Today in 1969 – Paging Through Newsweek, April 7, 1969

Dwight D Eisenhower 1890-1969 Newsweek

The late President Dwight D. Eisenhower is featured on the April 7, 1969 cover of Newsweek. Ike passed away on March 28, so that gives a pretty good general idea of Newsweek’s lead time.

Dwight D Eisenhower 1890-1969 Newsweek
Eisenhower on the cover, 1890-1969

I don’t know if it’s because of Eisenhower’s death or a more general response to the times, but I found this issue of Newsweek heavily nostalgic. By this I mean that they were looking back fondly on the mid-Twentieth Century in 1969. And paging through thirty years after the cover date I’m fascinated by the idea that America then, more specifically Newsweek’s editorial team which represents at least a portion of its large number of subscribers, was looking back on fonder times.

It starts even before we reach the cover story with a small piece titled “The Birth of Rock.” Granted, it’s under the heading Where Are They Now? but the text of the article clearly describes a retro 50’s affinity from Bill Haley in 1969. The “Rock Around the Clock” singer was 42 years old in ’69 and says of his fans, “It’s the same kids. But then they weren’t old enough to get into nightclubs. So now that they are, they want to hear what they liked then.

Haley hasn’t completely frozen himself in time. Along with what remains of His Comets Haley has released a country and western record and keeps an appearance similar to that of his fans–clean shaven with his curly hair cut short. Of the comeback Newsweek writes “nostalgic 30-year-olds are rocking to the group’s sound in nightclubs across the country, trying to recapture the buoyant rhythms of their youth.”

Bill Haley and the Comets
Bill Haley and His Comets back in the 50's

Later inside the same issue under the heading Morals, an article begins “A rock singing group called “The Doors” opened in Miami one evening early last month, and in the course of the performance … a 24-year-old singer named Jim Morrison comported himself as follows … Morrison did lewdly and lasciviously expose his–”

We’ll stop there, I think you know what comes next. After all of the details Newsweek goes on to lament the permissiveness of society in general and follows up The Doors section with a write-up of the controversial new play Che, whose entire cast would be hauled into court on charges of “consensual sodomy, public rudeness and obscenity.”

After that you can almost hear Bill Haley sigh and wish for simpler times while reading the article in tribute to Eisenhower, which opens:

He seemed a figure of a simpler, tidier past-a past now so distant in remembrance that it was hard to believe he had departed the White House only eight years ago. Dwight David Eisenhower’s America was a place where a war could be called a crusade and a smile could be an act of public policy, where the forces of darkness were lodged immutably in the Kremlin and a domestic demagogue as uncivil as Joe McCarthy could simply be ignored into oblivion.

Of the times which mourns Eisenhower Newsweek comments that it is “a smaller, more dangerous and far less innocent place, striving incredibly for the moon yet so constricted that no guerrilla raid was too remote and no border fight too petty to set shivers running around the latitudes.”

President Eisenhower
President Eisenhower as he's better remembered, with a smile

Despite all this nostalgia it is actually the Nixon Administration which is looking forward. In this case planning ahead to the end of their second term by assigning Oklahoma football coach Bud Wilkinson to start getting things ready for the bicentennial celebration to be had in ’76.

Back in 1969 though, Nixon is just over two months in office and trying to skate through his first 100 days without addressing the rising battlefield deaths in Vietnam. Nixon, in fact, had hoped for a six month grace period, but the early criticism caused him to address the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington and hint that secret negotiations with North Vietnamese officials had begun.

Pan Am ad Tells You to Get Away for April 15
April 15 Is a Nice Day to Go Somewhere - from Pan Am

Chaos reigns in the heavyweight division in boxing where WBA champ Jimmy Ellis is kept from the best competition and a young “white hope,” Jerry Quarry hopes to do battle with Joe Frazier. But Ali looms with the potential of righting the entire division. It’s expected that Frazier will take care of Quarry and by that time Ali will be reinstated to fight Frazier later in ’69. In Newsweek’s words, “Ali seems to have a real chance to escape jail and return to action…”

Another look back to the past in the Business section where Newsweek revisits the beginnings of Air Mail in 1918, when the U.S. Post Office launched regular service between New York and Washington. The first flier of that route crashed and the air mail actually reached New York by train. Very quickly though the service grew and airmail was contracted out to private aviator firms, led by Henry Ford’s five-monoplane line.

An early shot of a plane being loaded with mail
An early shot of a plane being loaded with mail

But as time went by, the revered names vanished along with the silk scarves, skull-tight helmets and goggles. In their place appeared the massive and impersonal commercial airlines, which now handle 80 per cent of all first-class letter mail in the U.S. (whether it’s marked airmail or not).

But the Post Office is bringing back the small planes with 35 air-taxi companies flying mail over 151 routes inside the continental U.S., with another 60 routes to be added in June 1969.

