september 1962

We choose to go to the moon in this decade, not because that will be easy, but because it will be hard…

Men go by, ideas stay. Moral efforts stay and will continue to walk on the legs of other men.

On May 23rd 1992,  judge and prosecuting magistrate Giovanni Falcone, who had fought against Mafia all his life, was travelling with his security detail on the A29 coastal motorway to get from Palermo’s airport to his home. In retaliation for all of his life’s work and in particular for the Maxi-Trial who had convicted hundreds of Mafia affiliates and judicially proven Mafia’s existence, a half-ton of explosives was placed in a culvert under the motorway, near the town of Capaci and it was set off when the three cars with Falcone and his security detail were  travelling by. The blast killed Falcone, his wife, and the three men in the first car of his security detail. Only four survived. The explosion was so powerful it registered on local earthquake monitors.

Giovanni Falcone [ Palermo - May 18, 1939 / Capaci - May 23, 1992 ]

Francesca Morvillo  [ Palermo - December 14, 1945 / Palermo - May 23 1992 ]

 Vito Schifani  [ Palermo - February 23, 1965 / Capaci - May 23, 1992 ]

Rocco Dicillo [ Triggiano - April 13,1962 / Capaci - May 23, 1992]

Antonio Montinaro [ Calimera - September 8, 1962 / Capaci - May 23, 1992 ]

 Paolo Capuzza, Angelo Corbo, Gaspare Cervello,Giuseppe Costanza

Huge public outrage (especially against politicians) and deep mourning followed the judge’s death and thousands gathered at the funerals which were broadcast on national television. 53 days later Falcone’s close friend and collaborator, Judge Paolo Borsellino, and five men of his security guide, were killed in a similar bomb attack in Palermo.

Mafia is not invincible; it’s a human reality and as everything which is human it has a beginning and it will also have and end. However, we must realize that we can win not by requesting defenceless citizens to act as heroes, but by engaging every best institutional force in this battle. 

Giovanni Falcone

“Back in 1962, on the night Marilyn died, to the left of the bed on which her body was discovered there sat a chest-of-drawers, and in that bureau was found a plain manila envelope, inside which there were some photographs of what might be called her children; in fact, these were picture of her stepchildren. Images of Joe DiMaggio Jr., images of Jane and Bobby Miller, the children to whom Marilyn had been a stepmother during her lifetime. The only other image in that envelope was a picture of Jimmy Haspiel, ‘For the one and only Jimmy…Love you, Marilyn.’ I’ll just leave it there.

And while I will not say how this was accomplished, I can tell you that there is a snapshot of Marilyn and myself, a small message from me to her written on the back, now in the crypt with her remains.

Little more than a month after Marilyn died, on September 8th, 1962, I hosted a ‘Tribute to Marilyn’ night at my then home on West 73rd Street, an evening that was attended by, among others, the Monroe Six, and by Paula and Lee Strasberg. I showed those gathered together there my home movies of Marilyn, we all looked over the hundreds of candid snapshots that we had taken over the years, and we reminisced long into the night about our 'Mazzie’. Throughout the evening, Lee remained totally silent, conspicuously so, and I was quietly dismayed by this. But late on, at the door, Lee said to me about the evening now ending, 'A lot of love went into that, Jim.’ What neither of us knew in that moment was that these decades later the love is yet there, firmly, securely in place, eternal.

'I remember when you were seventeen, Jimmy.’ Well, dear Marilyn, I still remember that first night at the St. Regis, when you were twenty-eight, and for much of the world, you will always be that age, ever beautiful, ever wistful, ever the beacon of light so wonderfully realized out of the quiet dreams of a child known as Norma Jeane.“ - James Haspiel

This thing that you have chosen is not called freedom. It is a kind of simplification and ease. It does not suit your kind. Your words deserve to be remembered. Don’t try to write too much poetry. Don’t be deceived by excitement and intensity. Let everything subside in your mind. Let everything subside to such a degree that you’d think they had never happened at all. As much as you can, look and feel and understand the rhythm of this life.
—  Forugh Farrokhzad, from a letter to Ahmad Reza Ahmadi written c. September 1962

On this day in music history: October 20, 1962 - “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written by Bobby Pickett and Leonard Capizzi, it is the biggest hit for the singer and songwriter from Somerville, MA. The novelty classic is recorded in the garage studio of producer/label owner Gary S. Paxton, and also features musician Leon Russell on piano. The record is rejected by several labels before Paxton works out a distribution deal with London Records and releases it on his own Garpax label. “Monster Mash” is an immediate hit upon its release. Entering the Hot 100 at #72 on September 8, 1962, it rockets to the top of the chart just six weeks later. On its initial release in the UK, the BBC bans the record from radio and television airplay for being “too morbid”. The ban is lifted in that country when the single is reissued in 1973. “Mash” becomes a belated smash peaking at #3 on the UK singles chart. “Monster Mash” makes chart history as the only single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 three separate times. After its first run in 1962, it peaks at #91 in September of 1970. The single actually makes the top ten a second time, peaking at #10 in August of 1973. “Monster Mash” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.