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A Look Back - May 1962

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A Look Back - May 1962

Updated Weekly

By Wally Peel

Signs of Trouble Everywhere

     Berlin WallAs 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

Sea rescue of Scott Carpenter     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"

Marilyn Monroe sings to President Kennedy     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

Iris F. Blitch    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
Road Closed sign     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

National Guard     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

Lost Creek State Park     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......... 

Everly Brothers     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.........

Peter, Kelly, Bentley and Jasper on Bachelor Father     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

  General Paul D. Harkins     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.                                                                                                                                                                                      

Khruschev Responds

  Nikita Khrushchev   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     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

Montana Highway Patrol     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

Pills     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

Baseball Glove     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 

Bucking Horse Sale Poster     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.........

B. F. Goodrich sneaker     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......... 

Have Gun Will Travel     "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

United Auto Workers     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"

 Secretary of Welfare Abraham Ribicoff     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".    


Attack on Medical Care Plan

Medical symbol     Dr. E. H. Lindstrom, president of the Montana Medical Association, spoke out against medical care under the Social Security program.  He called the program "a foot in the door for socialized, or government medicine."

     Dr. Lindstrom told members of the Montana Nursing Home Association that the American Medical Association and its affiliates, which included the  MMA, are primarily interested in treating all who are ill, and in helping all who are in need, without governmental interference.

     He pointed out that provisions of the King-Anderson Bill before Congress indicated that hospitals and nursing homes would have free choice in participating.  Lindstrom said indications were that such a choice would not exist, and that the program would require an unnecessarily large number of government clerks to handle the paperwork.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Plane Purchase Up In The Air

Beechcraft Queen Air.  NOT the Montana Governors plane     Delivered in Helena at the end of March, the Governor's new Beechcraft Queen Air had barely gotten off the ground when it flew into a cloud of controversy.

     District Judge Victor H. Fall, on petition of Larry Lewis Holtz, a Cascade County crop dusting pilot, signed a court order temporarily stopping the state from making further payments on the plane,

     Holtz filed the action, contending the purchase of the seven place aircraft was illegal, because there was no prior advertising for bids, and no competitive bidding..

     An attorney for Holtz claimed that the purchase by the Montana Aeronautics Commission, with the approval of the administrative Board of Examiners marked "one more important step in the erosion of power of the Legislature to control expenditures."

     He said the purchase constituted an improper use of aviation fund money.  Those funds were  only to be used by the Aeronautics Commission for the regulation and supervision of aviation in Montana.  He claimed the use of aviation funds for other purposes, such as purchase of a plane for use by the Governor, was an illegal diversion .     

    The complaint also stated that the purchase agreement called for 60 payments of $2992 each over a 60 month period.  That payment plan was in violation of a statute which said that state contracts could not run longer than a year.

     Judge Fall ordered Governor Babcock, the Aeronautics Commission, State Auditor John J. Holmes and Purchasing Agent Walter Anderson to cancel all action taken by them in acquiring the plane, and to make no more payments on the plane from the aviation fund.  If they did not comply, they would be required to appear before Judge Fall to give their reasons.

     Governor Babcock responded to the action stating "It must be obvious to the people of Montana why this action was taken, inasmuch as the papers were filed by the law firm of Leif Erickson, Democratic national committeeman.  The papers themselves are revealing," the Governor said, "they show Erickson and his associate are seeking a $2500 fee, evidently to be obtained from state funds.  Personally, I think that's a shabby demonstration of "ambulance chasing" to generate business for their firm."

     Babcock said the aircraft was the property of the Montana Aeronautics Commission, and was certainly not purchased for his exclusive use.  He considered the plane to be a sound investment in aeronautics in Montana.                                                                                                                                     

Auditor Holmes Dies

       State Auditor John J. Holmes, known as the Dean of State Officials, lost a heroic fight with cancer, and passed away in the Veteran's Hospital at Fort Harrison.

