Where were you in ’62?

Happy birthday to Beatlemania! The Beatles’ first single, “Love Me Do,” was released on this date fifty years ago. And happy birthday to James Bond! Dr. No, the first movie in the world’s longest-running film franchise, also opened today, also in 1962.

Earlier this year we observed the fiftieth anniversary of John Glenn’s historic orbit of the Earth, and the fiftieth anniversary of Kennedy’s landmark “we choose to go to the moon” speech.

In 1962, Stan Lee and the other adolescents at Marvel (I use the term affectionately) created Spider-Man, Thor, and the Hulk. Fifty years later, those creations are still relevant enough to star in their own brand-new blockbuster films.

The films Lawrence of Arabia, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Music Man are fifty years old too. The famous escape from Alcatraz happened fifty years ago. The Seattle Space Needle opened to the public. Polaroid introduced its instant color film. Rachel Carson published her world-changing book, Silent Spring.

I don’t recall celebrating so many fiftieth anniversaries last year, do you? Something about 1962 appears to have been so special that we are still celebrating its achievements and events.

It wasn’t all good. People everywhere braced for global annihilation during the Cuban Missile Crisis, fifty years ago this month. Marilyn Monroe OD’d. But there was enough nostalgia for 1962 that, years later, George Lucas set the events of American Graffiti in that year, and it’s also when the action in Animal House takes place.

What was it about 1962? Fifty years from now, what events or achievements of today will people still be celebrating?

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