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The Roadtrip-'62 ™ Blog

I'm heading down a new road, so to speak. Instead of the long articles relating a roadtrip down a complete highway, I'll now be posting much shorter articles. And the scope will be wider, covering just about everything from the year 1962. This should allow me to post more often, and allow you to have more fun reading. I'm not sure just how often I will post something, but this page will always show the five most recent articles, with the newest at the top. Older articles will be archived at the Blog Archives page. I may even include articles from other people, so if you have something to say about 1962, please let me know. Topics will cover:

  • 1962 News of the World
  • 1962 News of the Nation
  • 1962 Local News
  • 1962 in Sports
  • 1962 in Entertainment and the Arts (including movies, TV, music, art, fashion, architecture, design, books, comics, and more)
  • 1962 in Science
  • Cars of 1962
  • Consumer Products and Retail in 1962 (including just about anything you could buy, plus the stores you could buy it in)
  • On the Road in 1962 (road and roadtrip topics, including things I typically covered on my long journeys)
  • More Fun From 1962! (everything else that sounds like fun, like special events and more pop culture)

Back to School in 1962

October 19, 2021

As 1962 opened I was 9 years old and in third grade. By the end of the year I was 10 and in fourth grade. What do I remember of school that year? Reading, writing and arithmetic, surely, but I also recall recess, walking to school, and my first crush on a girl. Don Milne here, with a Roadtrip-'62 ™ look back at school in 1962. Let’s take a look at it from a child’s point of view and also some of the politics I never knew was going on behind the scenes.

3rd grade class photo, Fuerbringer Elementary School, Saginaw, Michigan
Author’s 3rd grade class photo, Fuerbringer Elementary School, Saginaw, Michigan

The first thing that happened every year was of course buying new clothes and school supplies. Stores had back-to-school sales so I got some new clothes at this time of year. Don’t we all look so shiny and new in that class photo above? We soon got down to the business of learning though. I never rode a bus to school, as ours was a neighborhood school and everyone could walk no more than about 8 city blocks to get there. In October, 1962, Congress designated the second week of each October as “National School Lunch Week”. But we came home for lunch, as the school had no cafeteria and no school lunch program. For at least kindergarten and first grade, we did get milk and graham crackers as a snack. We brought our own nickels for the milk vending machine, but I really don’t remember who supplied the crackers. In those grades, we said a short prayer of thanks for the food each day.

Though I was years beyond the milk and crackers, I suspect the prayer was ended in 1962 as that was the year when the Supreme Court banned school prayer. The case was raised by local opposition to the New Hyde Park, New York school district’s adoption of a non-denominational prayer that students were recommended to recite each day. New York courts found nothing objectionable with the prayer and even noted that students were not required to recite it. But on June 25, 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court found by a vote of 6 to 1 that the prayer violated the First Amendment to the Constitution by establishing an official religion and banned prayers in public schools. The problem, of course, was that saying any state-sponsored prayer in a country with over 250 religious practices did indeed establish a state-sponsored religion. The political controversy created by this decision has never been resolved.

Milk vending machine, early 1960s
Milk vending machine of the early 1960s (photo from an online auction)

We baby boomers continued to pack the nation’s schools, with over 45.5 million children aged 5-17 for the 1962 year. This was about a 2.8 percent rise from the previous year, and enrollment had been rising for many years. I saw the results of this, as a new school was built in my city that affected my class. Kempton Elementary School opened for the fall of 1961 and took a lot of pressure off of Fuerbringer Elementary School. I lost some friends when it opened, as Fuerbringer was one of the two schools affected by the change and those friends lived across the new boundary. It was a modern-styled building with a front loading area for cars to drop-off and pick-up students, large windows, a central courtyard, and built on only one story. All of Saginaw’s older elementary schools were two-story structures. Kempton was designed by F. Wigen and Associates and was the winner of the 1964 AIA Merit Award for its innovative design. Greenwich, Connecticut opened a new school in 1962 designed for the new concept of “team teaching”, and you can read more at my page on highway US-1.

Even while cities and suburbs constructed new schools to handle the high numbers of students, rural areas built new schools to consolidate operations. There were still 15,000 single-teacher schools, the old one-room schoolhouse, in 1962! Nearly half of these were in the midwestern states. As they only enrolled 9 percent of the nation’s students, school consolidation was being pursued as a method of both cost savings and raising education quality. High schools were also changing; they were usually midtown, often only a few blocks from downtown. But new high schools were being built out beyond city and village limits and we would soon see a lot more school busses on the roads. The Sutton Historical Society, in Sutton, Nebraska, operates a rural school museum we stopped at on Day 27 of my US-6 roadtrip.

Kempton Elementary School, Saginaw, Michigan
Kempton Elementary School, Saginaw, Michigan

I remember a couple of things we learned in third grade were multiplication and cursive writing. I don’t remember whether division was taught with multiplication, but I would assume so. As you can see from the sample below, by the later part of the school year my cursive had assumed a blocky, vertical style. Later in life it would evolve to the typical hard-to-read, slanted adult style. We also had instruction in science, social studies, and music. I think every room in the school had a piano! Some of the social studies was fun as it involved foods. I think that year was the first time I tried pineapple and a taco. And the teacher gave us her date nut bread recipe, which has remained a Christmas treat in my family ever since! I’m sure different schools operated differently, but I don’t believe I had any regular homework in third or fourth grade. Special projects were done at home, such as science fair projects and book reports, but regular work was always done in the classroom. We didn’t even take the schoolbooks home.

school writing assignment from third grade
Author’s school writing assignment from third grade

Learning to read became controversial in 1962, as some in the education profession were trying to push a new method of teaching reading. The “look-say” method they were pushing, also known as the whole word method, taught reading by having children learn and recognize whole words instead of the phonetic sounds made by each of the 26 letters. This was more like the Chinese and Japanese written languages, where each symbol means something different and there is no phonetic alphabet. In modern Chinese, there are about 7,000 characters used, though most Chinese are taught about 3,500 and you can read about 98% of the daily written language with just 2,000. It is estimated that the human memory cannot memorize more than around 2,000 abstract symbols. A group named The Reading Reform Foundation was formed around 1962 to retain and restore the teaching of phonetics. I was taught with phonetics and found it so easy that I was soon reading at a 2nd grade level while still in 1st grade. The ability to pick apart and sound out any new word I found made reading fun. Studies have shown that this is a major advantage of phonetics, and that while children taught with the look-say method show higher reading levels at first, they perform more poorly as they encounter longer and more complex words. The number of words in everyday use is about 50,000. Therefore memorizing whole words as abstract symbols will eventually fail.

