Looking Back! 1963

Gary: “This would be a more difficult year for me, especially early in the year.  My first engagement had dissolved late in 1962.  It presented problems because we both worked at the same company, Texaco Canada. 

Now as usual, most things dealing with the opposite sex I kinda did badly.  First off, we got engaged at a Company Dance (not a good move) and our engagement was published in the quarterly Company Magazine (again, not smart); then when the engagement became totally unglued, well to say the least, it was embarrassing and very uncomfortable – so much so that I would change jobs.

Looking Back
This would be a great year for Live Music in Toronto. The clubs were alive.  I would leave the Data Processing Field inside and would try Sales of Computer related products.  This would be a totally new venture with absolutely no training.  I joined a small Company, Modern Business Methods, which promised sales training.  On my first day at the new company, the products were explained, territories defined and I was kicked out the door the next day to make it on my own.  Now to this day I firmly believed it rained steady for three weeks.  I was depressed, missed my old job, but purely by accident (a large order to Shell Oil) I out sold all of the other salespeople for the month and my new direction for the next 38 years was defined.
I was single again, so in the fall of 1963, I traded in my one year old Corvair Monza and purchased a 1964 Corvair Spyder Convertible and joined the Corvair Owners Club.
Exactly as pictured!

Now while all this was happening to me,   Russ was still furthering his career in the Computer World at Zurich Insurance, but at night on weekends he was blowing his horn at the Bluenote and starting to play with “The Regents”.

1963: The Regents (Russ, top left)

I would like to add this; even though in 1963 I did not know “Misty”, through the blog she has become a friend.  If you looked South and East a bit, Misty, who was 20 at the time (yes, I do know her real name) was doing the Twist and was one of the Peppermints at New York City’s  famous “Peppermint Lounge”.  Misty is the second dancer from the right in the picture.

1963: The Peppermints (Misty, 2nd right)

  She was there during the days of the “Peppermint Twist” and knew Joey Dee and Felix Cavaliere.

Joey Dee and The Starliters

Now, while Toronto’s Bluenote was going strong, a new band called Richie Knight and the Mid-Knights had a great new sound and record zooming up the charts called “Charlena”.


Things I think I remember from 1963:

The Soviets put the first woman into space (something a lot of men have been trying to figure out how to accomplish for many years) 
Alcatraz is closed 

Then of course the next two items, everyone on the planet remembers exactly where they were at the time…

1. President John Fitzgerald Kenndy is assassinated in Dallas Texas November 22, 1963

2. Jack Ruby shoots Lee Harvey Oswald  on National Television.  It is an embarrassment for the United States and especially the Dallas Police Force. 



The L.A. Dodgers win the World series, 4 – 0 over the N.Y. Yankees

NFL: Chicago Bears beat NY Giants 14-10

AFL: San Diego Chargers beat the “Boston Patriots” 51-10

NHL: Yes my Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings 4 to 1 and win the Stanley Cup.


On the big screen in 1963:

Best Actor / Sidney Poitier / Lilies of the Field / 

Best Actress / Patricia Neal / Hud 

Patricia Neal and Paul Newman in Hud

Best Picture / Tom Jones 


As usual, I did not agree with Hollywood’ choice (did not like Tom Jones) So these are my favourite’s from 1963:

The Birds 

The Birds - Tippi Hedren center



Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor - Cleopatra

The Great Escape

The Pink Panther 

Peter Sellers - The Pink Panther

From Russia with Love 


And new on the small screen in 1963:

Burke’s Law / 
The Fugitive /  

Hootenanny /

Nancy Ames - Hootenanny

Let’s Make a Deal /  .
Monty Hall was from Winnipeg Manitoba
My Favourite Martian /

Petticoat Junction / 

Jeannine Riley (top), Linda Kaye, Edgar Buchanan, Bea Benaderet and Pat Woodell (bottom row, from left)


Mr. Novak / 

James Franciscus


The Cars of 1963: 

Downsizing did not work, the horsepower revolution is just starting, and it would grow phenomenally until 1971.  Although Preston Tucker (the Tucker Torpedo) did experiment with a HEMI in 1947, I still think that Chrysler gets the nod for putting the HEMI in production in 1952.  The vehicle I am driving today has a 5.7 litre HEMI, fantastic engine.  I did get into and loved the “Muscle Car Revolution”.

