December 1962

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January – February – March – April – May – June  – July – August – September – October – November – December

December 14, 1962: Mariner 2 transmits information from Venus to Earth
December 19, 1962: Mona Lisa arrives in the United States
December 7, 1962: ATLAS, the most powerful computer to date, goes online
December 13, 1962: The Osmond Brothers make national debut with Andy Williams

The following events occurred in December, 1962

December 1, 1962 (Saturday)[edit]

December 2, 1962 (Sunday)[edit]

  • A week of severe smog began in London, killing at least 106 people over four days, and causing the hospitalization of over 1,000. Most of the persons whose deaths were blamed on the fog had had pre-existing heart and lung problems, with 66 dead in the first three days. In 1952, at least 4,000 people had been killed over nine days by the combination of factory pollution and fog.[3][4]
  • Vietnam War: After a trip to Vietnam at the request of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield became the first American official to make a non-optimistic public comment on the war's progress.
  • In Japan, the annual Fukuoka Marathon was won by Toru Terasawa, in a Japanese national record time of 2:16:18.4.

December 3, 1962 (Monday)[edit]

December 4, 1962 (Tuesday)[edit]

December 5, 1962 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • Former U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk "delivered a speech so brutally honest that he has never been forgiven for it", in the words of one commentator,[10] declaring that "Great Britain has lost an empire and has not yet found a role... The attempt to play a separate power role... based on being the head of a 'Commonwealth' which has no political structure, unity or strength... this role is absolutely played out." Rusk delivered his criticism of the United Kingdom in a speech before cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
  • The Tasmanian Blue Gum was adopted as an official symbol of the Australian state of Tasmania.
  • The body of 20-year-old Sophie Clark was found strangled in Boston Back Bay, making her the seventh victim of the Boston Strangler.
  • The first Test match of the 1962–63 Ashes series ended in a draw at Brisbane Cricket Ground.
  • Born: José Cura, Argentine operatic tenor, in Rosario
  • Died: Arthur Murray, 3rd Viscount Elibank, 83, bringing an end to the peerage

December 6, 1962 (Thursday)[edit]

  • Thirty-seven coal miners were killed in an explosion at the United States Steel Corporation's Robena #3 mine near Carmichaels, Pennsylvania, most of them suffocating from carbon monoxide gas.[11]
  • The space program of the People's Republic of China suffered a set back when 200 kilograms of a solid rocket fuel mixture exploded during preparation, killing four technicians.[12]
  • Bob Dylan recorded five tracks for his new album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, at Columbia Records Studio A in New York City.[13]
  • A Tecader Airlines Douglas C-47 airplane crashed in the mountains near Barrancabermeja in Colombia, killing all but 2 of the 26 people on board.[14]
  • Born: Claude Chirac, daughter and later personal advisor of French President Jacques Chirac

December 7, 1962 (Friday)[edit]

December 8, 1962 (Saturday)[edit]

  • The first period of the Second Vatican Council closed, with the next session to begin on September 8, 1963.[17]
  • The North Kalimantan National Army revolted in Brunei, in the first stirrings of the Indonesian Confrontation.[18] The attempted coup, led by A. M. Azhari, was suppressed by British troops flowin in from Singapore, but achieved its goal of preventing Brunei from joining the Malaysian Federation.[19]
  • The 1962 New York City newspaper strike began with the walkout of International Typographical Union members from their printing jobs, halting the production of all of the city's major newspapers. At the time, there were nine daily papers. The Times and the Daily News, as well as the now defunct Journal-American and the World-Telegram & Sun were all directly affected. The Post and the now-extinct Herald Tribune, the Daily Mirror and the Long Island Star-Journal shut down their operations voluntarily.[20] The strike would last for 114 days.
  • Former Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was buried at the New Church in Delft.
  • The Playboy Club opened a new venue in New York City.