Weekly Reader,December 10-14, 1962
Weekly Reader, December 10-14, 1962 issue (photo from an online auction)

Weekly Reader was a teaching aide that came, as its name suggests, every week during the school year. It was a mini-newspaper designed for kids. I remember that it featured some real news articles about both national and foreign news, along with some activities and a gag cartoon featuring Peanut and Jocko. The activities always fostered learning, such as learning new words, geography, etc. And we were always quizzed on the news articles, to show our reading comprehension. Weekly Reader came in seven editions at this time, one for each elementary grade plus kindergarten. There was also a teachers’ version for each grade that outlined the learning activities to be used for the week. The newspaper began in 1928 as My Weekly Reader. The publishing company also created workbooks, literacy centers, and picture books for younger grades. In 2012, Weekly Reader ceased publication and merged with Scholastic News, which is still published. Scholastic News and the similar publication The Week currently come in both print and digital versions.

Besides prayer, reading, and school construction, another important nationwide issue affecting schools was desegregation. Federal troops were called to the University of Mississippi to assist James Meredith to enroll and attend classes. But the problem of segregated schools was not only a southern states problem. While those states had laws separating the races, historical population patterns often had the same effect in the north. When you have neighborhood schools and the neighborhood is predominately of one race, then of course the school ends up segregated. Saginaw schools were neighborhood schools and while many were nearly all white students, many others were mixed. There were not enough minority students in the system to effectively desegregate all the schools. It would be at least another decade before enough whites had left the city to create schools with a of majority black students, and by then all the schools would be naturally integrated.

abandoned Fuerbringer Elementary School, Saginaw, Michigan
The now abandoned Fuerbringer Elementary School, Saginaw, Michigan

Eventually, Saginaw would lose enough population that my old school would be closed. It’s been vacant for many years and is for sale a second time. Many others in Saginaw have been demolished already. So I’ll end my look at schools on that sad note and see you next time down the road at Roadtrip-'62 ™ .


5 Postcards from a US-34 Roadtrip

September 28, 2021

As I mentioned on another reading Roadtrip-'62 ™ journey, my favorite thing to do in Chicago is to go directly downtown, park in the underground Grant Park garage and walk the city. In 1962, a bunch of US-numbered routes passed by or began near that point: US-12, US-14, US-30ALT, US-41, US-45, US-54, US-66, business routes US-12BUS and US-20BUS, and today’s highway of interest: US-34. Within walking distance of the garage are shopping on Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile, the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum of Natural History, the Buckingham Fountain Flower Gardens, Lake Michigan shore, more shopping in the State Street area, festivals at Millennium Park, and the Art Institute of Chicago. The Art Institute of Chicago is large enough you can spend the entire day if you are really interested. They have some of absolutely everything in art, ranging from Tiffany’s lovely Hartwell Memorial Window, to African art, to Medieval armor and art, to works by Edward Hopper, Claude Monet, and outdoor sculpture by Chicago’s own Richard Hunt. If you stay the day, the McKinlock Court looks like a comfortable place for a lunch from the Museum Café. It may not currently be open, but it was in 1962.

McKinlock Court, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Illinois, ca. 1960
McKinlock Court, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Illinois, ca. 1960 (postcard from an online auction)

Highway US-34 runs 1,122 miles today from Berwyn, Illinois to Granby, Colorado. Back in 1962, it began 17 miles further east in downtown Chicago. Through Rocky Mountain National Park it is known as Trail Ridge Road because it runs atop some of the mountain ridges, reaching an elevation of 12,183 feet. This makes US-34 the highest paved through highway in the United States. It’s so high that snows force it to close entirely from mid-October to Memorial Day in May! Our US-6 trip crossed US-34 from Princeton to Sheffield, Illinois, and in Lincoln, Nebraska, then ran together with it from Hastings, to Culbertson, Nebraska, and again from Brush to Wiggins, Colorado. So much of it is redundant to our US-6 trip. But let’s make a few more scenic stops along the way, in places where US-34 is on it’s own!

Heading west, after we leave Sheffield, Illinois and our first encounter with US-6, highway US-34 drops southerly and crosses the Mississippi River at Burlington, Iowa. We arrive in Burlington today on the Great River Bridge, a 5-lane, asymmetrical, single tower cable-stayed bridge that replaced the MacArthur Bridge over the river in 1993. The MacArthur Bridge was a two-lane, cantilevered steel toll bridge built in 1917, that we would have crossed in 1962. At the time of replacement, the bridge was in obvious need of repair or replacement, as it swayed whenever two semi trucks crossed it at the same time.

MacArthur Bridge and US-34, Mississippi River, Burlington, Iowa
MacArthur Bridge carrying US-34 over the Mississippi River Burlington, Iowa, with toll booth, ca. 1970. (Public domain photo from the Historic American Engineering Record, US Library of Congress.)

Highway US-34 crosses southern Iowa through rolling farm country, and every county along the way has a fair in July. Traveling east to west according to the Association of Iowa Fairs, here are the fairs and dates:

  • Des Moines County Fair, July 28-August 3, 2021, in West Burlington, Iowa, right at an interchange of modern US-34
  • Henry County Fair, July 14-19, 2021, in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, just a few blocks south of US-34 in town
  • Jefferson County Fair, June 20-27, 2022, in Fairfield, Iowa, on US-34BUS (or old US-34) on west side of town
  • Wapello County Fair, June 16-20, 2021, in Eldon, Iowa, 6 miles south of US-34 and almost out of the county
  • Monroe County Fair, July 29-August 2, 2021, in Albia, Iowa, 3 miles north of US-34
  • Lucas County Fair, July 23-29, 2021, in Chariton, Iowa, just a few blocks north of US-34
  • Clarke County Fair, July 12-19, 2021, in Osceola, Iowa, west of town on US-34
  • Union County Fair, July 21-27, 2022, in Afton, Iowa, across the railroad tracks from US-34
  • Adams County Fair, July 9-14, 2021, in Corning, Iowa, downtown, north of modern US-34
  • Montgomery County Fair, July 13-18, 2021, in Red Oak, Iowa, just off US-34
  • Mills County Fair, July 8-12, 2022, in Malvern, Iowa, 2.5 miles south of US-34

These fairs typically have events such as tractor or truck pulls, demolition derbies, carnivals, livestock shows and judging, 4-H exhibits, antique farm equipment exhibits, queen or princess contests, rodeos, horse racing, and of course great food! They also have live concerts, typically headlined by major country music stars that have included Loretta Lynn, Joe Diffie, Sawyer Brown, and Lonestar in recent years.

Prize corncobs, 1946 Iowa State Fair, Des Moines, Iowa
Prize corncobs inside the 4-H pavilion at the 1946 Iowa State Fair, Des Moines, Iowa (Public domain photo by Carol M. Highsmith, from US Library of Congress.)

