February 4, 2016

The news from 57 years ago today: Why was this on page 66?!


Click to enlarge.

It's so far back that you don't even have to ask what else was happening that was so important. It was page 66. Anything else was more important. There was this on page 3:



The front few pages are loaded with stories relating to the Soviet Union. The biggest front page story is about an airplane crash, not a small plane with popular singers, but an American Airlines plane that crashed in New York City, into the East River, with some survivors swimming for their lives in the "icy," fast-moving water. "Cries pierced the fog...."

Also worthy of the front page, news of hearings on housing discrimination:



That's Jackie Robinson on the left.

38 comments:

Brando said...

Don McLean should have done a song about those space monkeys and their winning ways. He could have called it "American Space Monkeys."

David Begley said...

Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake is a shrine.

I saw Hillary there. Sacrilege.

Kristian Holvoet said...

A bygone day when the faddish obsession of adolescents didn't rule American Media. Now we have the Khardashians, Jenners, Kanye, Blac Chyna and Amber Rose.

I step forward, 8 steps back for civilization.

Are we sure we won the Cold War?

rhhardin said...

I hadn't heard of the singers and didn't notice the event. Its commemoration baffles me even today. It's lousy music.

The Beech bonanza has sort of a constant fishtail in flight. Maybe that contributed. You could do a story on it.

Curious George said...

They were Republicans?

SayAahh said...

Life is a series of time capsules.

rhhardin said...

"Besides the tendency to “yaw” side to side at the best of times, a tailless plane can become virtually uncontrollable when the engine cuts out. “One of the big things with this aircraft was its stability in flight. One of the hardest things is getting an aircraft without a tail to be able to be flyable during a stall, and that’s something every aircraft has to be able to complete,” says Lee."

A typical reporter on aviation, explaining why a WWII flying wing was ahead of its time.

Revealing he hasn't got a clue what he's writing about. There's a name for this effect, where you know something about the topic and the reporter gets it hopelessly screwed up, yet you believe the other stuff in the paper, except perhaps you don't finally.

CStanley said...

I'm with Kristian. Why should the lives and deaths of entertainers be front page news?

Laslo Spatula said...

The 'Space Monkey' hit me sideways. A bit melancholy.

Made me think of Buffy Sainte-Marie's song "Moonshot".

"off into outer space you go my friends
we wish you bon voyage"

Dean and Britta version.

Also love the 50's-ish film visuals in the video. A bit melancholy, too.

I am Laslo.

Curious George said...

Did make a special bulletin on the radio:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBcGLvnudUE&t=6m18s

Meade said...

Page 3 in the
Deseret News, flyover country.

surfed said...

We opened a small college show for Don McLean back in the early '90's when I was still doing that sort of thing (I was in my early 40's. Sitting backstage before the show a young female college student asked Don "What's the song [American Pie] all about? What does it mean?" To which he replied "It means I don't ever have to fucking work again."

Big Mike said...

I had heard "Chantilly Lace" and "That'll be the Day" on the radio, in 1958 who hadn't? I was only 13 "the Day the Music Died," and I don't know whether I associated those songs with two of the deceased rockers. And "Donna" and "La Bamba," were hits in 1958. I certainly did know that Ritchie Valens sang them. I'm trying to remember -- weren't they the flip sides of the same 45? I don't know whether anybody besides Elvis ever did that (a friend had a 45 with "Don't Be Cruel" and "(You Ain't Nothing But A) Hound Dog" on the two sides).

MartyH said...

At least 66 pages on a Wednesday? Yesterday's Sacramento Bee had 14 pages in Section A, and Page 14 was a full page ad. Page 1 has two news articles-one on water, the other on the implications of legalizing pot. There's a bulleted list about the election focus shifting to NH; and about a third of the space is teasers for other articles and an ad in the footer.

Pages 2-3 are local news; Pages 4-7 are California news. Page 8 is business; Pages 9-10 are US news; Pages 11-12 are about one page ads and one page world news (four articles; three blurbs.)

Half of page 12 is "Names and Faces" while the balance is the rest of the page 1 article on the water situation.

Back to the original question-why was that plane crash on Page 66? The NYT editors and its readership were not the audience for these singers-their children were. The event was cultural (not political, international, economic, or local), and it affected an alien culture (children, adolescents, young adults.) Plus it happened in Iowa. Provincialism, lack of details, lack of a trustworthy source may have played a role as well.

Finally, as to the space monkeys-Sputnik launched less than a year and a half earlier. The space race was gearing up-NASA had just been formed. As silly as it seems now, space monkeys were a huge step in our rivalry with the Soviet Union.

Roger Sweeny said...

MartyH nails it.

Big Mike said...

I just realized -- the picture of Buddy Holly what the Times ran didn't show him with his trademark glasses.

MikeR said...

Some of us don't know who these people were. Clicking on the image to enlarge it didn't help. Going to the NYT article didn't help, till I enlarged it twice.

Larry J said...

rhhardin said...
I hadn't heard of the singers and didn't notice the event. Its commemoration baffles me even today. It's lousy music.

The Beech bonanza has sort of a constant fishtail in flight. Maybe that contributed. You could do a story on it.


The V-tail Bonanzas had a soft Dutch roll tendency in turbulence. However, that wasn't the cause. The crash was caused because a non-instrument rated pilot took off at night in a rural area and became spatially disoriented. According to the FAA, spatial disorientation is a factor in about 10% of general aviation accidents. Once a pilot becomes disoriented, it can all be over in a matter of seconds. The tendency is to fall off into a 'graveyard spiral' all the way to the ground. In the case of the Bonanza, it's light pitch control forces sometimes causes pilots to overstress the plane and rip the tail off. Flown well, the Bonanza is a fine airplane but the V-tail versions had their quirks.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

So what was Dr. Evil doing with the Civil Rights Commission? Looks like he had put on a bit of weight.

