The Charlotte News

Tuesday, October 4, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Denver that the President had been reported this date to be feeling "rested and refreshed" after another good night of sleep, sleeping eight hours, with his condition continuing to progress satisfactorily without complication. The President the previous night had written to Vice-President Nixon, directing him to carry on the affairs of the National Security Council and the Cabinet. He was reported to have been in a cheerful mood after a good day. It was the second crucial week after his coronary thrombosis suffered on September 24. His doctors were hopeful that by the weekend, barring complications, there would be a period of convalescence which would enable the President to move into more active direction of the Government, with the expectation being that he would fly to his farm in Gettysburg in two or more weeks for another period of recuperation, during which he would be able to confer with Administration advisers.

In New York, the Stock Market held most gains during the afternoon in a comeback rally from the break of the previous day, as prices had jumped by about three dollars per share on pivotal issues, while losses were mainly in the range of one dollar, in response to the President's continuing optimistic health forecasts. Prices had been irregular at the start of trading, with the tickertape two minutes behind, but catching up quickly, as the market began a positive trend upward. More than 4 billion dollars in estimated decline in values of listed securities on the New York Stock Exchange had occurred the previous day. The Associated Press 60-stock average had fallen $3.80 to $169.50, or 60 cents below the point reached a week ago on Monday, when the big sell-off had brought an estimated drop of 13 billion dollars in market valuation. A market analyst said that a good measure of uncertainty still existed and that he could not venture a guess as to what would occur until he saw the action the following day. He said it was "an intermediary reaction in a bull market" and that the nation was in an extremely prosperous state during the year and beyond.

Also in New York, cotton futures prices bounded up sharply this date in a strong recovery from the previous day's sell-off.

In Berlin, Private Tommy Woods, 24, of Tennessee, was sentenced this date to 33 years in prison for deserting the Army to Communist East Germany, after a court-martial had deliberated for 25 minutes regarding his guilty plea before passing sentence. The penalty, including a dishonorable discharge, was the maximum provided by law, and was subject to review by higher authorities. The soldier did not take the stand in his own behalf, and when the court's legal officer asked him if he fully understood the implications of his guilty plea, he replied that he did.

In Denver, Colo., a young bridegroom of three months, traced through a broken watch, had admitted that he killed a symphony orchestra trombonist and shot his female companion, during an attempted hold-up on September 22 on a rural road. No charges had yet been filed against the suspect, and Denver police said that he would be turned over to authorities in the neighboring county. He had been arrested at his workshop bench the previous day and was subsequently identified in a police lineup by the female companion of the Denver Symphony Orchestra member. She was recovering from a bullet wound in the shoulder and from cuts and bruises inflicted by the assailant. The wristwatch which had led to the suspect's arrest was found at a lonely spot where the female companion had said the gunman had first sought to rape her, and then shot and beat her, attempting to run over her in the car owned by the murder victim. A Denver jeweler had recalled that a blonde girl had bought an identical watch a few days after the killing. After the police had arrested the suspect, they found a photograph which he carried of his wife, 18, whom the jeweler identified as the purchaser of the watch. The suspect had intended to produce the newly purchased watch as evidence that the one found at the scene did not belong to him. The two victims had been in a car parked near a boarding house where both lived, when the gunman forced his way into the automobile, ordering the couple to drive into the country, where he robbed them, shot the trombonist and later wounded the female companion when she attempted to escape. A detective said that the suspect had told his wife about the incident the following day and she admitted that her husband had informed her fully of the robbery and killing.

In Wichita Falls, Tex., swollen waters of the Wichita River and its tributaries had caused hundreds of people to evacuate their homes this date, as it smashed a mainline railroad bridge and flooded across highways. More than 100 families had been evacuated in Wichita Falls as Holliday Creek, carrying heavy runoff from rains which it could not dump into the already full Wichita River, had backed up into residential sections. Rains the previous night had measured up to nine inches and rain continued to fall during the morning in parts of north and west Texas.

Near Philadelphia, several criminal cases had been postponed the previous day at the court in suburban Media because prisoners awaiting trial had inadvertently been placed in a cell with a quantity of liquor being held as evidence from a raid and by the time a lawyer had begun to question one of the prisoners, much of that evidence had disappeared, with the district attorney stating that some of the prisoners were intoxicated while others were visibly affected by the liquor, which had been passed from cell to cell.

