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A Look Back - March 1964

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A Look Back - March 1964

Updated Weekly

By Wally Peel

Alaska Devastated By Giant Earthquake
Earthquake damage in Anchorage, Alaska - 1964     A powerful earthquake shook Alaska for nearly four minutes, causing extensive damage throughout the state.

     In Anchorage, the city's Main Street dropped 11 feet, and was completely leveled. About 50 homes on Turnagain Bluff were reduced to rubble as they slid off the steep cliffs.

     Two hospitals were evacuated.  One other remained open to take care of the injured.

     Most communications to the city of 48,000 residents were cut off.

      All area airports were unusable.  The 68  foot tall concrete control tower at Anchorage International Airport toppled over, killing the air traffic controller.

     A Civil Defense official reported that Seward, Alaska was half gone and on fire.  A docked tanker broke loose, and was burning in the bay.

     In Valdez, 105 miles southeast of Anchorage, the resulting tsunami washed out the waterfront.  There were two confirmed deaths, and about 30 others standing on the waterfront were washed out to sea.

Earthquake damage in Seward, Alaska - 1964     The Alaskan railroad from Seward to the states interior was a jumble of wrecked cars and twisted rails.

     Thousands of aftershocks were recorded in the months that followed.

     Many Alaskan communities faced economic ruin, with as much as 95% of their industries wiped out.

     The gigantic quake measuring 9.2 on the Richter Scale, released twice as much energy as the famed San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

     The quake, and the tsunami that followed, claimed a total of 139 lives.  In Alaska, 5 were killed in the earthquake, and 106 others perished in the tsunami.
     The tsunami traveled southward, causing damage along the West coast. The giant waves killed 5 people in Oregon, and 13 more in California.

     Property loss from the 1964 Alaskan earthquake was $311 million.  That figure is equal to 2.28 billion in current U. S. dollars.
McNamara Hints At Direct Action Against North Viet Nam
Viet Nam War     Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara said the United States was carefully considering the possibility of taking direct military action against Communist North Viet Nam.

     The Pentagon chief said the situation in Vietnam has unquestionably worsened in recent months, and the road ahead was going to be long, difficult and frustrating.

     McNamara referred to South Viet Nam as one of a family of free nations.  He said, "The United States will not let this member of our family down, regardless of its distance from our shores."

     The Defense Secretary told reporters the U. S. would support the government of South Viet Nam in carrying out its anti-insurgency plan which included a national mobilization program to  improve the quality of strategic hamlets.

     McNamara said one of the options he and General Maxwell Taylor had given President Johnson was to conduct direct strikes against North Viet Nam.  That suggestion was receiving careful consideration.

     "Whatever ultimate course of action may be forced upon us by the other side," McNamara said, "it is clear that actions under this option would only be a supplement to, and not a substitute for progress within South Viet Nam's borders."
Jail Overcrowding
Helena's Great Northern Railway Depot.  Photo courtesy of Kennon Baird - Helena As She Was     The topic of jail overcrowding was being discussed by the Helena City Commission.

     There wasn't any doubt that the current facility in the basement of the Civic Center was inadequate.

     Helena police at times had to house anywhere from 20 to 30 men in the eight man basement cell block. 
     On occasion, as many as three women would have to share a 9x12 cell that was just big enough to accommodate one prisoner.

     The city jail was not adequately equipped to handle juvenile offenders.  They had to share cells with adult prisoners.

     Helena Realtor Jeff Holter presented the Commission with a possible solution. 

     He offered to sell the city the old Great Northern Railway Depot just down from the Civic Center at Neill and Fuller Avenues.

     The old depot was currently occupied by the Holter Research Laboratory, and part of the building was being used by Governor Tim Babcock as his Montana election campaign headquarters.

     The sturdy two story structure could easily house the Helena Police Department, the police judge, and other police related functions.

     Holter said his asking price was $420,130.  The city would pay $1,167 a month for 30 years.  At the end of the 30 year lease, the city would own the building. 

     Market value of the Depot was $207,000.  Outright purchase of the building would obviously be more economical for the city, but funding would have to be obtained with a bond issue.

     The purpose of the 30 year term at an interest rate of  5½%  was to try to fit payments into the present city budget.

    The City Commission didn't officially say it disapproved of the idea, but they ultimately  rejected it for a number of reasons. 

     They believed too much money was being asked.  (The building was offered to the city in the 1950's for $65,000.)

    A considerable amount of money would have to be spent to make the building suitable for the city's purposes.

     The city might be able to build a new building closer to the Civic Center for considerably less money, and federal money might be available for such a project.

Note:  The Great Northern Railway Depot was torn down in 1989, and a new Federal Reserve Bank was built in that location.

     Photo courtesy of  Historian Kennon Baird, Editor and Publisher of the Helena As She Was website.  For an interesting, informative look at Helena Railroad History visit Kennon's site.  Click on the photo to go there.
Bonnie Jo Robbins Crowned Centennial Queen
Montana Centennial Coin     Montana was celebrating its Centennial year.

     Residents by the thousands came out to see the special cars that made up the Montana Centennial Train. 

     The special train would soon be leaving Billings on a 15 city tour across the country.  The 21 day journey would end up in New York, where millions would get a taste of Montana's history, culture and traditions at the New York World's Fair.

