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A Look Back - September 1963

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A Look Back - September 1963

Updated Weekly

By Wally Peel

President Kennedy in Billings
Crowd at Yellowstone County Fairgrounds September 24, 1963     On September 24, 1963 President Kennedy left Washington, embarking on a five day, eleven state  conservation tour. 

     Of the 15 stops he would make, two of them were in Montana.

     Kennedy arrived at Logan Air Field in Billings on September 25th, and he traveled by motorcade to the Yellowstone County Fairgrounds where he addressed the enthusiastic crowd.

     Kennedy began his speech with praise for his "old friend and colleague",  Montana Senator Mike Mansfield, saying that the Senate Majority Leader played a significant role in the passage of the test ban treaty.

     He spoke of the division in the communist bloc and said it was a hopeful sign for a more secure existence for the entire world.

     Kennedy also talked about jobs and education.

     On the topic of conservation, he said the potential of this country is unlimited, and that Montana must develop cheap water power, as that was the only way the state could attract industry, and offset the distance to markets. 

     Speaking of all the problems facing the United States, the President concluded his address saying "When a judgment is rendered on this generation of the 1960's, I think it will be said we did our best to maintain our country."

     When the speech ended, the combined Billings High School bands played "God Bless America".

     Kennedy left the platform, and spent fifteen minutes shaking hands with the delighted crowd.

     The President left the Presidential plane in Billings, and boarded a smaller plane for his overnight stop at Grand Teton National Park.  He flew back to Billings the following morning, staying just long enough to change planes, and then flew to Great Falls.

President Kennedy in Great Falls
President Kennedy greeted by Native Americans in Great Falls September 25, 1963     President Kennedy received another warm welcome when he arrived in Great Falls on September 26th.

     The reception party at Great Falls International Airport included a number of Native Americans dressed in colorful tribal costumes.

     Thousands of people gathered at the foot of Gore Hill hoping to get a glimpse of the President as his motorcade passed by.

     On the way to Great Falls High School Memorial Stadium the presidential party stopped  for a brief visit with the family of Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield.  They had never met the President, and were quite excited when he came to see them.  A special phone had been installed in their home to make sure the President could be reached if needed during his ten minute visit.

     Upon leaving the Mansfield home, Kennedy outmaneuvered the Secret Service and crossed the street to exchange greetings and handshakes with people lining a roped off area.

     At Memorial Stadium, the President referred only briefly to his prepared text and the topic of conservation.  He placed a great deal more emphasis on world peace through a strong national defense.  Referring to the Minuteman Missile sites Kennedy said, "The most powerful nuclear system in the world is concentrated within the borders of Montana.  The object of our policy is that those missiles remain where they are."

     The crowd seemed mesmerized by his words.  As he leaned forward to emphasize his remarks, the crowd seemed to lean forward toward him.  As he stressed points with his familiar hand and arm gestures it almost appeared as though he was conducting an orchestra.

     At the end of the address, the president made his way to the reserved seat section to greet 95 year old John Kimmel.  The former law enforcement officer had made a special request to see the President.  Kimmel was accompanied by Great Falls television personality Norma Jean Beatty.  (Miss Beatty, a prominent Montana Broadcaster, is better known by her married name, Norma Ashby.)

     Kennedy stood in an open car and waved to the cheering crowd as his motorcade made its way out of Memorial Stadium and headed back to  the airport.

        An estimated 100,000 people turned out to see President Kennedy on that beautiful autumn day in Great Falls, Montana.

Vietnam Assessment Ordered
President Kennedy confers with Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and General Maxwell B. Taylor     President Kennedy sent his two top military advisors, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Maxwell D. Taylor to Saigon for a firsthand look at the military situation in strife torn Viet Nam.

     The assessment was ordered as the Communists began stepping up their offensive.  More than 700 Vietnamese casualties had been reported in the past week.

     The increased activity of Viet Cong guerrillas was regarded as an attempt to capitalize on disturbances which followed the government crackdown on Buddhists.

     There were about 500 incidents initiated by the Communists during the week, including attacks on hamlets and outposts, and several acts of terrorism and sabotage.

     McNamara and Taylor's report to the President would have a major bearing on the future of the $1 million a day U. S. aid to the government of Ngo Dinh Diem.

     At the time, there were about 15,000 Americans in South Viet Nam.  The majority of them were connected with military or diplomatic missions.

Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?
     When a Montana rancher was having difficulty finding someone to break and train his horses, Senator Lee Metcalf received a request for his help in obtaining a visa for an Australian wrangler.

     Metcalf couldn't resist explaining the employment opportunity with the following statement:  "The shortage of competent wranglers in Montana, the land of the great Greenoughs, Lindermans and Reynolds, derives from the fact that Montana wranglers are busy picking up top money in rodeos in other states."

Student Built Homes
Hammer     Working under the supervision of instructor Lawrence Mayer, the Building Trades class of Helena High School completed work on a modern three bedroom home on the west side of town. 

     The project, which took slightly more than two years to complete, was the second student built house in Helena.