The routine of a typical pilot working for the Post Office, Don Bookout, is described:

…takes off every night, except Saturday, at 7 from the copper-mining t0wn of Ely, Nev. (population: 7,250) with 600-odd pounds of mail. He flies his twin-engined Piper Aztec to Elko, Nev., 118 miles away, pauses there for ten minutes to unload and load mail, then takes off again on instruments for Reno. There he switches to a larger place, a DeHavilland Dove, and takes off again, at 9:50 for the 113-mile flight over the snow-capped Sierra Nevada to Sacramento, Calif. He stops there for 45 minutes, then flies on to San Francisco with what has now become a load of 2,700 pounds of mail.

After retracing his course, Bookout returns to Ely at 6:20 am for breakfast. He’s paid a base salary of $850 per month plus a $250 monthly bonus for flying six days per week.

Finally, the obituary section notes the passing of B. Traven, or at least Traven Torsvan Croves, formerly Hal Croves, who may or may not have been writer B. Traven, best known as the author of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre which was made into the classic 1948 film by John Huston. Huston had thought Croves was Traven, as Croves was on location for filming of Treasure in 1947, but Croves was there as Craven’s agent. Wikipedia actually has a very detailed page with several of the B. Traven theories, check it out if this sparked your interest any.

1969 Honeywell Computer Ad
Honeywell Computer Ad

And that closes another old magazine back issue. I find the nostalgia of Newsweek during its more left-leaning Katherine Graham times interesting. On my page about the history of Newsweek I wrote, “Newsweek distinguished itself from Time during the 1960’s by appealing to younger readers through their presentation of the two big stories of the period: race relations and angst over Vietnam.” I suppose as a publication still interested in appealing to mainstream America, Newsweek remained far from revolutionary, but putting my hands-on this particular issue, my actual experience doesn’t jibe with my previous research. As we surely page through more issues of Newsweek in the future I’ll be curious to see if they also remember the past so fondly.

[phpbay]1969 newsweek|newsweek 1969, 12, 280, “”, “”, “”, 9[/phpbay]

Today in 1965 – Paging Through The Police Gazette, April 1965

Kim Novak Police Gazette 1965

Going to get a little more lurid today with a peek inside a magazine which ran for a long, long time. Founded in 1845 by George Wilkes, the National Police Gazette (U.S. version) was in publication through 1982, though it had evolved into something quite different along the way.

Kim Novak Police Gazette 1965
Front cover of The Police Gazette, April 1965, featuring Kim Novak

Originally aimed at the police and intended to help them identify criminals, the Police Gazette came under control of Richard Fox in 1877 and developed into a bar room and barbershop mainstay replete with sports, especially baseball and boxing, and sex, especially with photos of actresses and later film stars, and even burlesque performers.

An oversized publication printed on pink newsprint, I’ve had several issues from it’s hey day pass through here and realize excellent prices with cover features such as Christy Mathewson, John McGraw, Jack Dempsey, and even Louise Brooks.

Police Gazette 1916 Jess Willard cover
January 8, 1916 issue with Jess Willard on the cover

As a quick aside, one of the most collectible features of the Police Gazette were the large photographic Supplements they produced between 1901-1917. Our friends at Old Cardboard, the info-packed site for vintage baseball collectors, have a tidy informational page set up for the Gazette Supplements.

Larry Doyle 1916 Police Gazette Supplement
Top half of Gazette Supplement #2011, Larry Doyle, from 1916

So by the time we sit in our barber chair to read the April 1965 issue (hey, beats paying the 35 cent cover price!), what we have is a tabloid which heavily resembles a gossip magazine such as The National Enquirer.

1965 Police Gazette Reader at the Barber
A 1965 Reader Gets a Trim

We’re going to move through this issue of The Police Gazette pretty fast. I chose it because with April here, and the start of the baseball season oh so close, I’d like to page through several magazines this month that feature baseball in some way. This issue qualifies.

However we begin with period favorite Kim Novak, who graces the cover with the sinful headline “Why Six Men Couldn’t Keep Kim Novak Happy.” Yikes! But opening up the issue we see they’re talking about the six men involved in her life at different times: Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, Rafael Trujillo, Aly Khan, Richard Quine, and Mac Krim. Now the 31-year-old Novak has become involved with 42-year old British actor Richard Johnson. The Gazette takes the opportunity to show Kim in a loose-fitting top for her latest project “The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders.”

Kim Novak and her men
Kim Novak and her men

Gambling authority John Scarne asks “Is Gambling in Nevada Honest?” Basically Scarne’s answer is yes, except for some casinos on the outskirts of Vegas. He finds the most deceit in Blackjack where he spots cards peeled from everywhere but the top of the deck.

“The True Answers to the Joe Bananas Mystery” puts Joe Bonanno in Italy looking to expand mob ventures into Europe.