     Some passengers were already packing their bags for the trip, but there were a couple of seats yet to be filled.

     Here in Helena, ten young ladies competed for those last two seats in the Centennial Queen Contest at the Civic Center. 

     At the gala event, 20 year old Bonnie Jo Robbins of Great Falls was crowned Centennial Queen.  The runner-up, Kitty Ann Quigley of Helena, was named Miss Big Sky Country.

     The two girls would soon be answering the Conductor's call of "All Aboard" in Billings.
Also in the News.........
Actor Peter Lorre     Former astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. withdrew from the Ohio U. S. Senate Race.  Glenn was suffering from injuries he obtained in a bathroom fall a month earlier.  His doctor advised him participation in a campaign would be detrimental to his health.  Glenn did not rule out campaigning for public office sometime in the future.

     Houston Attorney Percy Foreman suddenly resigned his newly acquired position as counsel for convicted killer Jack Ruby.  He cited disagreements with the Ruby family as his reason for quitting.

     Carol Mann was the winner of the Women's Western Open Golf Tournament.

     Movie actor Peter Lorre died of a stroke in Hollywood.  His movie credits included roles in "Maltese Falcon, "Casablanca", and "The Man Who Knew Too Much". Lorre was 59 years old.

     Wax likenesses of the Beatles went on display in London's Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum.

     Voter approval of an elementary school site was one of the issues in the upcoming school election.  The proposed 14.56 acre site, with a selling price of $17,472, was located just south of the Colonial Club, in the general area where the new Saint Peter's Hospital would be built.   (Smith Elementary School was eventually built on that site.)

     Helena matron Josephine I. Hepner passed away at the age of 90.  Mrs. Hepner, known for her altruistic efforts on behalf of crippled children, was instrumental in the establishment of Shodair Hospital for Crippled Children.  A member of Miriam Chapter No. 1, Order of Eastern Star, Mrs. Hepner served the Chapter as Worthy Matron, and was also Grand Worthy Matron of Montana in 1907-08.  In 1920, a second Order of Eastern Star Chapter was formed in Helena, and by unanimous vote it was named the Josephine Hepner Chapter No. 89.  Mrs. Hepner was also an active member of the Montana Historical Society. 

     In Richmond, Kentucky a service station owner had the following sign above his door:  "Ring bell twice for night service.  Then keep your shirt on while I get my pants on."

     In Elizabethtown, Kentucky, a kindergarten teacher was using an oversized clock to teach her students how to tell time.  While pointing to the clock, "These are the hours," she said, "and these are the minutes, and these are the seconds.  Does anyone have any questions?"  One little girl shot up her hand and asked, "Where are the jiffies?"
Here at the Station.........
Petticoat Junction girls as The Ladybugs     A labor leader and an industrialist were at  odds over the signing of a work contract on "East Side-West Side".

     "High Wire-The Great Wallendas", the story of the famous high wire troops rebound to triumph after a series of serious accidents was the feature on "Dupont Show Of The Week".

     Inspired by the moneymaking of the Beatles, Uncle Joe persuaded Kate Bradley's daughters to don wigs and form the next pop singing sensation, The Ladybugs, on "Petticoat Junction".

     On "Danny Thomas", Danny's concern over lonely Piccola Pupa's lack of boyfriends turned into shock when he learned his son Rusty had proposed marriage to the little Italian songstress.

     A man and woman from Earth were chosen to compete against a couple from another planet in a fight for survival on "Outer Limits".

     The Weather Bureau's incorrect predictions had Granny upset.  She read the riot act to the local weatherman on "Beverly Hillbillies".

     Pierre Salinger was interviewed about his resignation as Presidential Press Secretary, and his quest for nomination to the U. S. Senate from California on "Face The Nation".

     Comedian Jerry Van Dyke played his first dramatic role on television.  He appeared as a woeful widower accused of murder on "Perry Mason".

      The Great Chilean Earthquake on May 22, 1960, near Valdivia in southern Chile, is the most powerful earthquake ever recorded.  It measured a magnitude of 9.5 on the Richter scale.  The  quake, and resulting tsunami killed approximately 1,655 people, injured 3,000 others, and left 2 million people homeless.
     The largest earthquake in Montana history is the 7.3 magnitude Hebgen Lake earthquake in August of 1959.
     The 1935 Helena Earthquake was the strongest to ever hit the Capital City.  It measured 6.3 on the Richter scale.  The quake claimed four lives.  More than 60% of the city's structures were damaged or destroyed.  Total property loss was estimated at $3.5 million.


At the last ten days in March 50 years ago.

Ruby Sentenced To Death
Jack Ruby     Jack Ruby, face void of emotion, was condemned to death for the November 24th murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man accused of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

     The four woman, eight man Dallas jury rejected the Defense claim that Ruby was temporarily insane at the time of the shooting.

     They deliberated just two hours, nineteen minutes before reaching a verdict.

     When the verdict was read, Ruby's attorney, Melvin Belli, sprang to his feet.  Face reddened with rage, Belli shouted angrily, "Now we see the shame of Dallas in all its glory.  This is a victory for bigotry.  We'll appeal this to a court where we can get due justice and law."