     The special class gave students practical experience in the many skills necessary, covering all phases of home building from initial plans, to a completed structure.

     Mayer, a journeyman carpenter on the faculty of the airport school, said the plumbing, wiring, and sheet metal work was done by journeymen in various fields, with the students serving as their apprentices. 

     The course was established with the advice and cooperation of the various trade unions in Helena.

     The hands on educational experience has continued through the years. 

     For almost a decade, Rocky Mountain Development Council teamed up with School District #1 to assist in the program by purchasing the building lot, paying for the architect design and buying materials.  Many local businesses have also contributed to the program's success.

     This past spring, the Carpentry II class made up of students from Helena High and Capital High completed the tenth home built in partnership with RMDC. 

     Earlier this year the student built homes program faced an uncertain future due to funding difficulties.  

     This past July, continuation of the program was assured by a $50,000 grant from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation.

Also in the News.........
Canyon Ferry     The U. S. Senate ratified the limited nuclear test ban treaty by an overwhelming majority 80-14, fourteen votes more than the two-thirds majority required by the Constitution. 

     Senators Mike Mansfield and Lee Metcalf introduced a bill that would  change the name of Canyon Ferry Reservoir to Lake Townsend.  They said the bill was introduced at the request of the Townsend Chamber of Commerce.

     After participating in receptions for President Kennedy in both Billings and Great Falls, Governor Tim Babcock spoke at a meeting of the Montana Chamber of Commerce.  He said, "I enjoyed very much what the President had to say about the future of this country.  I share with him the high hopes he holds forth for the State of Montana."

     Dedication ceremonies were held at Montana's new $4 million Veterans Administration Hospital at Fort Harrison.  Senator Lee Metcalf delivered the keynote address.

     Karen Griffin, an outstanding swimmer from Butte, was named "Amateur Athlete of the Year" by the Montana Amateur Athletic Association. 

     The Placer Hotel introduced "The American Plan of Packaged Living".  Residents who became permanent guests of the Placer received a room with private bath, 3 meals a day, telephone answering service, weekly maid service, and linen change all for $169.50 a month.

     First National Bank installed a new Weather Information Center just inside the front door.  The new technology, available 24 hours a day, gave up to date reports of the temperature, relative humidity, wind direction and velocity, and rainfall.  It also featured a statewide temperature roundup three times a day.

Here at the Station.........
Scene from My Favorite Martian     Rosemary Clooney and jazz man Al Hirt joined Jimmy for an hour of offbeat variety and music country style on the "Jimmy Dean Show".

     On the premier of "My Favorite Martian", a newspaper reporter discovered a Martian grounded on earth by his ill fated spacecraft.  Eager to write the story of his big find, the reporter took the Martian home, only to find the alien won't reveal his identity to anyone else.

     Foreman Harry Grafton faced the challenge of trying to out-think a computer that threatened the jobs of his fellow workers on the "Phil Silvers Show".

     On "The Lieutenant", when a drill instructor was suspected of brutality in the training of his men, Second Lieutenant William Tiberius Rice was assigned to pose as a recruit to find out if the charges were true.

     On "My Three Sons", the Douglas family traveled to Scotland thinking they had inherited a castle.  Their inheritance turned out to be a rundown pub that was named The Castle.

     Jed faked an illness in order to get some of Granny's special treatment, but the results weren't what he expected on "Beverly Hillbillies".

     On "Wagon Train",  Ronald Reagan and Ann Blyth played a young couple whose marriage was threatened when the commander of an isolated post ordered the wife to depart with wagon master Hale's train.

     Jackie Cooper was the special guest on the debut of the "Danny Kaye Show".

    On "Hazel", the take charge maid changed the Baxter's visiting cousin from a shy spinster into an outspoken bachelor girl that that no one could quiet down.

Did You Know?
     Air Force One is not an actual plane.  It is call sign used to designate any airplane the President is flying in, with the exception of Marine Corps aircraft.
     U. S. Marine Corps aircraft carrying the President, including the helicopters often seen taking off and landing on the White House lawn are identified with the call sign Marine One.
     The Air Force One call sign was created as the result of a 1953 incident in which a flight carrying President Eisenhower entered the same airspace as a commercial airliner that was using an identical in flight designation. 



At the last nine days in September 50 years ago.

Kennedy Wants U. S. - Russia Moon Mission

Moon     In an address before the United Nations, President Kennedy proposed a joint moon mission between the U. S.  and the Soviet Union. 

     Kennedy pointed out that both nations had agreed they would make no territorial claims in space.  "Why therefore" he said, "should man's first flight to the moon be a matter of national competition?  Why should the United States and Soviet Union, in preparing for such an expedition, become involved in immense duplication and expenditure?  Surely we should explore whether the scientists and astronauts of our two countries, and indeed all the world, cannot work together in the conquest of space, sending some day in this decade to the moon, not the representatives of a single nation, but representatives of all humanity."

     In his address to the General Assembly Kennedy also called for steps toward disarmament and a broader test ban. 

