The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 20, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that a member of the joint Atomic Energy Committee said that unless the President gave them assurances that he would not give to Britain and Canada, as being discussed, the atomic bomb secret, then a resolution would be passed which would forbid it without Congressional approval. Secretary of State Acheson had left the matter up to Congress.

The President, before departing the Shriners convention in Chicago, made informal remarks saying that the peace had not come following World War I because of the failure to make agreements which were now imperative to assure lasting peace. He had addressed the Shriners at Soldier Field the previous night, stating that there were increasing tensions and conflicts behind the iron curtain.

Dr. Edward U. Condon, director of the Bureau of Standards, urged the Senate Rules Committee to formulate means by which a person could defend him or herself when dragged into a Congressional investigation by implication. A pending bill would allow such a person to appear and confront and examine witnesses making accusations. Dr. Condon had been implicated before HUAC as the "weakest link" in the security chain within the Government for supposed association with a Communist, during hearings in 1947 and early 1948, at which time a report of HUAC was issued seeking to bolster the assertion. He said that he had never been permitted to be heard on the matter. HUAC claimed that he had never requested a hearing.

The Administration asked Democrats in the House not to join a coalition of Dixiecrats and Republicans to defeat the agriculture plan of Secretary of Agriculture Charles Brannan. Representative Albert Gore of Tennessee, usually an Administration supporter, was leading the opposition, wanting to restore the parity system in lieu of the new Brannan proposal for perishable produce to keep consumer prices low and farm prices high on overproduced perishable items to avoid Government consignment and waste. Representative Adolph Sabath of Illinois was leading the Administration forces in the House.

In Seattle, an air transport crashed into a residential street the previous night, killing six persons and injuring 30. One engine had failed on takeoff of the plane. The wing of the plane sheared away the top two floors of a rooming house where 18 people lived before the plane crashed into a brick home, then exploded two minutes later after all or most of the passengers escaped. Only one of the 20 passengers had been listed as dead with two more missing.

In Monte Carlo, Little Joe from Kokomo arrived as American dancer Lillian Moore tossed out the die and the game of craps began at the Monte Carlo casino. Ms. Moore threw a Big Joe and failed to make her point. They had adopted the Idaho system of betting because it was not complicated, less so than airline crashes anyway.

In Los Angeles, rival gangsters wounded Mickey Cohen and three others, including his just-appointed bodyguard from the State, as the party left a Sunset Strip cafe early this date. Bystanders said that the shotgun blasts sounded as firecrackers. The bodyguard had been appointed by the State Attorney General after the gambling kingpin complained that gangsters from the East had come to town seeking to cut in on his gambling operations and might seek to kill him. Several attempts had been made on his life previously, including one in which an associate was killed in Mr. Cohen's haberdashery a year earlier.

In New York at the Lions Club convention, Walter Fisher of Queenston, Ontario, was voted, unopposed, to be the new president of Lions International, succeeding Eugene Briggs of Enid, Oklahoma. The new international Queen of the Lions, Janice Harvell, 17 or 18, depending on versions of the story, of Carolina Beach, N.C., was named in Madison Square Garden the previous night. She wore a white dress and had a cute figure. A group of 48 Boy Scouts from La Junta, Colo., performed Indian dances while the 54-member Clemson College band played—probably "Hold That Tiger", the only tune they know. About a thousand of the delegates toured the U.N. headquarters at Lake Success while others of the 20,000 delegates went to see a baseball game between the New York Giants and Cincinnati Reds.

In Dedham, Mass., Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton was critically ill as her weight had dropped to 88 pounds. Her lawyers told a court that she needed her 13-year old son, whose custody was shared by her former husband in Denmark, to travel to the U.S. to be with her as she was too weak to travel to Denmark and that the boy did not wish to leave his mother.

In Los Angeles, the wife of the late actor Wallace Beery planned to file a claim for a million dollars against the estate because he had claimed when they were divorced in 1939 that he was worth only $200,000 of which she got half. In fact, the estate was worth at his death the previous April two million dollars.

You may be out of luck, sister. For 1939 was ten years ago. You need a better lawyer who doesn't mislead you into false hopes. You had nothing to do with that decade. You best get on with your own life and stop grabbing at the gravestone.