After crossing the Missouri River at Plattsmouth, Nebraska US-34 crosses US-6 again at Nebraska’s capital, Lincoln. Running parallel to I-80, we come to the Missouri River again at Grand Island, Nebraska. Each March, a sandbar in the Platte River becomes the largest sandhill crane roost in the world during their spring migration. About 1,000,000 cranes congregate here and can be seen all along the river and nearby. The Crane Trust is home to a beautiful Nature and Visitor Center that welcomes guests year round. The property also includes a 35-foot observation tower, 10 miles of nature trails along the Platte River, and guided viewing blind tours. In addition to viewing the cranes, you can see whooping cranes and prairie chickens, a butterfly garden, and a small herd of American bison on the Crane Trust property. The sandhill cranes are also visible all around the area, including from a public viewing in River Park on the Platte River, along Platte River Road, and just feeding in cornfields!

Sandhill cranes in cornfield along Platte River, Nebraska, postcard
Sandhill cranes in cornfield along Platte River, Nebraska (postcard from an online auction)

We meet up with US-6 again at Hastings, Nebraska, home of Harold Warp’s Pioneer Village, which I discussed on Day 28 of our US-6 roadtrip. From there, we overlap with US-6 all the way to Culbertson, Nebraska, travel on our own for just miles, and hit US-6 again at Brush, Colorado! Just after we leave US-6 for the last time, this final non-redundant section of US-34 leading to Rocky Mountain National Park becomes spectacular! From about Wiggins, Colorado west, the snow-capped Rockies are visible. The first time I came upon this view I found it amazing. The mountains reminded me a bit of large hills because I had no experience with real, snow-capped mountains. But the haze associated with the view told me there was something different. On that trip, my wife and I were heading west on US-34 and as we continued, the mountains steadily loomed larger. Eventually, you could see how huge they really were compared to the flat prairie we were crossing.

Mummy Range from Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park, ca. 1970, postcard
Mummy Range from Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park, ca. 1970 (postcard from author’s collection)

Rocky Mountain National Park sits atop the highest part of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. It encompasses sixty mountain peaks over 12,000 feet high, with the Mummy Range on the north side of the park containing several over 13,000 feet high and one area in the south of the park including Longs Peak, at over 14,000 feet high. The park was established in 1915, after a history that included gold mining. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the main automobile route, Trail Ridge Road, in the 1930s to replace Fall River Road, which needed a severe series of switchbacks to cross the highest pass. Trail Ridge Road is 48 miles of mountain driving, but that doesn’t keep the crowds down. Rocky Mountain National Park was the third most visited national park in 2015. To further enhance the feeling of wilderness if you get off onto any of the 300 miles of hiking trails, the park is surrounded on all sides by National Forest lands. There is plenty of wildlife in the park: I have seen elk, coyotes, eagles, bighorn sheep, and smaller animals. There are even a few small glaciers still active, though retreating. And you can see waterfalls in the back country and from the Alpine Visitor Center and at the end of Bear Lake Road. Recently, the National Park Service began requiring reservations to enter the park from May 28 through October 11, so plan ahead.

When I last went to Rocky Mountain National Park, I drove straight through on Trail Ridge Road and stopped frequently, spending over half the day. I continued west on US-34 to Granby, Colorado, its end point. Though I went in August, the highest mountain passes on the west side still had snow and we saw a couple of cattle ranging freely in the area that had been frozen stiff! A reminder from Roadtrip-'62 ™ to be prepared for anything when you get out on the road.


Mama! 5 Toy Doll Types from 1962

September 7, 2021

I know I’ve been away for a long time, but as is often the story for internet sites, my real world life got in the way. Here’s a very big THANK YOU to all of you who kept reading Roadtrip-'62 ™ for the past couple of months. I hope you’ve had a chance to look at some of the pages you’ve missed, reread a favorite, or even buy some great 1962 merchandise from our advertisers. Within the next couple of weeks, I’ll buckle up, grab the steering wheel, and get back on the road for you!

1962 Effanbee Gum Drop doll
1962 Gum Drop doll by Effanbee (photo from an online auction)

Today though, let’s talk about toys from 1962, specifically dolls. There are many types of toy dolls, and I will discuss them in five broad categories: baby dolls, functioning dolls, fashion dolls, character dolls, and paper dolls. Baby dolls are probably the oldest category, often found even among ancient civilizations’ remains. Some of the baby dolls from 1962 were also functioning dolls. A sample includes:

  • Gum Drop by Effanbee: 15" toddler doll with soft vinyl jointed head and arms, hard plastic body and legs, rooted blond or brown hair, blue or green sleep eyes with upper lashes. Sold separately or as part of “Wee 3 Family“ set.
  • Ginny by Vogue Dolls: 11" baby doll of hard vinyl jointed at neck, shoulders, and hip, with molded painted head, blueish green eyes, bent baby style legs, an open mouth for nursing bottle, and a drain hole. One in Vogue’s long-running Ginny doll series, which continued at least to 1999. Ginny also came in both 7½" and 36" tall versions, and a “colored” version. The 36" doll was a walker and carried a 7½" doll!
  • Ruth's Sister doll by Horsman: 26" hard plastic body and legs, vinyl head and arms with rooted hair, sleep eyes with lashes, and open mouth.
  • Charlot doll by Goebel: 9" vinyl jointed doll with rooted hair.
  • Carnation Milk Thirsty CryBaby by Horsman: 18" jointed baby doll with rooted blonde hair and blue sleep eyes, battery operated crying sound and sucking motion. Came with Carnation branded bottle.
  • Baby McGuffey doll by Madame Alexander: 14" with crying action, sleep eyes, and lashes.
  • Blabby doll by Uneeda Doll Company: 14 or 18" tall with vinyl head, platinum short rooted hair, vinyl jointed toddler body with the right arm slightly bent, sleep eyes, and open mouth.
generic plastic baby doll from 1960s
Generic plastic baby doll from 1960s (photo from an online auction)

These doll companies were new to me, so in case they’re also new to you, here’s some information on them. Effanbee was founded around 1910 in New York City. They were the first company to produce a realistically proportioned child doll, named Patsy, and the first hard rubber, drink and wet doll, named Dy-Dee Baby, in 1934. Effanbee continued to produce dolls until 2002, when they were purchased by Tonner Doll, which produced some of their dolls until 2018. Horsman was also founded in New York City, in 1865. An Alden’s Christmas catalog page for 1962 includes one “colored” toddler doll, 16" Joy, among the many white dolls; rather progressive for the times. The company was eventually sold to Gata - Gatabox, LTD of Hong Kong, who continued to produce dolls under the Horsman LTD name.