      On the topic of discrimination Kennedy admitted that the United States was not without stain.  He told the Assembly that we were working to right the wrongs of our own nation.  He did not confine his discussion of discrimination  to the United States.  He condemned the oppression of Buddhist priests in South Viet Nam, and the closing of synagogues in the Soviet Union.

     In his address before the General Assembly two years earlier, Kennedy delegates "the shadow of fear lay darkly across the world".

     With the easing of tensions in the cold war, his tone was much more optimistic.  In his most current address he said, "We meet today in an atmosphere of rising hope, and at a moment of comparative calm, adding that  his appearance was "not a sign of crisis, but of confidence."

Gromyko Proposes Disarmament Plan

United Nations building     Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko also spoke at the United Nations.  In his address he   proposed an 18 nation summit conference on disarmament, and suggested that the meeting be held "with the participation of leading statesmen of the highest level."

     Such a conference he said, should discuss both the topic of general and complete disarmament, and also include some other separate measures that would hopefully lead to further reduction of international tensions.

    In addition to the proposed the summit, Gromyko advanced a plan that would allow the U. S. and Soviet Union to retain some of their nuclear weapons until the final stage of disarmament was achieved.

     He also said the Soviet Union wanted as agreement that would ban placing objects containing nuclear weapons in outer space.

     His proposals, were contained in a major policy speech devoid of cold war language as far as the United States and other big Western powers were concerned.

     Gromyko's only harsh words were aimed at West Germany.  He claimed that German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer consistently tried to block measures that would relax tensions in the world, citing Bonn's opposition to a reduction of Western troop strength in Central Europe,  resistance to the idea of making that area a nuclear-free zone.

     The shift in Soviet attitude was welcomed by U. S. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson, Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson, Britain's Ambassador Sir Patrick Dean, and many other United Nations  diplomats.

Church Bombing Kills Four Children in Birmingham
16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham     Four young Negro girls were killed, and 23 others were injured when a bomb blast ripped through the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

     The explosion blew a hole through the church's rear wall, destroyed the back steps, and shattered all but one of the stained glass windows.  Ironically, the window that survived the explosion depicted Christ leading a group of little children.

      The church had been a rallying point for civil rights activities, which quite likely was the reason it was chosen as a target.

     A witness identified a member of the Ku Klux Klan as the person who placed the box of dynamite under the steps.

     In the aftermath of the bombing, riots and violent demonstrations broke out throughout Birmingham, resulting in the deaths of two Negro boys.  One was shot by a 16 year old boy, and the other was killed by a police officer.

     In Washington President Kennedy expressed outrage and grief over the bombing and said he hoped the incident would awaken the nation to the folly of racial injustice, hatred and violence.  He called upon every citizen to put passions and prejudices aside, and join in an effort to promote justice and tranquility.

     In the Senate, where lawmakers were working on civil rights legislation, the events in Birmingham were deplored. 

     Senate Majority  Leader Mike Mansfield called the bombing reprehensible, and said there could be no excuse for an occurrence of that kind under any possible circumstances.  He said,  "This outrageous action does not represent the feeling of a great majority of the citizens of Birmingham, or of Alabama or the United States as a whole.  This is something that no one can condone." 

     Outrage over the deaths of innocent children  added a great deal of support to the civil rights movement, and helped lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the voting Rights Act of 1965.       

New Hospital Planned
Hospital     St. Peter's Hospital Board of Trustees made public its decision to build a new hospital in Helena.

     President of the board, Newell Gough Jr. said overcrowding had reached serious proportions at St. Peter's, and the need for a larger, more up to date hospital had been obvious for quite some time.

     He said a large part of the present hospital was more than 50 years old, and the trustees concluded that it would be neither practical nor economical to enlarge the present facility, stating "Nothing short of a new hospital, planned to meet the needs of those who look to St. Peters for care, will enable  us to discharge our responsibility to the community."

     Gough said negotiations were being completed for acquisition of a 25 acre site on the east side of Helena.

     The board anticipated funding for the project would come from a $1.2 million Federal Hill-Burton grant, and a minimum of $750,000 to be obtained by public subscription.  The hospital would finance the balance of the cost through a loan if necessary.

Note:  At the time, St. Peter's Hospital was located at the corner of 11th and Logan.

Silver Dollar City
Silver Dollars     Thanks to nationally syndicated columnist Bob Considine, Helena had a new nickname, "The Silver Dollar City".

     Writing about the silver dollar Considine said, "The Treasury had 50 million silver dollars stashed away.  The beautiful coin has become all but extinct east of the Mississippi, except as collector's items and good luck pieces.  But they're holding their own on the Lone Prairie.  Curiously, neither Las Vegas nor Reno uses the most silver dollars.  That title is held by Helena, Montana."

     Clement Van Nice, Vice President of the Federal Reserve Bank verified Considine's claim.  He said more silver dollars were in circulation in the Capital City than in any other place in the United States.