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John J. Parker of Charlotte, whose nomination to the Supreme Court by President Hoover in 1931 had been defeated by two votes, was said by the Richmond News Leader to be on the list of possible nominees to the Supreme Court vacancy occasioned by the death the previous day of Justice Frank Murphy. The nomination would go to Attorney General Tom Clark.

Governor Kerr Scott of North Carolina took steps to halt the loss of hogs on prison farms, 1,200 having been lost in the previous year. Only half the meat from the lost hogs was accounted for and hams had spoiled the worst of all, said the Governor. The Prison Department had decided to establish central freezer facilities to curb the losses.

Where did the piggies go?

On the editorial page, "The President's Speech" finds the speech in Chicago at the Shriners convention to be notable for having a more lofty tone on domestic matters than other recent speeches on the topic, telling the world how public opinion was formed in the country and defining well the difference between Communism and democracy. The timing of the speech was good, two days before the vote on ratification of NATO.

It stood in contrast to his speech the previous week which the piece finds to have been an exercise in demagoguery. He explained in the Chicago speech why Americans believed in helping the peoples of the world as human beings, "not as pawns in the game of power politics". Citing as examples the decision to join the U.N. and to inaugurate the Marshall Plan, he said that the country's foreign policy was not made at the top but at the bottom through the slow, collective judgment of the American people. And from that process came enduring foreign policy. Only in the totalitarian states were such policies formed by a few men at the top, subject to reversal in secrecy and mercurially without warning.

American democracy, he continued, was represented by opportunity, tolerance and self-government, exalting the dignity of the individual, not demanding blind loyalty to false ideas. It did not make a god out of the State, man or human creation.

The speech, it concludes, was convincing as reflecting the views of the great body of independent American thinkers.

"L'Affaire Sample" tells of the Probation Commission being upset with Governor Kerr Scott for ordering the State Auditor to stop paying the salary of State Probation director J. Harris Sample, such that the Commission was prepared to resign until Mr. Sample, himself, talked them out of it. The Governor wanted to replace Mr. Sample with someone fresh despite his having performed well at his job and the Commission made their resentment plain at a meeting with the Governor. But he refused to change his mind.

The replacement personnel being appointed by the Governor had backed him in the 1948 Democratic primary but there was no assurance that they would perform their jobs better than the old personnel.

A piece from the Washington Post , titled "Military Information", hopes that Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson would resist the efforts to have the combined information services of the armed forces revert to the previous system of separate services, that the unified system, planned by deceased former Secretary James Forrestal and implemented by Secretary Johnson, had worked reasonably well.

Drew Pearson tells of ERP administrator Paul Hoffman having written a letter to Senator Arthur Vandenberg objecting to a 50 million dollar gift to Franco's Spain contained in the Senate Appropriations Committee's budget for ERP aid. Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada had been the principal backer of the gift, prompted by Catholic leaders, despite active opposition by Protestant churchmen who contended that Protestants in Spain were victims of religious discrimination as were Catholics behind the iron curtain. Mr. Hoffman believed the aid to be premature and that it would only provoke controversy within the ERP recipient nations, that first Spain should be required to formulate a plan for recovery as had the other ERP nations prior to receipt of aid. Nevertheless, the Committee had approved the grant to Franco without requiring submission of a plan as to how the money would be used.

The President was practicing economy in V.A. hospitals, ordering the cut of 16,000 beds in 24 hospitals, despite pleading by Florida Senator Claude Pepper to take the case of each hospital individually.

Ambassador to Cuba Robert Butler had warned the State Department that Communists were going to launch a drive in Latin America during the summer to control the shipping unions, a drive to be led by the Soviet Embassy in Havana which was the center of all Communist activity in Latin America.

Housing Expediter Tighe Woods had arranged to build two homes costing $5,900, leaving room for a fair profit, to show that it could be done, and said that the cost could be cut another $1,000 through mass production. Ordinarily, the homes would cost twice the amount.

Stewart Alsop, in Bangkok, finds that the first impression of Siam—now Thailand—was its striking difference from the rest of Southeast Asia. The people were open and friendly, whereas in the other areas of the region they were more apt to shoot the outsider from the West should one go for a ride in the country. It was the only country between the Philippines and India at peace. The people were cheerful, independent and prosperous, and neuroses and peptic ulcers were unknown. Siam had never been a colonial country and so there was no racial tension vis à vis Westerners.

