Saturday, June 28, 2008

Dead Page-- WWI Vet

Franz Kuntsler, 107

Also, Germany's oldest man.

The May 27th Spiegel On Line International reports that Franz Kunstler, one of the few surviving World War I vets, has died.

He was born July 24, 1900 in Romania and drafted into the First Artillery Regiment of the Ausrian-Hungarian Army in February 1818 and served nine months until the end of the war serving on the Italian Front.

He lived in Niederstetten since 1946 and was a guide at the Schloss Haltenbergstetten castle.

The last German veteran of the war is believed to have been Erich Kastner who died this past January. There are believed to be fewer than 15 WW I vets remaining, with three in the US (one US vet),one in Canada, three in Britain, three in Australia. one in Turkey, and two in Italy.

Watch onthe Passing of a Generation. --Cooter

USS Arizona Bell to Ring 13 Times

On July 4th, the ship's bell of the USS Arizona will join 10,000 other bells across the US in ringing 13 times in honor of the first 13 states. It will be rung by ship survivors, who will then give talks and there will be a book signing afterwards.

This is all part of the Let Freedom Ring National Bell Ringing Ceremony which was established by an act of Congress in 1963. I must admit that I have never heard of it before.

For more info. go to

Ring Those BELLS!! --Old Coot

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Historic Springfield, Illinois

Liz and I are spending several days in Springfield this week. Now this is one city that just oozes history, especially with the Lincoln connection, government, Route 66, and museums.

We have gone to almost all the Lincoln-related places in town, including the house, neighborhood, tomb, law office, old capitol, and nearby New Salem. Then, of course, there is the new museum and library along with the restore Union station across from them.

The Dana-Thomas House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is outstanding as well.

Route 66 has the famous Cozy Dog, probably the best corn dog you'll ever eat and Bill Shea's Gas Station Museum. There are also several old alignments of the road going through town.

One thing we haven't seen much of are the other museums like the Illinois State Museum, Illinois Fire Museum, Illinois State Police Museum. Illinois State Military Museum. Air Combat Museum, Museum of Funeral Customs, Grand Army of the Republic Museum, and the Korean War National Museum which will be opening in 2009.

Lots of History Happened Here. --Cooter

Dead Page: Seven Things-- Hardee's

Sorry to see that George Carlin passed away. Other than the swearing, he had some fantastic observations. Just recently heard the difference between football and baseball and that was hilarious. I have the album "Class Clown." I imagine old George would not have been too much fun for a teacher to have in class.

Also saw that the founder of Hardee's died in Greenville, NC, where the chain started back in the early 60s. Dad said that this man had offered him the chance at a franchise back then, but Dad had turned it down. He always regretted it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Titanic Life Jacket

I saw in Thursdays Chicago Tribune, that one of only six surviving Titanic life jackets is being put up for auction next week by Christie's of New York,

It is expected to bring $60,000 to $80,000. The last one to be auctioned got $119,000. It is believed to have been found along the Halifax coast by farmer John James Dunbar a short time after the vessel sank in April 1912.

About 250 other Titanic related items are also to be auctioned including glassware, crockery and an essay written by 12-year old survivor Bartha Watt.

Definitely an Item of Interest. --Old Coot

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dead Page-- Taco Bell/Baker's-- Pickle Barrel


California fast-food innovator

Neal Baker and George Bell were pretty impressed with the crowds lining up for food at the first McDonald's in San Bernardino and they became part of the first wave of fast-food innovators.

Neal Baker helped his best high school friend, George bell, build a hamburger store on the outskirts of San Bernardino which eventually evolved into Taco Bell. The, Baker built his own place, which eventually became the 32 store Baker's Drive-Thru chain located entirely in California.

His family reports that he went into the office every day until two months ago.

Mr. Baker helped Dick and Mac McDonald build the original restaurant before they re-engineered to speed up service. Their ability to serve 20,000 milkshakes a month attracted the attention of Ray Kroc, and the rest, as they say, is history.

So, that's where they got the Bell in the Taco.


