Where were you in ’62

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By John Hernandez

Homecoming, the annual tradition of the high school welcoming back alumni and former residents, was held on Fri., Oct. 5.It was a time to reminisce and catch up with old friends, root for the hometown football team and see how the town of San Manuel has changed.

This year’s homecoming was a special time for a number of former and current residents. At the home of Robert and Sharon Newton, San Manuel alumni ranging from the Class of 1957 to the 1980s gathered to catch up on old times and party.

They were celebrating homecoming and the Class of 1962 who had reached its 50 year reunion milestone. Those members of the class of ’62 in attendance included Max Parisot, Royce Doss, Don Mclennan, Tom Nay, Don Schrock, Dorothy Roybal, Marie (Hall) Roybal, Bill Mee and Stan Schrock. Tom Nay was the Homecoming King in 1962.

At this year’s football game he was introduced by the game’s announcer and received a homecoming welcome and applause from the crowd.

In honor of those alumni from the San Manuel High School Class of 1962, let’s take a trip down memory lane and see what was going on in San Manuel and the world in 1962.

The school year began for the Class of ’62 on Tues. Sept. 5, 1961, the day after Labor Day. Front-page news in the San Manuel Miner that week was the announcement that Mary Ann Quevedo had been selected as the 1961 Mammoth Fiesta Queen. New teachers were announced including Mattie Lee Thompson, the new English teacher.

Football season had started and the team would go winless only scoring 76 points and giving up 338 points in 10 games. The Homecoming game would be their most competitive as they lost to Flowing Wells 18-24.

Running back Tom Nay was named Homecoming King, Frances Burny was Homecoming Queen and the attendants were Karen Coxon and Janie Woodruff.

In other sports that year, the varsity basketball team would have a winning season led by Doug Swanson, Daryl Bingham, Waldo Vasquez, Tom Nay and Frank Gaona.

Daryl Bingham was voted Most Valuable player by his teammates. He established a new school record for rebounds, grabbing 214 for the year. Coach Manny Ruiz called him “the best all-around basketball player we have produced.”

In baseball, Coach Hal Eustice’s team won its second consecutive conference championship and went to the state tournament losing in the first round to Chandler. Only two seniors were on the team although one of their best pitchers, Bud Culp would be graduating.

Rotary sponsored its fifth annual track meet drawing 22 high schools and 300 athletes. The track team broke numerous school records. Steve Wegner was the 3A State Champion in the 100 yard and 220 yard dashes.

There were 81 students in the graduating class of 1962. Steve Wegner was the Valedictorian and Bonnie Rodriguez and Shirley Watts were co-Salutatorians. Vincent “Vin” Coxon, President of the School Board, presented the diplomas to the graduates.

In the San Manuel Miner’s first issue of 1962, the Miner Editor was defending Colonel Ralph Redburn the State Civil Defense Director.

It seems that he had spoken at a meeting saying that the United States should attack Russia before they became strong enough to attack us. This caused a controversy that would lead to Governor Paul Fannin relieving him of duty.

(For those of the younger generations, the Federal Civil Defense Administration was a milder version of Homeland Security. Their job was to establish bomb shelters and evacuation plans for communities in case of a nuclear attack.)

Later in 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis would bring the United States and Russia to the brink of war.

The top news stories in the Miner included

~ The Sabin type III oral vaccine for polio would be distributed in San Manuel, Mammoth and Oracle. Over 6,000 people were immunized in one day in the Tri-Community.

This vaccine was developed in 1961 and approved in 1962. Drops of the vaccine were placed on sugar cubes and taken orally. It proved to be the most effective vaccine and helped to nearly eradicate worldwide the at one time horrific and crippling disease polio.

~ On April 26, an election was held to determine what union would represent the mine, mill and smelter workers in contract negotiation with the San Manuel Copper Corporation.

The choices of the workers were United Steel Workers of America, AFL CIO or the International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers or no union at all. The International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers won the election.

A few weeks later this union was declared a communist infiltrated organization by the Subversive Activities Control Board. They were no longer allowed to represent the workers.

These charges were denied by national and local union leaders and an appeal was filed. On the last day of April, the San Manuel Copper Corporation officially changed its name to Magma Copper Company San Manuel Division.

During the year there was a reduction of force of 151 employees. In June, the final two unions representing workers at Magma signed the new contract relieving concern of an impending labor strike.

~ In lighter news and information from the Miner, John Dicus, Bob Windsor, I.G. McKim and Don Cline were available to check your oil, pump gas, and clean your windshield at the L.E. Dicus Chevron Station.

Gas averaged 31 cents a gallon for regular. In Nov. Bud’s Union Station celebrated its second anniversary. Owner Bud Tomerlin donated the entire day’s profits to Boy Scout Troop 204 which was sponsored by the B.P.O.E. Elks Lodge 2007.

