The Charlotte News

Thursday, March 25, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota, to be temporary chairman of the Senate Investigations subcommittee hearing the dispute between the Army and Senator McCarthy, said this date that he still hoped to initiate the public hearings the following week. The hearings would cover the Army report which had accused Senator McCarthy and the subcommittee's chief counsel, Roy Cohn, of seeking favored treatment for a former aide of the subcommittee, Private G. David Schine, drafted the prior fall, a charge denied by Mr. Cohn and the Senator, as well as examine the accusations by the Senator and Mr. Cohn that Army Secretary Robert Stevens and his associates had sought to "blackmail" the subcommittee into dropping its investigation into alleged Communists in the Army by using the alleged favoritism sought for Private Schine, a charge which Secretary Stevens had described as "fantastic". Senator Mundt had told reporters that he believed the hearings could take place during five busy days of testimony, that he did not foresee them taking longer, but that unexpected developments during the testimony could prolong the proceeding. It was still not determined what role Senator McCarthy would play in the hearings, insisting on the right to cross-examine witnesses and submitting to cross-examination by the Army representatives when he testified, and being willing to step aside on all other matters of inquiry, including subcommittee votes and appointment of temporary counsel.

Senate Republican leaders were regrouping this date to prevent further cuts of excise taxes from the floor, following losing a test vote, 64 to 23, on a 100 million dollar reduction from ten to five percent on excise taxes on household appliances. There was a good chance that the cut would be eliminated in conference with the House, which had not voted for that reduction. Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois, the chief sponsor of the reductions, planned to ask this date for a vote on a proposal to cut the excise tax on automobiles from ten to seven percent, which he said would save about $50 off the price of a $2,000 car.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld a law giving the armed services the right to court-martial civilians for serious crimes committed while in service, the case applying to a man previously honorably discharged from the Air Force, accused of murder of a South Korean civilian. The Court reversed a District Court ruling and directed the defendant to be turned over to Air Force authorities for court-martial. There was no dissent on the three-judge panel. The attorney for the defendant said that he would appeal to the Supreme Court.

In Chelsea, Mass., the U.S. Naval Hospital disclosed this date that a Navy wife, who had given birth to a daughter ten days earlier, was expecting a second delivery in six weeks, resulting from separate conceptions believed to have occurred at least a month apart. The woman had dual organs of procreation, according to hospital authorities, extremely rare, with no more than six such cases having ever been reported.

In Mannheim, Germany, two twins from Sarasota, Fla., had been sent home the previous week after confusing fellow soldiers at a U.S. Air Force pool for more than a year, but their replacements were also two twins, from Louisiana.

In Bathgate, Scotland, a coal mine cave-in resulted in the deaths of three miners and injury to a fourth.

In Rochester, N.Y., two gunmen bluffed their way into the Monroe County Penitentiary early this date and engineered the escape of two prisoners, making their getaway in a guard's car, one of the prisoners having been serving a one-year term on a bad check charge, while the other was serving a similar term for petty theft. Police listed the four as "dangerous" and erected roadblocks over a wide area of western New York, indicating that they might be headed to Canada.

In Atlanta, a terrific explosion early this date had started a fire which destroyed a five-story midtown building, occupied by a piano company and a bookstore, plus offices of four airlines, with firemen and police stating their belief that there had been no casualties. None of the airlines lost records.

In New York, Arturo Toscanini, conductor of the NBC Symphony Orchestra, turned 87 this date and planned to celebrate in his usual quiet manner with a private family dinner.

Also in New York, the AFL contended this date that a rival union's 20-day dock strike, which had cost an estimated 275 million dollars,—the rival union having been banned from the AFL because of failure to clean out its racketeering—, was "falling apart", as more men were going back to work—perhaps predicting the next year's 1954 Academy Award winner for Best Picture.

