The Charlotte News

Monday, February 21, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Panmunjom in Korea that the U.N. Command this date had accused the Communists of violating the Korean Armistice by building up Communist MIG-15 strength in North Korea, and demanded that those responsible for the build-up be punished. The senior allied member of the Korean Military Armistice Commission, Maj. General Leslie Carter, had made the charge, declaring that the MIG's which had attacked an American reconnaissance jet bomber over the Yellow Sea on February 5 had constituted evidence of Communist air activities in North Korea since the Armistice, which had gone from zero to "increasing magnitude to a high tempo". He quoted the chief Communist delegate from North Korea as responding, however, that the charges were "allegations hastily manufactured" by the allies and that the way the North Koreans had maintained their planes and how many they had was their own business and no concern of others. The delegate had also accused the allies of expanding army and aircraft strength in South Korea and of "covering up the crime by making false allegations." General Carter demanded that mobile inspection teams from three neutral nations be permitted to enter North Korea to examine evidence of the MIG build-up and their armament. The General said that the attacking MIG's in question had been tracked by radar from the point of their takeoff in North Korea and that their base had been thus established.

The House Ways & Means Committee would meet this date to endorse a Democratic proposal for a $20 per person income tax cut, which probably would set off the first partisan clash regarding legislation in the 84th Congress. The Democratic majority of the Committee had reportedly promised to vote unanimously for the plan, but had invited Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey to testify in closed session in advance of the vote, with the Secretary expected to oppose both the timing and method of the proposed tax cut. The cut, sponsored by Representative Wilbur Mills of Arkansas, was estimated to lose 1.4 billion dollars in income tax revenue. Republicans referred to the proposal as a political move and "absolutely irresponsible". Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which would consider the bill in the Senate, announced that he opposed it along with any other tax reduction, until the balancing of the Federal budget. The same bill would postpone for a year the corporate and excise tax cuts, otherwise set to go into effect on April 1, estimated to cost three billion dollars in lost revenue. If the bill were to pass both chambers, it would thus place the President in the paradoxical position of vetoing the favored postponement of the corporate and excise tax reductions in order to block the proposed individual tax cut.

In the area of Los Angeles, an earthquake of unstated intensity had occurred west and southwest of the city in the wee hours of the morning, but no damage had been reported.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico State Police reported this date that five badly burned bodies had been recovered at the wreckage-strewn spot on a mountainside where a TWA plane had crashed the prior Saturday with 16 persons aboard. The search team said that there was no sign of life and no possibility of survivors. The plane had rammed the side of a snow-covered mountain just minutes after taking off and in its last radio transmission, the pilot had reported that all was well.

In Atlanta, a jealous suitor had shot and killed a former Georgia legislator, a Tennessee shoe salesman and the woman he had been dating, then committed suicide the previous night. Another woman had also been injured seriously in the gunfire, which had broken out at a party in a northeast Atlanta home. The former legislator, John Booth, who had served between 1934 and 1938, had also been at one time the Fulton County campaign manager for Senator Richard Russell when the latter had run for governor. The man who engaged in the gunfire was an electrical engineer in Atlanta, who, according to police, had smashed his way into the house with a .22-caliber target pistol in hand and began firing at all four persons.

Julian Scheer of The News indicates that local Solicitor Basil Whitener would indicate his support before the General Assembly for the controversial bill increasing the punishment for sexual psychopaths engaged in offenses with minors under age 16, while also providing that where appropriate, following psychiatric examination, the individuals would be sent to a state mental hospital instead of prison.

Dick Young of The News tells of legislative attempts to equalize the allotment of teachers between city school districts and rural school districts having been discussed this date at a meeting of the City School Board.

G. Douglas Aitken, president of the Bank of Commerce and former member of the Charlotte City Council, had been appointed this date to be a member of the City School Board.

In Charlotte, City Manager Henry Yancey said that he had told police officials that they could use the "whammy" speed-detection device under existing authority. The devices had been used previously in the city only to gauge generally the speed of cars along certain thoroughfares, but not as a device by which to catch speeders.

