A Look Back - May 1962
By Wally Peel
Signs of Trouble Everywhere
As U.S. involvement was heating up in Viet Nam, things weren't getting better elsewhere in the world.
The crisis continued in Germany. The Russians delayed an outbound U.S. Army convoy for almost six hours. It was their first interference with Berlin traffic since tensions over the divided city had eased somewhat in March.
The convoy was made up of four trucks, two trailers and 26 soldiers. As it crossed into the Communist area surrounding West Berlin, Red soldiers complained that no advance notice of the convoy had been given. They refused to let it proceed. The convoy commander insisted that no notice was necessary, although sometimes it was given as a courtesy.
Details of the dispute were sent to Soviet headquarters at Karlshorst. Several hours later, the convoy was cleared to proceed.
In the meantime, the Soviets had a convoy of their own. Three Russian ships sailed within a few miles of the Pacific target area where the U.S. was conducting a series of nuclear tests.
Their presence was obviously a large scale military intelligence gathering mission. The Defense Department reported that the ships were heavily equipped to monitor U. S. activity.
The largest of the three vessels, the 3,300 ton Shokalskiy, had a pad for launching meteorological rockets. The Soviets claimed those rockets could reach the ionosphere to analyze the effects of nuclear explosions in the atmosphere.
It was also believed that the Soviet instruments on board the ships would be able to provide radio-chemical analysis of the debris from explosions. Those findings would provide information on bomb design, yield, and other data of military significance.
U.S. officials were concerned about the presence of those ships, but since they were operating within the guidelines of international law, nothing could be done to remove them.
Carpenter Second American to Orbit Earth
America's space program moved forward with the successful orbital flight of astronaut Malcom Scott Carpenter.
During his three orbit mission, Carpenter at times assumed manual control of the capsule, moving it on its yaw and pitch axis. At other times he let it drift in space without any control, in order to determine how far the craft would wander off path, and see what effect that would have on radio signals being sent from the capsule.
Carpenter also used a hand mirror to observe a colored liquid in a transparent tube behind him. That was installed to study how liquids perform in space weightlessness. The information obtained would help in the design of fuel tanks for spaceships of the future.
The flight itself went according to plan, but re-entry brought about a great deal of concern. The capsule overshot its intended landing area by some 200 miles, and for a harrowing 35 minutes, ground control didn't know where Carpenter was, or if he had survived.
Good news came when a Navy P2V bomber flashed the word that the missing astronaut had been spotted. He was sitting in a raft about 135 miles northeast of Puerto Rico. The Aurora 7 spacecraft was floating nearby.
Carpenter was joined in the raft by Air Force pararescue divers about an hour after splashdown. Two hours later he was winched aboard a rescue helicopter and flown to the USS Intrepid.
"Happy Birthday Mr. President"
President Kennedy celebrated his 45th birthday with a quiet family gathering at this country place in Virginia.
Joining him to mark the occasion were his wife Jacqueline, and children John Jr. and Caroline.
Also there to help blow out the candles were his brother Robert F. Kennedy and sister-in-law Ethel, and the President's sisters, Eunice Shriver and Jean Smith.
The private party was in sharp contrast to the Democratic fundraiser and public birthday salute that took place ten days earlier. That celebration, held at Madison Square Garden, had a guest list of more than 15,000. Celebrites attending included Jack Benny, Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Darin, Maria Callas, Henry Fonda, Diahann Carroll, Danny Kaye and Peggy Lee.
Highlight of the evening turned out to be the appearance of Hollywood starlet Marilyn Monroe. As she approached the podium, she removed her white mink coat. Beneath it she was wearing a skin tight, flesh tone sheer dress with 25,000 rhinestones sewn in. The dress was so tight fitting, Monroe had to be literally sewn into it. She was only wearing her own "birthday suit" under it.
In a breathy voice, the actress/singer delivered a sultry rendition of "Happy Birthday Mr. President". Following her performance Kennedy joked by saying "I can now retire from politics, after having had Happy Birthday sung to me in such a sweet, wholesome way.
Monroe's appearance and provocative performance added fuel to the firestorm of rumors of an affair between her and the President.
Trivia: In 1999, the dress Marilyn Monroe wore when she sang to the President was sold at auction for over $1.26 million.
Slam the Door on Taylor and Burton
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton came under fire in the U. S. Congress.
The two were scathingly denounced on the floor of the House by Representative Iris F. Blitch.