     Mr. Holmes served Montana as its Auditor for 29 years.  He often said he "got into office in the coattails of Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Democratic landslide of 1932."

     For many years Holmes had been Montana's Number 1 vote getter.  His opponents claimed he invoked some sort of magic at the polls.  In the course of his career he attained the total support of nearly three quarters of a million votes.  Definitely a record at that time.

     John J. Holmes was born on May 17, 1888 in Roscommon County, Ireland.  He migrated to the United States in 1907, and after a short time on the east coast, he came to Montana and lived in Great Falls.  He moved to Helena when first elected in 1933.

     Proud of his Irish heritage, Holmes often claimed that one of his proudest accomplishments was that due to the rigorous training he received in Irish schools.  He could still, even at his advanced age, quote most of the major works of Shakespeare and Milton.

     In 1961, Holmes was  embroiled in a verbal battle over what he called the shameless deterioration of the statue of Irish American patriot, General Thomas Francis Meagher on the grounds of the Capitol.  He advocated having the statue painted green.  Some believed he meant it, while others thought perhaps his suggestion came with a bit of blarney.

     State Auditor John J. Holmes passed away at age 73.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

One Stop Shopping In Helena

Safeway     Helenan's were flocking to the Grand Opening of the  Capital Shopping Center..  The first two stores in the modern one-stop shopping complex at 11th and Montana were open for business.

     The brand new Safeway, and Big "V" Department store were both open for business.  The new supermarket type store was Safeway's largest and first combined food and department store in Montana. 

     Safeway's extra wide, roomy aisles  featured modern displays including a huge variety of  frozen foods, filling an almost unheard of 138 feet of refrigerated cases.  The produce department was equally as large.  In addition to the vast selection of the finest food products, the new Safeway featured an in store bakery, and a sixteen stool lunch counter for customer convenience.

     The Big "V" Department Store had a complete line of men's and women's clothing and accessories, plus household domestics, piece goods and notions.  Merchandise included some nationally known labels such as Gay Stride hosiery, Gay Charm lingerie, Vickie Sue sportswear and Paul Bunyan work clothes.

     Customers marveled at the latest in modern mechanical check stands that provided speedy, accurate service.  For convenience, merchandise from both stores could be checked out at the same time in any of the seven check out stations.

     Safeway and Big "V" were just the beginning of the one-stop shopping concept for Helena.  Future plans for Capital Shopping Center included a barber shop, a drug store, and other services as well.         
Something To Laugh At

Dinah Shore     There was an interesting headline in the newspaper.  It read..." Gets First Divorce".

     If it had been her fifth or sixth divorce, then a number in the headline might have been noteworthy.   It's a bit puzzling why the writer would place emphasis on the fact that it was Dinah's first split with a spouse.  Did the reporter have a crystal ball?  Were there more to come?

     The item went on to say Shore divorced her husband of 20 years, actor George Montgomery, in "six minutes flat".  That made the courtroom procedure sound like a timed event.  (Maybe Dinah had other things to do that day.)

     Early on, Dinah's date book included some familiar names.  She was romantically involved with drummer Gene Krupa, actor James Stewart, and General George Patton.  While still married to Montgomery, Dinah had an affair with Frank Sinatra.

     On the radio, Neil Sedaka was singing "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do".  Dinah kept proving him wrong. 

     In the years following her divorce, she dated and dropped comedian Dick Martin, singer Eddie Fisher, and actor Rod Taylor. She had romantic ties with Dean Martin. Andy Williams, Ron Ely who played Tarzan, actor Wayne Rogers, novelist Sidney Sheldon, former New York Governor Hugh Carey, and Burt Reynolds.

     Dinah's "First Divorce" turned out not to be the beginning of a competition between her and Elizabeth Taylor.

     In 1963, she married Maurice Smith.  That marriage lasted six months.  Following her second divorce, Shore remained single the rest of her life.  Nowhere near the long string of divorces the writer may have been predicting.