The Police Gazette during this period always tries to include one health scare article to get you upset and this issue it’s “Is YOUR Town a Cancer Hot-Spot?” George McGrath says yes if you live in Memphis because of the presence of the pesticide endrin in both the Mississippi River and the Memphis sewer system.

There’s an article about the first Medal of Honor winner in the Vietnam War, 30-year-old native of Saugerties, N.Y., Captain Roger Hugh Donlon, age 30, who was wounded four times.

Captain Roger Hugh Donlon
Captain Roger Hugh Donlon

“The Heavyweight Crown … Its Gold has Turned to Brass” rips the current state of boxing’s most followed division saying “these days you almost have to be some kind of bum or character to get a shot at the title!” It mocks champion Muhammad Ali, who they refer to as Muhammad “Hernia,” due to the injury which caused him to back out of a rematch with Sonny Liston.

Muhammad Ali Hernia
Muhammad "Hernia"

Speaking of boxing, the Police Gazette published their own boxing ratings, here are their top heavyweights this issue:

World Champion: Cassius Clay

  1. Sonny Liston
  2. George Chuvalo
  3. Floyd Patterson
  4. Karl Mildenburg
  5. Ernest Terrell
  6. Zora Folley
  7. Doug Jones
  8. Cleveland Williams
  9. Amos Lincoln
  10. Eddie Machen

The next page is pink, which is what The Police Gazette did to flash back to earlier times, in this case to “Joe Gans’ Bloodiest Victory,” which came when the referee stopped his pummeling of Young Griffo in the 8th round on July 10, 1900.

Joe Gans and Young Griffo
Joe Gans and Young Griffo

“The Key Men Who’ll Decide Baseball’s Pennants” is all about the idea of the what have you done for me lately mentality of the fans. It credits Babe Ruth as having said “A hero today and a bum tomorrow,” 30 years earlier after having a bad day and getting booed. Then it calls out the heroes of 1964 who they say must produce again in 1965:

Baseball players 1965 Police Gazette
Joe Torre - Lou Brock - Boog Powell - Willie Mays - Johnny Keane
  • Johnny Keane, who replaced Yogi Berra as manager of the Yankees despite Berra’s getting the Bombers to the World Series in his rookie outing as manager. The winner? Keane’s Cardinals.
  • Dean Chance is coming off a big year going 20-9 with a 1.65 ERA in ’64, “but Dean hasn’t let that record do the talking. He’s made the rounds of the winter banquet cirucit telling the world it hasn’t seen anything yet.”
  • Willie Mays and the Giants and have to play well under new manager Herman Franks to justify the firing the Alvin Dark.
  • Joe Torre hit .321 with 20 homers and 36 doubles in ’64, but “some experts say Joe won’t keep in condition and he has to prove them wrong.”
  • Oriole fans says they lost the pennant because Boog Powell wasn’t there, now Boog needs to live up to expectations.
  • Cardinal fans say Lou Brock was the main reason the Cards won it all in ’64, now he has to live up to those expectations once again.
  • Finally, Bo Belinsky broke curfew and got into so much trouble throughout the season that the Angels sent him down to Hawaii. Belinsky refused to report which led the Angels to deal him to the Phillies for ’65. He’s expected to win in Philadelphia.

There you have it, all the top stories inside The Police Gazette, April 1965.
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Today in 1857 – Paging Through Harper’s Monthly, March 1857

Front Cover March 1857

The March issue of Harper’s Monthly cost 25 cents in 1857. Harper’s had been around just under seven years at this point, it’s first issue dated June 1850 and including two stories by Charles Dickens. Harper’s was a hot seller despite the price as that first issue had a print run of 7,500 copies and they quickly moved to a circulation of over 50,000 within six months.

I thought it might be a good time for us to page through an issue together as we near the end of March, 152 years after the magazine I’m holding was originally published.

While the magazine is packed with features, like the heavily illustrated articles about the North Carolina Fisheries and Albany, New York as seen fifty years ago, as well as unillustrated accounts of Samuel Johnson (written by Thomas Babbington Macauley) and a story about the escape of Felice Orsini from an Austrian prison that was so exciting you’re going to see an accompanying post in this space very soon, plus the highlight for collectors: Chapters 51-54 of Charles Dickens’ serialized novel Little Dorrit, we’re going to look somewhere a little different to get a feel for the times.

Front Cover March 1857
Front Cover

In my typical sales listing for an issue of Harper’s Monthly during this period all of those above items of note would be listed, as well as other major stories found on the index page which I haven’t bothered telling you about here. Those are the features. But the news of the day is summarized under Harper’s heading of “Monthly Record of Current Events,” which is all time permits all but the most earnest scholar to pursue.