Mrs. Blitch attacked the movie making pair for their romancing in Rome, and questioned whether they should be allowed to return to the United States.
The Georgia Democrat said she hoped Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy would take the measures necessary to determine whether or not the two were ineligible for re-entry into this country on the grounds of undesirability.
Miss Taylor, an English born American citizen, had announced plans to divorce her fourth husband, singer Eddie Fisher. Burton, a British citizen, had a British wife. While in Rome for the filming of Cleopatra, the two began their headline making affair.
Mrs. Blitch, a 50 year old grandmother, attacked the actress and actor in a statement partly read to the House, and inserted in full in the congressional record.
Blitch asked the Congress to serve notice that Americans do not condone such behavior by their nationals, and those under their responsibility, and that American womanhood is not depraved and wanton as depicted by Taylor,. She said marriage and family are still sacred institutions in the United States.
The Congresswoman went on to say communists were chuckling because the Roman spectacle seemed to prove their thesis that capitalists were unscrupulous, depraved, wanton and decadent, and that capitalism breeds such undesirable traits.
Blitch said Elizabeth Taylor's behavior was adding to the "Ugly American" image.
Construction Project Hurts Local Business
The Custer Avenue project has inconvenienced a number of businesses in the construction area. A great deal of effort has been made to make sure that the public has had reasonable access to the stores and restaurants affected as improvements are being made.
Fifty years ago, a great deal of construction work was underway in Helena. One of the major projects was the building of an overpass over the Great Northern and Northern Pacific tracks, as well as other street construction work in the Lyndale, Euclid and Benton area.
The pouring of concrete at the intersection of Main and Lyndale completely closed off access to Glenny's Service Station.
Station owned W. E. Glenny went to the highway building to see if anyone there could help solve the problem, and suddenly found himself in a meeting before the entire commission.
Barricades to route traffic around the construction area had been placed a half a block before the intersection where his station was located. Even the alleyway that might have been used to get to his business had been blocked off.
Glenny told the group that due to construction, one day he only sold 22 gallons of gas, and other days weren't much better. He pointed out that the contract for paving called for traffic to be maintained at all times. "You are starving me to death just to benefit a contractor ", Glenny told them.
The District Engineer advised members of the commission that once the intersection was poured, it would take anywhere from ten days to two weeks for it to harden.
In response to Glenny's dilemma, the understanding Commissioners agreed the new concrete should be behind barricades, but suggested that detour signs, not barricades be erected farther back. That way motorists who chose to drive past the signs could access Glenny's station and the two other gas stations at that intersection.
Note: In recent years, a major project widened the Main and Lyndale intersection, and tore down and rebuilt the Lyndale overpass.
Kendall Appointed Adjutant General
Governor Tim Babcock announced the appointment of Colonel Richard C. Kendall of Deer Lodge as Montana's 18th adjutant general.
The 44 year old Kendall had been assistant adjutant general for nearly two years. He would assume his new duties on July 1, upon the retirement of Major General Spencer H. Mitchell.
Kendall would be promoted to the rank of Major General.
As adjutant General, he would serve at the pleasure of the Governor. His salary was set by state law at $7,500 a year. He would be allowed to choose his own assistant, with approval of the Governor.
Kendall graduated from the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1961.
The retiring General Mitchell became Montana's adjutant general in February of 1943.
In 1918 he served eight months of active duty in World War I. In 1923 Mitchell enlisted in the National Guard, and was commissioned a second lieutenant four years later.
He was assigned to active Army duty in 1940. He was separated from the Army in 1947, and commissioned a brigadier general.
General Mitchell would remain in federal service as Montana's Selective Service Director, a job he had held for 20 years.
At the time of General Kendall's appointment the Montana Guard was comprised of about 3,250 men including 850 serving in the Air National Guard in Great Falls.
Convict Labor Plan
The idea of using convict labor in state parks was being considered in Montana.
In March, a plan for using model inmates from Deer Lodge as park work crews was unveiled by Governor Tim Babcock. He stressed the dual advantages of improving park facilities and rehabilitating prisoners. Convict labor would be used to build tables, retaining walls, and make other improvements to park facilities.
It all came about when acting Prison Warden E. C. Ellsworth asked permission to put a test crew in Lost Creek State Park near Anaconda
The plan wasn't without opposition. "This thing frightens me." said Attorney General Forest H. Anderson. Secretary of State Frank Murray said he was opposed to using prison labor outside the prison grounds.