     During her long career, songstress Dinah Shore recorded a tremendous number of songs.  A few titles that come to mind..."It's So Nice To Have A Man Around The House"..."I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair"...and "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover".            
Rip Van Satchmo

Louis Satchmo Armstrong     He went from a boy growing up in poverty in New Orleans, to one of the most recognized entertainers on the world stage.  They called him the Ambassador of Jazz.

     In his travels he circled the globe, entertaining millions with his trumpet artistry and ever so recognizable raspy voice.

     His name was Louis Armstrong.  Fans knew him as Satchmo.

     All the years of being on the road had worn him down.  Satchmo was tired...very tired.

     While on tour in Scotland he made it  known that his next rest would not be a musical one.  The veteran jazz king said he would be taking some time off.  Not for a week or a month, Armstrong planned on taking an entire year off.

     When asked what he would be doing with all that free time, Satchmo told reporters he'd be spending six months of it sleeping.                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Also in the News.........

Orestes Minnie Minoso     The United Nations charged the Communists with 66 violations of the Korean armistice agreement.  Of those, 23 were for bringing automatic weapons into the de-militarized zone.

     The U.S. conducted the sixth and seventh shots in Operation Dominic, its nuclear test series in the atmosphere .  Both devices were air dropped near Christmas Island.

     Twelve hundred negroes attending a meeting in California asked for state and federal probes of alleged brutality by Los Angeles police.

     Assistant Secretary of Labor Jerry Holleman resigned his $20,000 a year job after it was learned he had accepted a $1,000 gift from indicted Texas financier Billie Sol Estes.

     Longtime Philadelphia TV figure Ed McMahon was chosen to be Johnny Carson's sidekick on the "Tonight Show".   Johnny would begin hosting the late night program in October.

      Saint Louis Cardinal outfielder Minnie Minoso was listed in serious condition with a fractured skull.  He crashed head first into a concrete wall while chasing a fly ball.  Minoso had to be carried off the field.  Cardinal Manager Johnny Keane said Minnie would be out of the lineup for an extended period of time.

     In a union election, The United Steel Workers ousted the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers as bargaining agent for Anaconda Company employees.  The vote broke up the Mine Mill's 61 year hold  on Anaconda Company representation.

     A $5 million  Charles M. Russell exhibit opened at the State Museum.  The collection was gathered from 13 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.  It was the largest, most comprehensive display of the Montana Cowboys works ever presented anywhere.

     Keith "Dobbie" Lambert, head basketball coach at Montana State College, announced his resignation.  He was leaving the court to devote full time to teaching in the classroom.                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Here at the Station.........

The Dick Van Dyke Show     Jerry convinced Laura that Rob's late hours were a cover up for his romantic involvement with a beautiful actress on "Dick Van Dyke".

     On the "Alvin Show", after inventing a bar of soap, Clyde Crashup invented the bathtub.  It overflowed because he forgot to invent the drain. 

     On "Checkmate", a man asked for Checkmate's help when two attempts were made on the life of his girlfriend.

     On "King of Diamonds", King went on a secret mission into East Berlin, in an effort to thwart a Russian plot to acquire industrial diamonds that were valued at half a million dollars.

          The townspeople opposed Hardie's attempt to free a colleague held captive by two vengeful brothers on "Wells Fargo".

     On "Calvin and the Colonel", when  Maggie Belle complained that Colonel was no longer romantic, he treated her to an evening of dining and dancing.

     On "Hazel", George put his foot down when Hazel brought home a neighbors infant, and asked her boss to babysit.

     On "The Real McCoys", Luke ended up being the peacemaker when Grandpa and a neighbor couldn't settle an argument over who owned a tree sprayer they both had been using for years.

     Ness was sued for slander when he accused a public figure of gangster methods in an attempt to take over the Chicago World's Fair on "The Untouchables"

     On "Andy Griffith", Barney tried to get information from a prisoner by posing as a felon. He unwittingly allowed the prisoner to escape.


