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What Happened 60 years ago in 1962 Important News and Events, Key Technology and Popular Culture

What happened in 1962 Major News Stories include Telstar first live trans-Atlantic television signal, First Beatles single "Love Me Do" released, Oral Polio Vaccine used to combat Polio, Marilyn Monroe is found dead, Cuban Missile Crisis takes world to brink of war, John H. Glenn, Jr., becomes first American to orbit the earth, First Wal-Mart discount store is opened, Columbus Day Storm,

1962 the cars continued to evolve as more compacts appeared and sold well in the US. The Cold War continued to worsen when the Russians placed Ballistic Missiles on Cuban land just 90 miles away from the coast of Florida in and JFK called the bluff by threatening war unless they were removed which they were but for a short time the world was on the brink of nuclear war and self destruction. The president then set a goal of landing a man on the moon before the end of the decade and became more involved in politics in Southeast Asia by training South Vietnamese pilots. Folk music was evolving into protest music thanks to young artists like Bob Dylan and the birth of Surfing music by the beach boys grew in popularity meanwhile in England the Beatles record the single "Love Me Do". The new hit on TV for that year was "The Beverly Hillbillies" and the first of the James Bond movies "Dr No" was an instant success, some of the other movies released included "Spartacus" and "El Cid".

Space --- First Men In Space

John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth in February of 1962

More Information and Timeline For The Early Space Race

1. 1957 October 4th The Soviet Union puts the worlds first artificial satellite Sputnik 1 into orbit around the earth

2. 1957 November 3rd The Soviet Union puts Sputnik 2 the worlds first spacecraft to carry a living animal, a dog named Laika into orbit around the earth.

3. 1958 January 31st The United States puts it's first satellite into space the Explorer 1

4. 1959 September 14th The Soviet Union launches first spacecraft to reach the surface of the Moon Luna 2

5. 1961 April 12th The Soviet Union launches the first spacecraft to take a man into space the Vostok 1 carrying Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin

6. 1961 May 5th The United States launches it's first man in space Alan Shepard on the Freedom 7

7. 1962 President Kennedy asks Congress for $531 million to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade

If you look at the timeline for space travel up to this point the The Soviet Union was consistently one step ahead of the United States, but following the speech by President Kennedy on May 25 the United States was determined to be the first to put a man on the moon which they achieved on July 20 1969 when Apollo 11 landed Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr, who became the first human beings to walk on the Moon's surface.

Cuba --- Cuban Missile Crisis

Cuban Missile Crisis when USSR plans to deploy Missiles in Cuba brings the world to the brink of world war, the US blockades Cuba and the USSR agrees to dismantle Soviet Silos Begins On October 15th ends on November 20 News Events

More Information and Timeline For The Cuban Missile Crisis

Background: 1961 April 17th to April 19th United States backs CIA-trained forces of Cuban exiles to overthrow the Cuban regime (Bay of Pigs )


1. February 7th A U.S. embargo ordered by President Kennedy goes into effect on all imports from Cuba including tobacco, seafood, fruits and vegetables

2. April to October Cuban and Soviet governments secretly began to build 9 missile bases in Cuba for launching medium-range and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, Missiles capable of reaching 2,800 miles covering most of the United States

3. on August 6 United States begins to suspect Soviets building Missile Bases in Cuba

4. August 7 United States Protests to Soviet Union who refute the allegations

5. October 14th United States Air Force U-2 plane on a photo reconnaissance mission captured photographic proof of Soviet missile bases under construction in Cuba

6. October 16th President Kennedy is informed proof of Cuban Missile Installations

7. October 17th U-2 flight discovers intermediate range (IRBMs) SS-5 nuclear missiles installed in Southern Cuba.

8. October 18th at a Personal meeting between Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs, Andrei Gromyko and President John F. Kennedy, Gromyko assures Kennedy that installations are purely defensive.