In Hollywood, the 26th annual Academy Awards would be held this night, while millions would view the program on television for the first time and listen to it on radio, starting at 10:30 p.m. EST—the same time as the N.C.A.A. finals in Kansas City had begun the prior Saturday night. La Salle, however, was not up for an Academy Award, and neither was runner-up Bradley—though A.P.'s top-ranked Kentucky had been found, prior to the tournament, to have three acting students on its roster. The 90-minute program would be telecast widely for the first time over 106 stations and broadcast over 195 radio stations, plus being heard on armed forces radio from Alaska to Samoa. The program would even be broadcast behind the Iron Curtain via the AFRS station at Bremerhaven and over the Blue Danube network. The nominated songs would be danced as well as sung, with the primary contestants being "That's Amore" and "Secret Love". The sponsor of the program, Oldsmobile, was paying out $275,000, of which the Academy received $115,000 to stage the event, and NBC received the remainder. Academy members had paid $12 each for downstairs seats at the Pantages Theater to attend the affair, while the public could sit in the balcony for $9.60 and $6 each. Among the presenters of the awards would be Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Wilding, Esther Williams, Marge and Gower Champion, Gene Tierney, Jack Webb, Kirk Douglas, Irene Dunne, Walter Brennan, Mercedes McCambridge and Cecile B. DeMille. In keeping with tradition, the winners in each category the previous year would present the opposite sex's Best Actor and Actress awards, but the nominees would be announced long distance, with Best Actor of 1952 for his work in "High Noon", Gary Cooper, to appear in a film clip reading the nominees for the Best Actress award of 1953, as he was in Mexico working on a film, as when he had won the award the previous year, and Shirley Booth, who had won for "Come Back, Little Sheba" the previous year, to appear on a direct feed telecast from Philadelphia where she was preparing for a play, the latter to appear on a split screen with emcee Donald O'Connor, who would then announce the winner. The wonders of modern technology will work never-ending miracles again.

And the nominees and winners are: for Best Picture, "From Here to Eternity", beating out "Julius Caesar", "The Robe", "Shane", and "Roman Holiday"; for Best Director, Fred Zinnemann, winning for "From Here to Eternity", over Billy Wilder for "Stalag 17", George Stevens for "Shane", William Wyler for "Roman Holiday", and Charles Walters for "Lili"; for Best Actor, William Holden, winning for his role in "Stalag 17", over Marlon Brando in "Julius Caesar", Richard Burton in "The Robe", Montgomery Clift in "From Here to Eternity", and Burt Lancaster in the same film; for Best Actress, Audrey Hepburn, winning for "Roman Holiday", over Deborah Kerr in "From Here to Eternity", Ava Gardner in "Mogambo", Leslie Caron in "Lili", and Maggie McNamara in "The Moon Is Blue"; for Best Supporting Actress, Donna Reed, winning for "From Here to Eternity", over Grace Kelly in "Mogambo", Thelma Ritter in "Pickup on South Street", Geraldine Page in "Hondo", and Marjorie Rambeau in "Torch Song"; for Best Supporting Actor, Frank Sinatra, winning for "From Here to Eternity", over Jack Palance in "Shane", Brandon deWilde in the same film, Robert Strauss in "Stalag 17", and Eddie Albert in "Roman Holiday"; for Best Screenplay, Daniel Taradash, winning for "From Here to Eternity", over A. B. Guthrie, Jr., for "Shane", Ian McClellan Hunter and John Dighton for "Roman Holiday", Helen Deutsch for "Lili", and Eric Ambler for "The Cruel Sea"; for Best Story and Screenplay, Charles Brackett, Walter Reisch and Richard L. Breen, winning for "Titanic", over Richard Murphy for "The Desert Rats", Sam Rolfe and Harold Jack Bloom for "The Naked Spur", Betty Comden and Adolph Green for "The Band Wagon", and Millard Kaufman for "Take the High Ground!"; for Best Story, Dalton Trumbo, fronted by Ian McClellan Hunter, winning for "Roman Holiday", over Beirne Lay, Jr., for "Above and Beyond", Louis L'Amour for "Hondo", Alec Coppel for "The Captain's Paradise", and Ray Ashley, Morris Engel and Ruth Orkin for "Little Fugitive". Mr. Trumbo's award would be presented in his name only posthumously because of his blacklisting at the time for being part of the 1947 group appearing before HUAC and refusing to provide names of those in Hollywood suspected of Communism by avoiding an answer to whether he had ever been a member of the Screenwriters Guild and deflecting with a parry the question of whether he had ever been a member of the party, resulting in his being found, along with nine others, in contempt of Congress, eventually serving eleven months in prison after all appeals failed—though his final mockish questioner, Committee chairman J. Parnell Thomas, had wound up serving at the same time in 1950 his 18-month sentence for defrauding the Government through receipt of staff salary kickbacks, exposed by Drew Pearson. In addition, the Best Song award would go to "Secret Love" from "Calamity Jane", music by Sammy Fain and lyrics by Paul Francis Webster.

