The song "Once Upon A Time" was from a 1960s Broadway musical titled "All American" and was composed by Charles Strouse with lyrics by Lee Adams. This song was sung by many artists, including Tony Bennett. Just the thought of the lyrics can take you back to those early '60s. All of us who lived and loved those times, as we did in our youthful years, can remember our personal dreams, aspirations and ambitions. Some came true, while others did not. As we recall those years of laughter and sometime disappointment, here are a few reminders.
1960 was quite a year, as I recall. It was a year when a pilot of our U-2 spy plane, Francis Gary Powers, was shot down by the Soviets and captured. The birth control pill was also approved for market and ready to go. A young Roman Catholic senator from Massachusetts named John F. Kennedy became president of our country. Computers and their capabilities, in a year when only 2000 were in use, were thoroughly discussed as perhaps an eventual tool to cut the work force. Everyone seemed to be humming Percy Faith's "A Theme from a Summer Place," or Roy Orbison's "Only The Lonely" and doing "The Twist" with Chubby Checker. In the movie theaters, Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" was all the talk.
In basketball, the Lakers moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. In football, which was pre-Super Bowl times, the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Green Bay Packers for the NFL title. The past hopeless and hapless Pittsburgh Pirates took on the form of David slaying the mighty Goliath, the New York Yankees, with a dramatic walk-off home run off the bat of Bill Mazeroski in the ninth inning of the seventh game of the World Series.
Back to that old song with lyrics, "How we always laughed as though tomorrow wasn't there. We were young and didn't have a care. Where did it go?"
In his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 1961, President Kennedy inspired the country with his "Ask what you can do for your country" speech. Also starting in the year 1961, 400 Green Berets were sent to Vietnam. The Bay of Pigs invasion was a disastrous flop.
In sports in 1961, Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 162 games. In basketball, the Boston Celtics defeated the St. Louis Hawks for The NBA championship. In baseball, the New York Yankees beat the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series, and in football, the Packers defeated the New York Giants for the NFL title.
In the movie theaters it was "West Side Story," "The Guns of Navarone," "The Hustler" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" that were getting the most attention. "Dr. Kildare" was catching on TV. Some of the songs we loved to hear in 1961 were "Michael" by The Highwaymen, "I Fall to Pieces" by Patsy Cline, "Crying" by Roy Orbison, "Raindrops" by Dee Clark, "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" by the Shirelles.
In 1962, astronaut John Glenn held center stage, making the first orbital flight on Feb. 20 aboard his spacecraft Friendship 7. Jackie Kennedy gave a tour of the White House. Wilt Chamberlain actually scored 100 points in one game. Movie actress Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her apartment. The first television signals from a satellite became a reality. The Cuban Missile Crisis tested the will of a new president.
Movie goers were flocking to see "Lawrence of Arabia, "Dr. No," "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Days of Wine and Roses."
In sports, the Celtics defeated the Lakers for the NBA title. It was the Yankees defeating the Giants in the World Series. And again, the Packers defeated the Giants for the NFL title.
The songs that were ringing in our ears in 1962 were "The Peppermint Twist" by Joey Dee and The Starlighters, "The Loco-Motion" by Little Eva, "Breaking Up is Hard To Do" by Neil Sedaka, the "Duke of Earl" by Gene Chandler and "Palisades Park" by Freddy Cannon. Do you remember?
"Once Upon A Time the world was sweeter than we knew. Everything was ours, how happy we were then. But some how once upon a time never comes again."