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See It Now, March 9th, 1954

Posted by Whitmore, March 9, 2008 09:58pm | Post a Comment

On this date, March 9, 1954, America's most respected journalist of the day Edward R. Murrow narrated an episode of See It Now, a news magazine broadcast on CBS television, called "A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy."  Murrow had produced several episodes looking into hysteria of the Communist witch hunt of the 1950’s, but this program in particular was a monumental step toward the collapse of the demagogic and Constitutionally reckless Joseph McCarthy. Often referred to as television's "finest hour”, Murrow takes apart McCarthy’s campaign, showing it to be nothing more than unsubstantiated accusations and persecution towards anyone with a different point of view. By mainly playing recordings of McCarthy himself bullying witnesses and making cockeyed speeches, See It Now showed what they felt was the most dangerous risk to democracy-- not suspected Communists working in the government, but McCarthy’s actions themselves. The broadcast received tens of thousands of letters, telegrams and phone calls running 15 to 1 in favor of Murrow.

As Murrow said in his ending:

"No one familiar with the history of this country can deny that congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating, but the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one and the junior Senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind, as between internal and the external threats of Communism. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men -- not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.

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Haunted by the Brutal Splendor of old 45's, #3

Posted by Whitmore, February 24, 2008 06:42pm | Post a Comment
The truth - it’s my raw nerves - very, very caffeinated raw nerves eating away at the lining of my stomach. Goddamn! I’ve been, still am, crawling up walls and across ceilings. A few triple espressos and shazzam! I am the Fly! Caffeine has ripped a hole through my brain, certainly through my gut and, holy java juice batman, my sharpened senses wield machetes; heightened Terror Alert Level – “blood dripping magenta!” CRACK! Jesus H, what is that noise! My tinnitus is screaming like hordes of car alarms pinging in a Brentwood parking lot after an earthquake. I can hear all things in heaven and on earth and in hell, simultaneously. For Christ’s sake, I think my neighbor is playing a Ricky Martin CD! Whatever fell upon me has made my blood run thin. How, then, am I not expected to go mad? I have made up my mind to rifle through the recycling bin for that buried bottle of codeine-fortified cough syrup -- hideously expired or not … something, anything. The telltale pot of coffee brews stronger and stronger! And I can’t resist pouring another cup!
Anyway, for the time being, just relax at your desk with your own Cup o’Joe and take a look at some more 45 company sleeves from around the world.

Haunted by the Brutal Splendor of old 45's, #2

Posted by Whitmore, February 23, 2008 10:46am | Post a Comment
With daylight, reason returned and gone was the previous night's debauchery, but both the sentiment of horror and remorse remained in regards to the conversations I elicited with … the Voice. Guilt, was it guilt I suffered? The voice’s disparaging remarks about 45’s and my love for such trivial objects. But I found myself sharing the same odious views! How can that be? I needed to convince myself, somehow, that my soul survived untouched by the experience. Again I felt obliged to plunge headlong into excess; quickly I made myself a triple espresso, straight-no chaser of cream, as I had to focus on the tasks of the day: a new blog.

Anyway, back to reality, here are some more 45 company sleeves from around the world.

49 square inches and an invitation to party like it's 1958

Posted by Whitmore, February 14, 2008 08:45pm | Post a Comment

This is one of the dullest 45 picture sleeves I’ve ever seen! It’s actually a recorded invitation to come on down and experience the “modern expanded facilities” of Columbia Records Distribution. How exciting … it’s a party, the party to end all parties on February 3rd 1958 … with booze, hats and noise makers to boot … I presume today this building has either become overpriced artist’s lofts, or more likely, a parking lot. Anyway, here are some of the other big news events that took place in the ‘I like Ike’, cold war, atomic age, sci-fi world of February 1958:

Feb 1st - The #1 album in the UK for the next seven weeks is the Original Soundtrack to the Pal Joey, starring Frank Sinatra.
Feb 1st - Egypt & Syria unite to form the United Arab Republic.
Feb 1st - The #1 single in the U.K is Elvis Presley’s "Jailhouse Rock."
Feb 2nd - The word Aerospace is coined, from Aircraft (aero) and Spacecraft (space).
Feb 3rd -  “Get a Job,” the Silhouettes' only hit, is #1 on the Billboard R&B charts for the next six weeks. “At the Hop" by Danny and the Juniors is #1 on the Billboard Pop charts.
Feb 5th - A hydrogen bomb known as the Tybee Bomb is lost by the US Air Force off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, never to be recovered. Actually, there are at least ten other American nuclear warheads thought to have been lost and un-recovered over the years, but more about that another day.
Feb 5th - Gamel Abdel Nasser is nominated as 1st president of the United Arab Republic.
Feb 6th - Munich air disaster kills 21, including 7 players for the Manchester United soccer team.
Feb10th - The #1 album in the U.S. is “Come Fly with Me” by Frank Sinatra.
Feb 11th - Marshal Chen Yi succeeds Zhou Enlai as Chinese Minister of Foreign affairs.
Feb 11th - Ruth Carol Taylor is first African American woman hired as a flight attendant.
Feb 13th - Georges Rouault, French painter dies at the age of 87.
Feb 14th - The Iranian government bans rock & roll, saying that the music is against the concepts of Islam, and is also a health hazard. Iranian doctors warn of the risk of injury to the hips from the "extreme gyrations" of rock & roll dancing.
Feb 14th - The #1 single in the U.K is Michael Holliday’s "The Story of My Life".
Feb 14th - The Hashemite Kingdoms of Iraq and Jordan unite in the Arab Federation of Iraq and Jordan with the Iraqi King Faisal II as head of state.
Feb 16th - Tracy Lauren Marrow, better known as Ice-T is born in Newark, New Jersey.
Feb 17th - Pope Pius XII declares Saint Clare the patron saint of television. Of course all you good Catholics already knew that!
Feb 20th - Test rocket explodes in Cape Canaveral.
Feb 21st - The Peace symbol design is completed by Gerald Holtom, commissioned by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Feb 23rd - Cuban rebels kidnap 5-time world driving champ Juan Fangio; he's released 28 hrs later.
Feb 23rd - David Sylvian, leader of the band Japan is born as David Alan Batt.
Feb 23rd - Arturo Frondizi wins the presidential elections in Argentina.
Feb 24th - Chuck Berry’s biggest hit, “Sweet Little Sixteen,” is released.
Feb 24th - The Music Man debuts on the Billboard charts. It will hold the #1 spot for twelve weeks and remain on the Billboard charts for 245 weeks.
Feb 25th - Bertrand Russell launches the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Feb 28th - One of the worst school bus accidents in the US history kills 27 at Prestonsburg, Kentucky.
Feb 28th - For the next eight weeks Perry Como’s "Magic Moments" will be #1, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, in February 1958 George Harrison, age 15, joins the Quarry Men.

The Levelland UFO Incident

Posted by Whitmore, November 2, 2007 09:03pm | Post a Comment

Fifty years ago tonight on November 2, 1957 - and coincidentally about an hour after the Russians launched Sputnik 2 carrying the first passenger ever lifted into orbit, Laika the dog - one of the best known and well documented cases of UFO close encounters took place on the outskirts of Levelland, Texas, population 10,000.

Patrolman A. J. Fowler, on duty that night, received the first call at about 11pm and would receive another 14 different calls over the next two and a half hours. Among the witnesses were Levelland's sheriff and the town's fire chief who confirmed they too observed something pass across the highway in front of them. Most of the reports depicted the object as a brightly lit torpedo or cigar-shaped flat-bottomed object, eyewitnesses pretty consistently described the UFO as a glowing, pulsating bluish-green. The first call came from Pedro Saucedo, traveling with a co-worker named Joe Salaz. While driving down Route 116, about 4 miles west of Levelland, an object suddenly rose into the air from a nearby field. Saucedo estimated that it was 200 feet in length, and soon was flying at speeds around 800 miles per hour. While passing over their truck there was a sound of “thunder” and a “rush of wind.” The truck rocked from the blast, and both passengers felt “a lot of heat." As the object flew over the truck, the headlights went out and the engine stalled, but as the UFO vanished into the distance the engine restarted easily and the lights worked normally. In total, there were at least seven separate UFO incidents that night reporting either a car or a truck becoming disabled, but recovering each time the UFO departed.  

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