Vogue Dolls is another old company, best known for their Ginny doll. They grew to become the largest doll only manufacturer in the world. The Alexander Doll Company was founded in 1923, again in New York City, and is still in operation there today. Uneeda Doll Company was founded in 1917, again in New York City. The company produced over 400 doll models in the 1930s, including a Rita Hayworth doll as Carmen. They also had a “drink-and-wet” doll, and by the 1960s the Walk N Wave doll and Tiny Teen Girl doll. They even tried a doll a speaking doll in 1962, Saranade. Uneeda’s production also later moved to Hong Kong, where they were known as the Tony Toy Company, and the company closed in 1991. In addition to the manufacturers mentioned above, there have always been generic dolls made by unknown companies that come and go. They would typically sell inexpensive plastic baby dolls with molded on hair and without moving limbs. And then there is the king of dolls for 1962, Mattel!


The early 1960s TV commercial that launched Chatty Cathy.

I noted a couple of crying dolls above, but one of the big sellers of 1962 was a talking doll, Chatty Cathy and her other Chatty family dolls and even some knockoffs. Chatty Cathy was manufactured by Mattel and sold from 1960 to 1965. She was the second most popular doll of the 1960s after Barbie, which was also made by Mattel! Actress June Foray did the voice for Chatty Cathy in 1960. She is also well known as the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Natasha Fatale, Looney Tunes’s Granny, Cindy Lou Who, Jokey Smurf, and Magica De Spell, depending on what era you watched cartoons in. She recorded three sets of phrases for Cathy, 11 each for the 1960 and 1961 dolls, and 18 phrases for the 1962 dolls. Mattel added a Chatty Baby, “colored” Chatty Cathy, and a Casper the Friendly Ghost doll based on the same technology in 1962. They also sold Bugs Bunny and Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent talking dolls that year. A Bozo the Clown version came in 1963 and others in the Chatty line through 1965. My wife, who was 9 years old in 1962, had a Chatty Cathy at some point. She notes that the voice box quit talking after a couple of years.

Besides talkers, I place walkers, wetters, and moving dolls among functioning dolls. Effanbee’s Dy-Dee Baby doll went out of production sometime in the 1950s but a competitor created in the same year continued on. Betsy Wetsy was a "drink-and-wet" doll created by the Ideal Toy Company of New York City in 1934. When Effanbee filed a patent infringement lawsuit, the judge ruled that drinking and urinating are natural movements and cannot be patented. Betsy Wetsy was most popular in the 1950s, following television ads, but faded thereafter. After Ideal went through several mergers and ended up a part of Tyco Toys, the doll was still produced into the late 1990s. Betsy Wetsy was one of the first major dolls to be produced in a “colored” version, probably in the 1950s when the doll was most popular.

Tiny Tears Doll by American Character Doll Company
Tiny Tears Doll by American Character Doll Company (photo from an online auction)

Tiny Tears was another “drink-and-wet” doll with the added feature of crying tears. She was manufactured by the American Character Doll Company, introduced in 1950. The doll remained in production through 1968, when the company went out of business. In 1959, she was given "rock-a-bye" eyes that slowly closed when she was laid horizontally and gently rocked. She was often sold with a baby bottle and a small bubble pipe, which blew bubbles when you set it into the doll's mouth and gently pressed the tummy. Tiny Tears was another beneficiary of aggressive television advertising in the 1950s and 1960s. The doll mold was sold to Ideal Toy Company in 1968 and they continued to make Tiny Tears through at least 1989, but the mold and hair were changed significantly after 1982. A British version was introduced in 1965 and has a complicated history from that point, but is still in production.

Kitten, a doll by Madame Alexander, was limp but moved when you turned a knob on the back. If you tipped her a certain way, she cried. It was introduced in 1961. Though it was from Madame Alexander, best known for display dolls, it was designed for play and was less expensive. They still came with rooted hair, lashes, and sleep eyes. Another motion doll, Kissy by Ideal, had a lot less motion but was one of the cutest dolls ever. Kissy was released in 1961 and produced until 1968, in several different versions. When you gently squeeze her arms together she puckers her lips and gives you a loud kiss. That’s it; she doesn’t do anything else!

1962 Kissy Doll box, by Ideal
1962 Kissy Doll box, by Ideal (photo from an online auction)

Not all dolls represent babies; fashion dolls were also popular. Mattel’s Barbie was the first of these in the United States, first sold in 1959 and marketed as a "Teen-age Fashion Model". Ruth Handler, one of the owners of Mattel, thought her daughter Barbara should have a grown-up doll option to play with, but the idea did not go anywhere in the company until she traveled to Germany in 1956. There, she found a doll similar to what she had in mind, the Bild Lilli doll. Though it was based on a newspaper cartoon and sold mostly as a sort of gag gift to men, she brought some back with her. Mattel decided to try one like it but with different marketing. Barbie was launched in 1959 and was an instant hit. The 1962 Barbie had two hairstyles, the original ponytail and a bubble cut. She was given eight new ensembles that year, and a bunch of Fashion Paks that were either single items or accessories. As there were twenty-eight ensembles still in production from previous years, Barbie now had an overwhelming wardrobe! The Fashion Paks included grouping such as Apron and Utensils, an underwear set (Slip, Panties, Bra), Slacks, Gathered Skirt, and Sheath Skirt with Telephone. My wife had a Barbie when she was young, but not as soon as she wanted one. Instead, she got the less expensive Skipper, Barbie's younger sister, in about 1964 and had to wait a couple more years more for a real Barbie.

Mattel did have a lingering problem though with the Bild Lilli doll that inspired Barbie. The competing toy manufacturer Louis Marx and Company had licensed Bild Lilli for the U.S. market. Marx claimed that Mattel had “infringed on Greiner & Hausser's patent for Bild-Lilli's hip joint”, and that Barbie “was "a direct take-off and copy" of Bild-Lilli.” Mattel counter-sued and the case was settled out of court in 1963, with Mattel additionally buying Greiner & Hausser's copyright and patent right in 1964. Bild Lilli was then taken out of production.

1962 Barbie Purse Fashion Pak by Mattel
1962 Barbie Purse Fashion Pak by Mattel (photo from an online auction)

It didn’t take long for other toy companies to see the market Barbie tapped. One of the first ideas were dolls based on First Lady Jacqueline "Jackie" Kennedy. Horsman introduced their “Jackie” doll in 1961, and though it had no last name, it clearly resembled Mrs. Kennedy. Madam Alexander was a bit bolder that same year, with a 25" tall Jacqueline Kennedy doll followed by a Caroline Kennedy doll. Her height is significantly taller than Barbie, which was an 11.5" doll. The Jacqueline Kennedy doll was based on their existing jointed Cissy doll body, with a new head. Her wardrobe was as elegant as the real First Lady’s, with evening gowns, riding outfit, satin coats, and even pearl earrings. Both dolls were jointed hard plastic with vinyl limbs, rooted hair, eye lashes and sleep eyes. By 1962, all the toy companies had Barbie clones on the market.