December 9, 1962 (Sunday)[edit]

December 10, 1962 (Monday)[edit]

December 11, 1962 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • The last execution in Canada took place at Don Jail, Toronto, when Ronald Turpin, 29, and Arthur Lucas, 54, convicted for separate murders, were hanged at the same time. Turpin had shot a constable in Toronto in February, while Lucas, an African-American from Detroit, had murdered two people in 1961.[24] Years later, Chaplain Cyril Everitt would reveal in an interview that "The hanging was bungled. Turpin died clean, but Lucas' head was torn right off. It was hanging just by the sinews of the neck."; on July 14, 1976, Canada would abolish the death penalty by a vote of 131-124 in the House of Commons.[25]
  • In West Germany, a coalition government of Christian Democrats, Christian Socialists, and Free Democrats was formed. Hans Ehard stepped down as Minister President of Bavaria, after a total of more than ten years in office, to be replaced by Alfons Goppel.

December 12, 1962 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • The first fully successful intercept of an intercontinental ballistic missile by an anti-missile was made. After a SM-65 Atlas ICBM was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, two Nike-Zeus missiles were fired from the Kwajalein Atoll, one of which passed close enough that, if it had been detonated, would have destroyed the incoming Atlas missile.[26]
  • Former Venezuelan President Marcos Pérez Jiménez was arrested at his luxury home in Miami Beach, Florida and taken to the Dade County jail, to face extradition back to Venezuela to face trial for embezzlement and for ordering the murder of political opponents. The arrest came minutes after a federal appellate court ruling denying his attempts to remain in the U.S.[27]
  • Born: Tracy Austin, American tennis player, Wimbledon women's singles champion 1979 and 1981, in Palos Verdes, California

December 13, 1962 (Thursday)[edit]

  • George Wright was indicted for murder. He would be found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison, but would escape in 1970, hijack a plane in 1972, and remain a fugitive until September 28, 2011.[28]
  • The Osmonds made their national television debut, singing on The Andy Williams Show,[29] and would appear the following week on Williams's Christmas special. The brothers from Provo, Utah, ranging in age from 7 to 13, were Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay Osmond singing two songs. Their younger brother, Donny Osmond, would debut the following Christmas.[30]
  • Siegfried Balke was dismissed from his cabinet post as West Germany's Minister for Nuclear Energy in a reshuffle resulting from the Spiegel scandal.
  • Died: Admiral John Cunningham, 77, British naval leader; and Rudolf Wissell, 93, German politician

December 14, 1962 (Friday)[edit]

  • The U.S. spacecraft Mariner 2 flew by Venus, becoming the first probe to successfully transmit data from another planet. At 1:55 pm Florida time, Mariner began transmitting data as it came within 21,641 miles (34,758 km) of Venus, and continued to transmit data until 2:37 pm, then moved onward toward the Sun.[31] The data showed for the first time the surface temperature of Venus, found to be 900° Fahrenheit, and revealed "a planet inhospitable to life", which "dashed hopes for a tropical, watery planet filled with aquatic and amphibious creatures", in the words of one observer.[32]
  • Hugh Gaitskell, the Leader of the Opposition in the United Kingdom as head of the Labour Party, first showed the symptoms of Lupus erythematosus, from which he would die 25 days later at the age of 56. Because the illness came the day after Gaitskell had visited the Soviet Embassy in London to have tea, and Soviet journals had described a drug that could cause systemic lupus, conspiracy theorists suggested a link between the two events. The Labour Party would win a majority two years later after Gaitskell's death at the age of 56.[33]
  • The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci Mona Lisa was assessed for insurance purposes at USD$100 million, before the painting was scheduled to begin its tour the United States for several months. At the time, it was the highest value ever set by an insurance company for a painting. The Louvre Museum would eventually elect to spend the money on security instead.
  • A Lockheed L-049 Constellation, flown by Panair do Brasil and carrying 50 people, crashed in the jungle near Manaus at the end of a 2,500 mile flight from Rio de Janeiro, killing everyone on board.[34]
  • A Lockheed L-1049H Super Constellation cargo plane, hauling freight for Flying Tigers, crashed into a neighborhood while approaching a landing at the airport in North Hollywood, California, setting six homes and two businesses on fire, killing all four crew on the plane and five people on the ground.[35] The cause of the accident was later traced to the pilot suffering a heart attack as the plane was landing.[36]