     As his client was being led from courtroom, Belli told him, "Don't worry Jack, we'll appeal this and take it out of Dallas."

     Ruby was returned to the Dallas County Jail, where he was to be held without bond until the appeal process was exhausted.

     Walter C. Craig, head of the American Bar Association, said Belli's outburst in court following the death penalty verdict showed a flagrant disregard for the code of professional ethics, and his oath as an attorney.  Craig said the Association received a number of complaints about Belli's unrestrained comments, and those complaints would be investigated by a committee on professional grievances.

     In response, Melvin Belli announced he would resign from the ABA.  "I cannot continue in the American Bar Association if I am to continue to believe in justice and due process," he said.

     Belli said when Judge Joe B. Brown refused a change of venue from Dallas he could see the handwriting on the wall.  He said if Ruby had been tried in any other Texas city he would either be a free man, or under psychiatric care.

     Belli said Dallas individuals are fine people, but when they are assembled in a jury they become unconsciously committed to doing what they believe necessary to preserve the Dallas image.

     Attorney Melvin Belli was fired by Jack Ruby's family.  They hired Percy Foreman, president of the National Association of Defense Attorneys to handle the appeal. Foreman told newsmen if they were successful in getting a reversal of the case and a new trial, he didn't believe Ruby would ever be executed.
Civil Rights Debate
Senator Kenneth Keating and Senator Richard Russell    
Senator Kenneth B. Keating of New York charged that "hatemongering" was being spread among people in his state and elsewhere by foes of the House passed civil rights bill.

     Keating kicked off the debate on the controversial legislation with a speech protesting the various organizations that were circulating information that gave a distorted view of the bill before the Senate.

     "I don't intend to sit still while fears are instilled, lies are spread, and threats are made," he said.

     The controversial bill was aimed at eliminating racial discrimination in voting, in places of public accommodation, in schools, in employment, and in federal aid programs.

     During the debate, Senator Richard B. Russell of Georgia suggested the bill under consideration include a federally financed voluntary relocation program. That program would give all states an equal proportion of Negroes.

     Russell, in putting fourth his $1.5 billion relocation program, told the Senate that the proportion of Negro population ranged from a high of 42% in Mississippi, to .01% in Vermont and North Dakota.  He pointed out that racial problems are most severe in areas with  the greatest Negro concentration.

     The Georgia Democrat said his plan was designed to spread the nation's Negro population equally among the 50 states.  That would give each state a ratio of 10.5% Negro population.  Russell said his voluntary relocation program would be a beginning toward a permanent resolution of the deep racial conflicts in the United States.

     The Georgia Senator made a special point of the small number of Negroes in the states of some Democratic leaders who supported civil rights. 

     He said Montana, home of Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, had 1,467 Negroes, making up just .02% of its total population.

     The voluntary relocation idea was nothing new.  Senator Russell first tried to get it enacted  in 1949.
California Fires
California Wildfire    
Howling winds, reaching velocities as high as 100 miles per hour, whipped three brush fires into a massive, destructive holocaust in Southern California. 

     Sparks from downed power lines started a number of small fires.  Strong winds quickly joined them together to form a giant inferno that raced over brush covered slopes, leaving a path of devastation in its wake.

     The multimillion-dollar fires sped through expensive, suburban residential areas bordering Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena and Newhall.  Thousands of residents had to be evacuated.  At least 23 homes were completely destroyed, and several others were badly damaged.

     About 800 firefighters, manning 175 pieces of equipment battled the blazes.  Crews reported there was little they could do except to try to save homes along the perimeter of the fire.  Their heroic efforts saved hundreds of dwellings.

     Forecasts of diminishing winds raised hope that planes could be brought in to dump fire retardant borate solution on the hot spots, enabling firefighters  to gain the upper hand on the blazes.

     Officials said the fires were the worst in the area since the Bel Air-Brentwood disaster that destroyed 484 homes and caused an estimated $25 million in damage in 1961.
Coins and Stamps in the News
C. M. Russell painting Jerked Down featured on the 1964 Commemorative Stamp    
The House Appropriations Committee instructed the U. S. Mint to stop making silver dollars, and consider melting down its remaining supply. 

     It directed the nation's money makers to concentrate on the production of smaller denomination coins including pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and half dollars.

     When told of the action, Governor Tim Babcock said, "It just doesn't seem possible.  I don't understand how western congressmen could let such a thing happen.  Silver dollars are part of our heritage.  The dollar is part of the big Sky Country.  I believe I could plead the case of the silver dollar successfully if I were back in Washington."

     Babcock said he would be calling Montana Representative James Battin to determine if there were any further steps that could be taken to save the popular silver dollar.

     The likely demise of the cartwheel didn't sit well with many in Helena.

     A local tailor said the disappearance of the silver dollar would put a crimp in his business.  He said Montanan's like to jingle silver dollars in their pockets.  That causes a lot of wear and tear on the material.  Eliminating the coins would definitely affect the amount of pocket repairs done by his business.

     In one of the local taverns the bartender said his customers didn't like it one bit, and neither did he.  He told reporters, "The silver dollar is part of the West, and we should have it."

     "I don't want any of those shinplasters*," one Last Chance Gulch businessman declared."I was born and raised with a solid silver dollar.