In Boston, the Museum of Science had a two-headed turtle, which they named Ditto. Still very tiny, about the size of a quarter, it was one of the first two-headed turtles ever to reach the age of one year. Museum officials hoped that it would grow to maturity. The education director of the museum explained that it had been a turtle egg which had started out as twins, but because of a sudden drop in temperature, had hatched as a partial twin, with the left head controlling the two left legs and the right head controlling the two right legs. The director said that the turtle's independent brains would never learn to cooperate and that it often tried to go in two directions at once, that when all of its feet were operating jointly, it was just a happy accident. And you thought you were uncoordinated.

In Americus, Ga., the sun had furnished a rural telephone line with power for the first time this date, as a farmer placed the first call via electricity supplied by a solar battery, put into use by the Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph Co. Bell engineers switched solar power into the rural telephone system in Americus, 135 miles south of Atlanta. The farmer's call on the eight-party country line had been the first in a test to determine the precise efficiency and value of the solar battery, which converted the sun's energy into electricity and stored the excess current for immediate telephone usage into a storage battery. It had been invented by a three-member team at the Bell laboratories, and consisted of 432 thin silicon cells encased in an aluminum housing less than a yard square, each cell about the size of a quarter, electrically linked, cushioned in oil and covered by glass. The silicon was very sensitive to the rays of the sun and generated an electric current which was drained off into a battery, the current reaching its peak when the sun was brightest. The goal was to generate enough current at intervals of bright sunlight to form a battery backlog sufficient for continuous operation of the telephone circuit. The battery had no moving parts or corrosive chemicals, and ought last indefinitely. If it operated the telephone circuit satisfactorily, Bell scientists believed it might be used economically for other communications purposes where commercial power was unavailable. What on earth will they think of next? The farmer's surname, incidentally, was not Carter.

Dick Young of The News reports that recreation officials were appealing for public assistance this date to break up vandalism at public parks, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars. During the previous weekend, vandals had scaled the electric scoreboard at Memorial Stadium, loosened protective shields and removed and broke 32 bulbs. The usual custom of breaking soft drink bottles in the stands and on the playing fields was also evident. The superintendent of the Park and Recreation Commission and the manager of the stadium reported that in recent weeks, at least a dozen lights in the lighting system had been shot out and that the concession stand had been broken into twice. The guest box speaker of the public address system was also vandalized. They urged that if anyone saw acts of vandalism or the presence of suspicious youngsters or others at the stadium or in any other public park, they should immediately report it to the police. Obviously, they had not liked the score, and so the population of vandals could be limited to the losing team's supporters. Police should go to that school and interrogate everyone present, looking for tell-tale signs of broken bits of glass from the scoreboard bulbs, which would probably still be stuck in between the teeth of the culprits.

Emery Wister of The News reports that the Southern States Fair had opened in Charlotte this date, as Miss North Carolina, Faye Arnold of Raleigh, cut the ribbons to open the event, which would last for five days. Miss Fair Time of 1955 and Miss Charlotte were also present as was J. Sibley Dorton, vice-president and general manager of the fair. Some 35,000 persons were expected to attend before closing time this night, as the County system school children were guests. Some 250,000 persons were expected to attend the event prior to its close on Saturday night. This date's grandstand attraction were two performances of the Burr Andrews World Championship Rodeo and the George A. Hamud Revue, the latter apparently some kind of girly show. New to the fair this year was a Nike missile of the type to be made in Charlotte at the new ordnance plant, exhibited by the Douglas Aircraft Co. A new attraction this year was the Dancing Waters, which combined organ music with intricately lighted fountains. Jack Kochman's auto thrill show was scheduled for 10:00 p.m. and the Revue would be presented at 7:30 p.m. each night. Pony races would be a part of the Thursday matinee program as well, as the rodeo and dog racing would be a feature on the track that night also. City school children would be admitted free on Friday. Do they get out of school early? We did on county fair day and it's only fair that they should, too. On Friday, the rodeo, and pony races would be features of the afternoon, with a "style show" at 7:30—which sounds like a euphemism for another girly show—the Revue at 7:30 and Irish Horan's Lucky Hell Drivers at 10:00. Automobile races would be held on the grandstand track on Saturday afternoon and the final rodeo performance would be held at 10:00. The Charlotte Optimist Club was acting as official host of the fair. Do they provide eye examinations?

Not on the front page, at Yankee Stadium in New York, the seventh game of the World Series would be won this date by the Brooklyn Dodgers, 2 to 0, to take the Series four games to three over the New York Yankees.