~Ray Beneitone was installed as Exalted Ruler of the Elks. The Elk’s Ritual Team took state honors and would finish third in the national contest.

~ Oracle finally received water service with the completion of construction by Arizona Water Company.

~ Formal dedication services were held at the San Manuel Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sun, Oct. 14, 1962 following an open house on Sat.

~ Two diving boards were installed at the San Manuel swimming pool.

~ Ben Cohen became the new manager of Cohen’s Department Store in August replacing Sig Lieberman.

~ San Manuel Motors advertised a used 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sports Coupe V-8, powerglide, radio, heater for $1,045. A brand new 1962 Ford Galaxie was $3,330.74.

~ In October it was announced that a countywide curfew for unincorporated towns Levy Peralta, was being enforced. No one under the age of 18 could be out on the streets after 9 p.m.

During the summer the curfew was 10 p.m. Magma Copper would blow the whistle to remind juveniles to be off the streets.

Local grocery prices included

Creed’s – 2lb can of Folgers coffee $1.29, Borden’s Scoopin’ ice cream 95 cents for a half gallon, T-bone steak .79 a pound.

Goodman’s – ground beef 3 lb. package for 99 cents, 10 lb. bag of potatoes 39 cents, bell peppers 5 cents each.

Oracle Mercantile – center cut pork chops 59 cents a pound, lettuce two heads for 25 cents.

P and R Market – sirloin steak .79 a pound, avocados two for 25 cents, giant-size Tide detergent 79 cents.

The San Manuel Drive-In offered in the summer on Wed. and Thurs. nights a double feature evening for $1.00 a car load.

Historical events of 1962

United States Navy Seals established.

Pope John XXIII excommunicates Fidel Castro.

Bishop Burke of Buffalo, New York Catholic Dioceses declares Chubby Checker’s “Twist” is impure and bans it from all Catholic schools.

Marilyn Monroe dies of a drug overdose.

President Kennedy bans all trade with Cuba except for food and drugs. He would later enforce a blockade of Cuba and ban all Cuban imports and exports.

United States confrontsRussia in the Cuban Missile

The United States Supreme Court disallows race separation on public transportation.

Walter Cronkite begins anchoring the CBS Evening News.

Nelson Mandala captured by South African police.

Martin Luther King arrested during demonstration in Georgia.

James Meredith becomes the first African American to enroll at the University of Mississippi. JFK orders 3,000 Federal troops to Mississippi insure integration.

United Farm Workers founded by Mexican-American labor leader Cesar Chavez.

Richard Nixon quits politics

Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy first elected Senator of Massachusetts.

Two U.S. Army officers killed in Saigon.

Dr. John W. Mauchly, inventor of some of the original floor size electronic computers predicted that within a decade everyone would be walking around with their own personalized computer.

Music and culture of 1962


The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson began its 30 year run after host Jack Paar left the show.

The Rose Bowl football game between Minnesota and UCLA would be the first national color television broadcast of a collegiate football game.

Television series that were cancelled included

Cheyenne (1955-1962) a western starring Clint Walker

Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955-196)

The Huckleberry Hound Show (1958-1962) animated series.

New series arriving in 1962 were

The Lucy Show (1962-1968) with Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance

Combat (1962-1967) World War II action series starring Vic Morrow

The Jetsons (1962-1963)

The Virginian the first 90 minute western starring James Drury and Doug McClure

McHale’s Navy starring Academy Award winner Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway (Ensign Parker)

The Andy William’s Show starred the singer of “Moon River” and “Days of Wine and Roses,” sadly, Andy Williams passed away this year. The Osmonds also made their debut on this show in 1962

 Stoney Burke followed the adventures of a rodeo cowboy. Do you remember the name of the actor that played Stoney? Hint – He would also play the original Steve McGarret in the hit series Hawaii 5-0, Match Game and NBA on ABC.

The Beverly Hillbillies starring Buddy Ebsen and Irene Ryan. The theme song for the Beverly Hillbillies was recorded by Flatt and Scruggs and would be number one hit on the country music charts.

The top 10 television shows were:

The Beverly Hillbillies

Candid Camera

Red Skelton Show


The Lucy Show

The Andy Griffith Show

Ben Casey

The Danny Thomas Show

The Dick VanDyke Show



Motion Pictures

The most significant historical event in the movie industry in 1962 was the making of the first James Bond movie Dr. No starring Sean Connery and Ursula Andress.

The Bond movie series would be the second highest grossing film series in motion picture history.

Although Dr. No did not debut in the United States until the following year, sales and attendance in England and the rest of Europe placed it in the top ten grossing movies for 1962.