Co-founder of "The Pickle Barrel" chain of restaurants

Died June 4th. During WW II, he served with the 5th Army Air Corps, 15th Bomber Wing. After the war, he opened several businesses before opening his first "Pickle Barrel" with his brother Sidney, in Chicago's Old Town Two others were also opened.

These were one of THE places to go to eat. Pickles were served for free at the tables, and if memory serves me, peanuts were also for free, one of the first places to do that.

Two Real Innovators.

Some More on the HMS Ontario

It sank during a sudden and violent gale on October 31, 1780 and at least 120 men, women, children, and prisoners went down with the ship. The ship had departed earlierthat day from Fort Niagara. The ship is still considered as a British Admiralty property.

You Tube had a film on it and the degree of preservation is quite remarkable.

Not a lot was recovered after the sinking. According to official British records, the victims included 74 military, 9 women and children, 4 Indians, and 1 civilian. Evidently, there were no survivors.

Never Heard of this Ship Before. --Old Coot

Monday, June 16, 2008

HMS Ontario Found

A short article in the June 14th Chicago Tribune "Great Lakes find ends 3-year hunt."
A sunken ship was found. Sunken ships are of great interest to me; right up my alley you might say.

Two very dedicated underwater explorers found it after a three year search found the 22 gun British warship HMS Ontario which sank in a storm on October 31, 1780, five months after being launched. It carried 22 guns and was the largest British ship on the Great Lakes during the American Revolution.

It is partially on its side 500 feet down and very well preserved due to the extremely cold water. Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville spent three years searching for it with side-scan sonar.

Way to Go Jim and Dan!!! --Da Coot

Jolted into the 21st Century-- Part 2

Well, right now we have two computers in the house and a laptop on the way. That's getting into the 21st century in a big way. A few months ago, I got my first digital camera (hey that's 21st too).

The lightning also knocked out the VCR (that's right, a VCR) in Margaritaville (the name of our basement bar). I replaced it with a VCR/DVD player. This is my first DVD player. Looks like 21st century again.

We inherited Liz's mom's 25 inch TV and I didn't know where to put it. With the loss of the one in the sunroom, I'll move my study TV there and put Liz's mom's TV in the study. Well, it's not digital or HD, so we can't all be 21st century.

Being Dragged and Jolted into the 21st Century Against my Will. --The Old Coot

Saturday, June 14, 2008

HMAS Sydney

Eighteen year old Neil Grano was aboard the Australian troopship Aquitania when they discovered a drifting lifeboat with 18 German sailors in it. It was unclear why they would be inthe Indian Ocean, 250 kilometers off the western Australian coast. No one on the Aquitania spoke German, and none of the Germans spoke English so they didn't find out that these German sailors had just been inthe Kormoran- Sydney battle.

Grano said it was the most action he'd seen since joining the Merchant Marine at age 17.


He was aboard the SS Paulus Potter, one of 38 ships in the ill-fated PQ 17 Convoy that sailed from Ireland to the Soviet Union. The Potter was one of 25 vessels that didn't` make it and Grano and 20 survivors were forced to float in the Baron Sea which was bitterly cold. Dodging icebergs, almost frozen from head to toe, and thinking that every day would be their last, they never even knew what time it was as they were in the "Midnight Sun."

Finally, a passing ship picked up the crew and Grano spent three months recovering from severe frostbite in a Soviet hospital.

He later joined the US Merchant Marine and saw service in the Caribbean and Pacific until the end of the war.

This is another one of those stories that lead to other stories and the story of the PQ 17 Convoy and RMS Aquitania are interesting enough, especially since I'd never heard of either one.


Dead Page: Mrs. Tucumcari-- WW II Heroine


died in Tucumcari, New Mexico in January. She was a former mayor of the town and long-time owner of the Pow Wow Inn. She was often called "Mrs. Tucumcari" for her unceasing efforts to promote the town.

She came to Tucumcari in 1955 at age 39 when she inherited Lin's Motor Lodge. She was not intending to stay, but no one would buy it. She ended up transforming the 9 units into the 90 room Pow Wow Inn, a favorite of travelers and Route 66 enthusiasts.

