Let us praise 1962

1962 marked the debut of some notable pop culture icons - the first album of singer Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol's Campbells' Soup can, and the first James Bond film, "Dr. No."

There are years - and then there's THE year, 1962. An appreciation now from Bill Flanagan of MTV:

1962 was fifty years ago - which seems about right, if you think of the Cuban Missile Crisis, John Glenn orbiting the Earth, and James Meredith desegregating Ole Miss. Those are great events that have been in the history books for decades.

What's hard to believe is how many of the cultural institutions that kicked off in 1962 are still with us today.

1962 was the year the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and the Beach Boys released their first records. 1962 was the year of the first Wal-Mart and the first K-Mart. It was the year the Rolling Stones played their first shows, that Warhol painted his Campbell's Soup can, and that Johnny Carson took over "The Tonight Show."

Johnny's gone, but every late night talk show is still copying his format and his style.

Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" was published in '62 - the book that kicked off the modern environmental movement.

You know who else premiered in 1962? James Bond, 007. Talk about durable! Bond has outlasted the Soviet Union and he's still beating up bad guys and sipping martinis.

Think about how long 50 years is! Can we imagine that in the year 2062 people will still be watching "The Voice," buying Bruno Mars records, and going to the movies to watch the latest installment of "The Hunger Games"?

Stranger things have happened!

Here's one: 1962 was the year Stan Lee and Steve Ditko launched Spider-Man. Now the wall-crawler is a Broadway musical, a big budget movie series, AND a theme park ride. I didn't buy "Spider-Man" No. 1 because I thought it looked weird. My friend Eric Eliason did, and by the time I realized my mistake he refused to sell me his copy - even when I offered him a whole dollar for it - 8.5 times the cover price!

Eric, wherever you are, I hope you held onto that comic book!

1962 was also the year the Supreme Court banned prayer in public schools. All things considered, I think it was a good idea. I always felt bad for the Jewish kids when we said the "Our Father," and there was a weird tension after "deliver us from evil" when the Catholic kids would say "Amen," while the Protestant kids kept going with "the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever." It raised a lot of theological issues with which 7-year-olds were unprepared to deal.

Not that the Supreme Court ruling actually ended prayer in schools. Speaking for myself, I continued to pray for the remainder of my school years - whenever there was a test in Biology, Algebra, Trigonometry, or on the Periodic Table.

The only thing the Supreme Court stopped was praying out loud.

Those of us who were kids in 1962, have had James Bond, Spider-Man, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones as lifelong companions. They lasted so long because nobody else was ever able to knock them off.

As was once said of 007, nobody did it better.