July 10, 2009

Ode to 1962

About six months ago I was browsing the Criterion DVD selection at our local video store, and realized that all the movies I had chosen came out in the same year. We rented a couple (Mamma Roma and Jules et Jim) and that started my obsession with the year 1962.

I did a quick Wikipedia search on the year and found lists of all types of cultural events that took place in 1962- including the beginnings of Otis Redding's and the Rolling Stones' musical careers, Marilyn Monroe dying, the Mona Lisa coming to the United States, and West Side Story winning the Oscar for Best Picture. I read John Steinbeck's book Travels with Charley and loved it. I got a four disk set of Motown singles that all came out that year and fell in love with early Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder songs. I continued to watch movies that came out that year, like Lolita, and Lawrence of Arabia. I even watched movies and TV shows that took place that year, like American Graffiti and Mad Men.

I keep thinking I should move onto another year, but there's still so much more to explore from 1962! The Cuban Missile Crisis! NASA astronauts orbiting the Earth for the first time! The amount of information that is available at our fingertips is overwhelming and sometimes I don't know where to start when I'm looking for new discoveries. Picking one year to do a cultural study on is so much fun- you could choose the year you were born or just pick a random year like I did.


baffle said...

a very good year indeed.

I was (er...ahem...uh...) 11 years old in 1962, and in the 6th grade.
Maybe it was being that age - open to every new discovery - so much fun learning (it still is!). There just seemed to be, as you state - very exciting things going on in the world in '62. Big changes on the horizon...

Thanks for sharing your findings and some awesome pix!

P.S. One of my fave movies is Jules et Jim, which I didn't discover until the early 70's. The film is timeless, non?

Anonymous said...

Also, your in-laws were married in 1962---a very good year, yes?

Treehouse Collective said...

I get lost in obsessions like this from time to time too.. Detroit anyone? The Rolling Stones look like they're sitting in front of the first apartment they shared in London. We went through great pains to find it on our first trip to London, but for true fans it was a worthy pilgrimage. Also, if you loved Travels With Charlie, I have to ask if you have been to the Steinbeck museum near my way in Salinas? It is the only museum dedicated to a single author in the US and you'll find Rocinante there! I'm trying to come up with a postage collage series for their gift shop, a Steinbeck, California, frog (Cannery Row) jumble. Lolita is fab too!

Lauren said...

Thanks for reminding me about the Steinbeck museum! I've never been!

House Dreams said...

It's a wonderful museum and it almost closed for lack of funding.

Having lived through this year at 12, I felt a lot of emotions.

Thanks for the memory rollercoaster!