Vogue introduced their Jill doll, 10.5" tall with a bubble cut hairdo and high heel feet. She came in three different hair colors: auburn, brunette, or platinum blonde. Ideal introduced their Tammy doll in 1962. She was 12" tall and designed in more of a teenage “girl next door” style than Barbie’s fashion model style. But she also had bubble cut hair with bangs in various colors, side glancing painted eyes, doll family members, furniture, cars, homes, and more accessories. A more grownup version and a “colored” version were released in 1965, but the doll went out of production in 1966.

1962 Tammy Doll and box, by Ideal
1962 Tammy Doll and box, by Ideal (photo from an online auction)

Uneeda was heavily into Barbie clones by 1962, selling them under their own brand and as house brands for both Montgomery Ward and W. T. Grant stores. Uneeda had perhaps the most complete line of Barbie-style dolls that year. The Miss Suzette was the same height as Barbie, with the same side glancing eyes, and also came dressed in a swimsuit and high heels. However, her head was over-sized for the torso. Uneeda’s Wendy Ward doll was also 11.5" tall and made in several styles, all exclusively sold at Montgomery Ward. She came in the same style as Miss Suzette and in another style with molded hair and sleep eyes like you would usually find on baby dolls. Wendy Ward and Miss Suzette both had a unique Y-joint body, which would avoid the patent lawsuit that Mattel faced. Uneeda also sold a Bob doll as Miss Suzette's boyfriend, but he was only sold at W. T. Grant stores. Bob had molded hair and the same Uneeda Y-joint body.

Character dolls covered a wide range of subjects. I’ve already mentioned the Jackie Kennedy dolls, based on a real person. But others were based on comic, television, and childrens’ story characters. One of the earliest was the Kewpie doll, first made as a ceramic doll in 1912 and based on comic strips by Rose O’Neill that began running in 1909. Later versions were produced in standard composition material and celluloid, with Effanbee creating a hard plastic version in 1949. The doll’s popularity continued, with soft rubber and vinyl versions appearing by the 1960s by Cameo Company, Jesco, and Edward Mobley. The Kewpie Squeeze Toy was produced by Edward Mobley in several varieties in 1962. A coloring book “Kewpies A Coloring Book and Cut-Out Book” was published by Saalfield that same year.

Kewpie doll in Sears 1962 Christmas catalog
Kewpie doll in Sears 1962 Christmas catalog (photo from WishbookWeb, no known restrictions.)

A pair of long-time favorite character dolls are Raggedy Ann and her brother, Raggedy Andy. The character was created as a doll in 1915 by author Johnny Gruelle, and was introduced to the public in the 1918 book “Raggedy Ann Stories”. Gruelle patented the doll when he created it in 1915, but other companies have sold similar dolls. Wolfpit Enterprises sold a similar 13" tall rag doll in 1962. After the first book, Gruelle wrote and sold a new book every year until his death in 1938. The doll’s popularity continued though, with new books containing a mix of stories by him and other authors until 1961. Four titles were published that year and no new ones released until the 1970s when they were written completely by other authors. In 1962, the Bobbs-Merrill Company became the authorized publisher and licensor for Raggedy Ann-related literary works, with the Knickerbocker Toy Company manufacturing the dolls. Three sizes of both Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy were sold in 1962. Currently, Hasbro holds the trademark for the Raggedy Ann dolls, while all other trademarks are administered by a division of ViacomCBS.

By far the most unusual character doll from 1962 that I have seen is the Morticia Addams doll, produced by Aboriginals Ltd. It appears to have been sold exclusively at FAO Schwarz. Morticia is of course one of the Addams Family, created by cartoonist Charles Addams and seen in “The New Yorker” magazine. The doll was 48" tall with a starched linen face, braided string hair, and stuffed cloth body: a rag doll actually. They also sold the children dolls, Wednesday and Pugsley. This was two years before the family would make their television debut! I mentioned a few talking character dolls as part of the Chatty Cathy line above. There were also plush stuffed toy dolls of Yogi Bear, Bullwinkle Moose, Smokey Bear and others available. And I don’t know if sock monkey dolls qualify as character dolls, but you could make your own in 1962. The idea and pattern have been around since the early 1900s, using Rockford Red Heel® socks from Fox River Mills. The instructions for making these dolls are still in each package of Red Heel Monkey socks. And more formats for character dolls included Mister Magoo as stuffed fabric with sewn on fabric clothes, Popeye as solid plastic with painted on clothes, and Dennis the Menace as solid plastic with removable fabric clothes. But you couldn’t get a G.I. Joe doll until 1964.

Barbie and Ken paper dolls by Whitman
Barbie and Ken paper dolls by Whitman (photo from an online auction)

The last category I’ll cover is my favorite from 1962, paper dolls. As a boy with no sisters, I had no real exposure to any of the dolls mentioned previously. I’m sure I saw television commercials for some of them and noticed the toy catalog pages, but I didn’t play with them. But paper dolls came in many variations and some were even “suitable” for boys. Just a couple of years earlier, in 1960, there were Dennis the Menace and Roy Rogers paper doll books sold. Platt & Munk had a series of historical paper doll sets from 1960 to at least 1963. These were another nod to the Civil War Centennial that saw army play sets, trading cards, postage stamps, and even Charlie Brown commemorate the event. An “Airline Hostess And Pilot Paper Doll Book” by Merrill featured “Round the World Travel Clothes” which was really just an excuse for some glamorous outfits for both girls AND boys. No different really than Barbie and Ken, which of course had several paper doll sets published by Whitman. So, I might have become involved with one of those.