"Heading Herring" from the story on North Carolina Fisheries
"Heading Herring" from the story on North Carolina Fisheries

Well, we’re going to take the time to pour over one such column together, beyond that I’m going to limit our peek to the first section of “Current Events,” which deals with the happenings of the United States only. Having read through this column a couple of times last night, my best guess is that despite the March date on the cover, this issue of Harper’s left editorial hands during the first week of February 1857.

"Reception of an Old Friend" - Illustration with Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
"Reception of an Old Friend" - Illustration with Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

The Current Events section is all text, no illustrations, without any headings to offset the stories. Just the occasional paragraph break or long dash moves you from one topic to another.

And since we’re once again 152 years back into our time capsule, we’re well inside the public domain, so I bring you the U.S. news of the period, completely unfiltered:

  • Bills have been passed in the House of Representatives which will undoubtedly result in the admission of two new States, Minnesota and Oregon, into the Union…The estimated population of Minnesota is 175,000, and that of Oregon is 90,000, both of which are rapidly increasing by emigration.
  • The Committee in the House have reported adversely to the petition of the inhabitants of a portion of New Mexico for the formation of a new Territory under the name of Arizonia (sic); the main reason given is the paucity of population, which render the formation of a new Territory unadvisable.
  • A portion of the citizens of Carson Valley, in Utah, presented a petition that their district should be annexed to California, on the ground that not being Mormons they suffer great wrongs and grievances from the Saints.
  • A bill has passed the Senate authorizing the Secretary of State, with the approval of the President, to enter into a contract with the Transatlantic Telegraph Company for the transmission of messages, upon terms similar to those offered by the British Government.
  • In the Senate the Republican vote has been greatly increased by the recent State elections…The next Senate, it is estimated, will be composed of 37 Democrats, 20 Republicans, and 5 Americans.
  • The Legislature of Kansas met January 12. Governor Geary, in a long and elaborate message, sets for the condition of the Territory when he assumed the office, and details the measures taken by him to put an end to the troubles and bring about the peace which now prevails, and which he believes will be permanent. He urges that the Territorial Assembly should permit all doubtful questions to remain in abeyance until the formation of a State Constitution; the question of Slavery in particular should be left in the position where it is placed by the Constitution and the Act organizing the Territories, subject to the decision of the courts upon all questions that may arise while Kansas remains a Territory. He recommends the immediate repeal of all of the objectionable laws that have been passed. Among these he specifies the invidious test-acts, and the law requiring all elections to be viva voce (by live voice). The law respecting patrols, he says, is unjust, taxing property in general for the special protection of slave property, and establishing an odious system of espionage.
  • George Carstensen, the architect of the New York Crystal Palace, died at Copenhagen, Denmark, January 4. He had undertaken the publication of a newspaper, and died on the day of the issue of the first number.
  • The vocabulary of crime, especially in New York, has been enriched by a new term descriptive of a new mode of robbery. It is performed by two or more, one of whom seizes the victim by the neck from behind, in such a manner as to strangle him and render him powerless, while the others proceed to rifle his pockets. This is styled garroting from its resemblance to the well-known Spanish mode of execution. Hardly a night has passed for weeks in which some offense of this nature has not been recorded. In a number of cases the offenders have been arrested, summarily tried, convicted, and sentenced to imprisonment for life.

Despite the differences between our time and that inside this issue of Harper’s, especially noticeable in the expansion of Statehood, and quite obvious with the mention of Slavery, the news of 1857 also has an air of familiarity about it with obituaries, crime reports, the expansion of technology. One could even scratch the surface of our differences and classify the seemingly out of date stories simply as news from Washington and battles for Civil Rights.

Interestingly there is no direct mention made of the President by name, only brief mention by title. As this Harper’s went to press we were at the very tail end of Franklin Pierce’s administration with James Buchanan to be inaugurated March 4. In other words, Buchanan was very soon to take office by the time readers held this issue, if he had not done so already.

Governor Geary of the Kansas Territory
Governor Geary of the Kansas Territory

Thus the section on Kansas, which our 1857 reader very likely skimmed through as more of the usual news, stands as the most historically important portion of their news when we look back today. The Governor, John W. Geary, a former mayor of San Francisco, had been appointed governor of the Territory by President Pierce July 31, 1856 to the opposition of the Territory’s pro-slavery faction. While Kansas was more peaceful under Geary than it had been previous to his arrival, there was still a great deal of turmoil caused by border ruffians crossing into the state from the outside. Soon after our reader received this magazine, March 12, President Buchanan would fire Geary, effective March 20.

The reason we didn’t talk about Little Dorrit here, or dig deeper into the North Carolina Fisheries, which after all was the lead story, is that it was my desire to show you just how much old magazines such as Harper’s Monthly contain. All of the above bullet points can be found jammed onto 2-1/2 pages at the back of the issue, just another feature. Collecting magazine back issues can be fun for the curious, but also very rewarding for the researcher.

