Category Archives: 1960s

The Mike Montego Series Grows!

Kona Gold Front Cover

I’m pleased to announced the Mike Montego series is about to expand to a half dozen titles.

Book Six, KONA GOLD, is nearly ready to go. If you have a soft spot for the Sixties, island culture, and fast-paced detective fiction, then I suspect you’re going to like KONA GOLD.

(Click here for more info).

Let me know if you’d like to know more about this new title, or any of the other Montego novels.

52 Years Ago…


What happened fifty two years ago in May, 1962…


May 1st… The Dayton Hudson Corporation opened the first of its TARGET discount stores in the St. Paul suburb of Roseville, Minnesota.

… The National Bowling League rolled its last game, with the Detroit Thunderbirds defeating the Twin Cities Skippers in three straight matches.


May 4th… Dr. Masaki Watanabe of Japan performed the very first arthroscopic surgery to repair a meniscus tear, a common injury for athletes. The patient, a 17-year-old basketball player who returned to playing six weeks later.


May 5th… Twelve East Germans escaped through a tunnel under the Berlin Wall.


May 6th… The USS Ethan Allen fired an armed Polaris A-2 ballistic missile, causing the first nuclear explosion from a ship. It occurred on Christmas Island, 1,200 miles from the launch site.


May 7th… Three officials of the Central Intelligence Agency met with U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and implored him to stop investigation of Mafia crime boss Sam Giancana. For the first time, the CIA revealed that it had offered $150,000 to several organized criminals to carry out a “hit” against Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The secret meeting would become public in 1975, with the release of the Rockefeller Commission’s report on an investigation of the CIA.

… Detroit became the first city in the United States to use traffic cameras and electronic signs to regulate the flow of traffic. The pilot program began with 14 television cameras along a 3.2-mile stretch of the John C. Lodge Freeway, between the Davison Expressway and Interstate 94.


May 9th… The Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane helicopter, capable of lifting 20,000 pounds (over 9,000 kg), made its first flight.


… The Beatles signed their first recording contract, with Parlophone, after Brian Epstein persuaded George Martin to sign them, sight unseen.

… At the request of the U.S. Department of State, the Immigration and Naturalization Service agreed to issue a United States visa to Marina Oswald so that her husband Lee Harvey Oswald could return to the U.S.


May 11th… In accepting the Sylvanus Thayer Award, retired General Douglas MacArthur delivered his memorable “Duty, Honor, Country” speech to West Point cadets. The 82-year-old MacArthur delivered the 30-minute address from memory and without notes, and a recording of the remarks would be released as a record album later.


May 12th…  Archie Moore gave up his world light heavyweight boxing title to move up to the heavyweight class. His successor was Harold Johnson.

… Born: Emilio Estévez, American actor, to Martin and Janet Sheen, in Staten Island, New York.


May 14th…  Prince Juan Carlos of Spain married Princess Sophie of Greece in Athens. The two would become King and Queen when the monarchy was restored in Spain in 1975.


May 15th…  American reconnaissance satellite FTV-1126 was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base.


May 16th… Thalidomide was withdrawn from sale in Japan, bringing an end to the worldwide distribution of the morning sickness drug that had caused birth defects. Dainippon Pharmaceutical halted further shipments; about 1,200 “thalidomide babies” were born in Japan.

… Plácido Domingo played the role of Maurizio in Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur for the first time, at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City.


May 18th…  Al Oerter became the first person to throw the discus more than 200 feet, setting a mark of 61.10 m (200’5″) at Los Angeles.


May 19th…  Marilyn Monroe made her last significant public appearance, singing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” at a birthday party for President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden. The event was part of a fundraiser to pay off the Democratic Party’s four million-dollar debt remaining from Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign. Monroe was stitched into a $12,000 dress “made of nothing but beads,” and wore nothing underneath as she appeared at the request of Peter Lawford; President Kennedy thanked her afterward, joking, “I can now retire from politics after having had ‘Happy Birthday’ sung to me in such a sweet, wholesome way.”