Betsy McCall paper doll page from April 1962 McCall’s magazine, art by Ginnie Hoffman
Betsy McCall paper doll page from April 1962 McCall’s magazine, art by Ginnie Hoffman (photo from an online auction)

But the paper dolls I remember best were from magazines. Several magazines had paper dolls to cut out, including Jack & Jill and Humpty Dumpty, which I sometimes read about that time. Of course, the best magazine for paper dolls was McCall’s. Every month they published a new set of Betsy McCall paper doll clothes! I had a lot of fun with those and even made some of my own designs. I used to do that with board games, crossword puzzles, mazes, maps and more. Always making my own designs. Betsy McCall was invented by McCall’s magazine as a way to introduce mothers and children to sewing by engaging them in play with paper dolls. The magazine was created in 1873 by James McCall to publicize and sell the dress patterns his company made. The first Betsy McCall paper doll was featured in the May 1951 issue. It caught on so well that the Ideal Toy Corporation licensed the name and made a real Betsy McCall Doll the next year. Of course, it came with a beginner’s McCall’s pattern to sew aprons for both a child and the doll. In 1957 the license went to American Character Doll Company, who made several different sizes and styles of Betsy McCall dolls until 1963. Uneeda, Horsman, Rothschild Doll Company, Tomy Doll Company, and Larami Corporation have all made Betsy McCall dolls since. It was most recently produced by Tonner from at least 1995-2009. The magazine’s Betsy was drawn by Kay Morrissey from 1951-1955, by Renee Forsythe from 1955–1958, and by Ginnie Hoffman from 1958–1986.

Licensed chartacters were a very popular type of paper doll. I’ve found the following, though I am sure there were more.

  • National Velvet, by Whitman - based on the currently running NBC TV show and the recent MGM movie.
  • Dorothy Provine, by Whitman – another television star, she had appeared in recent years in “The Alaskans”, “The Roaring 20’s”, and was on “Hawaiian Eye”, “The Red Skelton Show” and others in 1962.
  • The Lennon Sisters, by Whitman – television stars again, the singing sisters Janet, Cathy, Peggy appeared on every episode of “The Lawrence Welk Show”. A fourth sister, DeeDee, was part of the group before 1960, when she married.
  • Molly Bee by Whitman – a country singing star who had been popular since she was only 11 years old, appearing on both stage shows and television.
  • Annette Funicello, by Whitman – star of Walt Disney television, movies, and music since the days of the “Mickey Mouse Club”. She had most recently starred in Disney’s “Babes in Toyland” movie in 1961.
  • Debbie Reynolds, by Whitman – a movie star most recently in the 1962 film “How the West Was Won”.
1962 Lennon Sisters Paper Dolls by Whitman
1962 Lennon Sisters Paper Dolls by Whitman (photo from an online auction)

Milton Bradley did not seem to get into licensed characters, but had their own line of paper dolls. Their Magic Mary line had the gimmick of including a magnet to help clothes stay on when you stood the doll up. This was actually a problem, for if you played with regular paper dolls, moving them around much, the paper tabs that typically held clothes on at the shoulders and waist did not reliably do the job. The Magic Mary system worked with a piece of steel behind the doll and small magnets you would tape onto each piece of clothing. There were at least 3 sets available in 1962: Magic Mary, Magic Mary Lou, and Magic Mary Ann. More are known from other years. Of course there were generic paper dolls from numerous publishers, usually either babies, children, or fashion models. Valerie, published by Sandle’s of London, also used the magnet gimmick.

If you would like to see a collection of old dolls, visit a doll or toy museum on your next road trip. The United Federation of Doll Clubs has a great one at their headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, with both permanent and rotating displays. I’ll probably see you there when Roadtrip-'62 ™ travels US-40. Meantime, I was really hoping for some cowboy paper dolls to end the day with, but all the sets I found are from the early to late 1950s. I guess that trend had played out before 1962. I’ll just have to get out my toy guns and play western!

1962 Magic Mary paper doll set from Milton Bradley
1962 Magic Mary paper doll set from Milton Bradley

Favorite Places on a US-33 Roadtrip

June 22, 2021

Continuing the US-numbered highways in order, today Roadtrip-'62 ™ should look at US-32. But there was no US-32 by 1962! It once existed and a bit of its story is at a page about several defunct highway numbers. We traveled most of that old route as Days 19-24 of our US-6 trip! Instead, let’s look at the next route, US-33. US-33 is one of those unusual routes that is numbered with and odd number, which should indicate a north-south direction, but which actually travels mostly east-west. It is even signed as east-west along its 709 miles from Elkhart, Indiana to Richmond, Virginia. It roughly follows an historic trail used by Native Americans from Chesapeake Bay to Lake Michigan. The northern end was at Coloma, north of St. Joseph, Michigan, in 1962, though it had ended in the latter town until 1959. Route US-33 was signed together with US-31 between that point and South Bend, Indiana. It was shortened to end in Niles, Michigan in 1986, in South Bend in 1999, and Elkhart by 2008. Our Roadtrip-'62 ™ travels have crossed US-33 in Columbus, Ohio while driving on US-23, and at Ligonier, Indiana on our US-6 trip.

Map of US-33 shortening in Michigan and Indiana
Map of US-33 shortening in Michigan and Indiana

Let’s look at some places we could have visited back in 1962! Five miles southwest of old US-33 at Berrien Center, Michigan is Bear Cave. This is Michigan’s only naturally formed cave. Many states have extensive cave systems, but as Michigan was covered in ice during the last glacial period, the state is mostly covered in the sand, clay, and gravel that settled out of the melting ice, so that no caves show at the surface except this one. The walls of the cave are tufa, a type of limestone formed when certain minerals precipitate out of water, such as in the braided channels found at the meltlines of glaciers. Bear Cave has multiple rooms, though the whole thing is only about 150 feet long. After heading down some stairs, you will see various formations and fossils throughout the passage and rooms. There is even a pool in one room. Another room was used to hide slaves fleeing north in the Underground Railroad system of the pre-Civil War days. There is also a small waterfall on the property, another geologic rarity in southern Michigan.

Bear Cave RV Resort, Buchanan, Michigan postcard
Postcard of Bear Cave RV Resort, Buchanan, Michigan, circa 1960 (postcard from an online auction)

South Bend, Indiana was the home of the Studebaker Corporation. The last new car designed by Studebaker, the Avanti, was created in 1962, as the company was nearing the end of its life. It was not enough to save the company and they closed their South Bend plant in December of 1963. After closing, The Studebaker Corporation donated its collection of 37 vehicles and company archives to the City of South Bend in 1966. The collection was housed at a number of South Bend locations thereafter and now resides at the Studebaker Museum there. Studebaker was a wagon, buggy, carriage, and harness manufacturer based in South Bend. It was founded in 1852 and incorporated in 1868. It entered the automotive business in 1902, building electric vehicles (yes, they are an old idea). Since 1916, it has kept a museum collection at its headquarters, which later became a full-fledged public museum. I’m sure we could have seen some company history and maybe even a couple of cars from 1962.

Lakeside Park, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Lakeside Park, Fort Wayne, Indiana (photo from City of Fort Wayne, used for publicity purposes.)