General 19th century magazine back issues such as this are mostly sold upon the basis of a single article of importance to the buyer. It may be an area of specific interest, for this issue perhaps just a resident of Albany curious about earlier times, it may be for a literary collection, our Dickens entry obviously merits attention in that area, or it may be something about an ancestor, whether they be the subject of the story or the author. My point is that there’s so much information packed inside each and every magazine back issue that they become treasure chests for any intellectually curious person to pick over.

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Today in 1961 – Paging Through Newsweek Magazine, March 20, 1961

Cover of Newsweek March 20 1961

A quarter is all our March 20 issue of Newsweek costs, and so we buy. The cheery cover features Bill Mauldin’s idea of the world headed towards destruction in this nuclear age.

Cover of Newsweek March 20 1961
Cover of Newsweek, March 20, 1961

This magazine is thick, crammed with text, and there’s no way we’re going to finish up by next week. I think we’re going to have to skim. Don’t worry, still lots going on in the world.

In fact I’ve gotten held up on the contents page of all places! Newsweek’s going through some changes as Malcolm Muir has sold the magazine to the Philip L. Graham and The Washington Post Company. Could be some changes ahead, though Graham did say that’s not the case: “It is our belief that Newsweek’s reputation for fairness is its greatest asset.”

For a complete history of Newsweek please see my article about Collecting Newsweek.

Newsweek’s regular leadoff column “Periscoping the Nation” asks Where Are They Now? and heads to Lufkin, Texas to check in on the first chairman of the House Un-American and Activities Committee (HUAC), Martin Dies. Dies headed HUAC from 1938-1945. He’s currently practicing law in Lufkin but considering a run for Governor in 1962 noting “I’m not too old, and I’d like to crusade against Federal encroachment on states’ rights.” Dies, 60, first served in the House of Representatives thirty years ago, in 1931.

It’s been inevitable since the Giants moved to San Francisco, but last week City officials voted to tear down the Polo Grounds to clear space for a housing project. Newsweek covers some of the Polo Grounds history in sport, especially baseball:

There, Wee Willie Keeler broke into baseball; Amos Rusie rifled the fast ball that inspired the explanation … “You can’t hit it if you can’t see it.” George M. Cohan serenaded the fans before a game; autocratic manager John J. McGraw declared: “I’m absolute czar; I order plays and they obey”; and another high-riding manager, Bill Terry, lived to regret his sneer: “Is Brooklyn still in the league?”

Polo Grounds
Aerial view of the Polo Grounds

Also mentioned are Babe Ruth hitting home runs there as the Yankees called the Polo Grounds home into 1923; King Carl Hubbell striking out five legends in a row, including Ruth, at the ’34 All-Star Game, and, of course, Bobby Thomson’s magnificent home run in the bottom of the 9th versus Brooklyn in the 1951 playoff game.

The International section wonders if President Kennedy will visit Moscow.

Berlin Mayor Willy Brandt is hoping to adapt most of Kennedy’s strategies in his campaign to defeat 85-year-old Konrad Adenauer in next September’s election for German Chancellor. Not many issues separate the men, so Brandt hopes his Kennedyism will carry him to victory.

Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro took to the sandlots last week to play some ball. No doubt who was boss on this field, as Castro ordered a runner back to first after he had successfully stolen second base. “In the revolution,” Castro said, “no one can steal–even in baseball.”

Fidel Castro
Fidel takes a hack

Vivien Leigh managed to get ticked off upon her arrival at New York’s Idlewild airport last week. Miss Leigh was en route to Atlanta for a Gone With the Wind revival when a 60-year-old reporter made the mistake of asking her which part she played. Scarlet threw a hissy-fit and threatened to turn around and go home. Someone in her camp must have placated her though, as her quote about the incident upon arrival in Atlanta was “I think it’s the most wonderful thing I’ve ever heard.”

Vivien Leigh comes to Atlanta
Vivien Leigh comes to Atlanta

Detroit Free Press editorial cartoonist Frank Williams was doodling last week when he wound up sticking JFK’s hair on top of Ike’s head. The result pleased him so much that he did the same for Jimmy Hoffa, Adlai Stevenson, and Richard Nixon:

JFK's hair on some other heads
JFK's hair on some other heads

The Russians put a small dog, Chernushka aka Blackie, into space last week aboard their 5-ton Korabl Sputnik. It was the fourth such announced test by the Soviets, the first of which went into orbit in May 1960 “carrying only a dummy spaceman (so far as the west knows).”

Have you ever heard of Marvin Glass? The 45-year-old Glass runs a nine-room office on Chicago’s Near North Side and is responsible for designing twenty of the top-selling toys over the past thirteen years including Super Specs, Brainy Bug, the Ric-O-Shay Pistol, and Mr. Machine.