At the second week in May 50 years ago.

President May Get More Labor Strike Power

Henry Ford II with the Ford Mustang at the Seattle Worlds Fair.  The car would not be available to the public until  late 1963.     A presidential advisory panel recommended giving the government more power to deal with national emergency labor strikes.

     An advisory group made up of representatives from industry, labor unions and the public, called for broad revision  of Taft-Hartley law procedures for handling big strikes that threaten the nation's health or safety.

     The group recommended that emergency dispute boards named by the President would not only be allowed to recommend settlement terms, but could also call for interim changes in pay and working conditions, pending an ultimate settlement.

     There would be a legal obligation for workers to comply with presidential stay-at-work orders for an 80 day cooling off period.

     Emergency procedures could be applied to just part of an industry if that were practical.

     Among the committee members, Henry Ford II  opposed the emergency strike proposals.  He said the Taft-Hartley law had worked remarkably well, and that it would be unjustified, and unwise to give fact-finding boards the power to recommend labor dispute settlement terms.

     Despite the fact that many businessmen had criticized federal intervention in labor matters,  the advisory committee said a broader government role in emergency type bargaining situations was necessary.

American Soldiers  Released
U.S. Army Special Forces beret     Four American soldiers and 31 Vietnamese trainees were ambushed and captured by Communist guerrillas outside of Da Nang.

     Two of the Americans were badly wounded, and were carried more than a mile by their  fellow soldiers.  The Viet Cong captors became impatient, and ordered the wounded be put down.  They took the two American soldiers out of sight and murdered them.

     After 22 days in captivity the two surviving Americans, Sgt Francis Quinn and Sgt. George Groom were released without explanation. 

     They were  held in an isolated  mountaintop location for 22 days.  They said the Reds kept them bound, but fed them regularly on rice.  They suffered no brutality.

     Still wearing the camouflage uniforms and berets of the Army Special Forces, their release took place five miles from the spot of their capture.  Led by a mountaineer who worked for the guerrillas, their trip down the mountainside took 2 1/2 hours.

     Quinn and Groom were weary from the ordeal, but otherwise in good shape when they arrived in Saigon.

     The two denied reports that said they had been paraded through Vietnamese villages as propaganda exhibits.                                                                                                                                                                

Congress Tackles Health Care Issue

Senator Everette M. Dirksen     Senate Republicans were trying to patch together a measure of party unity on the issue of medical care for the elderly. 
     Senate leader Everett M. Dirksen of Illinois said he hoped a consensus could be reached on the Republican party position on the issue that many believed would be critical to the November elections.

     As the Senate worked on the measure, President Kennedy was putting pressure on House leaders for action on a bill to finance medical care for those over 65 through Social Security.  That bill was tied up in the House Ways and Means Committee.

    Any hope that Kennedy could reach a compromise that would remove the powerful opposition from the American Medical Association vanished when the seven member AMA delegation met with the President, and would not change their position.

     That left the Republicans in something of a quandary.  Many of them disliked voting for a proposal that the AMA had tabbed as "socialized medicine", but few wanted to be in a position where they could be accused by election opponents of ignoring the needs of older voters.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Narcotics Seized

HMS Belfast     U. S. Customs Agents and British authorities were investigating a smuggling ring that attempted to bring millions of dollars worth of narcotics into the country.

     The attempt to smuggle heroin and opium into the U.S. was part of a huge operation by an international smuggling ring.

     Agents boarded the British cruiser HMS Belfast, when it docked in San Francisco.

     Two Chinese crewmen were arrested.  They told authorities they picked up the narcotics in Singapore, and were supposed to drop them off in Honolulu, but missed their contact.

     In addition to the drugs, the ship inspection uncovered $70,000 worth of undeclared jade and diamonds that were hidden in sugar canisters.

     Belfast officers reported the case to authorities as soon as the ship docked. 