May 21st… Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev accepted the recommendation from his Defense Council to place nuclear missiles in Cuba.


May 22nd… Continental Airlines Flight 11 crashed on a farm near Unionville, Missouri, after the in-flight detonation of a bomb near the rear lavatory. All 45 passengers and crew on the Boeing 707 jet flight from Chicago to Kansas City, were killed. Contact was lost at 9:15 pm and the plane had disappeared from radar at 9:40 after leaving behind a 60-mile line of debris, including a briefcase with the initials “T.G.D.”; Thomas G. Doty, one of the passengers, who had been on his way to Kansas City to face criminal charges for armed robbery, had taken out $300,000 in insurance payable to his wife, and had bought sticks of dynamite at a hardware store, before carrying out the murder-suicide.


May 23rd…  The first successful reattachment (replantation) of a severed limb was accomplished by Dr. Ronald A. Malt at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Everett Knowles, a 12-year-old boy, had had his right arm severed at the shoulder by a freight train. A year after the limb was saved, Everett could move all five fingers and bend his wrist, and by 1965, he was again playing baseball and tennis.


May 24th… Project Mercury: Scott Carpenter orbited the Earth three times in the Aurora 7 space capsule, then splashed down 250 miles off course. He was located and rescued by the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid. Carpenter’s rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 7:45 am local time, went around the Earth three times, then began its return at 1:30. Instead of being tilted 34° toward the horizon, the capsule was inclined at 25° and overshot its mark, landing at 1:41 pm. Carpenter deployed a rubber raft and stayed afloat for another three hours before being spotted.

… The U.S. Embassy in Moscow renewed the passport of Lee Harvey Oswald and approved the entry of his wife and daughter into the United States.


May 31st… Died: Adolf Eichmann, 56, German Nazi and SS Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel) and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust, was hanged for his role in the extermination of 6,000,000 European Jews. The first execution in the history of modern Israel took place at 11:58 pm local time “on an improvised scaffold in a third story storeroom” at the Ramleh prison near Tel Aviv. The body was cremated soon afterward and Eichmann’s ashes scattered over the Mediterranean Sea.


And that’s the way it was, May, 52 years ago. And now for a video treat, here’s a young comedian by the name of Woody Allen, appearing on the popular American TV show, What’s My Line?


Tony Bennett & Dave Brubeck, live in Washington, 1962

I had an opportunity to meet Tony Bennett once at Sandpoint, Idaho, during the summer festival there. I went to Sacramento College to see and listen to Dave Brubeck and Cal Tjader in the mid-fifties. So of course this article I’m re-posting by Charles Gans of the Associated Press resonated with me.


Tony Bennet & Dave Brubeck, together in Washington
Tony Bennett & Dave Brubeck, together in Washington

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 11:00 AM CDT

Long lost Bennett-Brubeck recording discovered

by Charles J. Gans

NEW YORK (AP) — Tony Bennett never forgot the first time he performed with Dave Brubeck more than half a century ago. But the tape of that memorable collaboration between two American jazz masters lay forgotten in a record label’s vaults until its discovery by an archivist just weeks after Brubeck’s death in December, and it’s just been released as “Bennett/Brubeck: The White House Sessions, Live 1962.”

President John F. Kennedy’s White House made this jazz summit possible when it booked Brubeck and Bennett to perform at a concert on Aug. 28, 1962, for college-age summer interns. The crowd was so big that the concert had to be moved from the Rose Garden to an open-air theater at the base of the Washington Monument.

After Brubeck and Bennett each performed with their bands, the pianist came back on stage with his drummer Joe Morello and bassist Eugene Wright to accompany the singer on four encore numbers: “We haven’t rehearsed this, so lots of luck, folks,” Bennett joked with the audience.

“It was very spontaneous — a real jam session, where you really don’t plan what you’re going to sing or how you’re going to play it,” said Bennett, who had never previously performed with his Columbia Records label-mate. “I just gave Dave the key and the song, and we just went for it. The audience went crazy, and you can hear the reaction on the record.”