In Chicago, a 19-year old accountant who said that he had tired of waiting in the rain for a bus, went to the Chicago Transit Authority depot, entered a parked bus and started driving it toward his home, until police stopped him with a warning shot after six blocks. 25 or 6 to 4.

On the editorial page, "The Capitol—Musty, Dirty, Inadequate" quotes from an earlier statement by sculptor Gutzon Borglum, who sculpted Mount Rushmore, that the North Carolina Capitol building was superior for its color, care of construction and purity of style. It suggests that perhaps when the Capitol had been built in 1840, it had been possessed of a certain beauty and dignity, but that it had now become musty and dingy inside, and was wholly inadequate for the work of the State Government.

It urges that the building be turned into a museum and that a new state capitol building be constructed.

A new, modern General Assembly Building would be erected and opened in 1963, leaving the Capitol for the offices of the executive branch.

"Frankenstein Was Too a Monster" tells of a letter to the editor on the page from Louis Graves, contributing editor of the Chapel Hill Weekly, who had written to comment on an excerpt from a speech by General Douglas MacArthur, appearing in the February 5 edition, beneath the headline, "Man Faces a Frankenstein", based on a comment made during the speech by the General regarding nuclear warfare. Mr. Graves had said that according to the Columbia Encyclopedia, only the inventor of the monster was named Frankenstein in the Mary Shelley story, not the monster.

But the piece begs to differ, as a whole host of things had come into the language in that manner. For instance, John L. Macadam had given his name to the tarred road. Charles MacIntosh had given his name to the raincoat. Sir James Watt, Frenchman A. M. Ampere, and German G. S. Ohm, had each given their names to a measure of electricity. John C. Garand had given his name to a rifle and Rudolph Diesel, to his namesake engine and its fuel. Col. James Bowie was associated with his knife and Gabriel Fahrenheit, with his temperature scale.

French explorers Antoine Cadillac and Hernando de Soto had been honored with names of cars, as had Edsel Ford with the Ford tractor, dubbed the Fordson—and, later, of course, beginning in 1957, the ill-fated, short-lived automobile.

And it goes on listing such proper names adopted for particular objects. So, it concludes that Frankenstein was perfectly appropriate to apply to a monster formed from disparate parts.

It adds that schoolteacher Peter Ney, who had died in North Carolina, had been Marshal Michel Ney, the great French general who had served under Napoleon and had escaped a firing squad by fleeing to America, and yet Webster's Intercollegiate Dictionary had said that he had been executed. It thinks that the latter was a misstatement on which one could become reactionary, referring to an earlier story told by Mr. Graves about a UNC professor who, when considering the issue of admitting women to the Faculty Club, had said that there were times when he liked to be sort of reactionary, and that had been one such time.

"Why Injured Workmen Need More Pay" indicates approval of a bill introduced before the General Assembly which would allow benefits under the State Workmen's Compensation Act to extend indefinitely, rather than being capped at $8,000 maximum, on the basis of $30 per week. It is pleased that the Mecklenburg delegation was among the leading advocates of the bill and hopes that it would pass.

"Time, Dignity and Death" tells of actress Abigail Adams having died, apparently by an overdose of sleeping pills, a week earlier on Sunday, and the front page on the prior Monday and Tuesday having provided some detail of the story, for those "greedy for grief". But by Friday, when she was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Charlotte, the story was simply a part of the obituary column on page 9-A, taking up less than an inch of type, simply informing of her name, that she had died in Hollywood, was formerly of Charlotte, and stating her place of burial.

A piece from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, titled "Chivalry Rides Again", indicates that with the Weather Bureau standing pat on using female names for hurricanes, Texas had countered by intending to use male names for its sandstorms. They had already appointed a "sandstorm advisory board" in Midland, and a female spokesperson said that Texas intended to "protect the good name of our women".

It finds it a fine sentiment, as sandstorms packed quite a wallop in Texas, so much so that they could "pulverize a granite mountain and roll the River Styx clean back to its source." Such storms, it posits, should not therefore be named after women.