IRENA SENDLEROWA, 98, died May 11th. She was part of the Zegota Resistance Movement. With 20 helpers, she managed to smuggle 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto during WW II.

She then obtained forged id cards and hid them with foster families, monasteries, and orphanages. At great risk, she made a coded list of their names and hid it in her cellar in the hopes of reuniting them with their families after the war.

She was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo, but never revealed anything.

This is a person who is not well-known, but deserves every bit of recognition that Schindler received for his efforts.

Jolted into the 21st Century

I haven't posted since last Sunday because of an act of nature. Seems that a bolt of lightning hit the house around 10:30 pm Sunday night. I was watching TV when I heard a strange "pop" over by the Margaritaville bar just as a bright flash and really strong clap of thunder took place.

There was no loss of electricity or even flickering of lights and no problem with the TV in the Margaritaville pit, so I didn't think much of it.

The next morning, my wife Liz said she couldnt get the computer turned on and had been up most of the night working on it. Also, there was no hot water.

The house is 15 years old, so maybe it was just the water heater's time to go to that great scrapyard in the sky. But two major items going out at the same time? That is too much of a coincidence, even if Big Oil tells us that the skyrocketing cost of gas and their unbelievable profits have nothing to do with each other.


Called our local 'puter guy John who was able to come out. He works for Nerds on Site (what a great name) and looked at it and said the mother board was 'fried" and most likely by lightning.

But wait, there's more.

So That's What It Was. --Cooter

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Bits 'O History: WWII Hangar Demolished-- WWII Bomb in London-- McHenry County, Il, Barns-- WWII Trolley Tours in Cape May

New News About Old Stuff.

1. WWII HANGAR DEMOLISHED-- June 6th Reading (Pa) Eagle-- Hangar 501 at Reading Regional Airport, built to help train pilots during WW II has been torn down. It was 14,000 square feet and its concrete pad will be removed and replaced with topsoil and grass.

2. WW II BOMB IN LONDON-- BBC News reports that a one ton unexploded bomb was found near the site being developed for the 2012 Olympics and military engineers were called to defuse it. Evidently, it was what they called a controlled explosion. From September 21, 1940 to July 5, 1941 an average of 84 bombs failed to explode. Some were designed not to detonate upon impact, but at a later time. Now, that's just downright mean.

Since 1955, there have been no recorded detonations in Britain. Wonder who dropped the bomb?

3. MCHENRY COUNTY, ILLINOIS BARNS-- The June 6th Northwest Herald reports that the first "quilted barn" in McHenry County's art/barn preservation project is up at Miles and Anne Chaney Owney's farm in Woodstock. Their quilt design is called "Crown of Thorns."

The whole project combines public art, barn preservation, and agritourism, a pretty good combination if you ask me.

WW II TROLLEY TOURS IN CAPE MAY, NEW JERSEY--The Cape May County Herald shows that interest in World War II activity in Cape May has increased and that a tour is being scheduled to Fort Miles, Battery 223, Fire Control Tower 23, as well as a drive by of Cape May Naval Air Station and Cape May Canal. Cost is $15.

I know Wilmington, NC, is developing an excellent tour of its WW II sites. I did some further research on Cape May and found out lots of interesting stuff which I will report on later.

HMAS Sydney

The June 8th Herald Sun of Australia reports on an interesting story.

Back in 1941, Leading Signalman Charles Patrick Wright and best friend Jim Francis tossed a coin to determine which duty station they would get. Jim Francis won and was able to be near his girlfriend in Fremantle.

Nineteen days later, Wright, was on board the Sydney in its ill-fated fight with the German raider Kormoran and probably on the heavy-hit bridge.

This past week, Jim and his wife (didn't say if it was the girlfriend from World War II) went to Geralton to place a wreath at the memorial.

There, they met Tess Piper (Hall) who was the fiance of Wright. She didn't marry until 1948 in the hopes that Wright would someday come home.