     State Treasurer Edna Hinman said she hated the idea.  According to her, "Paper dollars are just trash."

     Part of the problem with the silver dollars was the fact that the silver in the coins was worth more than a dollar, and, as the price of silver went up, it would become profitable to melt them down for their silver content.

    When contacted in Washington, Senator Lee Metcalf said he was still working to save silver dollars by recommending the Mint reduce the amount of silver in any future dollar coins.

     As the news spread, coin collectors scurried to add to their cache of cartwheels.  Some coin dealers reported customers were buying them in bags of a thousand.

     As coin collectors went in to survival mode to stash their cash, Montana's stamp collectors were beaming about the abundance of a brand new stamp.

     They, along with admirers of western art, were excited over the issuance of the Charles M. Russell Commemorative stamp.

    The new stamp,  released on the 100th anniversary of the cowboy artists birth, featured his 1911 painting "Jerked Down", which depicted cowboys roping cattle, with one falling from his horse.

     The Great Falls Post Office had exclusive rights for the sale of the new Russell stamp the first day.  They filled 150,000 requests for the highly valued first day cover issues.  They also sold an equal number uncancelled C. M. Russell Commemorative stamps.  The colorful 5 cent stamps went on sale elsewhere in Montana the following day.

     Over time, more than 128 million Russell stamps were sold.

* Shinlaster - A Shinlaster is a common name for paper money or promissory note considered to have little or no value.  They were often used in company shop economies where workers were offered shinlasters redeemable only at company stores.
Also in the News.........

1961 Photo.  Irish Ambassador Thomas Kiernan presents a gift of shamrocks to President Kennedy.  Three years later, on St. Patrick's Day,  Kiernan planted shamrocks on Kennedy's grave     Teamster President James R. Hoffa, convicted of jury tampering charges, lost his bid for a new trial.  The labor leader planned to take his case to the U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

     The Federal Trade Commission opened hearings to discuss its proposal to place health warning labels on every pack of cigarettes.

     Around 400 people attended The Friendly Son's of Saint Patrick Banquet in Butte.  Helena native Robert O'Brien, President of Metro Goldwyn Mayer was the guest speaker.

     Irish Ambassador Thomas J. Kiernan planted shamrocks on the grave of President John F. Kennedy, whose ancestors were Irish.  Kiernan was accompanied to Arlington Cemetery by Mrs. Kennedy, and the late President's brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.

     NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle lifted the suspensions of Green Bay Packer halfback Paul Hornung, and defensive lineman Alex Karras of the Detroit Lions.  The two players were on suspension as the result of their gambling activities.

     Screen stars Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were married in Montreal.  It was her fifth marriage, and his second.

     The Beatles "She Loves You" took over the #1 spot on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart.

     Eight of Montana's finest Class C Basketball teams came to town to compete for the State Title in the Helena High Gym.  Hitting the court were the Rudyard Panthers, the White Sulphur Springs Hornets, Willow Creek's Broncs, the Brocton Warriors, the Bigfork Vikings, the Manhattan Tigers, more Tigers from Simms, and the Sacred Heart Shamrocks from Miles City.  In Saturday night action, Simms topped Willow Creek, 78-66 for third place honors, and coach Frank Cruz's' Manhattan Tigers took the sting out of White Sulphur's Hornets 67-47, to take home the championship trophy.

     A Queens housewife wrote to Senator Kenneth Keating of New York, and told him she never knew what a filibuster was until a newspaper referred to it as a "Talkathon".  She asked her Senator why politicians didn't coin more new words like that so people would be able to understand more of what was going on.  On his weekly broadcast, Keating responded and said he agreed with the woman, adding, "while we're on the topic of filibuster, I'd like to offer a suggestion of my own from the standpoint of one who has to listen to filibusters..."Borathon".

     A church in Lincoln, Nebraska scheduled three evenings of lectures on the topic of molecular structures.  The church bulletin cleverly described the series as "Three Eves With Atoms".
Here at the Station.........

Lee Marvin as Lieutenant Frank Ballinger on M-Squad     Amateur spy Clem Kadiddlehopper accompanied Secret Agent Six and Seven-Eights,  Mickey Rooney, on a dangerous mission to Istanbul on "Red Skelton".

     On "Jack Benny", while dining in a restaurant run by an ex-boxer, Jack began wondering how he would have been as a fight manager, with Dennis Day as his battling protégé.

     The sweet little old lady Harry hired as a housemaid turned the Grafton home into a gambling den on "Phil Silvers".

      After saving Gomer from a fire, Sheriff Taylor had a hard time getting the grateful man to stop doing favors for him on "Andy Griffith".

     Ballinger tracked down the murderer of a policeman killed during a jewelry heist on "M-Squad".

     Arnold Palmer and Gary Player teed off against Tommy Jacobs and Mason Randolph on "Challenge Golf".

     On "Sea Hunt", Nelson was sent out in search of a Nazi plane that crashed with two million dollars in counterfeit American currency on board.

     "Grindl" recalled the day she captured two German officers who couldn't tell popping champagne corks from gunfire.

     On "Wide World of Sports", sports announcer Michael O'Heire hosted coverage of the St. Patrick's Day All Star Hurling Championship from Dublin.