9. October 20th President Kennedy cancels remainder of his campaign trip because of an "upper respiratory infection."

10. October 21st U-2 flight discovers further missile bases in Northern Cuba.

11. October 21st U-2 flight reveals Soviet bombers and Migs numbers increasing.

12. October 22nd President Kennedy addresses the nation in a televised speech, announcing the presence of offensive missile sites in Cuba.

13. October 22nd US Forces Go to DEFCON 3

14. October 23rd U.S. ships take up position 500 miles offshore to blockade Cuba.

15. October 24th Most Soviet Shipping slows down or turns round except 1 ship

16. October 24th US Forces Go to DEFCON 2

17. October 25th Discussions focus over withdraw of U.S. missiles from Turkey in exchange for the withdrawal of Soviet missiles in Cuba

18. October 26th Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev proposes removing soviet missiles if President Kennedy publicly announces U.S. would never invade Cuba.

19. October 27th Khrushchev proposes in letter public trade of Soviet missiles in Cuba for U.S. missile in Turkey.

20. October 27th American U-2 is shot down over Cuba while on reconnaissance killing the pilot, Major Rudolf Anderson.

21. October 27th Kennedy writes Khrushchev a letter stating that he will make a statement that the U.S. will not invade Cuba if Khrushchev removes the missiles from Cuba.

22. October 28th Khrushchev announces over Radio Moscow that he has agreed to remove the missiles from Cuba.

23. November 20th Following confirmation missiles had been removed from Cuba the United States blockade of Cuba ends

What happened when DEFCON 2 declared ? 1,436 B-52 bombers dispersed and made ready to take off, fully equipped, on 15 minutes notice. 145 intercontinental ballistic missiles stood on ready alert, while Air Defense Command re deployed 161 nuclear-armed interceptors to 16 dispersal fields within nine hours including one-third maintaining 15-minute alert status. I have included this to show how close full scale nuclear war was between the world's two superpowers, we can only guess that the Soviet Union was at similar alert status and had similar plans in place.

Although no formal announcement was ever made by the United States following the Soviet dismantling of Missiles in Cuba the United States did Withdraw all nuclear missiles from Turkey by April 24th 1963 and because the Soviet Union and the United States came the closest in history to all out war a direct communications hot line was established between Moscow and Washington, D.C..

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Cost of Living 1962 - How Much things cost

Yearly Inflation Rate USA 1.20%

Year End Close Dow Jones 652

Average Cost of new house $12,500.00

Average Income per year $5,556.00 -

Average monthly rent $110.00 per month -

Tuition to Harvard University $1,520.00 -

Cost of a gallon of Gas 28 cents

Average Cost of a new car $3,125.00

All Wheel Drive Scout off road $2,150.00

Renault Imported car $1,395.00

Eggs per dozen 32 cents

Factory Workers Average Take Home Pay with 3 dependents $94.87

Below are some Prices for UK guides in Pounds Sterling

Average House Price 2,950

New Ford Cortina 591

Yearly Inflation Rate UK 3.6%

Few Examples of Houses For Sale


Lancaster Ohio

3 bedroom , stocked pond , barn on 20 Acres


Salisbury Maryland

Ranch Style 3 bedroom , large modern kitchen , living room , carport , utility room, large 100ft X 150 ft Plot


Sheboygan Wisconsin

30 acre farm and 5 bedroom home and 4 car garage and outbuildings

Popular Culture 1962

Beatles Turned Down By Decca Records

Release of first Beatles recording: the single "Love Me Do"

Andy Warhol's famous painting of a can of soup

Beverly Hill Billies is on TV

The Dick Van Dyke show on TV

Johnny Carson begins as presenter for The Tonight Show

Popular Films

West Side Story


El Cid

Lawrence of Arabia

To Kill a Mockingbird

Popular Singers

The Beatles

Bob Dylan

Chubby Checker

Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons

Neil Sedaka

Roy Orbison

Shirley Bassey

USA -- NASA Ranger IV Launches

NASA’s Ranger 4 spacecraft was launched and crashed on the Moon during April. The spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral with the mission to study the Moon, return data back to Earth, and transmit images. Unfortunately, the mission was a failure as it failed to relay any useful information back to NASA due to a computer and battery issue. Ranger 4 stopped operating after 10 hours of flight and later crashed into the surface of the Moon. The mission was notable in that it was the first Ranger mission to have a successful launch and was the first US spacecraft to land on the Moon.