Drew Pearson addresses a letter to his grandson on the eve of George Washington's birthday, indicating that the nation's first President and "father of the country" had been known for his honesty from the time he had been a boy, when he had confessed to his father that he had chopped down a cherry tree. Mr. Pearson had been thinking recently about that honesty, given that a lot of people presently running the Government had deserted President Washington's principles and had even gone so far as to induce people to lie about others.

He cites as an instance Edward Lamb, whom he had known for some time, owner of a television station in Erie, Pa., having been accused of being a Communist spy by the FCC, an agency which was supposed to be fair in issuing broadcast licenses for television. Mr. Pearson had never thought of Mr. Lamb as a Communist, rather knew him as a Democrat who had contributed $5,000 to Adlai Stevenson in 1952. Yet Government attorneys had placed witnesses on the stand to testify that he was a Communist. One of those witnesses, however, Marie Natvig, had recanted her testimony and said that she was induced by the Government to lie about Mr. Lamb.

In another instance, Harvey Matusow, the former Communist, turned informant and professional witness, had come to Mr. Pearson about a year earlier and told him that he had lied about a lot of innocent people during Congressional hearings and before grand juries, accusing them of being Communists when they were not. Mr. Pearson had told him he should straighten things out and tell the truth, and he was now doing so.

He indicates that when a nation began to desert the principles of George Washington, untruth could seap into the national system and eventually render the country like Russia, where a lie was almost taken for granted. In Russia, the newspapers, the radio, and the leaders all lied, and people were convicted and shot on the basis of those lies. He tells his grandson that it was why George Washington was so correct about telling the truth, that such had to begin at a young age and continue into adulthood. He thus hopes his grandson would remember the man on whose account he would have a holiday from school the next day.

William Howard Wells, writing in the Richmond News Leader, tells of wildlife returning to New England in the modern age, after having nearly disappeared during the 19th Century. Older residents of Connecticut, for instance, could not recall ever seeing a porcupine, but he had recently caught two in his garage less than 100 miles from New York City, and the local veterinarian was saying that he was regularly receiving calls to remove porcupine quills from the noses of dogs.

During the early 1800's, natives had seen an occasional wildcat, but the previous winter, Huntington, Mass., in the Berkshires, had hired a man to kill wildcats and he had bagged 31.

A century earlier, no one in Litchfield County, where Mr. Wells lived, had gone deer hunting, because there were no deer left to hunt, whereas now they turned up in hay fields, cow pastures and even backyards, becoming a danger to motorists traveling the highways at night.

Red and grey foxes were also increasing in population, as were raccoons, while beavers had also moved back into northern Connecticut after having been absent for 100 years. Wolves and bears, once a problem for the area, had not returned, but opossums were turning up in large numbers.

Meanwhile, more people lived in New England than ever before, upsetting the theory that when man moved into an area, the wild animals fled the scene. The Government had discovered that it was not the number of people inhabiting an area but what the people did with the land which made the difference as to whether wild animals left or remained.

The early settlers had cleared the land and burned the timber from vast tracts of southern New England and then built farms on them. But by 1850, they had begun to abandon the rocky, hilly farms and move westward, with no new farmers having taken their places, resulting in the fields ultimately being taken over by woodlands while the farms decayed to ruin. According to the Department of Agriculture, New England was the only part of the country where the reversion from farm to forest had taken place, and with it, the return of wild animals, not living in protected areas, but roaming freely through the hills and mountains, from which earlier wild life had been forced to retreat for lack of natural shelter.

Robert C. Ruark discusses the controversy surrounding the comments of actor Paul Douglas when he had said that Greensboro "stinks" and that the South was a land of "sowbelly and segregation". Because the road company version of "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial" had been forced to close seven weeks early as a result of the backlash to his statements, resulting in pecuniary loss to the others in the troupe, Actors' Equity was questioning him about the episode.