     Van Nice said silver dollars were extremely popular throughout the state, and the Federal Reserve has distributed six million of the "cartwheels" to Montana Banks in 1962.  He expected that figure to reach seven million in 1963.

     The banking executive said at one time the silver in the  coin was only worth 40 cents, but silver prices had increased to the point that the silver dollar was almost worth a dollar.  With the precious metal selling for $1.29 an ounce, the three quarters of an ounce of silver in each coin had a meltdown value of 96.75 cents.

     What is the meltdown value of a silver dollar today?  Scroll down and read "Did You Know?"
Also in the News.........
Popsicle     A speeding freight train slammed into a truck  carrying 56 migrant farm workers  near Chualar, California.  Twenty-two died at the scene.  Another ten died of their injuries later.  It was the worst vehicle accident in California history.

     On television, David Janssen made his first appearance portraying Dr. Richard Kimble, a physician who had wrongfully been convicted of murder  in the popular series "The Fugitive".

     The Beatles and the Rolling Stones performed in the same show in London.  It was the only time the two groups would appear in concert together.

     Driver Mario Andretti participated in his first major auto race, competing in a U. S. Auto Club event in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

     A revolutionary new product was appearing on the shelves of music stores.  It was called the cassette tape.

     Ted Cummings of Hamilton had a pretty successful day while hunting in the Sheephead Creek area.  He first shot a cow elk.  While dressing it our he spotted a two-point mule deer and chalked up his second kill.  After dressing those animals, he walked about 150 yards and brought down a black bear.  He bagged all three in one hour.

     Mary Bea Mantz of Wolf Creek won the $3,000 first prize for her maple cinnamon rolls in the Pillsbury Junior Baking Contest in Beverly Hills, California.  Miss Mantz was just 12 years old.

     In Winnett, a preschool age boy was headed to the grocery store with a list of items for his mother.  He stopped the Rev. C. T. Wheaton on the way and asked..."Will you please write popsicle on this paper?"    Had the lad asked that of you, what would you have done?
Here at the Station.........

The cast of Petticoat Junction     The Grand Prix of Italy and World Water Ski Championships in Vichy, France were featured on "Wide World of Sports".

     On the premiere of "Outer Limits", a radio engineer designed a three dimensional television system, and made contact with a fellow experimenter in another galaxy.  When a disc jockey tried to impress his girlfriend with the station's range by boosting the signal to its highest limit, the DJ unknowingly pulled the alien into a remote desert town on earth.

     A railroad trouble shooter journeyed into the little town of Hooterville to find out why the forgotten spur line wasn't connected to the main line on "Petticoat Junction".

     Freddie the Freeloader met, and fell in love with a society matron who was dressed as a hobo.  Shirley Temple was the guest star on the "Red Skelton Hour".

     Sgt. Saunders led a demolitions expert behind enemy lines to blow up a bridge on "Combat".

     Stu's quest to solve the hit-and-run  murder of an art collectors brother sent him on a chase that took him to three continents on "77 Sunset Strip".

     When model Holly Howard was murdered, the only clues Captain Amos Burke could find led him to a trio of wealthy Texans on "Burke's Law".

     On "Rawhide", Gil Favor and his drovers stumbled into a ghost town occupied by a prospector and his three pretty daughters.  The old man tried to keep some of the men there by salting the mine, hoping they would stay long enough that his marriage minded girls could capture them.

     The sneaky capers of McHale and his crew had Captain Binghamton convinced they were plotting his demise on "McHale's Navy".


Did You Know?
     The Morgan silver dollar (1878-1921) contains 90% silver.  Its current melt value is $17.04. The same is true for the Peace dollar minted from 1921 to 1935. 
     Melt value of the Walking Liberty (1916-1947), Franklin (1948-1963) and the 1964 Kennedy half dollars  is $7.97.  They are all 90% silver.  Kennedy half dollars minted after 1964 were 60% copper and 40% silver.  Their melt value is $3.26.
(Values based on current U. S. silver market figures as of September 12, 2013.)


At the third week in September 50 years ago.

Red Guerillas Increase Attacks in Viet Nam

T28 fighter plane     Massive Communist guerilla forces launched coordinated attacks on government towns scattered over Viet Nam's southern tip, setting off the bloodiest fighting in the area in many months.

     The district capital was temporarily overrun by the Viet Cong, and Dam Doi, 20 miles away, was burned and sacked.

     Air strikes, and a pitched battle fought between a Vietnamese battalion and fleeing guerillas cost the enemy more than 100 lives. 

     In predawn attacks, the Viet Cong sent about 500 well armed guerillas each to Dam Doi and Cai Nuoc.  They also attacked several outposts north of Cau Mau.

     One American injury was reported.  A U. S. Air Force captain was seriously wounded while he was in the process of blowing up a Vietnamese T28 fighter plane that was shot down during the operations.

     Vietnamese and U. S. officers said the arms captured from the Viet Cong included Chinese Communist heavy machine guns, about ten Communist made rifles, and an American 75mm recoilless rifle.

     There were indications that the increased attacks might be leading up to a coup against the Saigon regime.