Peter said...


1959 politics: Khrushchev visits USA; there's still a "Belgian Congo," Castro's forces advance in Cuba
1959 technology: X-15 first flight; Xerox 914 copier offered for sale; IBM 7090 computer
1959 USA: Alaska and Hawaii admitted as states, St Lawrence Seaway opens

Otto said...

Kristain and Marty gave excellent responses to the question. I will address the questioner As is my wont to try to over analyze AA. AA as well a lot of us are on the backside of life and i suspect when triggered by pictures of her idols placed in non-importance, she sadly thinks of how unimportant her life seems.We old folks go through this all the time.Idolatry is tough when you don't have God.



Eric said...

If this were to happen today, the Times would have on page 1 as part of their ongoing "trying to get the young to read the paper" campaign, but they'd mess it up with some patronizing language and then wonder why they can't connect.

dwick said...

Jackie Robinson was only 40 in this photo - less then 3 years removed from playing his last game. At first glance one would guess he was considerably older.

Kristian Holvoet said...

I just had an ephiphany. If a Republican wins the Presidential Election, you should sell or short every stock the Khardashians are associated with, tv, magazine, etc. You will never hear of them again as we get non-stop, 24x7 full press coverage of every economic miss, overseas terror, shot fired at American's oversee and lawsuits filed against everyone who supported the Republicans.

I think the dreadful dissappointments of the last 8 years of Obama is a UUUUUGE reason that the Khardashians, Hadids, etc. get more air time than the Crimea, Syria and so on.

Virgil Hilts said...

In 1957 the most popular singers were probably Pat Boone and Elvis (each had two of the top 10 hits). Buddy Holly did not make the top 100.

khematite said...

Virgil Hilts said...
In 1957 the most popular singers were probably Pat Boone and Elvis (each had two of the top 10 hits). Buddy Holly did not make the top 100.

Actually, he was at #30 on Billboard's end-of-year chart with "That'll Be the Day"--but as The Crickets.

robinintn said...

The caption underneath the photo of Cardinal Spellman says: "He scored all who spread racial or religious hate." Score!!

furious_a said...

Waylon Jennings was Buddy Holly's base player. He was supposed to be on the doomed flight, but gave the Big Bopper his seat so that the Bopper wouldn't have to endure the rest-of-the-band's bus ride to Fargo, ND while suffering from flu (another story had Jennings losing the seat to the Bopper on a coin-toss).

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eddie willers said...

weren't they the flip sides of the same 45? I don't know whether anybody besides Elvis ever did that

The Beatles had a 45 with Strawberry Fields on one side and Penny Lane on the other.

BudBrown said...

I remember that stupid day. I'm home from kindergarten and
and my 3 older sisters are wandering around crying and yelling
Buddy's dead. My name was Buddy and it was super annoying.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bricap said...

"...Buddy Holly, "Ben Hur", space monkey, Mafia
Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go..."

khematite said...

Big Mike said...
I had heard "Chantilly Lace" and "That'll be the Day" on the radio, in 1958 who hadn't? I was only 13 "the Day the Music Died," and I don't know whether I associated those songs with two of the deceased rockers. And "Donna" and "La Bamba," were hits in 1958. I certainly did know that Ritchie Valens sang them. I'm trying to remember -- weren't they the flip sides of the same 45? I don't know whether anybody besides Elvis ever did that (a friend had a 45 with "Don't Be Cruel" and "(You Ain't Nothing But A) Hound Dog" on the two sides).


Not really all that uncommon back then.

http://www.forgottenhits.com/the_top_200_two-sided_hits_of_all-time

Zach said...

The day Clyde Bruckman received his mysterious power:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clyde_Bruckman%27s_Final_Repose

In my opinion, the best episode of the X Files.

Zach said...

Mulder: Do you remember the first time you foresaw someone's death?

Clyde Bruckman: 1959.

Mulder: What happened in 1959?

Clyde Bruckman: Buddy Holly's plane crashed.

Scully: You prognosticated Buddy Holly's death?

Clyde Bruckman: Oh god no. Why would I want to do that? But I did have a ticket to see him perform the next night. Actually I was a bigger fan of the Big Bopper than Buddy Holly. Chantilly Lace, that was the song.

Mulder: I'm not following.

Clyde Bruckman: The Big Bopper was not supposed to be on the plane with Buddy Holly. He won the seat from somebody else by flipping a coin for it.

Mulder: I'm still not following.

Clyde Bruckman: Imagine all the things that had to occur, not only in his life, but in everybody else's, to arrange it so that on that particular night, The Big Bopper would be in a position, to live or die, depending on a flipping coin. I became so obsessed with that idea, that I gradually became capable of seeing the specifics of everybody's death.

Scully: You know Mr. Bruckman, I'm not one who readily believes in that kind of thing, and if I was I still wouldn't believe *that* story.

Clyde Bruckman: I know it sounds crazy but I swear it's true: I was a bigger fan of the Big Bopper than Buddy Holly.

***

This is brilliant dialogue.

averagejoe said...

Meade said...
Page 3 in the
Deseret News, flyover country.
2/4/16, 7:32 AM

And on page 4, a political fight over raising the state's minimum wage to $1 an hour... Some issues are evergreen, aren't they?

averagejoe said...

More breaking news from 1959: A convoy of 4 American trucks are held captive by the Russians for 56 hours outside East Berlin.

And an American Airlines flight crashes into the Hudson River. Among those killed is Beulah Zachary, producer of the television program Kukla, Fran and Ollie.