United States -- Friendship 7

NASA launches the Friendship 7 spacecraft during February . The Mercury capsule carried astronaut John Glenn who conducted the first orbit around the Earth by an American. Glenn orbited the Earth three times in a flight that lasted just under five hours. Glenn splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean successfully but faced a moment when the automatic control system failed and he had to manually control the capsule. The Soviet Union had already made the first human orbit during April of the previous year with cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

United States --- Marilyn Monroe sings Happy Birthday To President Kennedy

Marilyn Monroe serenades President Kennedy on his birthday.

More Information for Marilyn Monroe and President Kennedy.

Marilyn Monroe made one of her last public appearances on May 19th at a birthday celebration for U.S. President John F. Kennedy before her death. The event became an iconic moment in pop culture when the actress sang an intimate, sultry, and memorable rendition of "Happy Birthday" to the world leader. Monroe wore an intricately designed skin-tight beaded dress that was considered a little scandalous at the time. The performance added to rumors that the two were having an affair and only three months later Monroe died of a drug overdose, ruled a probable suicide, under suspicious circumstances.

United States ---James Meredith

Rioting on University of Mississippi campus following Black student James Meredith attempting to enroll ends when

federal troops and U.S. marshals take control.

More Information and Timeline for James Meredith

1. James Meredith becomes the first African-American student to enroll at the University of Mississippi on September 30th, .

2. Meredith, an army veteran had made several attempts to enroll at the university but was forced away by Mississippi's governor and denied entry.

3. He was finally able to enter the school after being escorted by United States Marshals at the insistence of President Kennedy.

4. Meredith actively tested the new integration mandate and became a fearless pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement.

5. He completed his degree at the University in August of 1963.

NASA Launches Ranger 3 Mission

NASA’s Ranger 3 spacecraft launches on January 26th. It was the United States’ first attempt at landing a spacecraft on the surface of the Moon. If successful, the spacecraft was designed to transmit photos of the lunar surface before making a rough landing. Unfortunately due to malfunctions with the guidance system, Ranger 3 never made it to the Moon. It missed entering the lunar orbit by about 22,000 miles and instead entered a heliocentric orbit. While NASA was never able to transmit photos of the surface from the mission, they did gain some engineering data related to the mission.

United States - Kennedy Speech

President Kennedy proposes a "Consumer Bill of Rights."

More Information for the Consumer Bill of Rights

U.S. President John F. Kennedy calls for a "Consumer Bill of Rights" during an address to the United States Congress in March . His speech outlined four basic rights intended to protect consumers from misleading advertising, defective products, and monopolistic practices. The rights that were mentioned included the right to safety, the right to be informed, the right to choose, and the right to be heard. Kennedy also proposed certain measures to enforce and implement the rights.

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Toys From The Year 1962

1962 Toys including Chatty Cathy Doll, Etch A Sketch, Flintstones Building Boulders, Disneykins, Satellite Jumping Shoes, Mr. Mercury, Horse Figures

1962 Mens and Womens Fashion Clothes

Fashion Clothing Examples From 1962  Colorblock Pajamas, Mens Cabana Set, Mink Collar Coat, Striped Top, Tunic and Capri Pants, Overplaid Sport Coat

Fashion Accessories Examples From 1962 Tapered Toe Pump, Telescope Hat, Ready Ties, French Purse, Red Patent Pump, Pixie Beret