"From Here to Eternity" led the list of nominees with 13 nominations, winning eight awards, followed by ten nominations for "Roman Holiday", winning three. "The Robe", nominated in five categories, won two awards. No other film garnered more than one award each, though "Julius Caesar" had five nominations, winning only for Best Art Direction, and several other films had either two or three nominations. There was no award presented for Best Foreign Language Film for 1953. (Had they waited a couple of months, they might have given it to the Army-McCarthy hearings, with the best performance by a foreign language actor going to the Senator, himself, for speaking Russian without need for subtitles.)

Thunderstorms, snow, sleet, whipping winds and torrential rains hit broad areas of the nation this date, as seven tornadoes were reported in Texas and Oklahoma, plus one in Arkansas, and thunderstorms scattered between Texas and Louisiana to the Ohio Valley and other parts of the Midwest, where 4.29 inches of rain was recorded in Bradford, Ill., and 3.51 inches in Glenview, a suburb northwest of Chicago. Snow had fallen from the Sierra Nevada to the northern Rockies, with Austin, Nev., reporting 8 inches, Grand Canyon, 6 inches, and Billings, Mont., 9 inches. In Washington, it was getting ready to snow every day through June, about ten feet per day.

On the editorial page, "Green Light for a Great Program" discusses the approval by the State Supreme Court of the City and County bond issues for $800,000 each, approved by the voters in December, 1952, for the purpose of constructing a new main library and branch libraries. The propriety of the bond under the State Constitution had been questioned because city voters would have to pay part of the portion of the bond approved in the county, and thus possibly construed as double taxation. A test case had been filed by a local attorney and the Court held that there was no double taxation, which, in any event, it said, was not prohibited by either the State or Federal Constitutions, though the courts did not look upon it with favor.

It would now take a month or two to move the library facilities into an older building behind the existing library, to make way for the new construction on the old site. If the sites were acquired promptly for the branch libraries, they would likely be completed before the main library.

It indicates that with the construction of the auditorium-coliseum complex underway and the completion of the new airport terminal nearing, along with an extension of Independence Boulevard and a new bypass, the progress of the community was making great strides, and it was reassuring to know that a modern library system would be part of the city's and county's promising future.

"The Facts on 'Communism' in the Army" indicates that on at least three occasions, Senator McCarthy had sought to plant in the minds of Americans and allies abroad the suspicion that the Army had been heavily infiltrated by Communists. The previous September, he had declassified a restricted Army intelligence report on Soviet Siberia and charged that it was "95 percent Communist propaganda", though only making public a few selected passages of the report, plucked out of context. When the Army had made the whole document public, it showed an accurate and unfavorable report on Communism in Siberia, at which point the Senator stopped talking about it.

A few days afterward, he had begun his investigation of alleged espionage in the Signal Corps at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, a key radar facility, and claimed that he had turned up evidence of "extremely dangerous espionage", but began backing down until finally forced to clarify "confusion" about the matter on December 12, stating that it had been sufficient to prove that there was "potential espionage" going on there.

Then on February 20, in the midst of the case regarding the Army Reserve dentist who had been promoted from captain to major and then honorably discharged from the Army after having pleaded the Fifth Amendment regarding questions as to whether he had ever been a member of a subversive organization, prompting the Senator to call before the Investigations subcommittee the dentist's commanding officers, the Senator claimed that the Army had been "coddling" Communists for 20 years. But when Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson called the charge "tommyrot", the Senator relented and claimed that he had never said that the Army "as such" had been coddling Communists.

