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The Headlines and Key Facts of 1962


On the National Scene

In February Marine Corps General John Glenn circles the earth 3 times in the Friendship 7.

Polaroid introduces color film prints which develop in 60 seconds

President Kennedy federalizes Alabama's National Guard and orders Gov. George C. Wallace to allow two black students to be enrolled at the University of Alabama.

Russia denies placing nuclear missiles in Cuba but President Kennedy provides proof that the missiles exist and places a quarantine around Cuba, and forces their removal.

U2 pilot Gary Powers traded for spymaster Rudolf Abel.

The United States Supreme Court rules that officially-sponsored prayer in public schools is unconstitutional.

James Meredith is the first black to enroll in the University of Mississippi following a federal intervention and white mob violence.


Texas computer salesman H. Ross Perot forms a computer company called Electronic Data Systems (E.D.S.)

Diet Rite and Tab makes their first appearance.

90% of Americans own a television set; ABC begins broadcasting in color.

Polaroid introduces color film prints which develop in 60 seconds.

The World's Fair is held in Seattle.

Motown continues to expand its power-base scoring #1 R&B hits by both Mary Wells and the Contours and while attracting musical talent from all over Detroit that will soon result in the label becoming the biggest in the country.

Southern soul has its first major hit with the instrumental "Green Onions" by Booker T. & The MG's.

Ray Charles successfully melds country music with soul and crosses into the pop realm with the album "Modern Sounds In Country & Western Music".

The surf music craze, begun by instrumentalists in the previous few years, adds vocals when the Beach Boys score their first hit "Surfin' Safari".

The Four Seasons greaser vocal harmonies explodes on the scene with three consecutive #1 hits in the waning months of the year.

A dominant era comes to an end: 50's legends Fats Domino, Clyde McPhatter, The Everly Brothers, LaVern Baker and Bo Diddley score their final major hits after a decade in the spotlight.

Marking drastic change from only a few years back female artists account for nearly half of all Number One R&B hits in the calendar year.


In a seven-game series, the New York Yankees win the World Series over San Francisco.

Maury Wills breaks Ty Cobb's single season stolen base record.

Green Bay wins once again over the New York Giants in the NFL Title Game.

Sonny Liston knocks out Floyd Patterson to win the world heavyweight championship.

Philadelphia's Wilt Chamberlain scores 100 points in one game and averages 50 points per game during the 1961-62 season, but Bill Russell and the Celtics win the sixth straight NBA crown.

Movies and Television

Marilyn Monroe dies of barbituate overdose at the age of 36.Marily Monroe

Lawrence of Arabia is the most honored film for the year. Gregory Peck wins the best actor oscar for his performance in To Kill A Mockingbird. The most popular new movies were How The West Was Won, The Longest Day, In Search Of The Castaways and The Music Man.

Sex And The Single Girl written by Gurley Brown is the biggest selling book.

Click Here for Billboard's Top Ten Songs of the day in 1962.


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