This Week In 1962
Halloween is on the way, and of course no Halloween here feels right without a contribution from 1962. That was the year “Monster Mash” was recorded! Bobby "Boris" Pickett wrote the song with Leonard Capizzi and they recorded it with studio musicians that included pianist Leon Russell, as "The Crypt-Kickers.” Besides 1962, the song has been in the Top 10 two other times, in 1970 and 1972. The “Mash” in the title refers to the "Mashed Potato" dance craze it is based on. They performed it live on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand TV show, which was in its final year as a live national broadcast. The next year the show moved Los Angeles as a taped weekly program. Even Boris Karloff, who Bobby Pickett modeled the voicing after, loved Monster Mash. He performed it on a special Halloween edition of the TV show Shindig! in 1965. Pickett recorded a number of other monster-themed songs over the years, but none has come close to Monster Mash in popularity.
Whatever Happened To The Mall?
We’re all familiar with enclosed shopping malls containing department stores as anchors along with a variety of other stores. But the concept was new back in 1962. Many large malls opened that year; some have been updated and remodeled while others have been demolished. Some were indoor malls but some were outdoor malls consisting of separate buildings, as that style was still popular. Here’s a sample of malls around the country that opened in 1962, showing the full range of what has happened to them in the past 51 years.
- Oakbrook Center - Oak Brook, Illinois, about 4 miles off US-12 and US-45 – outdoor mall currently undergoing major renovation.
- Randhurst Village (previously known as Randhurst Mall) - Mount Prospect, Illinois, right on US-12 – originally included a Fair store of the now-defunct Montgomery Ward chain. – When it opened, it was the first enclosed mall in the Chicago area and the largest enclosed, air-conditioned space in the United States. It was demolished and rebuilt within the past five years.
- Walt Whitman Shops (formerly known as Walt Whitman Mall) – Huntington Station, New York, over 125 miles from nearest US-numbered highway, US-1 - first enclosed mall on Long Island, currently undergoing major renovation.
- Brookdale Center - Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, only about a mile off US-52 - one of four “Dale” malls developed by Minneapolis-based Dayton’s department store (parent company of Target) and built between 1956 and 1974. The mall closed in 2010 and was never renovated.
- Cedarbrae Mall - Scarborough area of Toronto, Canada (not near any US-numbered route) – began as an outdoor strip mall, the first expansion was done in 1972, turning it into an enclosed mall.
- Boulevard Mall, Amherst, New York, right on US-62 - underwent a major renovation in 1997 but is now for sale again. Some large stores, including Sears and Dick's Sporting Goods, have closed in recent years and the city of Amherst is considering offers that would include demolition of the mall.
- Midtown Plaza – Rochester, New York, almost 20 miles from US-20 - In the heart of downtown, Midtown Plaza was the nation's first enclosed downtown shopping mall. It was designed by internationally renowned architect Victor Gruen and was conceived as a complete town square, including an auditorium and pedestrian bridges to nearby office buildings. The mall closed in 2008 and the site is in redevelopment talks.
- Bassett Place Mall - El Paso, Texas, right on US-62 and US-180 - the first shopping center in El Paso, it was enclosed in 1973 and last renovated in 2007.
1962 In Sports
Skydiving is an unusual sport, but it made headlines in 1962. Cadillac, Michigan native Kim Emmons Knor was on the first U.S. Women's Parachute Team at the World Championships in 1962. The women won a gold medal as a team and two members won individual gold at the event. Knor went on to later marry one of the guys on the Yugoslavian men’s team who defected during that meet. Knor first started skydiving in 1959 while living in Chicago. After helping the team win gold medals in 1962, she was hired to jump in local exhibitions, performing turns and back flips. Also on that 1962 team was another Michigander, Phil VanderWeg of Grand Rapids. A couple of weeks ago, Kim was inducted into the National Skydiving Museum Hall of Fame!
US-6 Featured Trip Segment
When I posted Roadtrip-’62 ™ from Cleveland, I didn’t have time to mention the U.S.S. Cod, even though I spent two days in town. But I didn’t want to leave you without this interesting museum I found mentioned on Discover Ohio (see below), so here it is. The U.S.S. Cod is a World War II era GATO class fleet submarine permanently docked in Cleveland and now serving as a museum ship. She was towed through the newly opened St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959 and served as a Naval Reserve training vessel here. Of course, a submarine in town was an instant hit with school children on field trips. That was about the only way you could have seen it in 1962, but in 1971, it was decommissioned as a training ship. A committee was formed and in 1976 the Navy gave guardianship of the submarine to the group. The Cod opened for public tours that year, later becoming a National Historic Landmark. The U.S.S. Cod is moored in Lake Erie near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Guest Blog of the Week
Speaking of Discover Ohio, it’s a great website for discovering…Ohio. Lots of information on both well known and little know Ohio tourist sites. If you’re heading to the state soon, you should check it out, or even subscribe to their e-mail updates.
US-23 Featured Trip Segment
Since US-23 also travels through Ohio, here’s a reminder of someplace we saw in Toledo. Tony Packo’s is a historic restaurant that presents authentic Hungarian hot dogs and much more. Try one with their Pickles & Peppers or try the paprika dumplings with gravy as a side.
Museum of the Week
The Butts County Historical Society, in Jackson, Georgia operates the former Indian Spring Hotel building as a museum. It was built between 1823 and 1825 and is the only mineral springs hotel remaining in Georgia from that period. It also operated as a museum between 1953 and 1974, so it’s a perfect stop for us. The Historical Society is working on restoring it to the 1823-1833 time period when the stagecoaches stopped at the inn. They currently are open for tours from Memorial Day through Labor Day on Saturdays and Sundays, which include the adjacent gardens.
A Sailing We Shall Go
A submarine is not the only type of ship to ply Lake Erie or the other Great Lakes. On Roadtrip-‘62’s ™ post about shipping, we take a look at the lakes and also the rivers crossed by US-23. There are dams, locks, canals, ocean going vessels, paddlewheelers, barges, ice breakers, other museum ships, and a lot more to see throughout the middle of America. Who needs an ocean?
1962 Comic Buy of the Week
scan from Grand Comics Database
Brain Boy is an character from 1962 introduced by Dell Comics. In his original incarnation, Matt Price is has incredible psychic powers and goes to work for the United States government to fight against other psychics. He’s been brought back to comics life recently by Dark Horse Comics as a defense subcontractor working for the Secret Service. I guess old characters never die.
About Roadtrip-'62 ™
Video of the Week
Of course, we just have to watch the Monster Mash! This version has clips from lots of 1950s and 60s movies to enjoy.
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