ShamrockDID YOU KNOW?Shamrock
St. Patrick     Maewyn Succat was born in Great Britain, (some sources say Scotland),  near the end of the 4th century.
     At the age of 16,  Succat was kidnapped by a band of pirates, and sold into slavery in Ireland.  While there he worked as a shepherd, and turned to religion for solace.
     After six years as a slave, he escaped to the north coast of  Gaul (now known as France), and became a monk.  He later became a Priest, and then a Bishop.  He took on the name Patricus.
     Around 432 AD Succat returned to Ireland to spread the Christian word, and was  highly successful in converting many of the islands tribes to Christianity.  He founded more than 300 churches, and baptized more than 120,000 people.
     He used the shamrock resembling a three-leaf clover as a metaphor to explain the Christian concept of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 
     The Irish came to regard the humble yet courageous man, Patricus, as their Patron Saint.
     He died on March 17, 461AD. 
     His life is celebrated on that date each year as the Feast of Saint Patrick, which is more commonly known as Saint Patrick's Day. 



At the third week in March 50 years ago.

A Look Back Special
     On February 2, 1989, 48 cars of a Montana Rail Link freight train rolled backward down Mullan Pass.  At about 5 a.m., the runaway train collided with a work train near Carroll College.
    The explosion rocked the city, and caused a great deal of damage.  Thousand pound pieces of the train poured down on the College.  Power was knocked out, leaving many homes in Helena without heat.  The temperature at the time was 27 below, with a wind-chill of 75 below.  
     The carrollcollegemt YouTube site has a video of media coverage of the train wreck by Helena's KTVH-TV and CNN.  For a historic Look Back on the event, click on the pictures below.

1989 Train Wreck Photos


Sometimes It's A Matter Of Who You Know
U. S. Senate     Boyd Richie, a former Senate page, told  the Senate Rules Committee that Robert (Bobby) Baker, then secretary to the Democratic majority, once required him to kick back $50 a month from his $403 a month salary to Walter Stewart, the chief telephone page in the Senate.

     On Baker's orders, Richie was directed to pay an extra $50 a month to Stewart, to whom he was already paying $50 a month rent for quarters in a page boy's rooming house owned by Stewart.

     As Baker explained  it to him, Richie said, the extra payment would reimburse Stewart for work he was doing at the Senate while on duty as an Air Force Reservist.

     Stewart admitted he received the extra money from Richie, but denied it was a kickback arranged by Baker.  He instead claimed the additional money was a boost in rent payments to bring Richie's rent up to the $75 a month the other pages were paying.

     The matter of the "share your pay" order by Baker was quickly resolved when, frustrated by the situation, young Richie came calling on his girlfriend Lucy.  While waiting for her to get ready, he took advantage of the opportunity to tell her father what was going on.. 

     The very next day the father informed Richie that he need not continue with the payoff, and that he would be allowed to live rent-free in Stewart's rooming house for three months to make up for his losses.

     Lucy, by the way, was Lucy Baines Johnson.  Her father just happened to be Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Indians Stake Claim on Alcatraz
Indians occupy Alcatraz     Alcatraz Island, 1.5 miles offshore from San Francisco Bay, was home to some of the nation's most notorious criminals.   The famous "guest list" included George "Machine Gun" Kelly, Bumpy Johnson, Robert Franklin Stroud aka The Birdman of Alcatraz, Mickey Cohen, and Al Capone.

     During its 29 years of operation, 36 prisoners attempted to escape Alcatraz..  None succeeded.

     The island, known as "The Rock" was originally used as a site for the west coasts first lighthouse.

     The Army built a Fort on the small island to protect San Francisco Bay in 1859.  The facility eventually became a military prison. 

     The fort was deactivated in 1933, and Alcatraz Island was transformed into a high security federal penitentiary. 

     The high cost of operating the prison, and deterioration of the buildings due to constant exposure to sea water, brought about the closure of the penitentiary in 1963.  The island was declared federal surplus property in 1964.

     According to the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868) between the U. S. and the Sioux Indian Tribe,  all retired, abandoned or out of use federal land was to be returned to the native people from whom it was acquired.

     On  March 8, 1964, a small group of Sioux Indians tried to hold the government to its word by occupying, and staking claim to Alcatraz Island.

     The Indians were on "The "Rock" for about four hours, then, under threat by an angered warden in charge of a six man caretaker garrison, they decided to leave.

     The Indian's attorney, Elliott Leighton explained the invasion was carried out as a protest against the 47 cents an acre awarded as a settlement to the Indians when the government took over the Island.  The entire 20 acre site was purchased for $9.40.

     Leighton said the Indians short occupation served its purpose, and that the case would be resolved in court.

     U. S. District Attorney Cecil Poole disputed the Indian claim.  He said Alcatraz was not abandoned.  It was still being maintained.

Hinman Upset and Undecided
Montana Politics     State Treasurer Edna Hinman let it be known that she was irked at the attempts of certain politicians who counted her out as a possible Republican candidate for the office of Lieutenant Governor.  She would not name the politicians that had her upset.

