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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : features : prime time June 29, 2015

4/2/2012 9:57:00 PM
Column: 50-year-old news shows little has changed

Jerry Jackson
Courier columnist

Yeah, I figure that it was about time for Rod Scott to update the newspaper lining in a chest of drawers in his Prescott home. After all, those yellowed, frayed pages of The Indianapolis Star have been languishing for almost 60 years, with the date being July 28, 1952. The paper had cost a nickel.

There was the usual "serious" news on the front page. One - sporting the headline "Shoo, Fly, Or You'll Die By Spray-Gun Today" - centered on the paper's "war against flies." Meanwhile, things were heating up politically prior to the November presidential election, with Dwight Eisenhower and his running mate Richard Nixon going up against Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois and Senator John J. Sparkman of Alabama. A prominent headline read "Nixon Brands Demos 'Same Old Deal'," and quoted Ike as saying that the Democratic hopefuls offer the nation only "a one-plank platform" focusing on the entire Truman administration record. And down at the bottom of the page was a cartoonish sketch of a bounding bird named, appropriately, Joe Crow, with this accompanying observation: "Darn clever those Demos! They picked a Sparkman to fire up their fall campaign."

Not surprisingly, the weather made the front page, with this leading paragraph in an article: "For beet-faced, gasping Hoosiers the Weather Bureau had nothing but bad news for today with predictions that temperatures here would range from 96 to 102 degrees, with proportionately high humidity. That article was on the lower right corner of the page, with "Today's Chuckle" gracing the lower left corner with yet another weather-related little poem reading: "The rain it raineth every day upon the just and unjust fellow: But more upon the just because the unjust hath the just's umbrella."

Let's move on to Page 12, though, for some bargains to be found in ads. Prenuptially, Barney's Quality Jewelers was offering "plain 14-K gold wedding bands" in "wide, modern styles for bride and groom" for $12.50 for both rings. Not only that, but they were yours for 50 cents down and 50 cents a week. And at Lane Radio, of all places, you could purchase a new Admiral refrigerator "with 7-minute flash defrosting" starting "as low as $199.95." And they were throwing in a 76-piece set of glasses and dinnerware by Anchor Hocking at no extra charge.

Another ad for Kaiser automobiles (remember them?) billed the make as "the car with the world's SAFEST front seat. (Note: I capitalized that one word for emphasis, as the letters, despite being lower-case in the ad, are 3 inches high.) Anyway, Kaiser prices were "as low as $2,399.53 for De Luxe 2-Door Sedan," and 10 Kaiser-Frazer dealers in the area were listed.

Also on Page 12 was a sketch of a matronly woman wagging a finger at her dog with a mustachioed man wearing an apron standing nearby. The Bennett Cerf joke beside it went like this: "The proprietor of a fruit store in a knobby neighborhood complained to a customer, 'Madam, you'll have to keep more of an eye on your poodle. He's licking my fruit.' The customer was horrified. 'Felicia,' she cried sternly, 'desist immediately. You know that fruit isn't washed'."

Somehow, the joke brought to mind a recent reference in a story in the March 26 Arizona Republic that pointed out that our governor, Jan Brewer, "wagged her finger at the president as she awaited his arrival at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport." Now, it was bad enough for the governor to wag her finger at the president, but I feel that premature finger wagging was definitely beyond the pale!

Contact the columnist at

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