The Charlotte News

Thursday, June 16, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Buenos Aires that revolt had broken out this date against the Government of El Presidente Juan Peron, shortly after the Vatican had excommunicated him and other Government leaders. A battle took place in the center of the capital, while planes bombed Government House, the seat of government, and revolutionists fired mortars, machine guns and rifles against the presidential guard. The revolt reportedly had spread to Rosario, the second city of Argentina, although the Government claimed that the country was quiet outside the capital. The state radio declared that there had been some disturbances as a result of the uprisings of units of the air force and navy, attributing the statement to El Presidente, adding that army troops were fighting to restore order and that one airplane had been shot down and three others forced to land. Later, the radio report stated that only naval aviation had been involved, not the air force. Associated Press correspondent Sam Summerlin reported that he had observed casualties being removed from Plaza de Mayo in front of Government House, near the national cathedral, center of the previous weekend disturbances involving supporters of the Roman Catholic Church and supporters of El Presidente, protesting the latter's campaign to curb the power of the Church in the country. Bands of workers could be seen running in the direction of Government House, shouting, "Peron, Peron!" That had occurred a few hours after news had reached Buenos Aires that the Vatican had excommunicated El Presidente because of the events which had culminated in the expulsion the previous day of Monsignor Manuel Tato and one other prelate, an auxiliary bishop, for having allegedly encouraged the weekend violence. El Presidente was not disqualified from being a Catholic and so could continue to serve as El Presidente, a requirement under the Argentine Constitution making Roman Catholicism the official religion and that the head of state therefore had to embrace it.

On the second day of "Operation Alert 1955", the mock emergency following a supposed strike by an enemy atomic bomb the previous afternoon, with the evacuation of the President and 15,000 other persons, including Cabinet members and military chieftains, having taken place from the capital to surrounding territory in a 300-mile arc, it was reported that the President had sped from his emergency relocation headquarters this date to the emergency headquarters of the Defense Department for a meeting with the National Security Council, regarding the mock attack. There would be a briefing on the attack in 61 major population and industrial centers, with a total population of nearly 34 million people, most of whom would have received advance warning before the sirens began blaring, announcing the attack, which had resulted in 7.6 million dead and another 5 million injured, with those figures being incomplete until the cities reported their actual numbers. The President had issued a mock declaration of martial law to mobilize "the authority and resources of the Federal Government" to help get the disjointed nation back into top fighting form.

All of that would doubtless come into Vice-President Nixon's head again a little over 19 years later, when, in his final days as President, he would be advised to take the inadvisable course of declaring martial law and utilizing the Army to resist his pending impeachment in the House and certain removal from office after a trial in the Senate. Wisely, he would resist such advice and simply resign.

In Portland, England, a practice torpedo had exploded and ripped open the Royal Navy submarine H.M.S. Sidon this date, sinking the craft to the bottom of Portland harbor with 13 men trapped in its shattered hull. Some seven hours after the explosion, the Admiralty had stated that all hope had been abandoned for the three officers and ten enlisted men. A spokesman for the Admiralty said that the explosion occurred in a torpedo propellant in the forward torpedo compartment. The submarine had remained on the surface for about 30 minutes after the explosion and then sank under 36 feet of water. Seven other crewmen and one officer had escaped with only slight injuries. The spokesman said that the deaths of the crewmen were likely the result of the original explosion and not the sinking.

In Asuncion, Paraguay, a Brazilian airliner carrying 24 persons had crashed in a heavy fog five miles from the capital early this date and 15 persons were reported killed or unaccounted for, with nine known survivors. John Dowling, chief of Time Magazine's bureau in Buenos Aires had been among the 14 passengers, en route from Buenos Aires to Sao Paolo, Brazil. Among the survivors was the coach of Italy's Torino Soccer Club, Vessilio Bartoli. The airline, Panair, was an affiliate of Pan American Airways, and was a Brazilian company operating in Europe and Latin America.