Kennedy Urges Senate to Ratify Treaty
Presidential Seal     President Kennedy told the Senate that the limited nuclear test ban treaty in no way limited his authority to use nuclear weapons for the defense of the United States.

     In a letter addressed Democratic Majority leader Mike Mansfield of Montana, and Republican Minority leader Everett M. Dirksen of Illinois, Kennedy gave unqualified and unequivocal assurances that the safeguards urged by the military Joint Chiefs would be carried out fully.

     The letter stated "It is not only safe but necessary, in the interest of mankind, that this treaty should now be approved, and the hope for peace which it offers be firmly sustained by the Senate of the United States.

     Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower had earlier suggested that the treaty in no way limit the authority of the commander in chief to use nuclear weapons for the defense of the United States and its allies if a situation should develop that required such a decision.

     In response, Kennedy emphasized  that any decision to use nuclear weapons would be made by the United States in accordance with its constitutional processes, and would in no way be affected by the test ban treaty.

     Despite some announced opposition, the limited nuclear test ban treaty was well on its way to ratification by the U. S. Senate.

   The President hoped his letter would be helpful in dispelling any concerns or misgivings any Senator might have as to the determination to maintain the interests and security of the United States.

     Minority leader Dirksen was the one who made the President's letter public.  That move was intended to emphasize bipartisan support for ratification of the treaty.

Unruly Hearing in the House
House of Representatives     Congressional hearings regarding student travel to Cuba ended after screaming, shouting beatnik-style youths and girls clashed with police for the second straight day.

     A squad of more than 100 uniformed police officers cleared the marble halls of the House Office Building, removing at least 35 struggling demonstrators. 

     Two of the demonstrators kicked and screamed as officers physically carried them out.  Four others ordered to leave were physically escorted from the hearing.  All six were "deposited" on the sidewalk.

     Hundreds gathered outside the building as the youths emerged shouting accusations of police brutality, and calling the uniformed officers Nazis. 

     Several protesters that had been kept from the hearing staged a sit down outside the committee offices.  They attempted to display hastily made signs  saying "Why were we banned?", and "The Nazis are inside.  Why not us?"  Police quickly took the signs from their hands, advising the demonstrators that it was against the law to display such signs in the Capitol.

     Five people were arrested in what was no doubt the noisiest, and roughest demonstration at the Capitol in recent years.

     The House Committee on Un-American Activities was conducting an investigation into the illegal trip to Cuba by 59 American students. 

     The sudents had defied a State Department ban on travel to Cuba by U. S. citizens, and visited the island nation at the invitation of the Castro government. 

     State Department officials indicated the students could face possible five year prison sentences, and fines of up to $5,000 for defying the travel ban order.

     Shortly after the hearing adjourned, the demonstrators left the Capitol grounds and boarded buses bound for New York City.

     Committee Chairman Edwin E. Willis who conducted the hearing said he believed the demonstrations were Communist organized.

     Willis promised further investigations that would likely lead to a tightening of the laws governing travel.

Student Protests in Alabama
Protestor's car in Birmingham, Alabama     Pupil boycotts protesting integration spread to several more schools in Alabama.

     For the third straight day, more than a thousand boys and girls stayed away from West End High School in Birmingham.  Sympathy protests broke out at two other still-segregated high schools in that city.

     Another 300 students chanted racial slurs as they walked out at Murphy High School in Mobile.  Fifty of those students were arrested.

     Some 300 students from the boycotted schools gathered in front of still another, Phillips High, demanding that pupils there join their walkout.  The arrival of helmeted troops helped calm the situation, and teachers ordered Phillips pupils back to class.  Only a few left school to join the protest.

     At West End, police rerouted a segregation motorcade which included a car dragging a dummy by the neck.  The driver was ordered to get rid of the display, and the caravan was not allowed to pass by the school again.

     In Tuskegee where Governor Wallace had delayed the opening of the 12 grade Tuskegee High, no white pupils in the upper grades showed up to attend class with the 13 Negro students enrolled.

     Federalized National Guard troops remained on duty in the racially torn city, but they were not called in to assist with any of the incidents.

     It was clear, integration would not come easy in the South, especially in Alabama.

Shootout Near Choteau
Teton County Sheriff     It was dark out...right close to midnight.

     A young couple from Fairfield pulled off to the side of the road about six miles south of Choteau.  They were in the process of fixing a flat tire when suddenly shots rang out.  The frightened pair got back in their car and sped into town to report the incident.

     Teton County Sheriff Albert Becker immediately rounded up five deputies and rushed to the area where the attack took place.

     As they approached, they were fired upon.  The posse took cover and fired back.  Their warning shots were met with another volley of gunfire.

     Officers had no idea who was out there, or why he was shooting at them.  The only response to their verbal commands was more gunfire.

     The pitch darkness made it difficult to locate the shooter.  All the lawmen could do was stay low and cautiously work their way toward the sound.

     The madman out there in the dark seemed to have an endless supply of ammo.