Glass is the most prodigious independent designer in the nation’s $1.7 billion toy industry…Operating on a straight 6 per cent commission, he grosses about $1.5 million year in and year out in an otherwise unpredictable industry. With manufacturers willing to pay him another $1,000 per day, plus expenses, for occasional counsel, his person take runs to more than $250,000 per year.

Married four times, workaholic Glass smokes three packs of cigarettes and a dozen cigars per day. He keeps a $325 a month apartment but usually sleeps in his office.

At this week’s 58th American Toy Fair in New York, Glass unveiled his newest creations including Robot Commando, Kissy Doll, Yakkity Yob, and the Super Pop Gun, all expected to be big for next Christmas. He credits his prolific creativity to refinements on existing toys and brainstorming session with his staff. Glass’s four criteria for a successful toy: “It must 1) be simple, 2) be appealing, 3)be playable, and 4) perform according to promise.”

Barbara Bel Geddes is pictured with a brief article about Mary, Mary, in which Bel Geddes shares the stage with Barry Nelson, John Cromwell, and Michael Rennie.

Barbara Bel Geddes
Barbara Bel Geddes

Joe DiMaggio returns to baseball for the first time since his 1951 retirement after taking leave from his public relations job to be special assistant to Yankees’ manager Ralph Houk at Miller Huggins Field in St. Petersburg. DiMaggio’s spring locker is right between Roger Maris and major league hopeful John Reed. DiMaggio is a top draw for autograph seekers including one 9-year-old boy who approached him with four baseballs to sign. “What do you do with them?” DiMaggio asked the boy. “Sell ’em for $3 apiece,” the young man replied.

Ed Sullivan is at war with Jack Paar over guest fees. Sullivan’s been paying his guests as much as $7,500 a night to come perform on his program, but found out Paar was getting the same talent for $320. Sullivan offered to go on Paar’s show to talk about it, under the condition it just be them with no audience. Paar wasn’t biting. Sullivan may win out playing hardball though, as he’s already gotten both Myron Cohen and Sam Levenson to cancel Paar bookings by putting their $7,500 Sullivan in jeopardy.

And that’s about all that caught my eye paging through this week’s issue of Newsweek. Back to the present, I’ll say it again, that was pretty fun and a journey once again going to show why I think you should be collecting old magazines–especially if you made it this far! Besides the possibility of containing an article of specific interest, each issue is a trip back in time to the events, occurrences, people and culture of the period.

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Today in 1969 – Paging Through Look Magazine, March 18, 1969

Look Magazine cover March 18 1969

It’s going to cost us half a dollar to grab a March 18, 1969 issue of Look Magazine off the newsstand, but it’s tough to resist this week with John Lennon and Yoko Ono featured on the cover.

“Our Kind of People: Mafiosi, Racists & the Stinking Rich” piques my interest in the Looking at Books section. Sure enough they’re discussing the new novel by some guy called Mario Puzo. It’s his third book and it’s titled The Godfather. Of it, Peter S. Prescott writes:

The plot itself is remarkable. It comes at the reader with the force of a mugger in a midnight alley: he may be appalled by what happens, but he will not be bored.


I’m not sure America is ready for this book. Many readers, who want their bad guys clearly identified and, preferably, gunned down by clean-living cops at the end, are going to be upset by the view of the Mafia that Puzo puts across in these pages. It is, of course, a romantic picture. He shows us the violence, but not the banality; the cruelty, but not the meanness.

Magnavox ad 1969
Magnavox - This was cool, the first TV I grew up with. Turntable on top, awesome! In fact, I still have it, albeit gutted and over-varnished by one of my grandfathers. It stores odds and ends now.

In the first feature 80 year old historian Arnold Toynbee talks about Peace, Power and Race in America in an interview with J. Robert Moskin. A taste:

Moskin: Many Americans are puzzled by this new generation of young people, some of whom seem militant, some of whom seem alienated. What is your view of them?

Toynbee: I notice this alienation especially among the affluent class. The hippies remind me in a curious way of the English aristocrats before the First World War, sort of people like Bertrand Russell, people who were disgusted with their generation. They never knew what compulsory poverty and privation were, of having to earn their living…I’m not too depressed. I am depressed about sex. I don’t equate a special code of sexual behavior with morality in general. But I do think that you must have some code about sex…There will probably be a reaction against this–their children will probably be extremely prim.

Merlyn and Mickey Mantle
The Mick with wife Merlyn

“Mickey Mantle’s Decision” is about an old and achy Mantle ready to quit, but giving in to the Yankee pressure to come play. He’s going to go to Spring Training, and if he decides to walk away it will be from a $100,000 salary. The Mick talks about the end of the 1968 season, his desire to pass Jimmy Foxx on the all-time Home Run list, the grind of the season, and how he liked watching daytime TV at his room in the St. Regis in New York. “Generally, I catch The Match Game, You Don’t Say, all kinds of shows like that. When we’re on the road, me and Whitey (Ford) just lay around all day like that watching daytime TV.”