After discussing the matter, the Board of Examiners decided to seek the advice of experts on the danger that might be involved. They asked for the opinion of Osborne Association Inc., a New York penal research organization.
In response, that firm recommended the use of prisoners without reservation, providing the convict laborers were well screened. They noted that convict labor was being used for outside work by federal prisons, and by state prisons in Michigan, Wisconsin and California.
Also in the News.........
There was a big BOOM in Berlin. Anti-Communist forces made the first wide spread organized attempt to blow up the Berlin Wall. A series of explosions along a quarter mile stretch blew several large holes in the barrier.
Leaders of the American Medical Association took out TV ads denouncing President Kennedy's medical care for the aged plan, calling it a cruel hoax aimed at establishing welfare state medicine for everyone.
Nazi Adolph Eichmann was hanged at Ramleh prison near Tel Aviv for his role in the extermination of six million European Jews.
A Continental Airlines plane crashed near Unionville, Missouri after an in flight detonation of a bomb. A passenger on his way to Kansas City to face criminal charges brought sticks of dynamite on board and took his own life and the lives of 44 others.
A United Nations statistical report showed the world's population had surpassed the 3 billion mark. (The world population today is over 7 billion.)
Researchers were developing a radio controlled glide bomb, that would carry fire retardant chemicals. They believed they might be on the edge of a major break-through in fighting forest fires.
Don and Phil, the Everly Brothers, were honorably discharged from the Marine Corps.
Here at the Station.........
On "Bachelor Father", Bentley and Peter could hardly wait to start the good neighbor policy when pretty Marlene Wetherly and her maid move in across the street.
While on the trail of a horse thief, Slim ran into a full scale range war on "Laramie".
On "Law and Mr. Jones", a man who was about to go on trial for murder refused an operation that would save his life.
Red Skelton played the part of an innocent delivery boy who became involved in a romance with Carol Burnett on the "Garry Moore Show".
On "Dobie Gillis", wealthy Chatsworth Osborne Jr. and his mother were panicked by the possibility of Maynard Krebs becoming part of their family, when Dobie's beatnik buddy took a shine to one of their relatives.
A shoplifter was forced to join a robbery plot in order to escape prosecution on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents".
On "Cheyenne", when it was discovered that his commanding officer was killed by army bullets, Captain Holman suddenly became the prime suspect in a murder case.
Johnny Carson, David Brinkley and Bob Newhart were "on location" hosts of the 14th Annual "Emmy Awards Show".
On the "Real McCoys", hard luck came to the McCoy ranch when Grandpa insulted a voo-doo woman.
At the last ten days in May 50 years ago.
Buildup in Thailand
President Kennedy ordered 1,800 U.S. Marines into Thailand.
He said the sending of troops was necessary because of recent attacks in Laos by Communist forces, and the subsequent movement of Communist military forces toward the Thai border.
Kennedy called the threat to Thailand a matter of grave concern, emphasizing that the dispatching of U.S. forces to the southeast Asian nation was a defensive act on the part of the United States, and completely consistent with provisions of the United Nations charter.
The Marines would go ashore at Bangkok naval base. They would be flown in by helicopter from the deck of the carrier Valley Forge.
Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara said the U.S. military forces in Thailand would eventually increase to 5,000 men.
General Paul D. Harkins, commander of the 6,000 man force in South Viet Nam would also be commanding the forces in Thailand.
It was very clear that the United States would go into battle if the Communist forces in neighboring Laos crossed the Thai border.
The ordering of U.S. troops into Thailand was met with protest by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.
The Soviet leader was touring at the time, and said he learned of the landing of American troops from the newspaper. He was quoted as saying, "I must say that President Kennedy's order for the landing was an imprudent action."
The communist leader went on to say the landing of U.S. Marines, and presence of other U.S. troops in the tiny nation was robbing the people of Thailand of their freedom.
Khruschev's remarks were made in an address before a collective farmers rally. Western correspondents traveling with the Soviet leader were blocked from attending and covering that event. His remarks were broadcast on Bulgarian Radio Sofia.
Hoffa Charged With Assault
Teamster President James R. Hoffa entered a plea of innocent, and asked for a jury trial on the charge that he assaulted union aide Samuel Baron.
Baron, a 59 year old field director for the Teamsters national warehouse division, claimed he was floored twice by blows from Hoffa during a dispute at union headquarters.
Following the alleged attack, Baron requested and received protection. Two deputy U.S. marshals stood guard through the night at his home in suburban Silver Springs, Maryland.