     After three tension filled hours, the gunfight finally came to an end. 

     At three in the morning, Becker and his men managed to move in close enough to surround and identify their foe.

     They had been trading gun blasts with a mechanical "scarecrow".

     The device, installed by the Fish and Game Department, was designed to simulate actual gunfire.  It had been installed to keep ducks away from a contaminated marsh.

     The "scarecrow" had a megaphone that magnified the explosion of acetylene gas ignited by a spark from a flint triggered timer.

     There were two of the duck deterring devices at the swamp.  That particular evening, someone forgot to turn one of them off at nightfall.

     No one was hurt in the shootout, but the gun cabinet at the Teton County Sheriff's Office was short 100 rounds.

Also in the News.........
The Alou brothers, Jesus, Matty and Felipe     President Kennedy signed an executive order halting the conscription of married men.  They would not be drafted as long as there were enough single men available to maintain the strength of our armed forces.

     Red China accused the Soviet Union of joining the U. S., India and Yugoslavia in a holy alliance designed to strangle revolutionary movements, and reinstate capitalism.

     Mary Ann Fischer of Aberdeen, South Dakota gave birth to America's first surviving quintuplets, four girls and a boy.  Venezuelan housewife Inés Cuervo de Prieto gave birth to Latin America's second set of surviving quintuplets that same week.  She had five boys.      

     The TV Show "Outer Limits" premiered on ABC TV.

     Mary Kay Ash invested her life savings of $5,000 to start the company known as Mary Kay Cosmetics.  That company is now worth several billion dollars.

     An oil well that was believed to be the biggest producer in Montana history was discovered in the Sweetgrass Hills northeast of Shelby.  The well was producing about 400 barrels a day.

     Montana was preparing for a Presidential visit.  President Kennedy would be in Billings on September 25th and Great Falls on the 26th.

     For the first time in Major League Baseball history, three brothers appeared for the same team in a game.  The San Francisco Giant Outfield consisted of Felipe Alou, Jesús Alou and  Matty Alou.  In the 8th inning the brothers came up to bat in consecutive order.  Mets pitcher Carl Willey struck all three out.  The Mets won the game 4-2.

     In Miami, Brigadier General Robert Ballard was a bit hesitant to come forward to accept his Guard Units Unit Safety plaque.  His reluctance was due to the fact that he was sporting a bandaged finger at the time.  He caught in a car door.

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

Imogene Coca as Grindyl     On "Combat", a French orphan followed Lt. Hanley's squad into battle, and when the Lt. was wounded, the boy tried to lead him back to safety.

     Imogene Coca portrayed a mild mannered traveling maid-turned detective in the premiere of "Grindl".  In the first episode Grindl's new employer thought the bloodhound domestic knew too much about his wife's disappearance.

     On "Beverly Hillbillies", Jim Backus guest starred as chairman of the board of Milburn Drysdale's bank.  He arrived in California to reward Drysdale for snaring the Clampett account.   When introduced to the wealthy client, Jed didn't quite fit the image the banking executive had in his mind.

     Sgt. O'Hara's good luck piece, a piece of the Blarney stone, helped quell an Indian war on "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin".

     A group of corrupt political bosses chose a popular singing cowboy to run as their candidate for governor on "Wide Country".

     Patterson , New Jersey puncher Rubin "Hurricane" Carter squared off against Argentine middleweight Farid Salim in a ten round bout on "Fight of the Week".

     On "Bugs Bunny", the harebrained hare tried to present Yosemite Sam as master of ceremonies, but Pepe LePew, the French skunk, kept trying to take over.

        NBC began its expanded daily news report with Chet Huntley and David Brinkley.  The first 30 minute broadcast featured an exclusive interview with President Kennedy.

     The quiz show "100 Grand" made its debut.  Contestants tried to answer questions in their specialty from a panel of experts.   It was the first prime time quiz show to be broadcast since the infamous quiz show scandals of the 1950's.  The show, hosted by Jack Clark was cancelled three weeks later.

Did You Know?
     The Montana Yogo Sapphire is the only North American gem to be included in the Crown Jewels of England.



At the second week in September 50 years ago.


Test Ban Treaty Opposition

Senator Richard B. Russell     After more than eight years of difficult negotiations, a breakthrough was reached, and on August 5, 1963, the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union agreed to terms of a limited test ban treaty.  

     The treaty prohibited nuclear weapons tests, or any other nuclear explosion in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water.  Even though the treaty did not include restrictions on underground testing, it was regarded as an important first step in the control of nuclear weapons.

     In order for the treaty to go into effect it had to be ratified by the U. S. Senate.

     As that process was about to begin, Richard B. Russell, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and two other powerful Southern Democrats announced their intentions to vote against ratification.

     Joining Russell in opposing the treaty were two Mississippi Senators,  John C. Stennis, head of the Senate Preparedness Subcommittee, and James O. Eastland, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

     Arizona Republican Senator Barry Goldwater said he would probably vote against ratification as well.