Mr. Ruark knew Mr. Douglas and indicates his sympathy, as he had run afoul one time of Southern sentiment, himself, when he criticized Southern cooking. He says that Mr. Douglas had been talking to a fellow native of Philadelphia, who was a reporter on the Greensboro Daily News, when he made the statement about "sowbelly and segregation", and was simply stating something off the record. Insofar as his comment about the stink of Greensboro, he had probably simply been asked what he thought of the city and decided to say something outrageous for the sake of it. He was not a person to hold things back.

But, indicates Mr. Ruark, that a single actor could have been responsible for closing down a road company merely because of a comment was not credible. Furthermore, the attendance of the show actually picked up after his controversial comment, and had not been doing particularly well prior to the comment. Mr. Douglas believed that the producer simply wanted an excuse to take the show off the road and used the backlash to his comments to do so.

Mr. Ruark regards the entire matter as a tempest in a teapot.

A letter from Louis Graves of the Chapel Hill Weekly, as indicated in the above editorial, takes issue with the February 5 title for the reprinted partial text of a speech by General MacArthur, indicating that the original Frankenstein story by Mary Shelley did not name the monster Frankenstein, only the character who invented it.

A letter from Bob Cherry, Jr., comments on an editorial appearing February 5, favoring the admission of Communist China to the U.N. in exchange for release of the 11 U.S. airmen being held as prisoners on the claim that they had participated in espionage during the Korean War. He finds it to favor appeasement, manifesting "an almost frightening unawareness of the basic philosophy, mechanics, and recent history of the all-devouring, cancerous Communist conspiracy." He takes issue with the fact that the editorial had not mentioned that under the terms of the Korean Armistice, all prisoners were to have been repatriated to the country of their choice. He also regards an editorial on Federal aid to education, agreeing with the newspaper, that with acceptance of Federal aid would come Federal control.

A letter from the president of the N.C. State Industrial Union Council tells of diseases of the heart and blood vessels having been the leading causes of death in the country, killing 974,000 Americans in 1953, accounting for half of all deaths in the country. He indicates that the causes for 90 percent of all heart and blood vessel damage remained unknown. He informs that the North Carolina Heart Association was supporting basic research in the three medical schools of the state, but that the scientists and laboratories needed funding to continue and broaden their research, and he urges making contributions to the local chapter of the Heart Association.

The editors note that residents of Charlotte gave to the Heart Association through the United Appeal.

A letter writer comments on the statements by actor Paul Douglas, to which reference is made above by Mr. Ruark, finds the statements "stupid and tactless", and that a recent letter writer had been just as stupid, even if a little more tactful than Mr. Douglas. But the prior writer had been mistaken in saying that the reason for banishing the troupe from the South and closing down the show had been because of the furor raised by the remarks, when in fact, it was because the people were not attending the performances, which could be attributed, he suggests, to the shortcomings of Mr. Douglas as an actor, as well as his poor diplomacy. He believes that if the performances had continued to be well attended, the show would have continued. He says he was sorry that the play would not be performed in Charlotte, as he had readied a ripe tomato and rotten egg concession for each performance, on which he believes he would have made a killing. He adds a P.S., that the previous letter writer, despite claiming to be a Southerner, was likely instead an "immigrant from along the banks of the Gowanus Canal" in Brooklyn, and wants to know whether his aversion to sowbelly was strictly on epicurean grounds.

He appears to misinterpret the previous writer's letter, being so defensively sensitive about the crack of the writer anent the stupidity of the sowbelly eaters and segregationists that he could not see the forest for the trees, that the writer agreed with this writer on the insensitivity of Mr. Douglas in his remarks. In this instance, of course, Mr. Ruark had the better take on the whole matter.

While on the subject, incidentally, we have a timely suggestion for Brooklyn to improve the water quality dramatically of the above-referenced waterway, probably virtually overnight, to provide more salutary associative connotations for the rabble, in an age where name-changing of buildings and other public accomodations is so prevalent anyway for this or that social objection. Change it to Gowangel Canal, and there you are. Look Homeward...

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