Just One of Those Great War Stories. --Cooter

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Wartime Rosies-- Part 2

Continuing with yesterday's story.

The Richmond, California shipyards built 747 ships during the war using round-the-clock shifts.

The Rosie the Riveter Park is a work in progress. There is a memorial walkway flanked by metal structures to evoke the hull of a ship. It was dedicated in 2000. There is also space in a refurbished Ford assembly plant which they hope to turn into an exhibit.

You can get a map and directions to the park's landmarks such as a housing development for workers. Shipyard No. 3, where the USS Red Oak Victory, an ammunition ship, and others were built is being restored to its WW II appearance.


Kate Grant, a former Rosie, visited from Moore, Oklahoma. She said she "was a tack welder and used to go 40 feet down to the bottom of the ship to lay beads of hot lead on seams. I worked the graveyard shift from 12 am to 8 am, getting home in time to take care of my baby, who was watched at night by my younger sister."

She had two weeks of training and wore a hood, goggles, and leather pants and gloves. Her husband Melvin was a Marine and shipped overseas. She remembers writing him a letter to him saying, "Honey, I feel like I'm building a ship for you to come home in."

Glad to See Another Aspect of that Unbelievable War Effort Being Remembered. --Old Coot

Friday, June 6, 2008

Last Missouri Chapter of PHSA Closing

A sad story, but one that is happening across the US as the Greatest Generation answers the final role call.

May 25th KOLR-KSFX Ozarks.

The Springfield chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Ozarks Chapter 6, will be meeting no more. Begun in 1989 with dozens of members, but, today, only 4 remain. What remained of the treasury was used for a final party.

At one time, there were six chapters in Missouri. The remaining survivors will still try to get together onholidays like Memorial Day, but, as PH Survivor Sam Brayfield said, "Every month, we would lose somebody. So our group is a group that won't grow, you know, like the American Legion or veterans for War."

The May 26th Springfield (Mo) News-Leader reported that there were 8 members left in Ozarks Chapter 6: Dick Ferguson, Charles Jensen, Richard "Lou" Lines, William Martin, Wade Meadows, Guy Piper, and John Reed.

On the vote to dissolve, there was only one dissenting and that was cast by Catherine Baskette, widow of John Baskette who started it in 1989, but died last year. When the attack came, he was on the USS Schley, but retiredfrom the Army. He joined the PHSA in Kansas City and when he moved to Springfield for work, decided to start a local chapter.

Only nine attended, but at one time they had 106 members. John K. Reid and Don P. Wood, were 20 at the time of the attack. Wood suffers from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and had to leave the meeting early. Reed is moving to St. Louis later this week.

As the "Greatest Generation" Leaves Us. --Old Coot

Wartime Rosies

The Jan. 2, 2008, World, serving the south coast of Oregon. "Wartime Rosies are still riveting" by Michelle Locke, AP.

There are many abandoned factories where thousands once built ships around Richmond, California. To mark the efforts of these ladies, there is now the Rosie the Riveter WW II Home Front National Historic Park located in the former shipbuilding area.

Mary Head, a former Rosie is in her mid-80s as are most of her fellow workers and believes they almost waited too late to honor their efforts.


Most Rosies were shown as white women, but not all of them were. Betty Reid Soskin was a black woman living in the San Francisco Bay area when war broke out. People from all over the country were recruited to work in the shipyards. She kept records for the segregated union set up for black shipyard workers. Since she didn't really work on the ships, she doesn't refer to herself as a Rosie.

More to Come. --Old Coot

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Case of the Missing Lighthouse

Here's a great story from the June Lighthouse Digest. A missing/lost Cape Cod lighthouse has been found in California. Don't you just hate it when lighthouses run away?

It is a 30 foot high cast iron lighthouse believed by people on the Cape to have been destroyed in 1925, but it was found on the California coast at Point Montara, about 25 miles south of San Francisco..

The Coast Gurd had taken it to Yerba Bueno, California, and it was since moved to Point Montara where it is still used for navigation and a hostel.