     The four were primarily concerned that the treaty contained serious and formidable military disadvantages for the United States.

     Their announcements came as a blow to the Kennedy administrations hope of minimal opposition when the treaty reached the Senate floor.

Texas Towers Rescue
Texas Tower radar station     A fleet of Navy helicopters braved gale force winds to airlift 28 men to safety from two weakened Texas Towers in the storm swept North Atlantic.

     Seven helicopters flew in to evacuate the men as 18 foot waves battered the structures off Cape Cod.

     The towers, which resembled offshore drilling rigs, were actually Air Force radar installations that were previously part of the Nation's air defense system. 

     Development of an airborne surveillance system employing radar aircraft flying led the Air Force to declare the towers obsolete.

     Erosion had weakened the towers, and the Air Force ordered their destruction.

     The men who were rescued were working for a private firm that had been hired to dismantle the towers and sell them as scrap.

Note:   In January of 1961 a severe winter storm packing 80 mile per hour winds battered Texas Tower 4 southeast of New York City.  Rescue efforts were unsuccessful.  The structure, nicknamed "Old Shaky", toppled into the sea and 28 men lost their lives.    

Note:  The towers were called Texas Towers because of their similarity to oil drilling rigs in the  Gulf of Mexico.

Wallace Blocks School Opening
Troopers outside Tuskegee High School     Alabama Governor George C. Wallace took another defiant stand against the federal government by ordering the delay of the opening of the all white Tuskegee High School.

     In defiance of federal desegregation orders, Wallace placed a force of helmeted state troopers, supported by mounted sheriff's deputies around the school, and gave them orders to keep students and teachers out. 

     Thirteen Negro students were scheduled to begin classes at the 12 grade school.  It was the only school in Macon County ordered desegregated at the time, and the only school affected by Wallace's order.  (The population of Macon County was predominately black, with Negroes outnumbering white residents by a ratio of seven to one.)

     Wallace first took a stand against integration when he stood in the doorway of Foster Auditorium on the University of Alabama campus and blocked  the entry of two black students, Vivian Malone Jones and James Hood.

     He did not personally appear at Tuskegee High School, but he sent six top aides there to act on his behalf.

Billings Building Under Attack
 James F. Battin  Federal Courthouse completed in 1965    Edward P. Neilan, president of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. spoke out against the misuse of public funds, saying such a practice is "seduction by subsidy".

     Speaking before the Pacific School of Bankers, Neilan said,  "There is a self- evident, basic immorality when a community contrives to use money belonging to  all the people of this country for its own local, self-serving purpose."

     He went on to say "The respectable, honest citizen who wouldn't dream of asking his neighbors to help pay for patching up his roof, or repaving his driveway, thinks nothing  of calling in the government and getting all the taxpayers to contribute to his local area development."

     Neilan further charged that in community after community federal handouts were destroying initiative, raising the cost of local projects, and set citizens, including business leaders against one another.

     He singled out specific instances of Area Redevelopment Administration and General Service Administration projects  in his criticism. 

     New James F. Battin Federal CourthouseOne such project was the Federal Building in Billings.

     The Chamber head claimed Billings, had an oversupply of rentable office space, and the last thing it needed was a big new office building. 

     The Billings Chamber of Commerce supported the federal  project, and was somewhat embarrassed when their top leader criticized it. 

     Construction of the building was eventually completed in 1965.  It became the new home of  the  U. S. District Court, and several government agencies.  It was named the James F. Battin Courthouse in honor of Montana Congressman James Battin.

     The building was back in the news this year. 

     The discovery of asbestos in the five story building resulted in the government building a new, $80 million James F. Battin Federal Courthouse nearby.

   The GSA disposed of original Battin building through a public auction.  The building  was sold to Colorado Tire based in Federal Way, Washington for $3.275 Million.

 Shelby The Musical graphic    One of the most colorful events in Montana sports history was the Dempsey-Gibbons heavyweight championship fight in Shelby,  It took place on the Fourth of July in 1923.

     Governor Tim Babcock received a letter from Clifford Coover advising him that the famous fight was about to be memorialized in a forthcoming Broadway show.  The musical comedy would be titled "Shelby".

   Coover, a Shelby real estate broker helped Hollywood writer Elihu Winer research the story of the pugilistic fiasco that broke banks and plunged a large portion of Northern Montana into financial distress. 

     Others involved in the production were Gene de Paul for the musical score, and Bruce Geller writing the lyrics.  de Paul wrote the music for the film "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and the Broadway hit "Li'l Abner".  Geller wrote the lyrics for several musicals including "All in Love", and "Livin' the Life".

     Coover sent Babcock a New York Times article describing the Shelby fight as one of the costliest in the history of sports.  The Times reported that Winer and others had been working on the musical "Shelby" for four years.

     The fictionalized plot centered around a prominent Shelby citizen, the fights chief promoter, and a girl who owned a tent show.

     The story told what happened to a small town of 700 population when it got too big for its britches. and tried to put itself on the map by hosting a heavyweight championship fight.