Siam was actually underpopulated and so there was no lack of land to feed the populace and no desperate struggle to stay alive. The Premier, Phibul Songgram, told Mr. Alsop that the great problem was to get the people to work the land as the peasant typically believed in working only hard enough to meet his own needs. The country's rice export, vital to the rest of Asia, kept the country's economy in the black.

There were two political parties, the Phibul party and the Pridi party. The Premier had collaborated with the Japanese and was put in jail after the war for a short time. His power went to Pridi Phanamyong. When Phibul was released from jail, he was able to depose Pridi, who was thought complicit in the assassination of the king. Pridi had tried twice to bring about a counter-coup and had failed each time. There had been little bloodshed in these events.

But there was a snake in the garden, Communism, having no meaning to most of the Siamese. There was no Siamese Communist Party, but Russia had certain assets in the country. There was a large Chinese minority, which included well-financed Communists at its core, numbering between four and ten thousand. They sold pictures of Mao Tse-Tung at high prices to wealthy Chinese merchants. The Communists had the wherewithal to bribe the Siamese police.

The Communists were convinced that they were the wave of the future, as in all of Asia, and unless something could be done to arrest their will to bring about that ambition, it was wholly predictable that the small, gay country of Siam would not be gay much longer.

Rbt. C. Rrk., having "pre-shrunk" his name, discusses the mania sweeping the economy. His nickname was now "Bb."

Everything was digested and Quick. Had such a tendency existed in the time of William Shakespeare, he suggests, then Romeo and Juliet might have been abbreviated to "Two Slain in Love Tryst", Hamlet, to "Moody Dane Runs Amok", the Garden account, to "Boy Meets Girl—Poison Fruit Starts Epidemic".

In earlier days, editors encouraged writers to write the story "for what it's worth". He did not hear that anymore. He no longer could write from his Underwood as his heart pleased.

He thus provides his summary of this editorial: "'Rbt. C. Rrk.' a fellow who is known to his frnds and nbs as Bb."

A letter writer addresses to News reporter Tom Schlesinger—son of renowned Harvard historian Arthur Schlesinger—, a correction of a misconception as to what was wrong with the North 29 and South 29 Drive-In Theaters—matters of crushing world importance which only the son and brother of well-known historians could tackle properly. The writer was the district manager of the Drive-Ins and so knew whereof he spoke.

Listen up!

He says that it was the aim of Dixie Drive-In Theaters, owner of the two drive-ins, to continue to keep Charlotte up to date on the latest improvements in drive-in entertainment and as soon as better film fare and first run attractions would become available, they would be presented. The management would also install better equipment when it became available. They advertised year round: "Children in car admitted free"; and "Bring the kiddies—they'll disturb no one in your car"—except you by the last reel of the second feature.

He disagreed with Mr. Schlesinger's quote from the president of the Drive-In Theaters Owners Association that they used to be able to get away with anything because no one watched the picture anyway. But this man had only been a projectionist at the South 29 Drive-In Theater part-time prior to the war. What would he know of movies at the drive-ins lately?


Contrary to the assertion of the story that low maintenance and high return had made the drive-ins a popular business attraction, thousands were spent annually on maintenance and the box office only remained opened three hours, compared to nine hours in indoor theaters. Film rental fees were also usually higher for the drive-in. Many of those who entered the business did so blindly and were out of business within a year.

In spite of rain, heavy rain, all night, more than 7,000 persons in about 1,600 cars had shown up at the West Drive-In to greet Virginia Mayo and her husband, plus ABC radio star Tommy Bartlett. Mr. Bartlett flew to Denver to transcribe the event for later use on his radio program, "Welcome Travelers". A chorus of horns greeted the trio as they went to the top of the screen tower to appear on a specially constructed stage, wearing raincoats and carrying umbrellas.

Now you can't beat that for entertainment. Hoo-wee.

And the screen was three times larger than any indoor screen. All the fences and buildings were painted freshly each year and a huge concession building had just been opened in the mid-field. The Dixie Drive-Ins were valued at $100,000 each, with two in Atlanta, costing over a quarter million dollars each, giving the lie to the notion as stated in the story that they were cheap affairs.

That's getting hard to believe.

What about better speakers for the winda that hang better and sound clearer, not all that tinny, scratchy sound coming through? What about air conditioning for each car while you're watching the movie on a summer's night? What about better fries and milk shakes? What about beer and wine? What about triple features rather than just double? What about more monster movies and more westerns with Jane Russell?

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