A warrant was issued charging Hoffa with simple assault. He was booked, interviewed, fingerprinted, and photographed, then released on $500 bond.
When the two appeared in Municipal Court the following day, Baron had a blackened left eye, a cut over his right eye, and bruises on his face and legs. Hoffa showed no signs of having been in an altercation.
Hoffa's lawyer requested, and was granted a jury trial.
Simple assault, a misdemeanor, carried a maximum penalty of one year in prison.
Omholt Named New State Auditor
Governor Tim Babcock announced the appointment of Dutton Mayor Elmer V. "Sonny" Omholt as State Auditor.
Omholt was named to fill the vacancy left by the passing of Auditor John J. Holmes, who died of cancer earlier in the month.
Omholt was one of three seeking the post. The other two were former Congressman Orvin B. Fjare of Big Timber, and Alex Cunningham of Helena.
It would be the first time in 29 years that a Republican had held that office.
The 42 year old Teton County insurance agent, and former Republican member of the Montana Legislature was a native of Great Falls.
It was assumed that Holmes would be the GOP candidate for State Auditor on the November ballot.
Chief Wants Jail Time for Drunk Drivers
Highway Patrol Chief Alex B. Stephenson recommended that drunk drivers be given jail sentences.
He said it had become quite evident that the suspension of drivers licenses for conviction of driving while intoxicated was not an effective means of dealing with the problem. He based his comments on the results of a four month survey that showed 41% of the fatal traffic accidents in Montana were the result of people drinking while behind the wheel.
The 1961 Legislature, at the Patrol's request, had eased the penalty for drunk driving, based on the theory that the previous one year suspension of a drivers license for a first offense was too harsh.
Experience showed that convictions were hard to obtain, as jurors were often reluctant to stop a first offender from driving for an entire year.
The 1961 law reduced the penalty to a 60 day suspension for the first offense, and loss of the license for a year on any subsequent violations.
Chief Stephenson said easing the penalty had not helped the situation, and reiterated a proposal he had made before, that mandatory jail sentences might help. He said courts had the ability to give jail sentences of up to 60 days in lieu of fines, and suggested first offenders be given a ten day jail sentence.
Pharmacy License Suspended
A Great Falls drug store received a ten day suspension of its pharmacy license from the State Board of Pharmacy.
The stores lawyer described the action as "a crippling and degrading penalty" for a single sale of an improperly labeled medication. Attorney L. Morris Ormseth told the Montana Supreme Court that state law "requires more than evidence of a single, negligent harmless violation before a pharmacy license can be revoked."
The state board ordered that the license suspended on the grounds that an employee of the store sold Gelusil tablets without properly labeling the package
Representing the state board, former Governor John W. Bonner said he construed the store's argument to mean it should be given one violation without penalty. "If that was true," Bonner said, "we would have to hold that one could commit one murder, one larceny, one burglary or other crime before being prosecuted for the crime just committed."
Copper League Comeback
The question of what league the East Helena Smelterites would be playing in was answered, when it was announced that the old "Copper League" was reborn.
The previous year, the East Helena team played in the Montana State League, which also had teams from Missoula and Helena.
Kes Rigler, business manager of the Smelterites, said officials brought the Copper League back because the old Copper League was so popular. Fans packed the ballparks in Helena and East Helena to watch the teams play.
In the new season the majority of the games would be played weekday nights to assure the best attendance.
Officials planned on a four team league, but ended up with just three, the East Helena-Helena Smelterites, Butte South Siders, and Butte McQueen.
A Hay Day in Miles City
More than a thousand horses from Montana and other western states were to be showcased during the annual Miles City Bucking Horse Sale.
Total attendance for the event was expected to be about 10,000, with buyers coming in from 15 to 20 states.
Opening day of the four day sale would feature about 150 Appaloosa's and 100 registered quarter horses. Bucking stock would be up for sale on the final three days.
The previous year, 926 horses were consigned, at an average of $153 each.
From its humble beginning as a means for local ranchers to rid themselves of unruly stock, the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale has grown into one of the premier events in the West.
Over the years. some of the best bucking stock in the nation has come from this sale.
Now in its 62nd year, it's truly a great time in the "Friendliest Town in the West". The annual Bucking Horse Sale in Miles City, Montana.
Also in the News.........
President Kennedy named Cyrus Vance Secretary of the Army.
Six people escaped injury when a Kaiser Industries DC-3 made a crash landing at Hardin.