Goes to Show You Never Can Tell. -- Cooter

Battle of Iwo Jima

The May 25th Parade Magazine ran a Memorial Day story by Larry Smithon Richard Nummer, 82, and his experiences at the Battle of Iwo Jima.

During the battle, almost all 21,000 Japanese defenders died, 6800 Americanswere killed and another 17,000 wounded.


He said he arrived at Iwo Jima the night before the landing and remembers being served steak and eggs the next morning. Nummer went in with the fifth wave and says they would run off the beach foxhole to foxhole. He'd run up and "tap a guy on his shoulder, and he'd run a little father and you'd get into his hole, like leapfrogging. So I get into this hole and tap the guy on his shoulder and--nothing. He was gone."


Five days later, he and his group were the first Marines to sleep at the top of the prominent feature. Says Nummer, "On Feb. 27, my 19th birthday, we were taking turns on guard duty. My foxhole buddy had just got off to sleep, and I kind of dozed off. It was so dark. Then I heard a noise, and I turned around and shot. But it was just the flag, snapping in the wind.

"For 40 years, I never talked about it, but soon as I saw that flag in a museum, I knew I put a hole in it. It's right there--in the second stripe. Probably the most famous picture ever taken, and I stuck my little hole in it. I should have been court-martialed."


One night on Iwo Jima, he was on guard duty and say a figure coming toward him. He called twice for passwords and did not receive a reply, so he shot.

The next morning, a lieutenant congratulated him and siad he could take anything off the body of the Japanese soldier he wanted. He took his wallet and bayonet.

He was always bothered by this and 40 years later, decided to return it. He met some Japanese men at a car show and they took the items back to Japan. A year later he got a letter from the daughter of the man he'd shot. She was born ten days after he left and had never gotten to meet him. She was very thankful.

Very Interesting Stories. --Old Coot

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Bits O' History: Want to buy a Lighthouse?-- WWII in Wilmington-- WWII Vet Dies After Seeing WWII Memorial-- WWII Bomb Closes Runway

Some New Stuff About Some Old Stuff.

1. WANT TO BUY A LIGHTHOUSE?-- The June 3rd Lighthouse News reports that the US General Services Administration has placed two lighthouses off New York City up for auction. The West Bank Light and Old Orchard Shoal Lighthouse will be offered at a minimum bid of $10,000 and going up in $5000 increments. Buyers are cautioned that there will be big restoration monies needed for both.

Hey, we'll leave the light on if you can find the outlet.

2. WORLD WAR II IN WILMINGTON-- If you want your WW II history closer to home as opposed to the Pacific and Europe, you need go no further than Wilmington, NC, which features the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial.

In addition, there is a self-guided tour showing 35 other WW II sites in New Hanover County, including the hannah Block Historic USO Building, Wilmington National Cemetery, and Fort Fisher, which was also used during the Civil War.

Wilmington, one city really aware of its WW II connection.

3. WW II VET DIES AFTER SEEING WW II MEMORIAL-- The June 2nd Huntsville (al) Times reports that Bernard Dethomas, 81, died the night after he returned from a visit to the WW II Memorial in Washington, DC. He had been a private during the war and fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

His son Richard found his father dead when he visited on Sunday and said that his father treasured his last day alive. "I'm so thankful that he got to see (the memorial). I know it meant everything to him."

The Greatest Generation.

4. WWII BOMB CLOSES RUNWAY-- June 3rd-- One of the five runways at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport was closed when nearby construction discovered an unexploded 500 pound WW II bomb.

It must remain still for 52 hours since it was moved during discovery. A similar bomb was found near this same spot in 2006. Officials hope to have it removed by Thursday.

And, the History Just Goes On. --Old Coot

TODAY IN HISTORY-- 1896-- Henry Ford took a ride in his automobile around Detroit, Michigan.

Belle Gunness-- Serial Killer?

I have to admit that I neverheard of this woman, but currently, investigators are digging up the remains of some of her possible victims, children, and trying to piece together the story.