Cuba - US ---Prisoner Exchange

End of Bay Of Pigs Fiasco when 1,113 prisoners taken during the attempted invasion are exchanged for $53 million in food and medicine

More Information and Timeline for the Bay Of Pigs Attempted failed military invasion of Cuba

1. 1953 - 59 Cuban Revolution leading to the Cuban President Fulgencio Batista and replacing his government with a revolutionary socialist state

2. The CIA began to recruit anti-Castro Cuban exiles ( Brigade 2506 ) training took place at US Bases in Florida, Panama and Guatemala

3. March 1960, the CIA put forward their plan for the overthrow of Castro's administration to the U.S. National Security Council (NSC), where it was given the support of U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower

4. 1960 Presidential Election both main candidates, Richard Nixon of the Republican Party and John F. Kennedy of the Democratic Party both promising to take a hard line with Castro

5. January 1961 President Kennedy is briefed, together with all the major departments, on the latest plan for the invasion of Cuba to overthrow Castro. President Kennedy authorized the active departments to continue, and to report progress.

6. April President Kennedy approved the invasion of beaches bordering the Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs)

7. Due to their secret intelligence network, anticipating the invasion, Che Guevara stressed the importance of an armed civilian populace, stating "all the Cuban people must become a guerrilla army, each and every Cuban must learn to handle and if necessary use firearms in defense of the nation.

8. April 15th eight Douglas B-26B Invader bombers in three groups simultaneously attacked three Cuban airfields at San Antonio de los Banos and at Ciudad Libertad (formerly named Campo Columbia), both near Havana.

9. April 16th CIA/Brigade 2506 invasion fleet sailed from Puerto Cabezas in Nicaragua to 'Rendezvous Point Zulu', about (40 mi) south of Cuba.

10. April 17th a force of four transport ships (Houston, Rio Escondido, Caribe and Atlantico) carrying about 1,400 Cuban exile ground troops of Brigade 2506, plus tanks and other vehicles in the landing craft entered the Bay of Pigs .

11. April 17th a force of four transport ships (Houston, Rio Escondido, Caribe and Atlantico) carrying about 1,400 Cuban exile ground troops of Brigade 2506, plus tanks and other vehicles in the landing craft entered the Bay of Pigs .

13. April 19th Due to the well organised and well informed Cuban forces Brigade 2506 ground forces retreat to the beaches in the face of considerable onslaught from Cuban government artillery, tanks and infantry and hoped for rescue by US ships but due to heavy fire by Cuban tanks they were forced to withdraw

13. December 1962 1,113 prisoners taken during the attempted invasion are exchanged for $53 million in food and medicine

United States --- The Space Needle

The Space Needle an observation tower in Seattle, Washington is completed in time for the 1962 World's Fair

More Information and Timeline for The Space Needle

1. The Space Needle is 605 ft high, 138 ft wide, and weighs 9,550 tons.

2. It was completed in less than 1 year just in time for the opening of the 1962 World's Fair

3. The domed top housing the top five levels including rotating SkyCity restaurant at 500 ft and an observation deck at 520 ft

4. The last elevator car was installed the day before the Fair opened on April 21st

5. During the Worlds Fair the Space Needle drew over 2.3 million visitors, when nearly 20,000 people a day used its elevators. this was nearly 1/4 of all the visitors to the Worlds Fair

The Space Needle is considered an icon of Seattle and still one of the most popular places to visit and photograph over fifty years later

United States --- Spider-Man

Marvel's Spider-Man superhero makes his first appearance in a comic.

More Information for Spiderman's First Appearance.

In June the iconic Marvel superhero Spider-Man made his first appearance in the Amazing Fantasy #15 comic. The issue was dated for August but had actually hit the shelves in June. Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Spider-Man was a teenage superhero whose nerdy alter-ego Peter Parker represented adolescent concerns and teenage tribulations in a way that no other comic book superhero had been able to previously. Many teen readers connected to the character making him one of the most popular and enduring comic series characters in history.