On the editorial page, "The Size & Shape of an Emergency" indicates that for 25 years, Charlotte residents had been wagging their heads gravely over the small number of hospital facilities for black citizens. Surveys had been made and statistics compiled, with experts having drafted detailed recommendations, but nothing was getting done toward resolving the problem. Time was running out, as suggested by the reliable reports coming out of a closed-door meeting with the County Commissioners the previous day, in which they had been told that the Good Samaritan Hospital in Charlotte was in desperate financial straits and might have to close by June, 1956 without additional funding.

It indicates that the closure of that hospital would be a serious blow to the community, as the hospital, inadequate as it was, served a vital need. Mercy Hospital, the only white facility accepting black patients, could not possibly provide space for all of the black patients in Charlotte. Even with Good Samaritan in operation, the situation remained bad, and without it, it would get much worse.

A plan to provide hospital facilities for black patients at Memorial Hospital was developing slowly, with an addition to the hospital having been recommended the previous January by a special study committee of the Social Planning Council, the latest of many organizations to become concerned about the inadequacy of hospital facilities in the city for black patients. Nevertheless, there had been agonizing delays in implementing those plans because of a variety of legal technicalities.

It finds that there was need for a new burst of civic energy and that every attempt should be made to accelerate the work on plans and specifications for the project, while, in the meantime, there ought be a farsighted search for necessary funding to construct the Memorial Hospital addition. It concludes that time was of the essence, that the city could not afford to wait until it faced a full-blown crisis before it had the means, ability and inclination to act.

"Listening to Politicos, but Not Closely" indicates that it was sap time for the 1956 campaign, both as to what the body politic was taken for and as to the rising of swollen ambitions, that it was probably silly to pay any heed to politicos when they were listening for groundswells and looking for lightning, but that to ignore them would not be playing the game.

It had found, as an example of the phenomenon, former Representative Monroe Redding's charge that Senator Kerr Scott of North Carolina was "dictating" to North Carolinians when the latter had endorsed Senator Sam Ervin's re-election bid by saying simply, "I'm for the senior Senator to continue," to have actually meant that he was hoping that Senator Scott would support Mr. Redding for the seat.

It decides that when Governor Averell Harriman of New York said that he was supporting Adlai Stevenson for the Democratic presidential nomination, he really meant that he was for Mr. Stevenson until Carmine DeSapio, the Tammany political boss, got Mr. Harriman's bandwagon ready to go.

It finds that Mr. Stevenson had departed credulity the previous week when he had gone to Texas to pay a "friendly social visit with two of the oldest friends" he said that he had, House Speaker Sam Rayburn and Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson, who were old friends but also two of the ablest wheelwrights in politics—probably this side of the Ponderosa, but you would not yet understand the allusion.

RNC chairman Leonard Hall had been saying that he was determined that the President's illness had made no change in Republican campaign plans, the piece commenting that "wrecked" had no kinship with "change" within Mr. Hall's vocabulary.

Senator Mike Mansfield of Montana had said to the Young Democrats in Durham the prior Saturday that they hoped that the President would want to run and that the doctors would want him to run, as Democrats wanted to go up against the champion because they believed they could take him and the Republicans. It finds that a man could get away with that kind of statement only so long as he did not cross his heart and hope to die or say it on Scout's honor.

It suggests that the next thing would be Senator Estes Kefauver coming out for legalized gambling, and Vice-President Nixon putting Checkers in the pound. Actually, the Vice-President appears to favor legalized gambling in Cuba, at least for loyal constituents who lose money at cubolo.

"Sun Shines on the Scuppernong, Too" indicates that it was hot again, as hot as during summer, despite it being fall, producing sweat when one worked outside.

"The scuppernong and the runty melon are gold and silver to the men and women who go down the rows of cotton and, somehow, when the steelyards are hooked to pole and basket and the weights are set down in the book, their sweetness is remembered more than the harshness of the sun."

That is obviously some kind of code, which should be examined closely by some security agency.

A piece from the Greenville (Miss.) Delta Democrat-Times, titled "Some Gripes about Stripes", indicates that sometimes it wondered whether insignia manufacturers did not inspire some of the changes which were made in the armed services regarding rank and rating. It recalls that during World War II, privates had no stripes, with privates first-class having one, corporals, two, buck sergeants, three, staff and tech sergeants, one and two rockers under the three, and finally the top kick with three below and three above, the master sergeant with a diamond in the middle. It was all very simple.

Then someone had decided that the field infantry noncoms ought be distinguished from the clerks and mechanics and so technicians were rated separately, with a corporal becoming a T-4 and a sergeant, a T-3, their uniforms bearing a different chevron, though they received the same pay as other corporals and sergeants.

