Last Week In 1962
Actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr. died last week and another icon of 1960s television is gone. The 95-year-old was perhaps best known for two roles: as Stuart Bailey in the series "77 Sunset Strip" and as Lewis Erskine in the series "The F.B.I.". "77 Sunset Strip" ran on ABC from 1958 to 1964, so we could have watched it during 1962. Zimbalist’s stunning good looks and his character’s logical, deductive style as a former government agent played well on television of the time. His partner Roger Smith played Jeff Spencer, also a former government agent. Lightening up the show’s tone was actor Edd Byrnes as Gerald Lloyd "Kookie" Kookson III. His constant hair-combing spawned a national catch-phrase and novelty record "Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb". The June 29, 1962 Episode, titled “The Gang's All Here”, featured both Sammy Davis, Jr. and his father Sammy Davis, Sr!
Bob Dylan’s First Album Released
March 19, 1962 was the release date for Bob Dylan’s debut, self-titled album. Dylan was just 20 years old, though some reviewers said, “...his voice sounds like it comes from a man more than twice his age.” He had attended the University of Minnesota for only about six months before heading to New York City in 1961. He came to visit the long-ailing Woody Guthrie, singer, balladeer, and poet. The visit would be the beginning of a deep friendship between the two. While there, he fell in with the folk music scene of the time and soon landed a recording contract. His first album was not quite the Dylan we would come to know in the next few years, as there are only two original compositions on it. One is the tribute “Song to Woody,” and the other is “Talkin’ New York”. Many of the other songs on the album Bob Dylan are covers of traditional folk songs.
1962 Comic Buy of the Week
Finer Points of Baseball for Everyone (scan from Grand Comics Database)
We’re well into baseball season now, which was one of my favorite parts of the year in 1962. Of course I collected baseball cards, listened to the Detroit Tigers on the radio, and played baseball at the school playground. But something I never ran across when I was young was this comic book, “Finer Points of Baseball for Everyone”. It was a small giveaway promotional comic distributed by Hood Ice Cream and possibly other dairies. The comic was published by William C. Popper & Company in several editions from 1962 to 1965. Popper also published a number of other baseball rules comics from 1962 to 1975. This would have been good to have when arguing some rules!
1962 In Sports
Last weekend, California Chrome won the 140th Kentucky Derby. This was the first win by a California-bred horse since Decidedly's in 1962. Decidedly was ridden that year by Bill Hartack. The horse set a Churchill Downs track record at the time of 2:00 2/5 minutes for 1¼ miles, breaking a 20-year-old record. Decidedly was himself the offspring of another Kentucky Derby winner, Determine, who won the 80th race. Despite the Kentucky Derby win however, Determine did not even place in the other two races of the U.S. Triple Crown series of 1962, the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Jockey William Hartack went on to ride to victories in four more Kentucky Derbys, becoming the only man besides Eddie Arcaro to have won the Kentucky Derby five times.
About Roadtrip-'62 ™
US-6 Featured Trip Segment
We keep heading west on Day 19 of the US-6 roadtrip. Today we go through Illinois farm fields, see some natural features along the Illinois River, and discover some dangerous history.
Guest Blog of the Week
You can find lots more retro fun at Retro Roadmap! Hostess Mod Betty has a blog, photos, videos and more, detailing all sorts of great roadtrip stops. And, she’s been at this since the mid-1990s, so her oldest stuff is now kind of vintage itself. Her heaviest concentration of places to see is in the Northeast, but she covers all the way to the west coast. I suspect we’ve crossed paths somewhere.
US-23 Featured Trip Segment
We’re starting Day 17 of the US-23 roadtrip in Atlanta, Georgia. We visit Atlanta’s Coca-Cola headquarters, then we will head south on the two-lane roads of 1962, past red clay farm fields, a pair of waterfalls, and more history.
Museum of the Week
This week, ALL museums are the Museum of the Week! May 18th is International Museum Day, which was first organized in 1977. Since then it’s grown to comprise over 35,000 museums from 143 countries. The event is an activity of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). And to make it more fun for visitors, many museums participate by offering free admission or discounts at the museum store! You can find a list at the International Museum Day website. Pick your favorite museum and see it again this weekend.
Inspecting The Small Town
Many of the towns we pass through on our roadtrips are small. Small towns have several characteristics in common, and this essay explores some of those. Though we focus especially on Fenton, Michigan, the themes have repeated throughout the country.
Video of the Week
And speaking of the 1962 Kentucky Derby, here it is in a British Pathé newsreel. These newsreels would be shown at movie theaters before the main features, and before television they were a major source of news for people. Let’s watch Decidedly win it!
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All photos by the author and Copyright © 2014, 2021 - Donald Dale Milne, except as noted.
All other content Copyright © 2014, 2021 - Donald Dale Milne.