She was a wealthy widow accused of murdering as many as 30 men, women, and children. and often dismembering them at her hilltop farm in La Porte, Indiana. A mysterious fire destroyed the home and Belle in April 1908. Speculation was that belle set it herself when her deeds were about to be discovered.

DNA testing is planned to try to flesh out the story.

From May 14th Chicago Tribune "Kids' bones exhumed in 100-year-old mystery." by Kristen Kridel.

There is a big artcile in Wikipedia about it. It says shwe was a very physically strong woman standing 5'8" and weighing 200 pounds. She also might have killed her husbands and children.

Sure Glad I Didn't Know Her. --Old Coot

That's Tootsie to You!!!

Last month, it was announced that the Wm. Wrigley, Jr. Co. was to be sold to Mars Inc. for $23 billion and this leaves just one Tootsie Roll Industries Inc, as the last of a dying breed: the Chicago-based confectionary icon, at one time numbering in the hundreds.

But with upper management aging in at 88 for Chief executive Melvin Gordon, and 76 for President Ellen Gordon, it's probably just a matter of time.

Chicago used to be the corporate home of Fannie Mae, Brach's, Leaf Candy (maker of Jolly Rancher,Whoppers, and Milk Duds), the Curtiss Candy Co. (creators of Baby Ruth, Butterfinger) and even Mars was here at one time. In 2005, Wrigley bought Altoids and Life Savers from Kraft.


Was born 112 years ago in New York when an Australian immigrant started hand-rolling and hand-wrapping chocolate candies. His company went public in the 1920s and Ellen Gordon's father got a big part of it during the Depression.

The company moved to Chicago in 1968 to be closer to its main ingredient suppliers

Tootsie Roll has had a long history of buying out other brands, though. In 1984, it bought Cella's Confections which made chocolate-covered cherries. In 1993,Junior Mints, Charleston Chew were added. In 2000, Andes Candies, makers of dinner mints was purchased and four years ago Dubble Bubble.

Tootsie Roll builds up cash and every few years, makes an acquisition.

From May 4th Chicago Tribune "Tootsie Rolls Along" by Mike Hughlett.

And, That's the Long and Sweet of It. --Cooter

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cubs Played Here Before Wrigley Field

They were variously called the Spuds, Orphans, Rainmakers, Trojans, Panamen, and four World Series were played here, including games of the only-ever White Sox-Cubs World Series.

But yet, very few Cub fans know about the West Side Grounds which was bordered by Lincoln, Polk, Wood and Taylor streets. It seated 16,000 and was where the Cubs played their best-ever baseball. They even won their last World Series here in 1908.

Now, the UIC Medical School occupies the grounds. There isn't even a marker to show its existence.

But Michael Reischl and Brian Bernardoni and other die-hard Cub fans have raised $3000 for one.

The West Side Grounds opened at a cost of $30,000 on May 14, 1893 and replaced West Side Park. That day, they were called Cap Anson's Colts and scored four runs in the 9th to defeat the Cincinnati Reds 13-12.

From May 15th Chicago Tribune.

Maybe the Cubbies will win a World Series this year. After all, its been 100 years since they last won. Let's hope.

Hey Cub Fans, How Long Has it Been Since the Sox Last Won a World Series? --Cooter

Archivist Stealing Historic Artifacts to Pay Bills

Sounds like something you'd see in the Star or Enquirer, but this is true. Archivist Daniel Lorello, 54, of New York, has been arrested for stealing hundreds of artifacts; mostly documents, from the New York State Library to pay his household bills. He was selling them on e-Bay and now faces up to 25 years in prison.

Some of the items he stole were an 1823 letter from John C. Calhoun, Davy Crockett Almanacs, Curriet & Ivews lithographs, an 1865 railroad timetable for Lincoln's funeral train.

He stole and sold 300-400 items in 2007 alone. Selling the Davy Crickett Almanacs netted over $5,000 on two sales alone.

Hundreds of others were found in his home. The thefts go back to 2002 and really accelerated in 2007, much to pay off his daughter's credit card bill.