December 15, 1962 (Saturday)[edit]

  • The Vail Ski Resort, largest in the United States, was opened in Eagle County, Colorado. On its first day, unseasonable weather left only ankle deep snow at the top of the mountain, and none at the base, and three weeks after the novelty wore off, the resort that would become a favorite destination for celebrities (including U.S. President Gerald R. Ford) had only twelve customers.[37]
  • In a storm over the North Sea, the Belgian pirate radio station Radio Uylenspiegel was knocked off the airwaves, never to operate again.
  • Muhammad Shoaib replaced Abdul Qadir as Finance Minister of Pakistan.
  • The 1962 Rand Grand Prix was held at Kyalami, South Africa, and won by Jim Clark.
  • Died: Charles Laughton, 63, English actor and director

December 16, 1962 (Sunday)[edit]

  • John Paul Scott became the first person confirmed to have escaped from the prison on Alcatraz Island and to have made it to the California mainland. Scott and Carl D. Parker had sawed through prison bars, and then plunged into the San Francisco Bay with homemade flotation devices, but both became victims of hypothermia in the chilly December waters. Parker gave up after swimming 100 yards and came to shore at the western end of the island. Scott swam three miles and was exhausted and freezing when he was found on the beach by two children.[38]
  • Wisconsin native and New Age "Messenger" Mark L. Prophet would tell his followers that on this date, he and other Messengers received the first dictation from one of the "Elohim of the First Ray" as "Amazonia" on raising mankind's spiritual consciousness.[39]
  • The Manitoba general election resulted in a second majority victory for the Progressive Conservative Party under the leadership of Dufferin Roblin.
  • Đorđije Pajković became President of the Executive Council of the Socialist Republic of Montenegro, at the time a part of Yugoslavia.
  • Died: Lew Landers, 61, American film and TV director

December 17, 1962 (Monday)[edit]

  • Voters in South Korea approved the Constitution of the Third Republic in a nationwide referendum by a 78.8% yes vote.[40]
  • The new Constitution of Monaco was published.
  • Died: Thomas Mitchell, 70, American actor who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (1939, Stagecoach), and Emmy Award for Best Dramatic Performance (1952), and a Tony Award (1953 for Hazel Flagg)

December 18, 1962 (Tuesday)[edit]

December 19, 1962 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • The Mona Lisa arrived in the United States for the first time, as cargo on board the S.S. France.[43] After the Da Vinci masterpiece was unloaded at the French Line Pier in New York City, it was placed into a panel truck and driven to the National Gallery in Washington DC as part of a motorcade that included seven cars.[44]
  • The Soviet Union agreed for the first time to allow American inspections of its nuclear sites as part of a mutual bargain for each nation to verify the nuclear capability of the other, in a letter sent by Soviet Premier Khrushchev to U.S. President Kennedy. However, Khrushchev's offer of 2 or 3 annual on-site inspections would be rejected by the U.S. nine days later as not being enough.[45]
  • The crash of a LOT Polish Airlines prop-jet killed all 33 people on board. The plane was on its way to Warsaw from East Berlin, after having started in Brussels.[46][47]
  • Britain acknowledged the right of Nyasaland (now Malawi) to secede from the Central African Federation.

December 20, 1962 (Thursday)[edit]

  • The Dominican Republic held its first free elections in more than 38 years, with voters making their choices for President, Congress and local offices.[48] Juan Bosch of the Dominican Revolutionary Party defeated Viriato Fiallo of the National Civic Union, by a 2 to 1 margin, and would be sworn in as President on February 27.[49]
  • The first 116 National Treasures of Korea were designated, with the Namdaemun gate first on the list, followed by the Wongaksa Pagoda and the Bukhansan Monument. Travel Seoul, South Korea: Illustrated Guide, Korean Phrasebook and Maps (MobileReference, 2009)
  • NASA research pilot Milton O. Thompson, after making a weather evaluation flight for an impending X-15 flight in NASA Lockheed JF-104A-10-LO Starfighter, 56-0749, c/n 183-1037, made a simulated X-15 approach at Rogers Dry Lake, Edwards Air Force Base, California, but experienced major problems. Unable to resolve the situation, he ejected while inverted at 18,000 feet after the airframe had made four complete rolls. The fighter impacted nose first on Edwards bombing range, whilst Thompson descended safely by parachute and walked to a nearby road, where NASA Flight Operations chief Joe Vensel, speeding to the crash site and expecting the worst, found him waiting uninjured. An investigation would later find that the crash was probably the result of an electrical malfunction in the left trailing-edge flap.[50][51]
  • Died: Emil Artin, 64, Austrian mathematician