     When asked why she wanted to be Lieutenant Governor, Mrs. Hinman said, "In the first place, I believe I can be elected.  Secondly, I would like to be the first woman in Montana to hold that office.  As far as I have been able to determine, a woman hasn't even run for that office in this state.  If I try for Lieutenant Governor, it would test the political strength of women in Montana politics.  The men in both the Republican and Democratic parties for the most part still are inclined to look with disfavor upon a woman who seeks high office."

     Three prominent Republicans had already announced their candidacy.  They were  State Representative Frank Hazelbaker of Dillon, State Highway Commissioner Ted James of Great Falls, and Bozeman physician Dr. Richard Nollmeyer.

     Hinman had not yet filed for the office.  She told newsmen she would make a final decision a few days before the filing deadline.

     There was some speculation that Hinman might instead file as a candidate for the House of Representatives from Lewis and Clark County instead.
Timely Topic Statewide
Clock     Some might remember listening to the radio in years gone by and hearing the announcer give the time not once, but twice.  First in Mountain Standard Time, then in Daylight Saving Time.

     For years, Butte and Anaconda observed Daylight Saving Time, while the rest of the state remained on Standard time.

     The question of whether or not Montana should adopt Daylight Saving Time statewide was not an easy one to answer.  The change in time had advantages for some, and disadvantages for just as many others.

     The choice was up to each city, but it was quite clear it would be best to have all cities in the state observing the same time.

     In 1964, both Billings and Great Falls passed proposals favoring Daylight Saving Time.  Bozeman, Livingston, Conrad, Havre and Glasgow were considering making the change.    

     In an effort to settle the controversial question, the Montana Municipal League determined the matter should be decided by the people. 

     There did appear to be one dividing line on the issue.  City dwellers seemed to be in favor of making the change, while rural residents opposed it.

     It wouldn't be fair to leave the decision up to the cities, and not have input from the farmers and ranchers.  With that in mind, the Municipal League proposed that each county, which included both rural and urban voters,  put the question of whether or not residents favored Daylight Saving Time on a primary or general election ballot.

     If the majority of voters indicated they favored the adoption of Daylight Saving Time, the legislature, which was primarily controlled by rural interests, would be more likely to approve it.

     Daylight Saving Time was eventually adopted statewide. 

     The time change occurs this Sunday (March 9, 2014).  Remember to "Spring Forward" and set your clocks ahead one hour.
Also in the News.........
1964 Ford Mustang     Soviet military forces shot down an unarmed U. S. reconnaissance bomber that had strayed into East German territory.  The three crew members parachuted to safety.

     President Johnson planned to ask Congress to lower the draft age from 18 to 17.  His idea was  to give his "war on poverty" a chance to aid needy young people a year earlier.  The 17 year olds found qualified for service would be placed at the bottom of the draft list.

     Teamster President James R. Hoffa was found guilty of jury tampering, and sentenced to eight years in prison.  He was also fined $10,000.  Hoffa was released on bond pending an appeal.

     Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. won the New Hampshire Republican primary.

     The defense rested in the Jack Ruby trial in Dallas.  That marked the end of direct testimony.   Both the defense and prosecution had lists of rebuttal witnesses that could be called later in the week.

     Barry Keenan and Joseph Amsler were both sentenced to life plus 75 years for the kidnapping of Frank Sinatra Junior.  Sentencing of the third defendant, John Irwin, was delayed indefinitely.  Irwin was not involved in the physical abduction of Sinatra, but did make the telephone calls demanding the $240,000 ransom

     A Frontier Airlines DC-3 crashed into a deep snow-covered ravine near the Miles City Airport.  All five people on board the flight were killed.

     The first Ford Mustang rolled off the assembly line.  Ford dealers took 22,000 orders for the sporty new car the first day.
Here at the Station.........
Three Young Men From Montana     A newspaper story claimed Rice was responsible for the death of a Marine on maneuvers, and that the investigating board would whitewash the incident in order to protect the Corps on "Lieutenant".

     Host Groucho Marx performed a musical sketch about a girl crazy doctor on "Hollywood Palace"Comedians Morey Amsterdam and Rose Marie, Bertha the Elephant, and the Andre Tahom Puppets also appeared on the show.

     While Andy was on vacation, Barney deputized gas station attendant Gomer  Pyle.  The two somehow managed to lock themselves up in their own jail on "Andy Griffith".

        Pat Fox, Dick Riddle and Bob Ruby, the Three Young Men from Montana, joined The New Christy Minstrels, Flatt and Scruggs, Master of Improvisation Steve DePass, singer Gayle Garnett, and comic Pat Harrington Jr. for an hour of great entertainment on "Hootenanny".

     Linda brought home a spry little codger who claimed to be a 512 year old Leprechaun on "Danny Thomas".

     On "Jamie McPheeters", Linc Murdock believed he was responsible for the death of an old flame five years earlier.  To his surprise, he found she was alive and working in a shabby small town saloon.

     Pittsburgh played Drake in a first round game of the National Invitational Basketball Tournament on the "NBC Sports Special".

     Irish singers Carmel Quinn and Diedre O'Callaghan had all our Irish eyes smiling when they appeared on the "Ed Sullivan Show".

     Last week's A Look Back had some Montana city nicknames.  Here are those nicknames, with the cities known by them.

