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Week of July 29, 1962

This Week In 1962

Gainsborough House, Boston, Massachusetts
Gainsborough House, Boston, Massachusetts (public domain photo of site of first “Boston Strangler” murder, from Wikimedia Commons)

I was reminded this week of a rather gruesome piece of news from 1962, the first murder by the “Boston Strangler.” This past week, new DNA evidence made it clear that the man who confessed to the string of murders, Albert DeSalvo, did indeed commit the final murder. The murders, all of women in the Boston, Massachusetts area, spanned from June 14, 1962 to January 4, 1964. Eight of them occurred in 1962 and the case filled the newspapers nationwide. The “Boston Strangler” was first called the "Mad Strangler of Boston", but the shorter name eventually stuck. Authorities generally believe that not all of the murders were carried out by the same man.


Discount Stores: a 1962 Innovation

1962 Target Logo
1962 Target Logo

Discount stores were a changing and booming field in 1962. Eventual success stories Kmart, Target, and WalMart all entered the field that year, along with a plethora of local discount stores. There were an estimated 1500 discount stores, an increase of as much as 35% over the previous year. You might wonder why these blossomed around the country in 1962. It had a lot to do with Congress finally repealing "fair trade" laws that set minimum retail prices on many goods. Instead of creating fair trade, these laws had allowed manufacturers to set high prices. The laws were left over from the war years and eliminating them opened the flood gates of innovation for discount stores and the vigorous competition that followed. Last week, Target founder Douglas Dayton died. He was the moving force behind repositioning an old line department store, Dayton, into the new discount field.

 

1962 In Sports

Emile Griffith in early 1960s
Emile Griffith in early 1960s (publicity photo from the David Selwyn Boxing Kid Collection, used by permission)

On March 24, 1962, boxer Benny “Kid” Paret suffered the ultimate loss during a match. His opponent, Emile Griffith landed 18 punches within a 6-second fury that put Paret into a coma from which he died ten days later. Fatal knockouts are rare in boxing, despite the fact that the point of the sport is to beat someone up. This fight was broadcast on nationwide television and focused everyone on the sport for awhile. Griffith later stated that after Paret’s death, “I was so scared to hit someone, I was always holding back.” He also struggled with his sexual identity for years, as being bi-sexual in 1962 was pretty much an unmentionable. Emile Griffith died last week at age 75, a victim of pugilistic dementia, which is caused by taking blows to the head.


Museum of the Week

Zoo Train, Jacksonville, Florida, ca. 1960
Zoo Train, Jacksonville, Florida, ca. 1960 (from postcard)

Actually, a zoo this week. The Jacksonville Zoological Gardens opened in 1914 and by 1962 it housed a good assortment of animals. Many exotic animal exhibits including a Monkey Island had been added. It also had rides! The Showboat, the miniature train, and many of the buildings were nearly new in 1962, having been constructed in the 1955-1958 period.


Guest Blog of the Week

Millers Rexall sign, Atlanta, Georgia
Millers Rexall sign, Atlanta, Georgia (from Roadside Architecture, used by permission)

When Debra Jane takes a roadtrip, she takes photos...thousands of them. She only goes out a few times a year, but when she does you can count on all-day driving and shooting, along with harrowing stories of car troubles and of course, her dogs. You will find great photos of old buildings, signs, statues, and all sorts of wonderful things from mid-century America at her Roadside Architecture blog. I’m a loyal reader and I think you should be too.


US-23 Featured Trip Segment

Gatorbowl, Jacksonville, Florida
Gatorbowl, Jacksonville, Florida

The end of our US-23 roadtrip was in Jacksonville, Florida. Today, the city extends nearly 14 miles from downtown, but in 1962 that spot would not have been in the city at all. In 1968, the city expanded to encompass the entire area of Duval County. Plenty of history there, from Maxwell House Coffee to the seldom heard of sport of Jai Alai, and of course, the Gator Bowl. We also stopped at the Jacksonville Zoological Gardens, which you can find more about at the links below under Museum of the Week.

 
Roadtrip-'62 merchandise

News About the News

Sylvania Sentinel Herald, 1962
Sylvania Sentinel Herald, 1962 (From Sylvania Area Historical Society, used by permission.)

More news from 1962, and information about the news business, is at the Roadtrip-'62 ™ page “All the News of 1962”. Find out how we got our news before there was 24-hour-a-day TV news or the internet!


US-6 Featured Trip Segment

Rite Aid sign
Rite Aid sign (public domain photo by Bravo Six Niner Delta at Flickr)

Speaking of discount stores, Scranton, Pennsylvania, on our Roadtrip-'62 ™ US-6 route, is the home of one. The Rite Aid drug store chain began there in 1962, as Thrif D Discount Center. Your can read more of its history, and about Scranton, on Day 7 of the journey.


1962 Comic Buy of the Week

click to buy comics

Lonestar Comics

scan from Grand Comics Database

Superboy #99 is just the kind of comic I was reading in 1962. Great Curt Swan cover art, and a Kryptonite trap that Superboy couldn’t get out of. With two more Superboy backup stories! Grab a slab of pink bubble gum from a package of baseball cards and together these made a summer afternoon that couldn’t be beat. And still affordable today at under $5.00.

 

About Roadtrip-'62 ™

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If you're new here, discover what Roadtrip-'62 ™ is all about and why it's always 1962 here.

 

Video of the Week

Let’s listen to The Orlons performing their 1962 number-four hit, "Don't Hang Up.".

 

Our front page changes frequently, 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!

 

All photos by the author and Copyright © 2013 - Milne Enterprises, Inc., except as noted.

All other content Copyright © 2013 - Milne Enterprises, Inc.

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More Fun Stuff:

What's the weather in 1962?

Weather on July 29, 1962 for Jacksonville, FL, from the National Climatic Data Center:

  • Low = 77°F
  • High = 88°F
  • Precipitation = no data
  • Mean Wind Speed = 6mph

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Events Calendar: happening for over 50 years!

Feast of the Assumption, Cleveland, Ohio

- August 15-18, 2013. This festival is really old: 114 years! Cleveland’s Holy Rosary Parish has held their celebration, with Italian food, music and more, for that long.


Please visit our sponsors, some of whom were open to serve you in 1962, and others selling great products from that year. Buy from them today and keep Roadtrip-'62 ™ here to read again, and again!

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