In Raleigh, in the third day of the continuing trial of the 21-year old man accused of second-degree murder in the shooting death of a woman while she was on a sidewalk shopping with her sister in downtown Raleigh on May 13, the accused having fired the fatal shot from his German Luger from a hotel room in which he was staying, contending to police that it was an accident occurring while he was "dry firing" the pistol, the defendant continued his testimony. The previous day, he had begun his testimony after the State had rested its case, and this date related that he had been preparing to leave the hotel and go to the home of a friend on the faculty of UNC in Chapel Hill, had packed his belongings except for his pistol, some tools and cleaning apparatus for the pistol, that after reading for awhile in bed, he got up and picked up the pistol, that as he did so he snapped the trigger and it went off, making an awful noise, causing him to be dazed. He sat back down on the bed and after a bit, picked up the pistol again, took it apart and ran a cleaning patch through its barrel before putting it in a bag, then left the room, approximately ten minutes after the shooting, and went to the hotel lobby, concerned that the hotel employees might have heard the sound of the shot and would take him to task. He was able to check out without incident and even had a check approved by the hotel credit manager, who said to him, "You're the man with a gun in your room," to which the defendant had answered in the affirmative, waiting to see if the manager would say anything about the gun going off, which he did not. He did say to the defendant that he should not keep guns lying around like that. About three hours later, a Chapel Hill police officer arrived at the home where he was staying with his friend and asked him if he had been in Raleigh that day, to which he had answered in the affirmative, and also admitted having owned the German Luger and that it had gone off while he had been in the hotel room. At that point, the officer, as he had testified the previous day, told him that he had some sad news, that a woman had been killed by the shot, after which the defendant said he had put his hands to his head, saying something to the effect, "My God…"

Donald MacDonald of The News reports that an Alabama truck driver had waited almost two hours the previous day, pinned in the wreckage of his tractor-trailer cab, while police and wrecking crews struggled to free him. He was in good condition at Memorial Hospital, with no broken bones. A State Highway Patrolman stated that the driver's 30,000-pound produce hauler had gone off the shoulder of Pineville Road a few hundred feet south of "Dead Man's Curve" during the mid-afternoon, with the driver having told the officers that he must have fallen asleep at the wheel.

Also in Charlotte, a service station operator on Wilkinson Boulevard had been shot twice early this date by a gunman who attempted a robbery just after midnight, the victim having been shot in the right leg and right arm after he had refused to permit the gunman to rob him. The tall gunman, who had stated to the service station operator, after pointing a .22 caliber automatic pistol at him, "This is a stickup," had fled in a gray 1950 Ford with a companion, without taking any money. The shooting victim was in good condition at the hospital. You should be able easily to spot a gray 1950 Ford driving around with two men in it, one of whom is tall, that tall man given to unoriginal speech patterns. Call the police immediately should you see them, but if you happen to engage the tall man in conversation and he says something to the effect, "This is about to become an altercation should you continue to stare upon my visage with such intensity and rapt attention for perhaps another nanosecond or two," you can fairly guess that it is not the same person and can let them go on their way. A photograph of a friend of the shooting victim, pointing to damage caused by a bullet entering a showcase in the station, suggests that the friend thought the whole encounter sort of entertaining. If it had been him on the other side of that .22, he probably would not be smiling so broadly.

Charles Kuralt of The News, in his second front page bylined piece since joining the staff of the newspaper following his recent graduation from UNC, tells of six Charlotte nursing homes condemned as fire hazards, possibly receiving an additional 60 days to correct the hazardous conditions or to find new buildings, contingent on City Council approval of the extension, which the chief building inspector would seek from the Council at its meeting the following Wednesday. One of the operators stated that even if the extension were granted, it would not be enough time to correct the conditions cited, that he had a new building in the planning stage but that it would take at least a year to complete. He said he intended to stay in business no matter what he had to do and that most of the six operators were prepared to go to court if necessary to protect their interests. The building inspector said that in his opinion, the nursing homes needed at least 90 days to comply with the law and that he would tell the Council that they could not do very much in thirty days. The six nursing homes had received letters the previous day from the Building Inspections Department, ordering complete compliance with the building code within 30 days, having been determined to be in violation of a statute which required institutional buildings of frame construction to be no more than one story in height, whereas all six of the homes were two-story wooden structures. About 200 patients were cared for in the homes, 75 of whom were charity patients, payment for whose care was provided by the County, with the aid of State and Federal money. County officials were known to be concerned about the prospect of finding new quarters for those patients were the homes to be closed.

The News reports of having received a contribution of 15 cents as a "conscience fund", contributed by a resident of Concord in an envelope sent to the newspaper with a note stating that the person was now a Christian and confessed that they had secretly stolen one or more newspapers from the sidewalk paper rack but had forgotten the exact number and the name of the newspaper, but wanted to pay for three copies of the News.