Chrysler Turbine (experimental) /

Chrysler introduces the infamous 426 HEMI-cid with 425hp (which would rule the drag strips for years to come) 

Dodge 426 Hemi Engine w Dual Quads on Runner Manifold

Ford Thunderbird Roadster / 
Ford Fairlane 500 Sports Coupe / 
Ford introduces it’s 427-cid with 425hp
Buick Riviera (with a 435 cubic inch 340 hp engine) / 
The New Corvette “Stingray” /
The Corvette’s 327 is now developing 360hp. Look out here we come!
Pontiac Bonneville / 
Pontiac’s top engine was 421-cid developing 410 hp, game on.
Studebaker Avanti / 
The Avanti’s aging 289 got a supercharger and it did 0-60 in 7.3 seconds.
Volvo P1800 / 


Music in 1963: 

The white Pop Music is still being pushed by the record companies, but there are cracks in their dikes.  Soul Music is picking up speed, Phil Spector is going strong, Folk Music has a strong following a sign of things to come. 

In England a TV Show like Bandstand premiers called “Ready, Steady, Go” and a group called “the Beatles” would have four singles on the British Hit Parade, but at the end of the year “I Want To Hold Your Hand” would be released in North America.

Some of my favourites of 1963:

Dance with the Guitar Man (end of 1962) / Boss Guitar / Duane Eddy 
Da Doo Ron Ron / Then He Kissed Me / The Crystals (with La La Brooks)
Rhythm of the Rain / The Cascades 
Walk Right In / The Rooftop Singers 
You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me / The Miracles 
End of the World / Skeeter Davis
The Gypsy Cried / Two Faces Have I / Lou Christie 

Lou Christie

Walk Like a Man / Stay / The Four Seasons 
He’s So Fine / One Fine Day / The Chiffons 
South Street / Not Me / The Orlons 
Puff the Magic Dragon / Blowin’ in the Wind (this song written by Bob Dylan defined our generation) / Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright / Peter Paul & Mary 
Surfin’ USA (a direct copy of Chuck Berry’s Sweet Little Sixteen) / Surfer Girl / Little Deuce Coupe / In my Room / The Beach Boys 
Twenty Miles / Chubby Checker 
Just One Look / Doris Troy 
Little Town Flirt / Del Shannon 

Del Shannon April1963 London

Surf City / Jan & Dean 
Denise / Randy & the Rainbows 
Fingertips Pt 2 / (Little) Stevie Wonder 
Cry Baby / Garnett Mimms & the Enchanters 
Sugar Shack / Daisy Petal Pickin’ /Jimmy Gilmer & the Fireballs 
Can I get a Witness / Marvin Gaye 
Louie Louie / The Kingsmen 
Walkin’ The Dog / Rufus Thomas 
The Nitty Gritty / Shirley Ellis 
Baby Work Out / Jackie Wilson 
Hey Little Cobra / The Rip Chords (Bruce Johnson of the Beach Boys and Terry Melcher, Doris Day’s Son) 
Instrumental music was becoming a thing of the past, but there were two great ones in 1963…
Memphis / Lonnie Mack 
Wipe Out / The Surfaris 



4 responses to “Looking Back! 1963

  1. Wow, what a lotta rememberin’
    In 1963, would be married for 3 years come October, had a two year old, and one sweet weiner dog, Teena, (and of course, a husband, Chuck)
    Bought my first car in March of ’60………oh go on get excited! It was a Nash Metropolitan……white and coral (okay pink)……..drove it up to Wasaga Beach one weekend with three of my gal-pals…..it rained, the car leaked, but we made it there and back! (although our feet were dampish)
    Love your posts Gary……….don’t stop! Wherever you are and whatever you are doing!!

  2. Great job Gary!! I look forward to your posts. I enjoy it all music, info, pictures etc. Sure does bring back alot of memories (mostly good ones 🙂 Can’t wait for 1964….lol …..I spend alot of time reading and listening to all the stuff, I can imagine how long it must take you to put it all together…much appreciated and enjoyed!!!

    • Glad you are enjoying them. You really do not want to know the amount of time I have put into this series, 100’s of hours. I will try and complete up to and including 1967 (when I actually got married), but I am going to Texas to play a little Golf for a month, so I will finish the remainder when I come back in April.

  3. Gary,

    Rereading this, it’s just great. Love it all…
    Take care,

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