We already saw the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo at Fort Wayne, Indiana, when I traveled The Lincoln Highway, US-30. So what else can we see in Fort Wayne? Not The Old Fort, also known as Historic Fort Wayne, as this recreation was only constructed for the nation’s Bicentennial in 1976. The original fort, constructed in 1815, deteriorated until it was finally torn down in 1852. Fort Wayne was a strategic location in the late 18th century because you could connect from Lake Erie to the Mississippi River with only a short canoe portage between the Maumee River and the Eel River. Instead, I’m in the mood for flowers today, but the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory is also too new for our road trip. The Conservatory only opened in 1983. But Lakeside Park & Rose Garden opened in 1920! Before Parks Superintendent Adolf Jaenicke had the garden constructed, the depression of the lake had been used as a neighborhood dump. Besides the rose garden, his park design features sunken gardens, a lakeside walk, plus fountains and pavilions. The completed rose garden, elevated above a sunken garden with reflecting ponds, was finished in the early 1920’s and has brought many thousands of visitors to Lakeside Park. It displays over 1500 roses of 150 varieties, including climbing roses over the long pergola. By 2005, the original garden structures were showing their age, so the city rebuilt all the retaining walls, stairs, sidewalks and reflecting ponds. It has been a National Rose Garden since 1928.

Grand Lake St. Marys, Ohio
Grand Lake St. Marys, Ohio (Photo by Chris Light at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)

Just inside Ohio, Grand Lake St. Marys is an artificial lake originally constructed as a feeder reservoir for the Miami & Erie Canal, between 1825 and 1847. It was dug by hand and was the world's largest man-made lake when constructed. It is still the largest inland lake in Ohio. The area was a wet prairie before lake construction and has an average depth of only 5–7 feet. Ohio’s canal system flourished for only about thirty years before it was replaced by the railroads as faster and less expensive transportation. Before the lake became a recreational destination, another attempt at making money from it was made. By 1891, oil was discovered in the area and oil derricks proliferated. Grand Lake became the first offshore oil drilling location in the world. The discovery of greater oil reserves in Texas put an end to Ohio’s first oil boom. A state park was established in 1949 and now Grand Lake St. Marys State Park offers 52 miles of shoreline for boating and fishing, as well as a family campground, swimming pool, and picnic areas. There are four public swimming beaches scattered around the lake. The park also has 3 miles of trails and a hiking connection to the canal feeder junction near the historic Miami and Erie Canal. This connects to the Miami-Erie Trail, Buckeye Trail, and North Country Scenic Trail. The park is a great location to see migratory waterfowl including geese, loons, ducks, grebes, and swans. American white pelicans have been seen here every year for almost a decade, with the first nests seen in 2019. These birds historically bred in the western United States and Canada, but appear to be expanding their range east. St. Marys Fish Hatchery is located on the lake's eastern shore and raises saugeye, walleye, channel catfish and bass for stocking in Ohio’s public fishing waters.

Ash Cave, Hocking Hills region, Ohio
Enchanted view from under Ash Cave, Hocking Hills region, Ohio

Continuing southeasterly, we cross US-23 at Columbus, Ohio. Beyond Columbus, we arrive at my favorite place along US-33, the Hocking Hills region in southeastern Ohio. While only one of the region’s natural sights is close to the highway, others are from 6 to 15 miles away. The scenic sight along the highway is the Rock Bridge, where a hike off the road will take you to the bottom lands along the Hocking River. Near the end of the trail, you cross the natural rock bridge that gives the site its name. A small stream is still carving away at the sandstone under the bridge. Other small streams are still carving such nearby features as Conkles Hollow, Ash Cave, Rock House, and Cedar Falls. Ash Cave is the most spectacular feature of the park and my favorite. After a pleasant hike upstream, you reach the largest recess cave in Ohio. If you are lucky enough to arrive when no one else is around, it seems a fairyland setting, standing under the overhang and waterfall, looking out at towering, moss covered trees and jumbled boulders covered with ferns. Old Man’s Cave has the most extensive trail system in a small area, encircling a canyon for overlooks and offering steps down to streamside trails within the canyon. The bridges and trails within the canyon have been flooded out and rebuilt many times over the years. Timing your visit is tricky, because sometimes high waters and flood damage close the area, but in midsummer the streams have only a trickle of water, so the waterfalls dry up. Cedar Falls is the largest waterfall in terms of volume, so even if you visit during low stream flows, you might see this falls.

Shenandoah River Valley from Skyline Drive, Virginia
Shenandoah River Valley and blue ridge from Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

We’ll end our journey at Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. However, US-33 continues on to Richmond, Virginia. Within the park, Skyline Drive forms an extension of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Parkway and Skyline Drive form one of the most beautiful roads in the country, running mostly on the ridges of the highest mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. It’s one of my favorite roads because of the frequent parking turnouts with wonderful views off the mountains. In addition to the beauty of the roadway itself and the surrounding mountains, you can find historic sites, waterfall hikes, dining, camping and more along the route. It takes about three hours to travel the entire length of Shenandoah National Park, if you don’t stop for too many of the 70 overlook turnouts. Highway US-33 crosses the park near the middle, at Milepost 66, and also crosses the Appalachain Trail within the park. We cross about 14 miles south of the largest developed area in the park, Big Meadows. Here you’ll find a visitor center with exhibits, ranger programs, a bookstore, and access to activities and hikes. The park was established in 1935 after many years of property purchases and condemnation takings by the State of Virginia.

You know, as much as I enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway, I’ve never traveled the entire road. I’ve been on many bits and pieces, some many times. But since I’m near the north end, this would be a great opportunity to see it all. Maybe that’s where you’ll find Roadtrip-'62 ™ when we meet again!


1962 Children's Books

April 27, 2021

No travel this week, instead Roadtrip-'62 ™ will be staying indoors. Imagine you’re a kid and it’s a cold, rainy day, so let’s play with our toys! I’ve already talked about toy guns, card games, and candy that we might have had in 1962. Today I’ll review some children’s books published that year that we might have read. I was only 9 years old that year, so I’m sure I read some of these!

Cover of “Baby Elephant and the Secret Wishes”
Cover of “Baby Elephant and the Secret Wishes” (photo from online sale)

The World Book Encyclopedia lists the following categories of children’s books. Mostly, I remember and think of books that fit the Folk Tales and Fantasies category. While the categories covering science and history are important, I doubt that most of us looking back at our time as kids would think much about those books. And the categories “Abridgements of Adult Books“, “Mostly for Older Boys”, and “Mostly for Older Girls” are what we call Young Adult books. Here’s a few representative books from each category: which ones do you remember?