The piece indicates that the Senate Armed Services Committee during the week had placed the issue in its proper perspective, by indicating that since 1949, the three branches of the armed forces had discharged 590 men as security risks in cases involving "loyalty connotations", out of the many millions who had served during that five-year period, and that the record failed to show a single proven Communist among those 590 discharges. The Committee also brought out that the Army estimated its security-loyalty cases at .00006 percent of its total strength, that the Air Force estimated its percentage at about .00005, and the Navy, at about .00035. Senator Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts, the chairman of the Committee, said that the charge of Communist infiltration to the armed services had been built up to a point "far larger than it really is", that it represented no more than a handful of men against the millions who had served the country "with such inspiring patriotism and devotion".

The piece indicates that it was important to make the distinction that one Communist within the armed services or any other sensitive area of government was one too many and that external vigilance was necessary to keep out any such infiltration. But, it says further, the armed services were alert to the danger, as were the executive branch and the American people, finding therefore no useful purpose for a continuation of Senator McCarthy's "vicious and false charges against cherished American institutions", unless it was to aid the Kremlin in "sowing doubt and distrust" among Americans and to keep the attention of the people diverted from the larger dangers abroad.

"More Power to Calendar Reformers" indicates that another fight was shaping up at the U.N., this one regarding whether the Economic and Social Council should debate calendar reform, with India favoring a more scientific and simpler calendar than the present Gregorian version, while the U.S. maintained that there were more important matters to discuss.

It indicates that while there were undoubtedly more urgent questions, there was no reason why calendar reform should not be brought before the U.N., as the proposed new calendar was very simple. The first month of each quarter would have 31 days, and each of the other two months, 30 days, producing a total of 364 days, with a day added at the end of June, to be called Worldsday Leap Year Day, but without a weekday designation, leaving each quarter to begin on a Sunday and each month to contain 26 working days plus Sundays.

It suggests that complaints might arise because the Fourth of July would always fall on a Wednesday, ending the three-day weekends. But Christmas would always be on Monday, and one's birthday would always fall on the same day of the week. Calendar reform had been advocated for 120 years, and, it ventures, would likely be around for another 120 years before it was finally adopted. It wishes luck to the advocates of the change at the U.N., suggests that if nations started arguing about calendar reform, they might forget about the business of war.

Drew Pearson indicates that Senator McCarthy had received a letter from a fireman on the Pennsylvania Railroad, an ex-Marine hero who had collected his war medals won in the Pacific serving for three years during World War II, and placed them in an envelope and sent them to the Senator, suggesting that they might make him a hero. Mr. Pearson assumes that the man had been referring to the manner in which the Senator had initially applied for and been refused an Air Medal for taking trips as an observer in Marine Corps planes during the Pacific war, until eight years after the war, following the Senator's continued pressure, the Marines finally awarded him the Air Medals he had requested, at a ceremony conducted in the Senator's office. The former Marine said to the Senator that he did not deserve the Purple Heart because of his foot injury suffered in a hazing incident in the King of Neptune ceremony, traditional aboard ship when neophytes crossed the equator for the first time. Mr. Pearson notes that the local newspaper had interviewed the former Marine and then passed the story to the Associated Press, which had replied that it would be necessary to clear it with New York, where it was not cleared for publication.