On the editorial page, "New Beer Law Deserves Fair Trial" tells of the City Council the previous day having heard various viewpoints regarding the proposed new limitations on the sale of beer in the city.

The Council decided to forbid curb service sales of beer and wine and to make purchases by minors illegal, which it regards as a step in the right direction.

Mayor Philip Van Every assured that there was a rigid enforcement campaign being initiated, which would be necessary to accompany the ordinance if it were to have any impact.

It indicates that though the Council had already made up its mind prior to the hearing to pass the new ordinance, the hearing had enabled both sides of the issue, wet and dry forces, to be heard on everything from beer, wine, whiskey, and canned heat, to prostitution, intolerance, fascism and Adolf Hitler, the Devil and "several types of plain and fancy debauchery." Arguments had often wandered far afield from the topic at hand, but in the end, the members of the Council could find plenty of justification for their particular approach to the beer problem.

The sale of beer on Sunday inside the city limits had provoked the hue and cry of the previous day, but that issue had been merely provided to the Council by the Board of County Commissioners and received scant attention during the hearing. The primary issue had been sale of alcohol to minors under the age of 18, who had been purchasing beer illegally at a few retail outlets in the city, most of which had occurred at drive-ins where underage customers in the darkness of an automobile had found it fairly easy to order and receive beer from careless or unscrupulous carhops. Proprietors of several of those establishments had complained that they did not know what was occurring and had no way of controlling the situation, that effective law enforcement was difficult under the circumstances.

The new ordinance required that customers had to leave the automobile and come inside the drive-in to purchase any beer, and in case of any doubt on their age, the proprietor had to ask for identification, with the ordinance making both the purchaser and the seller subject to punishment when sale was made to a minor.

It acknowledges that new laws could not keep the minor out of mischief if the youth were bound and determined to misbehave, that a great deal of the responsibility resided in the home with the parents. The new ordinances were only tools designed to assist in solving a problem and were not foolproof. It suggests that selling beer through ABC stores would be a simpler, more effective answer but that the Council's plan, coupled with improved enforcement, at least deserved a fair trial.

You know very well what will happen, as the hapless underage boy will stand outside, awaiting an older customer, telling of his lost Idy in the flood, perhaps paying an extra quarter or so, if the older boy would go inside and provide him a pint of whatever substance he was seeking.

The piece neglects one crucial stress of responsibility, that being on the individual boy or girl to engage in self-regulation of their own behavior and try to behave in fair maturity, realizing that to get roaring drunk is not a pretty sight to see, especially if one starts throwing up all over the place, hardly exciting or sexy or neat or cool or awesome, definitely not iconic. More at just plain stupid.

"An Advance Cheer for the Fans" indicates that in honoring baseball fans this night, the Charlotte Hornets and the Chamber of Commerce were giving recognition to the fans in the grandstands and bleachers, where it belonged. It suggests that the lot of the true baseball fan was not easy, requiring unblinking loyalty, steadfast hope, undying optimism and continued cash contributions. The fans maintained interest in the sport, covered by newspaper, radio and television, enabling others to enjoy the game vicariously.

The Chamber, in cooperation with the Charlotte Merchants Association, would give away more than $300 worth of prizes this night, and the Hornet organization would give a first prize of a week-long vacation for two at a Myrtle Beach hotel. It hopes that the prizes would lift the sorrows of the fans over the low standing of the home team, but assures that the standing was only temporary.

"Time To Talk of Summer Things" tells of summer being five days away from starting by the calendar, but that if one were gauging it on sights and sounds, it was already present, that either way it was time to talk of certain summer things, which it proceeds to do.

Sample: "In the spirit of the season, we urge them to remember that it's time to tie a thread to a Junebug's leg … carve a whistle out of a hickory stick … skip a stone across a pond … chew a toothbrush out of a sweetgum twig … bury crabapples in the sand until they're soft … serve mudpies on cottonwood leaves … push ants into doodlebug holes and pour tadpoles into fruit jars they let the lightning bugs out of."

It concludes, after going on a bit in that vein, that those were the things which needed doing first and were quite enough for a summer's day, but for the tireless and the restless, suggests hunting cutworms by dawn, boll weevils by noon and toad-frogs in the twilight, that throwing at bull bats could await another day.