     Since the contraband was seized by ships officers on the high seas, and none of it actually ended up in the United States, prosecution of the case would take place when the ship reached Plymouth, England.   


Tokyo Train Crash Kills 160

Tokyo train wreck - 1962     Two commuter trains coming from opposite directions piled into a derailed freight at Mikawashima station, five miles from the heart of Tokyo.  The collision killed 160 people and injured  296 others.

     The disaster occurred when a freight train ran through a switch, hit a bumper, and overturned in front of an onrushing  nine car electric commuter train coming from the opposite direction.  Both trains were on an elevated complex 30 feet above the ground.

     Panicked passengers jumped from overturned cars.  Some fell to the street below, and as rescue workers rushed in to help them, disaster struck again. 

     The second train, outbound from Tokyo, plowed through the rescue scene.  Two of its coaches plummeted off the tracks, landing on a two story house and an unoccupied warehouse. 

     The nighttime scene was one of mass confusion as cars were strewn in all directions, with some dangling into the street from the elevated track.  Tops of some of the cars were peeled back pouring dead and injured into the street, while trapped passengers screamed and tried to claw their way out of the tangled wreckage.  Many of those trapped were scalded by an exploding boiler.

     Most of the dead and injured were returning home from Constitution Day festivities.  Constitution Day in Japan is a patriotic holiday commemorating the date when the post-war Japanese constitution was enacted.

     Earlier in the day a  slow moving freight train struck a passenger train loaded with 1,200 passengers at Koga Station 35 miles North of Tokyo.  In that incident a number were injured but no lives were lost.        

"High Level" Visitors

John Glenn Jr., President Kennedy and Gherman Titov at the White House     The White House receives many visitors in the course of a year.  From heads of state, to championship teams.  One day the President might greet a poster child, and on another a movie star.  The guest list is long, and varied.

     In May of 1962 two "high level" visitors came calling. 

     Russian cosmonaut Gherman Titov was officially in this country as a member of the Soviet delegation to the International Conference of the Committee for Space Research.  

     The 27 year old Soviet Hero was accompanied to the White House by U. S. astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. 

     "Major Titov," the President said, "I am very glad to welcome you to this country, as are the American people.  I admire what you did."

     "Thank you very much." the cosmonaut replied, "It has been a very great pleasure."

     After the White House visit, the two astronauts and their wives went by motorcade to the Smithsonian Institution.  Glen showed Titov an Atlas missile like the one he rode into space.  They also viewed the Freedom 7 space capsule that took Alan B. Shepherd Jr. on his suborbital flight.

      During a news conference at the Soviet Embassy the Russian cosmonaut predicted that someday Americans and Soviets would fly together to the moon and beyond.  He didn't know when spacecrafts would be manned by International crews, but told newsmen, "I can tell you it will be sooner if our governments can agree to prohibit war and disarm."                                                                                                                 

No Term Limits Here

Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus     Orval Faubus confirmed that he would be running for an unprecedented fifth term as Governor of Arkansas.

     Faubus gained national attention in 1957, when he used National Guard troops to stop negroes from attending Little Rock Central High School, as part of federally ordered desegregation.

     In a statewide telecast, Faubus said he was bowing out of politics, at least temporarily, to rest, and write a book that would tell his side of the Little Rock integration controversy. 

     A few days later, he held a news conference to announce that he had changed his mind.

     Faubus went on to win his fifth term as Arkansas Governor, and followed that up by winning a sixth term as well.  He was chief executive of Arkansas for twelve years. 

     Bill Clinton was elected Governor of Arkansas in 1978.  He served one term, and lost his bid for a  second term to Republican Frank D. White.   Elected Governor again in 1982, Clinton held the office for ten more years, resigning in December of 1992 to run for President.  Clinton fell one month short of equaling Faubus' office holding record.

Note:  At first glance, the numbers in this story  don't add up.  To clarify, The gubernatorial term in the State of Arkansas was originally two years.   A 1986 referendum changed the term to four years.