The Internal Security Committee, chaired by Senator William Jenner of Indiana, this date had called former Assistant Secretary of State Spruille Braden to appear as its star witness, Mr. Braden having prepared ten revelations showing how Communism or Communistic influences had affected foreign policy during or immediately after World War II, the most sensational of which involving Alger Hiss. Senate Republicans on the Committee would seek to take away from Senator McCarthy the "Communist show", and Senator Jenner had appointed as new chief counsel, to replace Robert Morris, Charles Grimes, a former prosecutor in Manhattan when Thomas Dewey was the District Attorney busting rackets, and subsequently a private attorney with a reputation for fairness. Mr. Grimes planned to lean over backwards in presenting evidence and providing opposing witnesses at every opportunity to present both sides. The hearings were part of a plan outlined to Senator McCarthy by Vice-President Nixon and Deputy Attorney General William Rogers the prior December in Miami when they had tried to persuade the Senator to return to corruption hunting and let the Internal Security Committee handle Communism, a matter on which Senator McCarthy had initially agreed but then reneged on that agreement within a couple of weeks. Mr. Grimes had been hand-picked for the position by Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Mr. Rogers and Governor Dewey, having worked with them in the past. Mr. Braden would relate how, as Assistant Secretary of State in 1946, he had discovered that Mr. Hiss had written a memo to the U.N. listing Panama as a country occupied by U.S. troops, without consulting the Latin American division, of which Mr. Braden was then in charge. Mr. Pearson indicates that while it was true that U.S. troops had been stationed in some parts of Panama, in addition to the Canal Zone, Mr. Braden contended that Panama, as such, was not "occupied" and that the listing of Panama as being so could have caused a disastrous reaction in Latin America, prompting him to go to then-Undersecretary of State Acheson, who, in turn, sought to have Mr. Hiss withdraw the U.N. report, but could not locate him as he was away. Two or three days later, Mr. Hiss had turned up, admitting that he should have cleared the report with the Latin American division, but refusing the request that it be withdrawn. Though the report had not been made public, Mr. Hiss claimed that it would put the U.S. in an embarrassing position to have it corrected. Later, the report was published, served the Russian propaganda mill, and, according to Mr. Braden, had seriously hurt relations with Latin America.

Robert C. Ruark, in Singapore, finds superficial life in the city still of the type depicted in W. Somerset Maugham's stories, "tiffin and tea and red-faced planters drinking their chota-pegs and stengahs and gimlets on broad club verandas."

Business was brisk in the rubber trade, and the "godowns" at the harbor were jammed with merchandise, the harbor filled with all types of craft, and the streets, with humanity and traffic. Chinese, Malay, Sikh, Hindu, and Tamil all could be found within the population, the traffic being mandrawn by rickshaw and tricycle rickshaw, Cadillac, Jaguar, Buick and Ford. There were no Japanese evident in Singapore, as the city, though recovered from the Japanese occupation during the war, had a long and bitter memory of that time. It was possible that more concentrated atrocity had occurred against the inhabitants of the island than any other place which the Japanese had occupied.

Mr. Ruark and his entourage were accompanied by a rubber broker to a horse race course, which he found to be possibly one of the most magnificent in the world, including a hospital and operating room for the horses. The rubber broker said that he had helped to make it that way and to keep it that way during the occupation, having mowed the infield and slept in the grandstand during the time the Japanese were in control. He indicated that normally he weighed 150 pounds, but when released from Japanese captivity, he weighed only 85 pounds, explaining that sort of thing as a reason there were no Japanese to be seen in Singapore at present. He said that a great number of his friends, English and Australian, had been caught in Malaya and sat out the war in captivity there or in Japan, to which they were transported. He said that they seemed normal at present because they had been tough, but some had bad livers from jaundice or malnutrition while others still had the marks of malaria and dengue. Many were dying at a relatively young age.

The rubber broker had pointed out a beautiful housing development on the race course, where brown and black kids played happily in the yards. He said it was their personal experiment in the modern age, that the apartments were for the Asiatic employees of the horse track, finding that if they gave them decent housing, they did not go on strike and the track continued to run efficiently.

Mr. Ruark says that he could not help but smile at the idea of a race track pioneering a field of simple sociology and indicating a trend toward the general demand for better living which would ultimately wreck the white man's domination of the East.

A letter writer thanks the newspaper for its series the previous week on education in the state, focusing on the shortage of teachers, especially elementary school teachers, a shortage suggested by UNC professors to be the result of too stringent certification requirements, discouraging young people from pursuing a career in teaching for having their liberal arts education too strictly circumscribed by the curriculum requirements. The self-described "Charlotte Parent" suggests that, not only were the public school officials and university authorities poles apart on their estimate of public education, as observed by the March 22 editorial on the subject, but also were public school officials poles apart from some of the teachers, parents and employers of public school graduates. The parent suggests perusal of a report distributed at a PTA meeting in 1952 at a local high school, which had indicated the purposes of a public school, that it should teach children something about English grammar and elementary arithmetic. But it appeared that modern education techniques were downplaying the fundamental nature of that instruction. The parent also believes that teacher salaries did not have much relationship to the ability or performance of the individual teacher, that pay raises were conditioned on courses teachers had taken and so based on the teacher's ability to learn, without any focus on the ability to teach. The parent thinks it was time for a thorough review and revision of the objective of the public schools and the certification system.

