ad, similar to what you might have seen in 1962, and heed Smokey's message.