More News and Key Events From 1962

Brazil - World Cup

Brazil beat Czechoslovakia 3-1 to win the 1962 World Cup

U.S. - Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe is found dead on August 5 after apparently overdosing on sleeping pills

U.S. - Navy SEALS

The US Navy SEALS are created on January 1st as the U.S. Navy's principal special operations force, the special force was in existance prior dating back to World War II when the Navy "Scouts and Raiders" was formed.

Space -- Ranger IV

The first US rocket Ranger IV lands on the moon on April 26th

U.S. -- Flavored Crisps / Chips

First Ever Flavored Crisps / Chips sold Salt and Vinegar

U.S. -- First Wal-Mart

The First Wal-Mart discount store is opened by by Sam Walton in Bentonville Arkansas

U.S. -- First Motel 6

Motel 6 opened it's 1st location in Santa Barbara, CA on June 25th, 1962.

United States / Canada - Columbus Day Storm

The Columbus Day Storm ( 12th October ) strikes Northern California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia

UN -- apartheid condemed

The United Nations General Assembly passes a resolution condemning South Africa's racist apartheid policies and calls for all UN member states to cease military and economic relations with the nation

Burundi - Independence

Burundi Gains Independence From Belgium

Germany -- Peter Fechter

East German Border Guards shoot attempted escapee Peter Fechter and leave him to die on the Berlin Wall

Germany -- Heavy storm flood

Heavy storm flood on Germany's North Sea coast, mainly around Hamburg, more than 300 people die, thousands losing their homes

US - First Kmart

The first Kmart department store opens in Garden City, Michigan

France - Boeing 707 crashes

Air France Boeing 707 crashes on take-off at Orly Airport in Paris on June 3rd

Space - John H. Glenn, Jr

John H. Glenn, Jr., becomes first American to orbit the earth during Friendship 7 orbit.

U.S. - Oral Polio Vaccine

Oral Polio Vaccine developed by Albert Sabin given to millions of children to combat Polio

Algeria -- Independence

Algeria Gains Independence From France

Jamaica - Independence

Jamaica Gains Independence From Great Britain

Born This Year in 1962

Jon Bon Jovi March 2nd

Jim Carrey January 17th

Joan Cusack October 11th

Evander Holyfield October 19th

Demi Moore November 11th

Jodie Foster November 19th

Paula Abdul June 19th

Tom Cruise July 2nd

Jon Stewart November 28th

Wesley Snipes July 31st

Steve Carell August 16th


12 European countries form European Space Agency

Telstar relays the first live trans-Atlantic television signal

US Airforce investigates using lasers to intercept missiles

90% of US households own a Television Set

Britain and France agree to develop the Concorde

The first use of silicone breast implants by Houston plastic surgeons

Inventions Invented by Inventors and Country ( or attributed to First Use )

Communication Satellite USA Telstar

Venus Probe USA Mariner 2 - the first planetary probe

LEDs USA Light Emitting Diodes - used for displays

Calendar For The Year 1962

1962 Calendar

Major World Political Leaders

Australia -- Prime Minister -- Sir Robert Menzies --

Brazil -- President -- Joao Goulart --

Canada -- Prime Minister -- John Diefenbaker --

China -- Chairman of the People's Republic of China -- Liu Shaoqi --

France -- President -- Charles de Gaulle --

Germany -- Chancellor -- Konrad Adenauer --

India -- Prime Minister -- Jawahar Lal Nehru --

Italy -- Prime Minister -- Amintore Fanfani --

Japan -- Prime Minister -- Hayato Ikeda --

Mexico -- President -- Adolfo Lopez Mateos --

Russia / Soviet Union -- First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union -- Nikita Khrushchev --

South Africa -- Prime Minister -- Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd --

United States -- President -- John F. Kennedy --

United Kingdom -- Prime Minister -- Harold Macmillan --