Between World War II and the Korean War, it suggests, the chevron makers must have had a real field day, as the Air Force had split from the Army and selected upside down stripes, requiring a change of insignias, and then the Army decided to reduce the size of their stripes, such that one could hardly tell the difference at ten paces between a private first class and a sergeant, while the technician designations disappeared. All of the ranks were reorganized, with everyone from buck sergeant on down losing a stripe. The Army had sergeants reduced to corporals and corporals to privates first-class, and privates first-class to privates. A new rank was introduced, the recruit, all requiring changes of insignias.

It indicates that it was now informed that to preserve the dignity and prestige of the infantry noncom in the field, there would be a separate category of enlisted personnel, called specialists, who would include those who had technical and administrative skills but not those holding leadership positions. Thus, thousands of noncoms would become, instead of corporals, sergeants, sergeants first-class and master sergeants, specialist third, second and first class, and master specialists. All of those new ranks would receive new chevrons.

It wonders why they did not go back to technicians as it would appear that the Army had many of the old technicians' stripes in the warehouses, as many as the Navy had hamburgers. "But then, we couldn't use any old stripes, could we?"

Drew Pearson indicates that just four months earlier, before the President's heart specialist, Dr. Paul White, had gone to the President's bedside in Denver to attend to him, he had flown to Washington on another mission for the Administration, pleading for money for research into the cause and cure of heart disease. He had gotten nowhere, as then-Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, Oveta Culp Hobby, had not wanted more money appropriated by Congress for research into heart disease. Mr. Pearson says that it was not entirely her fault because she was following White House orders regarding curtailment of the budget.

The doctor had made an eloquent plea before a Senate Labor subcommittee, chaired by Senator Lister Hill of Alabama, a crusader for more medical research, indicating that the U.S. was one of the most unhealthy countries in the world at present, in large part because of the serious threat of coronary heart disease. He described a research project begun two years earlier, seeking to discover why coronary heart disease was so common in the country and yet relatively rare in poor areas of the world, such as in southern Italy, Sardinia and southern Africa. He said that while those studies might be more important for citizens of the U.S. than for anybody else in the world, there was a paucity of funding available and that he had to raise money from a small private coronary heart research fund and from his own bank account. He begged the Senators to approve the increased 1956 budget of 24.3 million dollars for the National Heart Institute, as recommended by a group of distinguished citizens. Senator Hill had listened to Dr. White's plea and had acted, increasing the money for heart research almost to the figure urged by the doctor, to 23.8 million dollars.

But that appropriation then went before the House, where fiscally conservative Congressman John Taber of New York, together with Congressman John Fogarty of Rhode Island, though the latter had normally been a friend of medical research, reduced the amount back to 11.3 million, nearly what it had been previously.

Mr. Pearson concludes that Dr. White could not help but remember that fact as he flew in a special White House plane to Denver to attend to the President.

Stewart Alsop indicates that there was one basic assumption underlying U.S. policy throughout the cold war thus far, that the U.S. had within its power to increase enormously the strains under which Soviet policy had to operate, and so to promote the tendencies which had eventually to find their "outlet in either the breakup or the gradual mellowing of Soviet power", a concept put forward by "Mr. X", the initially anonymous author of the famous article by former State Department policy planner and Ambassador to Russia George Kennan, that article, written in 1947, having first outlined the Truman Administration policy of containment, which, with some alterations, had been U.S. policy since.

He asks whether the containment policy had actually been working such that there was "gradual mellowing of Soviet power", and so he addresses the question to Mr. Kennan, meeting him in Milan, where he was attending a meeting of the Congress of Cultural Freedom after a three-month tour of the Soviet Union and Western Europe. The Congress had brought together 150 or so leading intellectuals and political thinkers of the non-Communist world in a meeting worth attending because those present, while disagreeing on almost everything else, were almost unanimously in agreement on two points, that there had been a real change in the Soviet Union and that the change confronted the West with a time of great danger.

Mr. Alsop indicates that to understand both points, it was necessary to examine the nature of the change, which, according to Mr. Kennan, included the disappearance largely of the "morbid and irrational" aspect of Soviet policy since the death of Stalin in March, 1953. Those aspects had been in part the products of 25 years of ruthless one-man rule and in another part, the increasingly neurotic fears and suspicions of the aging Stalin. The results of eliminating those aspects of the regime were obvious, both internally and externally, internally being the downgrading of the power of the secret police post-Stalin, with the MVD now headed by a career man who reported to the Presidium as a whole rather than to an individual. The MVD had been publicly stripped of the power to arrest any Communist Party member without the prior approval of the local Party Committee, indicative of the party's superiority to the secret police. In addition, there was a large amount of evidence that the whole labor camp system, which had once been a special empire of the secret police, was being reorganized, with thousands of prisoners having been granted amnesty and the living conditions of others rendered far more tolerable. The subordination of the power of the secret police had in turn produced an easier atmosphere of life for the ordinary Soviet citizen, though the Soviet system had not been changed in any of its essentials, its entrenchment signaled by Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev's statement that the Soviet system would not be abandoned "until shrimps learn to whistle."