We have no idea what the hell it's talking about. We did not grow up in the country, even if down by the swamp during the first five years.

A piece from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, titled "Mademoiselle's Papa", indicates that those who were involved in World War I had never thought much about who had written "Mademoiselle from Armentieres", only viewing it as a catchy tune with outrageous verses, hoping that the ladies of rural France had no understanding of English. It was still recalled when veterans got together, though the singing of it required some self-censorship when ladies were present.

It indicates that it had learned that it was written by a British Army infantryman, C. H. Rowland, who had fought at Mons, and while sitting in a winery in the town of Armentieres one day with his cronies trying to think of catchy lyrics for a troop show, found himself looking at an 18-year old French waitress, and began composing his song. It provides a couple of verses, says that the soldiers then supplied some of their own when they sang it.

Mr. Rowland had died recently in England at the age of 72 and had not taken out a copyright on the song, consequently never earned anything from it, though it had cheered up troops and "made the eternal mud more endurable. And as long as the military endures, so will the Mademoiselle."

Drew Pearson discusses Senator Russell Long of Louisiana, son of the late Governor and Senator Huey Long who had been assassinated in 1935, Mr. Pearson suggesting that the latter would turn over in his grave were he aware of some of the former political enemies of the father with whom the son was aligning in the Senate. The father had battled the big utility companies and the power trust, always stood by the consumers against the power lobby, but the son, until recently a good Senator, had begun playing ball with the big power companies, voting with the power lobby on the controversial Dixon-Yates utility combine contract with TVA, as nearly every other Democratic Senator opposed that contract, led by Senator Albert Gore of Tennessee.

Now, Senator Russell was preparing to sabotage Hell's Canyon, when nearly every other Democrat was opposed to power development of that largest undeveloped site still remaining in the country, the only remaining large canyon dredged out by nature which could effectively be harnessed to produce electric power without tremendous cost. Because Senator Long sat on the important Interior Committee, he held the key to the battle between public power and the large utilities, with eight Democrats and seven Republicans sitting on the Committee and all of the Republicans set to vote against Government operation of Hell's Canyon, while the remaining Democrats intended to vote for Government development. Senator Long said that he would vote for the utilities, which could wind up bottling up the bill in the Committee.

His fellow Democrats on the Committee had pleaded with him not to do so, indicating that his single vote could end public power in the United States, that if the dam site on the Snake River, feeding Oregon, Idaho and Washington, were to go to private utilities, public power would be lost all over the nation.

Senator Warren Magnuson of Washington, who was up for re-election the following year, facing tough competition from the Governor, had pleaded with Senator Long to relent, stating that he needed the measure for his campaign and that it was a life or death struggle in the Northwest, that on it would depend Senate elections in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. But Senator Long had remained unmoved and his friends could not understand why he had deserted the anti-utility policy so militantly followed by his father.

A piece based on a Wall Street Journal report discusses highlights of the new Ford contract with the UAW in great detail, regarding its guaranteed wage provisions during periods of unemployment, setting a standard for the auto industry, already adopted by G.M., and hoped by the unions to spread to other industries as well. The piece indicates that it was one of the most important agreements in the postwar history of collective bargaining.

The contract provided for establishment of a 55 million dollar fund from which workers could draw layoff pay, to which Ford would begin contributing a nickel per hour per worker, to become available to laid-off workers starting a year hence. It would dovetail state compensation to afford an aggregate amount equal to 65 percent of the worker's normal take-home pay during the first four weeks, 60 percent for all ensuing weeks up to a half year. The UAW had originally sought a full year of 80 percent guaranteed wage but settled for the nonce for the half year, with the goal eventually of getting the full year. The contract would last three years.

The piece explores the other provisions of the contract in detail.

Louis Graves of the Chapel Hill Weekly indicates that everyone had his favorite old joke, that his at the moment was about a cowboy who, having had horses as company all of his life and never known women, suddenly had fallen in love with a pretty schoolteacher from the East, proposed to her and was accepted. After the marriage, they set out on horseback for the nearest railway station to begin their honeymoon, riding through rough country, during which travel, something had startled the bride's horse, causing it to leap to one side, throwing the bride and causing her to break her leg. In relating the story later to friends who asked the cowboy what he had done, he said that he did that which he had done many times when facing the same problem with his horse after pulling up lame. He shot her.

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