A.   Hub of the Valley.....Kalispell

B.   Star of the Big Sky Country...Billings

C.   City of Eagles.........Libby

D.   Good People Surrounded by Badlands......Glendive

E.    Coldest Spot in the Nation.....Cut Bank

     Robert Stroud, who was known as the Birdman of Alcatraz, never had any birds while serving time in that famous prison.
     While in Leavenworth Prison, Stroud rescued three birds that had lost their nest in a storm.  He took the birds back to his cell and cared for them. 
     His interest in birds met the approval of prison officials who noticed Stroud's demeanor went from dangerous to docile.
     Over time, the "Birdman" was allowed to breed birds for profit, and conduct research that eventually led to the marketing of  medicines to treat various bird ailments.  He also wrote two books, "Diseases of Canaries", and "Stroud's Digest on the Diseases of Birds"
     At one point, The Birdman  had over 150 birds nesting in his cell.
     Stroud's days with his feathered friends came to an end when it was learned that some of the equipment he requested for his lab was being used as a still.         
     Stroud was transferred from Leavenworth to Alcatraz Prison in 1942.
     Robert Stroud was known as "The Birdman of Alcatraz", but he had no contact with birds while serving time on "The Rock".


At the second week in March 50 years ago.

Super Secret Aircraft
A-11 Aircraft     President Johnson revealed a five year old military secret when he announced the United States had successfully developed an advanced experimental jet aircraft, known as the A-11. 

     The high flying interceptor had been tested in sustained flight at more than 2,000 miles an hour, at altitudes in excess of 70,000 feet.  For national security reasons, other details of its performance were not disclosed.    

     Capabilities of the A-11 far exceeded those of any other aircraft in the world.  Testing was underway to determine if the planes would be suitable as long range interceptors.

     Note:   The A-11's were never produced, but the design was refined into the A-12, the first of the Blackbird family of aircraft.

     The A-11 was conceived as a replacement for the U-2  Spy Plane operated at the time by the CIA. 

     CIA pilot Gary Powers was shot down while flying a U-2 over the Soviet Union in 1962.  A U-2  piloted by Major Rudolph Anderson Jr. was shot down over Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  More recently, U-2's have flown missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

     The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed "Dragon Lady", now operated by the United States Air Force, has been in service for 58 years.

     Last month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced plans to reduce the size of the military.  Part of his proposed budget includes the retirement of our fleet of U-2 Spy Planes.  Their role would be filled by RQ-4 Global Hawk drones.

     The U-2's faced elimination in 2012, but were spared because of  their advantages over unmanned craft.

     As new budget talks get underway, the pros and cons of drones will be discussed again, and it is likely the tried and true U-2 fleet will not go down without a fight.

McNamara Returns to Vietnam
Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara    
Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara was on his way to Saigon to take a fresh look at the war in Vietnam. 

     His fact finding mission was to determine what needed to be done to reverse the tide of Communist successes in the conflict. McNamara was accompanied by General Maxwell D. Taylor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

     Before leaving, the Secretary told newsmen the situation in Vietnam was grave, and that heavier Chinese made weapons including heavy duty machine guns, more sophisticated land mines, and 75mm recoilless artillery had been captured from the guerrillas.  .

     South Vietnam's Premier, Major General Nguyn Khanh said he had evidence that Red Chinese advisers were serving with the guerrillas, but he would not elaborate.

     While in Saigon, McNamara was expected to discuss the possibility of carrying the war to North Vietnamese soil.

     In a Pentagon statement, Secretary McNamara described his trip as a further affirmation of  the U. S. commitment to furnish whatever economic aid, military training, and logistical support that was needed by the South Vietnamese to suppress the insurgency.  He said we would continue to support the war effort for whatever period was required.

    Even though the possibility of escalation was being considered, during his news conference, McNamara appeared to be sticking with his earlier intention of pulling out most of the U. S. military advisers in Vietnam by the end of the year.

The Jack Ruby Trial 
Melvin Belli    
With jury selection complete, the trial of Jack Ruby got underway in Dallas.

     Defense attorney Melvin Belli, a master of courtroom dramatics, began by taking figurative dead aim at the 8 man-4 woman  jury trying his client for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man accused of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

     Officer J. R. Leavelle was one of the men escorting Oswald at the time of the shooting,

     While Leavelle was on the stand describing how Ruby had rushed him and Oswald, attorney Belli took the .38 caliber Colt used in the crime, and began recreating the murder scene.  He attempted to show how, hand still trembling, finger still on the trigger, his client was wrestled down.

     When his demonstration was complete, Belli swung around to give the jury a better view of the snub-nosed revolver, briefly pointing it directly at District Attorney Henry Wade.

     In the first three days, the jury heard testimony from a total of fourteen witnesses.

     Jurors listened intently as detectives Thomas McMillon and Don Archer both described Jack Ruby as a sane, cold blooded killer.  Both testified Ruby intended to fire three shots, but officers overpowered him quickly, and he was unable to get the last two off.

     McMillon stated that when a police Captain asked Ruby, "Of all the low life scum things...why did you do it?", Ruby's response was "Well, somebody had to, and you guys couldn't."