     In 1992, a constitutional amendment limited the Arkansas Governorship to two terms.                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Governor Predicts Sales Tax Passage

     Governor Tim Babcock predicted that a sales tax, if put to a public vote in Montana, would be approved. 

     The Governor told the Billings Education Association that property supported over 70% of the cost of education in the state, and that Montanan's were among the most heavily taxed property owners in the nation.

     He mentioned school elections in Kalispell, where the operational levy was twice rejected, and in Great Falls where voters turned down a new high school, as evidence that property owners were tired of having additional levies tacked onto their tax bill.

     In answer to the question "How much money would it take to operate schools in Montana?" the Governor replied, "Every penny we can get."

     Babcock promised once again that he would not sign any such tax measure into law unless it was the will of the people, and said, "It must come to me from the people, either by initiative or referendum.         
Also in the News.........

Program cover for Johnny Cash at Carnegie Hall - 1962     The United States exploded the third and fourth nuclear devices  in the testing series known as Operation Dominic.  Many more tests would follow.

     A United Nations commission  of inquiry reported that it was unable to solve the mystery of the death of  Dag Hammarskjold.  The UN Secretary General was on a peace mission when his plane went down.  Rumors were circulated the plane was sabotaged.

     A man in Phoenix was very happy that his wife had an unusual allergy.  It seems the poor woman would break out in a rash every time she touched paper money. 

     After the death of former Welterweight champ Benny "Kid" Paret, and hospitalization of Tunney Hunsaker, a panel of doctors did a study on sports injuries.  Two on the panel called for the abolishment of boxing.  A third doctor suggested a return to bare knuckle fighting might cut down on boxing injuries and deaths.

     The "Man in Black" appeared at Carnegie Hall.  Tickets for the Johnny Cash concert were $2.75, $3.75 and $4.75.  Appearing with Johnny were Tompall and the Glaser Brothers, Gordon Terry, George Jones, Mac Wiseman, and Mother Maybelle and The Carter Family.

     Dayton Hudson Corporation opened the first Target Discount Store in the Saint Paul suburb of Roseville, Minnesota.

    Associate Justice Stanley M. Doyle accepted an invitation to speak at the Founders Day luncheon at Drake University.  While there the University would be presenting him with their Alumni Distinguished Service Award.

     If you planned  on driving to Great Falls, it wasn't as easy as getting in the car and hitting the road.  Due to blasting and road construction, Wolf Creek Canyon was only open for four hours on weekdays...6-8  a.m. and 5-7 p.m.  At other times motorists would need to take the alternate route over Flesher Pass, adding 29 more miles to their journey.

     The marquee at Chicago Theatre in Redlands, California drew a little attention.  The movies listed were "Dark at the Top of the Stairs", and "All Fall Down".                                                                                       
Here at the Station.........

Connie Stevens as Cricket BlaKe in Hawaiian Eye     All the wisdom of the Orient couldn't protect Cricket Blake from a psychotic killer who lived by an ancient code of honor and made a ritual of death on "Hawaiian Eye ".  ("Cricket" turned 73 last August.)

     A man and his two sons terrorized the Sherman ranch while awaiting the arrival of a man they planned to kill on "Laramie".

     On "The Rifleman", Lucas found himself in a strange town without any recollection of his past.  Just as unexpectedly he became the target of an angry mob that tried to lynch him.

     On "Dobie Gillis", Dobie decided to end his friendship with Maynard, so that his best buddy could learn to take care  of himself.

     Culture blossomed in the city dump when a greedy art dealer tried to swindle Freddie the Freeloader and his hobo pal out of a priceless Leonardo daVinci painting on the "Red Skelton Show".

     On "Tell It To Groucho", Peter Lorre dropped by to try to win some money for a worthy cause.
     Things got interesting when 'Dennis The Menace" noticed that his new neighbor looked just like a wanted criminal.



At the first week in May 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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