Look Magazine cover March 18 1969
Front Cover, Look Magazine, March 18, 1969

The cover story featuring John Lennon and Yoko Ono fills seven pages of the issue, including several color photographs. As Look writer Betty Rollin sits cross-legged on the floor eating egg rolls, Lennon explains that he and Ono started as friends, “I respected her work…I tried to teach her how to meditate.” There’s coverage from the hospital, three days earlier, when Yoko Ono had a miscarriage she blamed on the “strain of our two divorces.” A photo shows John camped out on an air mattress at the side of her hospital bed.

John Lennon at Yoko Ono's bedside
John Lennon at Yoko Ono's bedside

A little later, Rollin writes:

…As a matter of fact, Yoko is giving me a pain. Not for moral reasons. And not that I don’t respect her art. I do…But the thing about Yoko is that when she’s being silly, she doesn’t think it’s silly. Her boyfriend has infinitely more humor about what he does. Also, he’s not pushing so hard, and that’s not only because he’s there. I doubt if he ever pushed. Actually, Yoko is pushy–ambitious is a nicer word–the way 20-year old actresses are. But she is 34. John, by the way, is 28.

The article closes with a quote from Lennon about their marriage:

…At first, I didn’t want to get married. Yoko and me, we got such a kick out of just bein’ in luv–changin’ the food in the alrder like young married kids, y’know. But then when we thought the baby was comin’, we thought it over. OK, so we’re swingin’ pop stars. But he’d have enough of a freaky time just bein’ our child, now, wouldn’t he?

“A New Era for Puerto Rico” discusses their new Governor, 64-year-old millionaire industrialist Luis A. Ferre.

There’s a 13-page, mostly photo-filled, feature about The Aran Islands. Three little islands just off the west-central coast of Ireland.

The Aran Islands
The Aran Islands, Ireland

The Remarkable Mr. Harris is about 38-year-old Senator Fred Harris of Oklahoma, who after coming to the Senate to fill the seat of the late Robert S. Kerr in 1964 has risen towards the top of the Democratic party.

The “LOOK at the movies section” proclaims “If is outrageous–a movie so brilliant, so special that it’s dangerous to write about.”

There’s a feature on the national popularity of syndicated radio voice Long John Nebel who works the after midnight shift out of New York. The caption under his photo gives a good description:

Long John Nebel
Long John Nebel: He thrives on controversy, gets a kick out of people walking off his show and doesn't mind being called loud, abrasive and dirty-minded. Only one thing bugs him--anyone saying he's a kook.

Victor Zorda writes “Prospects for War or Peace Could Depend on The Battle Inside the Kremlin,” which discussed the battle inside Russia over how they should respond to the arms race, especially when they suspect Nixon of pushing for nuclear supremacy.

Look Magazine started back in 1937, very shortly after the ground-breaking Photojournalism magazine Life first appeared. As television took over their audience and became the standard venue for not only sharing photos, but photos with movement, Look (and Life) both gave way to more text inside their publications. Look Magazine published it’s last issue dated October 19, 1971.

I wrote an article some time back on Collecting Old Magazines that goes into much more detail about the history of both publications: The History of LIFE Magazine and LOOK Magazine – Popularize Photojournalism in the 1930’s.

The contents of our March 18, 1969 issue alone should illustrate the obvious appear to collecting magazine back issues. Besides the possibility of containing an article of specific interest, each issue is a trip back in time to the events, occurrences, people and culture of the period.

[phpbay]look magazine, 12, 280, “bound”, “”, “”,29[/phpbay]

Today in 1951 – Paging Through Quick Magazine, March 12, 1951

Quick News Weekly March 12 1951

Time to spring a dime onto the counter and slip today’s issue of Quick News Weekly into our back pocket for later reading. This little digest measures just 4×6 inches with 68 pages inside. Lots of little photos take up a good deal of the limited page space, and while the feature articles might run 2-4 pages, a lot of the items are really quick hits. Today’s issue, March 12, 1951, features opera soprano Marguerite Piazza on the cover and asks the question “New Life for a Dying Opera?”

Quick News Weekly March 12 1951
Marguerite Piazza on the cover of Quick, March 12, 1951

Let’s see what’s inside:

The Week’s Biggest News is that Representatives of the U.S., Britain, France, and Russia are meeting in Paris to, as Quick puts it, avoid World War III.

The Russians broke off private treaty talks with Japan leading the U.S., Britain and other Pacific countries to press for their own peace treaty.

The U.S. State Department claims Communism is on the decline in Western Europe, noting Party membership was down since 1946 by 84% in Luxembourg (what’d they lose, a block of people), 65% in Belgium and Norway, 63% in Denmark, 45% in Sweden, 34% in Austria, Britain and Holland, 33% in West Germany, 31% in Italy, and 30% in France.