     After presentation of two films of the shooting of Oswald were shown, the state called Sergeant Patrick Dean, the officer in charge of security, to the stand. 

     Dean testified that ten minutes after the shooting, Ruby told him he first thought of killing Oswald when he noticed a sarcastic sneer on Oswald's face during a police lineup the night the President was killed. 

     Dean added that when Ruby, who came from a devoutly orthodox Jewish family, was asked why he shot Oswald, the defendant replied, "I just want the world to know that Jews have guts."

     On that dramatic note, the prosecution rested. 

     It was now up to attorney Belli to convince the jury that Jack Ruby was suffering a mental blackout at the time of the shooting, and was therefore innocent by reason of insanity.

Hoffa Found Guilty
 James R. Hoffa   
After hearing six weeks of testimony, a Chattanooga jury found Teamster President James R. Hoffa guilty of bribery and jury tampering in connection with his 1962 federal trial for conspiracy.

     Also convicted were three men on trial with Hoffa, former Nashville Teamster President Ewing King, Detroit business agent Larry Campbell, and Campbell's uncle Thomas Parks.

    Hoffa and King were convicted of offering a promotion to a Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper whose wife was on the Nashville trial jury.

    Parks was found guilty of meeting with the son of an elderly juror, and offering $5,000 for each, the father and son, if the father would vote for Hoffa's acquittal.

     U. S. Government attempts to curtail the influence of organized crime in labor unions through prosecution of Hoffa had failed for nearly a decade.

     The verdict was the first to go against the powerful union leader in five federal trials dating back to 1957.

     Hoffa's attorney, James Haggerty, called the government's case against his client "a foul and filthy frame-up, designed by the Get Hoffa Squad."

     The Teamster boss faced a possible 10 year prison sentence, and a $10,000 fine.  His lawyers said a motion for a new trial would be filed within five days.

     Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who had long been accused of waging a vendetta against Hoffa, sent a congratulatory message to the prosecutors when the verdict was reached.

Also in the News.........
Richard Petty     A Paradise Airlines plane with 85 people on board, crashed into a mountain near Lake Tahoe.  There were no survivors.

     Maser Optics developed a lightweight laser rifle that shoots destructive rays instead of bullets.  The weapon, lighter than an M-1 rifle, was powered by a 25 pound battery pack.  The company said the rays were not strong enough to inflict serious bodily harm, but could set fire to a soldiers clothes.  It could also blind someone up to a mile away.  The new weapon was turned over to the Frankford Arsenal in Philadelphia.

     Heavyweight Champion Cassius Clay announced he had adopted the Islam religion.  Clay told reporters, "A rooster crows only when it sees the light.  Put him in the dark and he'll never crow.  I have seen the light and I am crowing."

     Richard Petty won the Daytona 500.

     The Beatles began filming their movie "A Hard Day's Night".

     Runner Tom O'Hara set a new world record for the mile.  His time was 3:56.4.  (That new record would stand for 14 years.)

     Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. announced that Major League Baseball was coming to his city.  (The Braves moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966)

          Carroll College Athletic Director John Frankino was named President of the Montana Collegiate Conference.

Here at the Station.........
Mr. Ed     After hearing a neighbor bragging about a gypsy fortune teller reading her palm, "Mr. Ed" insisted on having his hoof read.

     A retired fire chief asked Perry to file a libel suit against a reporter who publicly accused him of burning down his own warehouse to collect insurance on "Perry Mason".

     Musicians Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs stopped by to visit their friend Jed on "Beverly Hillbillies".

     Bill Cosby joined the regulars to help them with their attack on the week's top news stories on "That Was The Week That Was".

     On "Outer Limits", amusement park customers accepted free rides on the "Space Ride" only to learn they had boarded a real space ship, and their ride might only be one way.

     Uncle Joe tried to get guests of Shady Rest to dig a drainage ditch for free by spreading rumors about a silver strike in the area on "Petticoat Junction".

     Entertainer Liberace joined Sheriff Deadeye in a western spoof titled "On Top of Old Hokey" on "Red Skelton".

     Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Jack Carson, Dwayne Hickman, and Tuesday Weld appeared in "Rally 'Round The Flag Boys" on "Saturday Night At The Movies".

     Many cities are known by their nicknames.
     If someone tells you they're going to The Big Apple, you know they're going to New York.
When the Chicago Cubs play in the Windy City, we know it's a home game.  Your friend in Beantown lives in Boston. 
     Many cities in Montana are known by their nicknames.  Helena is often referred to as the Queen City of the Rockies.  Great Falls is the Electric City.  Missoula is known as the Garden City, and if you're from the Mining City, everyone knows you're from Butte.
Here are some less familiar Montana nicknames.  What cities are known as
A.   Hub of the Valley
B.   Star of the Big Sky Country
C.   City of Eagles
D.   Good People Surrounded by Badlands   
E.   Coldest Spot in the Nation
     We'll give you the answers next week.


At the first week in March 50 years ago.

For a fascinating look at Helena's past visit Kennon Baird's Website
Helena As She Was


     This feature is intended to be an entertaining look at our world in years gone by. It is in no way intended to be biased, nor are comments intended to offend anyone. While we encourage viewer comment, we do reserve the right to condense, edit or omit them should we feel such action is necessary.

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