     Jack Dempsey, his manager Jack Kearns, and Tommy Gibbons were mentioned in the script, but their characters were not in the cast.  In the production, the 15 round bout was not reenacted, it took place off stage.

     Governor Babcock said he was pleased to learn that a Montana community was to be the subject of a Broadway show.

     He made the suggestion that the show have a tryout in Montana before its New York premier. "It could be a major attraction for the 1964 Montana Territorial Centennial celebration."  he said.

     The high credentials of those involved in the production of  "Shelby" weren't strong enough to raise the curtain on its first performance.  The show never appeared on Broadway, or anyplace else for that matter.  A New York source tells us that such is the case much of the time. 

     The Dempsey-Gibbons fight put Shelby, Montana on the map.  It also put the small town on the mat.

     With high hopes of a profitable gate, the town built a football field size, 40,000 seat outdoor arena.  Ticket sales fell far short of expectations. 

     Uncle Sam attended the big event.  His revenue agents were selling tickets in order to make sure "their boss" got his fair share of the receipts.

     Just before the bell rang for round one, the agents seemed to think they were all needed at ringside.  They abandoned their posts to watch the fight.  At that point, several thousand  spectators outside the arena crashed the fences and got in free.

     Even though the fight drew fans from all across the country, only about 7,700 paid their way in.

     The fight was one of the biggest economical disasters in boxing history.  Gate receipts of $80,000 fell far short of the $300,000 Dempsey had been guaranteed.

     Four banks went bankrupt due to expenses brought in by the fight.  The town's dreams of prosperity went with them.

     On a positive note...boxing fans saw one whale of a fight.  The 15 round decision went to Dempsey.

     Promoters of the fight saw fit to have the Championship Match filmed.  You can watch it in its entirety by clicking on the links below.

Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five

Fight Trivia:  In 2005, the autographed boxing gloves worn by Jack Dempsey in the 1923 heavyweight title fight sold at auction for $30,000.        

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

Pro Football Hall of Fame     Unsettled conditions in South Viet Nam resulted in the State Department placing travel limitations to that nation.

     Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield vowed to keep the Senate in session until January 3, 1964 if Senators didn't finish their work before then.

     The Federal minimum wage was raised to $1.25an hour.  The current minimum wage is $7.25.

     CBS became the first network to expand its evening news broadcast from 15 minutes to 30 minutes.  Walter Cronkite was the anchor.  NBC began airing 30 minute news broadcasts  a week later. 

     The Pro Football Hall of Fame opened in Canton, Ohio.  It had 17 charter members.

     There was jubilation among Montana's Irish residents.  A genuine Civil War sword was placed in the upraised hand of the statue of General Thomas Francis Meagher on the Capitol grounds.  Present at ceremony were Governor Tim Babcock, Herman Schmidt, donor of the sword, and Leonard Thompson, a local welder who made sure the new sword would remain in place.

     A 21 year old woman in Hot Springs, Arkansas was arrested for smuggling saw blades to prisoners who later escaped from the county jail.  As luck would have it, the one prisoner she hoped to spring didn't make it.  Her husband remained in jail.  He was too fat to squeeze through the bars.

Here at the Station.........
Scene from Twilight Zone episode On Thursday We Leave For Home     On "Twilight Zone", group of space travelers from earth, trapped for half a century on an arid asteroid, were faced with a dilemma when a rescue ship arrived to bring them home. The episode was titled "On Thursday We Leave For Home".

     A sailor with the reputation of being a jinx to every ship he was assigned to was transferred for duty on the Appleby on "Ensign O'Toole".

      On "The Jetsons", Jane's fatigue was diagnosed as "pushbutton-itis".  When her doctor told her to get away from it all, she and her girlfriend headed for a dude planet.

     Actor James Stewart was interviewed by Charles  Collingwood on "Portrait".

     The Kirby Brothers took aim at "Cheyenne" when he helped a gunfighter make amends for accidentally killing a boy.

     On "The Flintstones", a kissing bandit was at work in Bedrock, and Wilma complained to her hubby that she would never be romanced by the larcenous lover because they didn't have a enough valuables.

     Deputies Del Stark and J. D. Smith drew the wrath of the townspeople when they subdued two bandits on a church ground on "The Dakotas".

     "World Series of Golf" covered the last six holes in the first round of match play, and featured four International Champions, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Julius Boros and Bob Charles.

     Roger had mixed emotions when he found out his Mother-in-law was allergic to horses on "Mr. Ed".

Did You Know?

     He's had a smile on his face for half a century.
     When State Mutual Life Assurance of Massachusetts bought Guaranteed Mutual Company of Ohio, the merger resulted in low employee morale.
     Freelance artist Harvey Ball was hired by the company in 1963 to create a smiley face to be used on buttons, desk cards and posters.  The smiley face, part of the company's Friendship Campaign, was designed to get employees to smile when answering the phone, and doing other tasks.
     The simple Smiley Face drawing has since become an International icon.
     Happy 50th Birthday Mr. Smiley!!!



At the first week in September 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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