Gator on a Slide
Gators Like Slides, Didn't Know That

Quick gives 4 reasons that Russia seems on the verge of more political purges: “1) graft, 2) failure of the recently completed five-year plan, 3) growing dissatisfaction in the satellites, 4) food shortages in the Red orbit.”

In National News FBI director J. Edgar Hoover has told Congress that America’s 50,000 Communists are trying to become more secretive and no longer issue Party Membership cards. Said Hoover, “We still know what they’re up to.”

The Senate Crime Investigating Committee reports that it has uncovered a $20 billion gambling and vice underworld dominated by Frank Costello with Lucky Luciano serving as overlord.

Impatient Motorist of the Week: “A motorist in Ukiah, Cal. honked his horn repeatedly at a driver ahead who wouldn’t let him pass. Finally, exasperated, he pulled out a pistol and fired three shots into the other car. The driver got the idea, let him go by–and then notified the police. The fine: $100.”

In Health news the American Cancer Society reports that for the first time on record more men died from cancer in a single year than woman with the official tally at 102,671-101,980.

Columnist Bennett Cerf quoted a Phoenix, Ariz., newspaper ad: “Cowboy wanted for dude ranch. Must be able to play guitar and canasta. We’ll teach you how to ride.”

Couple outside New York City court
Lillian Falbo aims a blow at ex-waiter Joe Vaisica outside a N.Y.C. court. She had him there for annoying her by phone after she spurned him--a charge Joe denied

Baseball slugger Johnny Mize complained about his aches and pains to reporters before saying “Sometimes I feel ball players should be paid for spring training only, and let them play the season for love of the game.”

An article about retail sales notes that housewives are big business. An accompanying chart shows the number of housewives who do work the past few decades: 1920 – 1.92 million; 1930 – 3.07 million; 1940 – 5.04 million; 1950 – 9.20 million.

The 1950 National Book Awards were recently announced with winners such as The Collected Stories of William Faulkner for fiction, Newton Arvin’s Herman Melville for non-fiction, and The Auroras of Autumn by Wallace Stevens for poetry.

Ethel Waters saw her autobiography, His Eye Is on the Sparrow, published this week and then received the medal of Saint Genesius from the national theater society, ANTA.

Ethel Waters
Ethel Waters, then and now

The book of the week is Television and Our Children by Robert Lewis Shayon. Children are currently watching a horrifying 3 hours of television daily, Shayon blames parents but offers remedies inside the recommended book.

Nicky Hilton denied any meaning behind gifts sent to ex-wife Elizabeth Taylor. Quick puts Liz side by side with Hilton’s rumored new love, Rita Moreno, who’s referred to as “Liz’s look-alike.”

Rita Moreno and Elizabeth Taylor
Rita Moreno and Liz Taylor, who's who?

California wine-makers boasted of a developing taste for American wines and champagne. They reported a 10% increase in their use last year, anticipated a sell-out for this year’s production.

The Smith College Museum of Art exhibited the magazine illustrations of Winslow Homer – “They add a new note to the painter’s reputation, hitherto based primarily on his marine canvases.”

Representative Thomas Lane (D-Mass.) wants a censor board for TV in order to “cut out all words and actions that arouse the passions.”

Pictured are three famous women of years gone by embarking on U.S. comeback tours: Mistinguett who at age 76 has been delighting France since the 1890’s; Josephine Baker, just 45 but the American rage of Paris 23 years ago; and Gilda Gray, 50 now, shimmied to fame in 1918.

Mistinguett Josephine Baker Gilda Gray
Left to Right: Mistinguett, Josephine Baker, Gilda Gray

The Movie of the Week is Payment on Demand starring Bette Davis and Barry Sullivan

Bizarre crime: “Marie Lopees, 24, told Toronto police she killed her husband John, 26, over an argument about The Thing, the unidentified but horror-provoking subject in a popular song. Her grudge: John had said her face was The Thing.”

1951 Phil Rizzuto ad
Finally, an ad for Scooter Shorts - Phil Rizzuto styling under his uniform
That’s all that really struck my eye inside of Quick. The indented items are actually reprinted in their entirety–I told you many entries were brief! The others are just summaries, though truth be told, many aren’t much longer than what I’ve summarized. Today’s Quick is a little extra interesting, because it just so happens that the issue of Collier’s that we paged through together earlier this week was also from this week in 1951. Interesting to see how different magazines tackle the topics.

Quick News Weekly is a relatively common find. Most of my issues are in pretty nice shape and priced just $6-$10, though there are some with greater demand, especially covers featuring with Marilyn Monroe or sports stars such as Mickey Mantle. Still, these are even a bargain by comparison to full-sized magazines of the same period with them on the covers.

[phpbay]quick news weekly, 12, 280, “bound”, “”, “”, 9[/phpbay]