December 21, 1962 (Friday)[edit]

December 22, 1962 (Saturday)[edit]

December 23, 1962 (Sunday)[edit]

December 24, 1962 (Monday)[edit]

  • Cuba released the last 1,113 participants from Brigade 2506 in the Bay of Pigs Invasion to the U.S., in exchange for food worth $53 million. The final flight for Operation Ransom arrived at the Homestead AFB at 9:00 pm [58]
  • Born: Hezekiah Walker, American gospel musician and two-time Grammy Award winner, in Brooklyn
  • Died: Wilhelm Ackermann, 66, German mathematician

December 25, 1962 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • The Niña II, a replica of the smallest of the three ships that Christopher Columbus had brought to the New World in 1492, arrived at the Bahamas' San Salvador Island after a voyage that took 47 days longer than the original trip. Captain Carlos Etayo and a crew of 8 had set off from the Spanish port at Palos de la Frontera on September 19 with the goal of retracing Columbus's route with hopes of finishing on October 12, but had not left the Canary Islands until October 10, then was not heard from for fifty days. Columbus had sailed from Spain to the Bahamas in 70 days, between August 3 and October 12, 1492.[59]
  • The Thai-language daily newspaper Thai Rath was founded by Kampol Vacharaphol.
  • Born: Sanjeeb Choudhury, Bangladeshi singer, lyricist and journalist (d. 2007)
  • Died: Mohiuddin Qadri Zore, Indian Urdu poet, literary critic and historian, on his 57th birthday; and Warren Austin, 85, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (1946–53), and U.S. Senator for Vermont (1931–46)

December 26, 1962 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • A boundary treaty was signed by the People's Republics of Mongolia and China, setting out the border along 26 disputed sections.[60]
  • Jamaica signed up to the ILO's Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention.
  • Dinmukhamed Konayev became the Premier head of government of the Kazakh SSR (Chairman of the Council of Ministers) for the second time, after being removed from the more powerful job as First Secretary of the Communist Party's Kazakh section.
  • Died: Calcedonio Di Pisa, 31, Sicilian mafioso, was murdered on the Piazza Principe di Camporeale in Palermo while walking to a tobacco kiosk. Three men were reported to have shot him with a sawn-off shotgun and a revolver, but bystanders in the square, when questioned by the police, could not recall hearing any shots.[61]

December 27, 1962 (Thursday)[edit]

December 28, 1962 (Friday)[edit]

  • U.S. President Kennedy replied to Soviet Premier Khrushchev's December 19 letter, rejecting the idea of no more than three on-site inspections of nuclear facilities each year. Khrushchev would say later that "he had been led to believe", by negotiator Arthur Dean, that the U.S. would settle for three or four per year, while Kennedy said that Dean had mentioned between 8 and 10.[45] No inspections would take place at all until 1988.
  • Died: Kathleen Clifford, 75, American stage and screen actress

December 29, 1962 (Saturday)[edit]

December 30, 1962 (Sunday)[edit]

December 31, 1962 (Monday)[edit]

  • The body of 23-year-old Patricia Bissette was found in her apartment. She was the seventh victim of Albert DeSalvo, the "Boston Strangler". DeSalvo would later confess that he had gotten the name of Bissette's roommate from the mailbox and had posed as the roommate's friend to gain entry.[73]
  • The UK airline Tradair became a subsidiary of Channel Airways.


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