The top ten films of the year were


Lawrence of Arabia – Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif. Won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director David Lean

The Longest Day – John Wayne, Robert Mitchum and Henry Fonda.

In Search of the Castaways – Hayley Mills and Maurice Chevalier.

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane – Betty Davis and Joan Crawford

The Music Man – Robert Preston and Shirley Jones

Dr. No – Sean Connery, and Ursula Andress.

That Touch of Mink – Cary Grant and Doris Day.

Mutiny on the Bounty – Marlon Brando and Trevor Howard

To Kill a Mockingbird – Gregory Peck would win the Oscar for Best Actor. Academy Award winner Robert Duvall made his film debut in this movie.

Gypsy – Rosalind Russell (Best Actress in a Musical 1962) and Natalie Wood

Some other significant movies in 1962 were

The Days of Wine and Roses with Jack Lemmon andLee Remick

Birdman of Alcatraz with Burt Lancaster

The Manchurian Candidate with Frank Sinatra and Laurence Harvey

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance with John Wayne, James Stewart and Lee MarvinHow The West Was Won with James Stewart, Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Gregory Peck Lonely Are The Bravewith Kirk Douglas and Walter Matthau based on the novel The Lonely Cowboy by Edward Abbey. At one time Edward Abbey lived in Oracle, Arizona.




The dance crazes were the Mashed Potato. It originated with a hit rhythm and blues instrumental (Do The) Mashed Potatoes in 1960 by Nat Kendricks and the Swans which was really James Brown and his band but was recorded under a different name due to contractual concerns.

James Brown was doing the Mashed Potato on stage in the 1950s. The dance stayed popular and continued in 1962 with the song “Mashed Potato Time” by Dee Dee Sharp.

“The Loco-Motion” was a hit song by Little Eva (Eva Boyd). The song was written by Carole King and Gerry Coffin and is named one of the top 500 songs of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.

After the song became a hit, they had to invent a dance to go along with it. The Watusi was the number two dance craze of the year started with The Orlons hit record “Wah Watusi. “The Twist” by Chubby Checker was the number one song in 1960 and started the dance craze.

In 1962, The Twist became number one on the charts again, the only song in history to ever do this. This made the dance popular and with songs like “Peppermint Twist” and “Hey Let’s Twist by Joey Dee and the Starliters.

“Twisting the Night Away” by Sam Cooke, “Twist and Shout” by the Isley Brothers and “Slow Twisting” by Chubby Checker continued to be a popular dance.

Chubby’s movie Twisting Around The Clock played at the San Manuel Drive-In that year. Limbo dancing also was popular at parties due to Chubby Checker and his album Limbo Party which included the hit single “Limbo Rock.”

Folk music was popular in 1962 and was evolving into protest music. A young folk singer would make his album debut that would go on to be a big influence on the music scene. His name was Robert Zimmerman.

Other folk singers on the charts were The Kingston Trio’s “Where Have All The Flowers Gone” and Peter, Paul and Mary “If I Had A Hammer.”

A group called the Beach Boys spread surf music from southern California to the rest of the country with their song “Surfin’ USA”. Dick Dale and the Deltones also promoted the surf sound with “Misirlou.”

In England, an obscure group named the Beatles recorded “Love Me Do.” Other popular musicians of 1962 included Neil Sedaka, Roy Orbison “Dream Baby,” The Four Seasons “Sherry,” and of course Elvis Presley was in the news with two top 100 hits and three movies being shown on screen “Girls! Girls! Girls!,” “Follow that Dream” and “Kid Galahad.”

The top 15 songs of 1962

“Stranger on the Shore” – Mr. Acker Bilk

“I Can’t Stop Loving You” – Ray Charles

“Mashed Potato Time” – Dee Dee Sharp

“Roses are Red (My Love)” – Bobby Vinton

“The Stripper” – David Rose

“Johnny Angel” – Shelly Fabares

“The Loco-Motion” – Little Eva

“Let Me In” – The Sensations

“The Twist” – Chubby Checker

“Soldier Boy” – The Shirelles

“Hey Baby” – Bruce Channel

“The Wanderer” – Dion

“Duke of Earl” – Gene Chandler

“Palisades Park” – Freddy Cannon

“Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” – Neil Sedaka

Country Western Hits

“Crazy” – Patsy Cline

“Misery Loves Company” – Porter Wagoner

“Devil Woman” – Marty Robbins

“She’s Got You” – Patsy Cline

“Don’t Let Me Cross Over” – Carl Butler and Pearl

If any of you have any memories of “where were you in ‘62” or have a story to share about this time in history, send it to johnh@minersunbasin.com or share it online at Facebook.com/CopperArea.

To comment on this article and others  visit the Copper Area News Facebook or send us an email at CBNSun@MinerSunBasin.com 

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