Friday, November 22, 2013
13 other news items the weekend of November 22, 1963 besides the Kennedy assassination
Despite the horror of a president’s death, regular life went on, with newspaper ads for a pre-Christmas sale and an odd story about marijuana case.
DALLAS We all know the tragedy that occurred here 50 years ago today. The November 23, 1963 issue of this newspaper blares it in giant headline type: “Kennedy Slain on Dallas Street,” and the rest of the front page and much of the paper was devoted to the president’s assassination and Lyndon Baines Johnson becoming the 36th president of the United States, the first Texan at the time to make it to the Oval Office.
But while perusing our commemorative reprint of that issue, I was fascinated by the inside pages — the pages that told more of daily life in Dallas that day, that week, that year. It wasn’t all John Birch Society, black-bordered ads calling Kennedy a communist and nut-cases galore (Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby, take your pick).
Here are some other items that appeared in The Dallas Morning News on Nov. 23, 1963. Despite the horror of a president’s death on a downtown street, regular life went on, and that’s a comfort even 50 years later.
• A retail ad touted luxe ladies’ suits in velveteen and wool, perfect for the holidays, “or daylight or candlelight dates.” $29.95 each at Dreyfuss & Son and the Miss Dreyfuss Shop, at Main and Ervay.
• In Grand Prairie, according to staff writer Connie Eckard, “the Gophers won their first football championship here in more years than anyone cares to remember and tumbled the Wichita Falls Coyotes for the first time ever.”
• Mrs. Julian Vassallo, a church organist and mother of two who lived in Mesquite, was representing Texas at the National Homemaker of the Year Conference in Chicago, Ill., that weekend. Mrs. Vassallo had already been crowned Dallas Homemaker of the Year.
• A pre-Christmas sale (yes, the Christmas rush started before Thanksgiving even in 1963!) offered layaway plans ($1 down for any item to hold it till December 24, with as little as $1.25 per week) at Goodyear Service Stores. A 19-inch portable TV with free (regularly $12.95) mobile carry-cart was $149.98, featuring the highly desirable “daylight blue” picture, a handsome hi-impact Polystyrene cabinet and “slim silhouette styling.”
• A concert starring Johnny Cash, June Carter and George Jones was planned for Saturday night at the Sportatorium, with tickets priced at $1.75. At SMU’s Coliseum, Peter, Paul and Mary were to perform Saturday evening, at the bargain price of $1-$2.
• The Colony Club, across from the Adolphus Hotel, advertised auditions for dancers to appear between shows, with the Joe Garcia Orchestra.
• Wuthering Heights, starring Merle Oberon and Lawrence Olivier, was playing at the Inwood Theatre. Across town at the Esquire, you could catch Jack Lemmon in the “third yum-derful week” of Under the Yum-Yum Tree, in “yummy color.”
• Mrs. Joyce L. Tharp was selected as the first woman president of the Southwest Chapter of the Society of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters. She worked for A.J. Anderson and Associates.
• Farmers Branch was in the news for approving “performance standards” that limited the amounts of noise, air contamination, vibration, glare, noxious materials, odor and open storage that would be “tolerated by an industry” located in the city.
• A letter to the editor from Gabe Rinehart of Fort Worth called for “renewed and more vigorous efforts to obtain final approval of canalizing the Trinity River,” i.e., making it navigable. “Texas will enter a new period of growth and prosperity when the Trinity is canalized.”
• A new 1964-model Cadillac sedan could be had for $5,795 from John M. Clark’s dealership on Live Oak Street. At Mockingbird Rambler, you could purchase a 1963 model in immaculate condition for a mere $2,395.
• In the help-wanted ads, under “Male (Miscellaneous),” White Star Laundry & Cleaning was looking for an experienced “silk-spotter,” and the city of Garland needed policemen, with a starting salary of $375 per month. In the “Women (Miscellaneous)” category, the Texas Employment Commission needed “excellent spellers” for seasonal work, and the Lucas B&B on Oak Lawn needed night-shift waitresses ($30 per week, plus meals).
• Finally, my favorite lead on a non-Kennedy item that day: “A 33-year-old hairdresser, accused of mixing marijuana with coiffures, walked out of Criminal District Court No. 3 this week after jurors deadlocked in his narcotics trial.” An undercover police officer had allegedly purchased two tobacco cans full of marijuana from John William Basden in a Lemmon Avenue beauty shop where he worked, for $60. Jurors agreed Basden was guilty but couldn’t agree on a penalty; prosecutors planned to re-file charges.