The new regime had merely eliminated the internal aspects of the Soviet system which had been irrational and thus unprofitable, with the new Soviet foreign policy emblematic of that change, ending the stupid Stalinist policies toward Yugoslavia and Austria and attempting to reduce the risk of nuclear war, which the new Soviet rulers did not wish to endure. In that sense, there had been a "mellowing of Soviet power", both internally and externally.

Mr. Alsop wonders whether a return to reason in the Kremlin was truly an undiluted blessing for the West, whether it was possible for an intelligent and rational Soviet policy to be even more dangerous for the West than the former policy, and especially for the U.S. The majority of those gathered at the Milan Congress believed that the answer to those questions was in the affirmative, that the Soviets had within their power to increase enormously the strains under which American policy had to operate, a concept with which Mr. Kennan agreed.

Robert C. Ruark, in Palamos, Spain, indicates that at present, America appeared to be on a heavy vodka kick, possibly due to clever publicity and possibly due to world affairs. Vodka was reasonably mild, tasteless and odorless, as it was only a grain alcohol and little else, possibly less harmful to the system than other beverages. "But unless the aim was to get stinking, I see no reason for it, since you might as well be drinking needled water."

He indicates that the Moscow Mule and the Bloody Mary were based on vodka but that both made him nauseous, with ginger beer and vodka in a copper mug comprising the Mule and Worcestershire, pepper, salt, lemon, and tomato juice, plus vodka, comprising the Mary. "I will take my health food straight, thank you, without confusing it with tipple."

He regards the contrived cocktail as an abomination before the Lord, that anyone who would drink an Alexander and still face his friends would eventually abscond with his mother's egg money. "The Manhattan is for people who sneak candy on the side. Even the Martini is a loathsome drink until it is rendered bone-dry, and then it is straight gin and not a cocktail at all."

He goes on in that vein, indicating that, while it was heretical for a Southerner to say so, he had always scorned the mint julep as a "perversion of decent Bourbon or rye whiskey," and had felt that the sugar and mint involved were injurious to the system, possibly leading to diabetes. He believes that people who put whiskey into coffee ought be deprived of access to both and that San Francisco Chronicle columnist Stanton Delaplane should "hang his hung-over head in shame for starting the 'Irish coffee' fad that currently afflicts us. Only a bone-bred I.R.A. man could admire the taste of Irish whiskey, which tastes like castor oil, to me, and alongside which Tunisian eau de vie is almost palatable."

He concludes that "the real drinking man still bites the neck of the bottle, sips her down, chugalug, and watches the hair grow on his chest as he touches the stratosphere without motors. These people never have liver trouble, a malady that is often fatal to people who drink eggnog, because of the cream and eggs. Time, Gentlemen, please."

As a caveat to the casual reader, Mr. Ruark would die in 1965 at age 49 from cirrhosis of the liver.

A letter writer takes issue with a previous letter writer who complained about paying a three-dollar parking ticket received after 4:30 p.m. on E. 4th St. in Charlotte, finds that it was letting the driver off easy, that in many cities they towed cars to the city lot and let the owner pay the towing charge plus the parking fine. He wants the previous writer to stop and think, that by parking where he was, he had blocked a lane of traffic and caused traffic to move half as slow during the time of day when traffic was heaviest. He dismisses the previous writer's claim of denial of personal liberties, stating that if people were allowed to park wherever they wished and for as long as they wanted, it would take many more hours to move about and engage in business than it currently did. He says that he had seen the condition corrected in Jacksonville, Fla., by a city ordinance providing for a $10 fine for blocking an intersection, and reminder to motorists, with signs hung from the traffic light wires, regarding that law and fine.

Hang the disruptive motorists from the traffic light wires. That will get their attention, double-quick.

A letter writer believes that if more homes had family altars for family prayer, they would be happier. She says that when she was young, they had altars in their churches where sinners were saved on their knees and God was ready to forgive. She wonders how many churches had altars. She could remember when saints of God walked up the church aisle, shouted and were happy regarding a son or daughter being saved, whereas now, if people were to do that in some churches, they would be called crazy. "But if you haven't been saved, you have nothing to shout about. There is only one way and that is God's way."

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