For Reading Aloud and Sharing

  • “Baby Elephant and the Secret Wishes” by Sesyle Joslin, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard – a story of Christmas gifts, one of several in the Baby Elephant series. A lot of text per picture, this is good for reading to children. It is easy to find used copies online.
  • “The Snowy Day” written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats – Told with simple pictures evoking innocence, it follows an African American boy exploring his neighborhood after winter’s first snowfall. It was awarded the 1963 Caldecott Medal for Keat’s collage artwork, making it the first picture book with an African American protagonist to win a major children’s book award. It is still in print and available on Amazon.
Cover of “The Snowy Day
Cover of “The Snowy Day”

For Beginning Readers and Picture-Book Audiences

  • “How Do You Get from Here to There?” – by Nicholas J. Charles, illustrated by Karla Kuskin – The pictures answer the question in fun ways. It is hard to find used copies, or even library copies to borrow.
  • “Policeman Small” – Lois Lenski – This was the final book in one of Lenski’s best-known bodies of work. The "Mr. Small" began in 1934 with “The Little Auto”. Each book showed the life of a friendly person in a simple world. Most have been reissued and are still available.
  • “The Big Honey Hunt” – by Stan and Jan Berenstain – This was the first in the Berenstain Bears series by the couple. It introduces Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Brother Bear, but Sister Bear was not yet born. It was edited by Dr. Seuss. Their cartoons had been appearing in magazines like The Saturday Evening Post and Good Housekeeping throughout the 1940s and 1950s.
Cover of “Policeman Small
Cover of “Policeman Small (photo from online sale)”

Abridgements of Adult Books

  • “Ten Great Plays” – by William Shakespeare with commentaries by Sir Tyrone Guthrie. This is exactly why I don’t think this entire category should be part of children’s books.

Folk Tales and Fantasies

  • “Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book” – by Dr. Seuss – This takes a look at the sleep habits of some fantastical animals, all set in motion by a yawn from one small bug. It also reports the latest news in the sports of sleeptalking and sleepwalking, all in typical Dr. Seuss rhyme. As with most of Dr. Seuss’s books, it is still in print and available on Amazon.
  • “The Genie and Joe Maloney” – by Anita Feagles, illustrated by Don Sibley – In a somewhat typical tale of a genie, Joe meets a jovial one who offers him three wishes. Of course the first two are granted in ways not quite as Joe expected, so he is uncertain if the genie will correctly grant his most important wish. You can read it at The Internet Archive.
Cover of “Fury and the White Mare”
Cover of “Fury and the White Mare” (photo from online sale)”

Nature Science and Animal Stories

  • “Fury and the White Mare” - by Albert G. Miller – At the time, Fury was America's most famous horse. The adventures of this black stallion and his young master, Joey were broadcast on television from 1955-1960. As always, the story is a heartwarming tale about a boy, his horse, and life in contemporary western ranch country.
  • “Owls in the Family” – by Farley Mowat, illustrated by Robert Frankenburg. A short humorous story about a boy who brings home animals, and especially about his adventures with an injured owl. Many libraries still have this available.

Mostly for Older Boys and Mostly for Older Girls

  • “The Clue of the Dancing Puppet” – by Caroline Keene – This is the 39th book in the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series and the actual ghost writer was Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, who wrote many of these books. Nancy searches a mansion's dark, musty attic for clues and runs into jewel thieves. My wife used to enjoy reading these mysteries when she was young.
  • “The Clue of the Screeching Owl” – by Franklin W. Dixon – Of course, if the girls had a mystery series, the boys needed one too! This is the 41st book in the Hardy Boys Mystery Stories and the actual ghost writer was James Buechler. Frank and Joe Hardy help their father's friend, a retired police captain, solve a mystery in the Pocono Mountains. We had several of these books when I was kid and I don’t believe I ever read one.
  • “A Wrinkle in Time” – by Madeleine L'Engle has to be my favorite book from 1962, though I didn’t read it until about 3 years later. I read it early in my entry into reading science fiction, and it showed me the wide possibilities of the genre which held my attention for the next 20 years or so. It is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg Wallace and her brother and friend, in search of Meg's father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem. The book was the winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963.
Covers of “The Clue of the Dancing Puppet” and “The Clue of the Screeching Owl”
Covers of “The Clue of the Dancing Puppet” and “The Clue of the Screeching Owl” (Photos from Wikipedia, used for identification only under fair use rules.)

The other categories of children’s books all strike me as close to school text books. I used to read some of this type, mostly about the solar system or chemistry, as my elementary school had a great library. But I’ve listed one representative title in each category to give an overview of what was published in 1962 anyway.

Books About Other Lands – “Playtime in Africa” – by Efua Sutherland – This uses photographs to explore how children of Ghana played, showing popular games like hopscotch and marbles.

Books About the United States – “On the Way Home” – by Laura Ingalls Wilder – The author of the popular Little House book series tells of her married life with parts of her diary, detailing a trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894.

Important People in Books – “Grover Cleveland” – by Edwin Hoyt – One of many biographies of presidents and other important historical figures published in 1962 and designed for younger readers.

Psychology, Mathematics, and Science – “Oceans” – by Irving and Ruth Adler – This book explains ocean plants, animals, currents, tides, and more with many illustrations.

Using Science Today – “The Fabulous Isotopes” – by Robin McKown, illustrated by Isadore Steinberg – A history and examples of the use of radioactive isotopes in medicine, agriculture, and industry. This sounds just like the kind of books I read back then! This book is also available to read at the Internet Archive.

Music and Art Books – “Sand Sculpturing” – by Mickey Klar Marks, photos by Sidney G. Bernard – Directions on creating sand sculptures suitable for all ages. Besides authoring other books, Mr. Marks was a frequent writer of humor comic books targeted towards children during the 1940s and 1950s.

Cover of “The Fabulous Isotopes”
Cover of “The Fabulous Isotopes” (photo from online sale)

I always enjoyed the Mary Poppins books by P. L. Travers when I was young and over the past several years I have reread them. They’re still a lot of fun. They were very popular in the early 1960s, so Walt Disney brought out its “Mary Poppins” movie in 1963. I have one more left to read in the series, “Mary Poppins From A to Z”. It just so happens to have been published in 1962, so I guess it’s time to reread it! I’m off to my local library to find it now. And after I read it, I’ll be off on the next Roadtrip-'62 ™ journey!


All photos by the author and Copyright © 2021 - Donald Dale Milne, except as noted.

All other content Copyright © 2021 - Donald Dale Milne.

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What's the weather in 1962?

Weather on February 22, 1962 for Adrian, MI, from the National Climatic Data Center:

  • Low = 30°F
  • High = 38°F
  • Precipitation = no data
  • Mean Wind Speed = 13mph

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Buy yourself some of the great music of 1962!

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.

Smokey Bear Ad

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