Democrat Mike Kuchera announced his intention to run for Governor in 1964. A perennial candidate, the Billings furniture dealer was in Helena to see Republican Governor Tim Babcock. Kuchera told newsmen, he just wanted to get into the Governor's office to see what redecorating he might want to do.
A fire threatened the seven story Metals Bank building un uptown Butte. The blaze caused only minor damage to the bank's office supply storage room. The fire started in the oldest structure in Butte's principal business district, a two story brick building that housed Ward's Appliance Store.
An early morning fire razed the Osler Brothers lumber mill between Fortine and Eureka. The mills' planer was saved, and the firm intended to operate portable mills until the structure was rebuilt.
False alarm thieves were hitting one Chicago firehouse. While the firemen were responding to a reported fire, thieves were sneaking into the firehouse and stealing their shoes. After six months of footwear larceny, the firemen began taking their civilian shoes with them on their runs.
Speaking of shoes, fashionable white sneakers were on their way out. B.F. Goodrich began offering sneakers to match a dress in color, pattern and fabric. Ladies wanting to "move up" un the fashion world had to dig deep in their purses to own the colorful new footwear. They were selling at $4 a pair. (Note: A pair of B. F. Goodrich Canvas sneakers recently sold for $345 on eBay.)
More than 100 workers walked off the job at a Titan missile construction site. They didn't like working conditions inside the 150 foot silo. The silo was occupied by two skunks.
If you were craving a good burger, the Zip-In 'N Out was the place to go. Their Monday special was seven Zip Burgers for a dollar.
Here at the Station.........
"Fight of the Week" featured a pre-recorded bout between Cassius Clay and Billy Daniels. The fight took place at Nickels Arena in New York.
On "Top Cat", when Benny the Ball ended up in the hospital, "TC" fell in love with his nurse.
Robbie's first day in high school was a memorable one on "My Three Sons".
On "Route 66", Tod took a job as assistant to a wheelchair bound pro wrestler.
Paladin and his prisoner made camp with some people who were operating a saloon on wheels on "Have Gun Will Travel."
On "The Flintstones", Fred expected the worst when Barney borrowed a shovel after a spat with his wife.
"Hazel" used a baseball bat on a burglar who broke into the Baxter home. She then decided she could do a better job of rehabilitating him than the police.
On "Laramie", an outlaw leader held Jess Harper and four others captive in an isolated farmhouse. The others thiought Jess was a coward. He proved them wrong when he carried out his plan.
A spinsters definition of "alter" was quite different from that of a hoodlum whose iintention was to change circumstantial evidence in the ledger books of her dead Uncle's racketeering operation on "The Unbtouchables".
On "Dobie Gillis", Maynard discovered a stone age axe during an archeology class field trip. When cynics doubted the item was genuine, Maynard offered to produce the cave man who made it.
At the third week in May 50 years ago.
Kennedy On Wages and National Interest
Within a month of his successful battle to force the steel industry to roll back its price increases, President Kennedy advised labor that the same standard, the public interest, would be applied to wage increases.
In a speech prepared for the United Auto Workers convention, the President said the administration would not attempt to fix prices and wages in a peacetime economy, but that it must define goals and define the national interest.
Kennedy told labor leaders that unjustified wage demands were as much against the national interest as unjustified profit demands which require price increases.
The President said, "I speak with a single voice to the men on both sides of the nation's bargaining tables when I say that your sense of responsibility - the responsibility of both labor and management to the general public - is the foundation on which our hopes must build for the survival of the free enterprise system."
He told the UAW his administration had no intention of intervening in every labor dispute, saying, "We are neither able, nor willing to substitute our judgment for the judgment of those who sit at every bargaining table in the country."
Doctors Accused of "Blackmail"
A group of 200 New Jersey doctors signed a resolution saying they would not treat patients under Social Security health insurance, as provided by the King-Anderson Bill, President Kennedy's proposal for medical care for the aged.
Secretary of Welfare Abraham Ribicoff said those doctors were trying to blackmail the Congress, and the American people.
He pointed out that they apparently didn't mind the thought of federal funds when they themselves were the beneficiaries. He claimed the doctors believed it was all right for the government to help build the hospitals in which they practice, but that an insurance plan that would help their patients pay their hospital bills would not be good.
Ribicoff went on to say that in trying to blackmail the American people by refusing to treat older people, the doctors were violating the Hippocratic oath which they took before they began the practice of medicine. He described the attitude of the doctors opposition to a basic national need as "shocking".