A letter writer with 19 years of experience in teaching, 12 in high schools, four as a principal in Louisiana, two in junior college, three as a camp educational adviser in the Civilian Conservation Corps, and two in adult education in Charlotte, with a B.A., a master's degree and about two and a half years of credit toward a Ph.D., with a total of four years of graduate training, two and a half of it in his major subject of history. Louisiana had granted him the best certificate issued in that state, valid for life. He had been credited as a very good teacher in Louisiana, but could not be certified in North Carolina because his eight years of college credit contained but ten semester hours of the 20 or 30 hours of technical training required. He had, he believes, obtained the technical training in demonstration classes, and says that little time was necessary for such instruction, as a teacher became either a good, mediocre or poor teacher usually within three years. After the two years in Charlotte in adult education, he had been employed at a high school 70 miles away, but was dismissed at the end of the session because he sent students "off class". He indicates that it was a mill town and the average tested I.Q. of the students was only 85, that they had seven teachers in the junior high school, four of whom tried to teach school work while three did not, one of the four saying that she would dig ditches before she would remain there, with one dismissed and one remaining, while the other three had been re-employed. A young teacher in the classroom next to his had set up a radio which he and students played during study or drill periods, and he was forced to enter the other teacher's classroom many times, when the teacher was not present, to establish enough order for his own students to make themselves heard above the din separated by a concrete block wall between the classrooms, and yet that teacher had been re-employed also. His own students had missed class half the time, and when they misbehaved, he sent them out of the room, but the principal, an elderly woman, told him to retain the students. He had whipped two or three of them, and then the other troublemakers simply stayed away, loafing at nearby stores, claiming that he had sent them out of class. The principal had made no effort to learn the truth and neither had the trustees nor the county superintendent, and so he was dismissed.

A letter writer from Albemarle indicates that years earlier, the term "free schools" had been coined to designate other than private boarding schools or for education by other than private tutors. He thinks the term had outlived its usefulness and should no longer be utilized, that modern education required taxpayer money and those funds should not shortchange students. He advocates putting into practice what had been preached as parents, equal opportunity for all.

A letter writer congratulates the newspaper and reporter Lucien Agniel for the series on education, indicates that through the National Citizens Commission for Better Public Schools, citizens in other communities had been able to assume a share of the complex responsibilities confronting educators, that a recent editorial in the Charlotte Observer had suggested that a local branch of the commission ought be established, with which she agrees and suggests that the education committee of the Chamber of Commerce ought initiate such organization.

A letter writer indicates that she was a retired teacher, finds that the schools were stressing progressive education, agrees with them that education was growth, finding, however, that growth could not be self-directed. She believes in returning to teaching the fundamentals and favors "agitating the subject of education" within the newspapers so that advancement could be made.

Are you one of those outside agitators? You need the "New Blue" to do your agitation properly, without arousing suspicion from the McCarthyites in your midst.

The clock on the wall near the Washington end of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, along the length of which Justice William O. Douglas and his entourage of journalists and environmentalists were hiking during the days of this week for a good cause, having turned to 11:47 p.m. this night, the 26th annual Academy Awards presentation producers decided to end it all with a bang, a highlights reel, which had everyone right on the proverbial edge of their seats, especially the Vice-President, said in the lore of Hollywood of that time, as related by an unknown observer, to have been the last viewer still awake and clapping eyes wide to the last syllable and nanosecond of this first widely telecast presentation of the Oscars, having stayed up late to see if he might be mentioned or made the object of any recollected Oldsmobile repartee in any manner by some clever raconteur with some effete appreciation of Pantagruelism, and thus whether a new investigation of Hollywood subversion might need be initiated, perhaps in the Senate Internal Security Committee, or a newly empaneled special select committee.

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