"I took things on an as-needed basis to pay my family bills, such as house renovation, car bills, tuition and my daughter's credit card problem."

He took a lot this past year because of her $10,000 debt.

He was caught when the attorney general's office placed a winning bid of $1800 on Calhoun's letter.

He began working in 1979 and has been placed on administrative leave from his $71,732job.

"Archivist: I stole papers to pay bills" by Clare Trapasso, AP

This story goes back to January 28th. I have not seen any follow up to it so imagine the trial has not started yet.

This is a Man Who SHOULD Have Known Better and Hopefully He Will Fully Pay for This. --Cooter

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Klondike Big Inch

While doing the Robert W. Smyth obituary, see May 29, I got interested in finding out some more on this Big Inch give-away and found this info at www.yukoninfo/klondikebiginch.htm.

It got kids to say "Mommy, I want Quaker Puffed Rice." They were already saying the rice was shot from guns, but other cereals had talking tigers or gave things away.

Something was need by Quaker Oats to push their cereal. They needed something catchy and already sponsored a show "Sgt. Preston and His Trusty Dog King."

The idea of Smyth became one of the most successful sales promotions in North American history. The Quaker Oats cereal plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, could hardly keep up with the demand. Within weeks, every box with a deed had been sold. It would have been interesting to know how many boxes with the deed were made. I guess you mathematicians out there could figure out how many square inches there would be in 19.11 acres.

However, just because you got that one inch deed, you never really owned the land and the Canadian government repossessed the land in 1965 for non-payment of $37.20 in taxes. It was a 19.11 acre plot in the Yukon.


This account says that Bruce Baker was the one with the idea for it. is offering a deed for $29.95. E-Bay has one with starting bids at 99 cents and $2.95 shipping.

In 1947, the show was called "Challenge of the Yukon" and was aired on the radio.

In 1953, it was renamed "Sgt. Preston of the Yukon" to battle the increasing popularity of TV.
Sounds Like I Missed Out on This One. --Old Coot

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Memorial Day "Lost Boat" Ceremony

This was held at San Francisco's World War II submarine USS Pampanita. A bell tolled 52 times, once for each of the 52 submarines that never returned to port and 3,505 crew members who lost their lives during the war.

Two buglers played taps and Captain Shepherd Hanks, navigator on the USS Nautilus which was the first nuclear-powered sub and the first to reach the North Pole under the ice cap, spoke. More than 200 sub vets attended.


Was a WWII Balao-class fleet boat that was involved in the dramatic sea-rescue of 73 Australian and British POWs. It is docked at San Francisco's Pier 45 in Fisherman's Wharf.

That Had to Be Very Scary in a Depth Charge Attack. --Old Coot

Dead Page-- Bet Your Sweet Bippy-- Brown vs. Board of Education


Played the crazy guy in Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In

The 1960s "Laugh-In TV show made stars out of Goldie Hawn and Gilda Radner as well as the phrases "Sock it to Me" and "You Bet Your Sweet Bippy."

Laugh-In Debuted in January 1968 and had great satire. Other stars it made were Arte Johnson, Henry Gibson, Jo Ann Worley, and announcer Gary Owens.

Dan Rowan was the straight man, the voice of reason, always trying to correct Martin's absurdities.

When Richard Nixon was running for president, he appeared saying "Sock it to me?" with that great inflection that remains to me one of the funniest-ever TV moments.

And "You can look that up in your Funk & Wagnall's." Hey, I have a grocery-store-bought set of these.


The Last-surviving plaintiff in the Brown vs. School Board historic 1954 Supreme Court Decision.

In 1950, she signed onto litigation on behalf of her children challenging the Topeka, Kansas, School Board's segregation policy. She was among thirteen black parents who did, including Reverend Oliver Brown, whose name became that of the plaintiffs.

They lost in the US District Court, but appealed to the US Supreme Court where it was overturned. This opened the way for blacks to receive the same education as whites.

In the 1920s and 30s, she had attended desegregated schools in western Kansas and wanted the same opportunity for her children.

Some People You Should Know.