Columbia Records had sent its mobile recording unit to tape the concert. But only one song, their version of “That Old Black Magic,” surfaced years later on several compilation albums. The nearly one-hour tape had been mislabeled as “American Jazz Concert” with no reference to the two jazz legends and ended up lost in a section of the massive Sony Music Entertainment archives mostly devoted to classical music recordings.

Matt Kelly, director of the archives, was doing routine research last year into Columbia recording sessions done 50 years ago when he pieced together the paper trail that would lead to the tape’s discovery. He cross-referenced incomplete logbook entries for an Aug. 28, 1962, live recording in Washington, which didn’t list the performers’ names, and separate listings for Bennett and Brubeck sessions that same day. After Brubeck’s death at age 91 on Dec. 5, Bennett’s camp prodded Sony to see if a tape of the Washington concert existed and it was quickly located.

“I was shocked they even had it,” Bennett said in a telephone interview.

John Jackson, Sony Legacy’s vice president of A&R and Content, was surprised to find the tape in pristine condition and decided it had to be released.

“Both Tony and Dave are absolutely at the top of their game,” Jackson said. “It’s the only time they were recorded performing together and to have them on tape together was just too good to be true.”

Brubeck’s classic quartet — with alto saxophonist Paul Desmond — begins the set by playing the odd-metered “Take Five” at a faster tempo than on their groundbreaking 1959 album “Time Out,” which the year before had peaked at No. 2 on the pop album charts. The rest of the set includes Brubeck compositions inspired by the rhythms of countries where he had performed — “Nomad” (Afghanistan), “Thank You (Dziekuje)” (Poland) and “Castilian Blues” (Spain).

The smooth-voiced Bennett, accompanied by pianist Ralph Sharon’s trio, sings Broadway tunes such as “Just In Time” and “Small World” in his set, which closes with a song that had begun climbing the pop singles chart a few weeks earlier — “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.”

Their joint performance offers a rare chance to hear Brubeck perform Great American Songbook standards with a top-flight jazz singer and Bennett unleash his jazz chops often kept in check on his more pop-oriented Columbia recordings.

They begin their impromptu performance with a brisk “Lullaby of Broadway” in which Bennett unexpectedly changes the lyrics to “Come along and listen to the lullaby of … Dave Brubeck” and the pianist quickly jumps into his solo. On “Chicago (That Toddlin’ Town),” Brubeck’s solo gets somewhat funky. Bennett starts off singing “There Will Never Be Another You” as a slow ballad, but suddenly shifts to a fast tempo displaying some daring jazz phrasing, accompanied by Brubeck’s rapid-fire bop lines.

“It was a matter of listening to one another and we turned each other on,” Bennett said. “It’s always a joy to perform with people that you’ve admired your whole life.”

They didn’t perform together again until the 2009 Newport Jazz Festival when Brubeck sat in with Bennett to reprise “That Old Black Magic” — an encounter encouraged by jazz buff Clint Eastwood, who was producing a Brubeck documentary. At the time, Brubeck expressed his admiration for Bennett.

“Tony has such great command, control and power that it’s a thrill to hear him really start to belt it out,” Brubeck told the AP. “It’s a wonderful experience when somebody has all that power.”

His 1962 performance inspired Bennett to work with other jazz pianists. Bennett says he met Bill Evans for the first time at that Washington concert and they would record two albums in the 1970s that rank among the best of the singer’s career. He recently recorded an album of Jerome Kern tunes with husband-and-wife jazz pianists Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes for later release.

Bennett, who will celebrate his 87th birthday in August with a Hollywood Bowl concert, is also planning to record a jazz CD with Lady Gaga later this year. He was impressed by her performance of “The Lady Is a Tramp” on his Grammy-winning 2011 “Duets II” CD.

“We just hit it off and I realized, ‘Oh, my God, this woman’s a really great jazz singer,’” Bennett said. “She’s going to surprise everybody as to how well she’s going to sing on this record.”

Here’s That Old Black Magic, and There Will Never Be Another You from those historic sessions — enjoy!