Last week the quiz show craze spread over the TV channels like the prize money showering on the shows' contestants. In seven days nearly $500,000 was paid out, or pledged against re-appearances, to an assortment of men, women, children and dogs as advertiser tried to outbid advertiser for an audience. As a result it has become difficult to get out of quiz show range at any hour of the day. Not counting the innumerable local shows there are now 21 question-and-answer contests on the three big networks - and seven of them are in action five days a week. On NBC, for instance, commencing at 11a.m. four one-half-hour quizzes follow one another. On Tuesday night there is only one hour in the period between 7:30 and 11 p.m. when the viewer need he out of sight or hearing of someone asking or answering a question -and being paid amply for doing so. In contrast to the impressive erudition of Columbia University Instructor Charles Van Doren and 11-year-old stock market statistician Leonard Ross, TV added a lucrative contest for talking dogs. The canines which could get out bi-syllabic words intelligibly on the early morning dog-talent search won $500 a word, with a $20,000 limit on canine loquacity. The 4-year-old terrier was the week's big winner there as he convinced the show's board of human judges that he was really speaking.
- TV shells out nearly Half a million dollars as quiz craze hits peak.Read more »
Excerpt from August 26, 1946 Life magazine
Royal Barry Wills Designs the Kinds of Houses Most Americans Want
Scattered about the U.S. are some 1,100 houses which long before the housing shortage were receiving the longing stares of almost everyone who passed them by. They were designed by Royal Barry Wills, a Boston architect whose products seem to be an almost perfect fulfillment of the sentimen. tal American ideal of what a home should be. Most of Mr. Wills's houses are early American in design-Cape Cod cottages, houses with saltbox roofs or garrison houses with overhanging second stories. Besides designing real houses Wills has designed several hundred on paper and published them in six books which have a combined sale of 520,000, making him the nation's most popular architectural author. Solidly entrenched as the leading U.S. designer of small traditional houses, Wills has become a focal point for the distaste of many of the country's more vociferous but less popular modern architects. They call him a copyist and an opportunist and scorn his lack of enthusiasm for designing machines for living. "In rebuttal Wills maintains that good residential architecture should be primarily emotional and, like good art, be a part of the people and understood by them-a status which modern architecture cannot yet claim. On the following pages LIFE presents a portfolio of Wills houses in photographs and sketches. Like the modernists Wills tries to build as much practicality into them as he can but never at the sacrifice of such things as knotty pine panels, exposed hand-hewn beams, eight-foot fireplaces and windows filled with tiny leaded-glass panes.
Excerpt from June 11, 1971 Life magazine
Astronauts Also Recieve Special Corvettes
Earlier this year, Apollo 14 had Alan Shepard and his version of a golf club. This July, Apollo 15 will have its own version of a golf cart. Folded, squeezed and packed into a storage compartment in the lunar module's descent stage will be a four-wheeled battery-driven moon car called the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV). More simply known as Rover, the cart is built to travel at 10 mph and go 40 miles before its nonrechargeable batteries run down. The Apollo 15 mission plan calls for Rover to carry astronauts David Scott and James Irwin about 20 miles in three seven-hour explorations during their 86 hours on the moon. For safety's sake Rover will travel only three to four miles from the LM at any time, which is the distance an astronaut can walk if need be. Nor will the vehicle exceed 6 mph unless an emergency occurs or in the unlikely event its drivers find a smooth, fast straight- away and decide to hold the first lunar drag race. Within those limits, though. the cart will make it possible for Irwin and Scott to do more exploring than all the other lunar astronauts put together. To guarantee maximum opportunity for geological discoveries, mission planners have selected a landing site sandwiched between some 10,000-foot mountains and a 1.000-foot canyon. Wherever the LRV goes, a color television camera mounted on it and controlled from earth can transmit a full view of the landscape. After the last excursion, the Rover will be parked 100 yards or so from the LM with the camera turned on, so that earthbound viewers can have their first look at a spaceship blasting off from the moon.
Exerpt from September 30, 1946 Life Magazine.
A Bashful Wallflower becomes the World's No.1 Teaching Dance Master.
GI’s in their foxholes, the way the ads used to tell it, passed their few sleeping hours dreaming about mother's cooking or Rover, the faithful terrier they left behind. But to judge by the number of veterans now attending the Arthur Murray Dance Studios under the GI Bill of Rights, what they really dreamed about was learning to tread a graceful rumba. Murray, who calls himself “The World's Most Famous Dancing Teacher,” has thousands of them pirouetting experimentally in his studios at government expense and he expects to produce at least 100,000 finished products within the next year. The idea started as a joke. Early this year, a former GI who was polishing up his samba in Murray's New York studio remarked wryly that Uncle Sam should be footing the bill under the GI Bill of Rights. It had not previously occurred to Murray that a dancing school might be officially regarded as an educational institution. But, sighting a gold mine, he had a lawyer look up the terms of the GI Bill of Rights and concluded that a veteran studying to be a dancing teacher could qualify for government payment. A modest ad in the New York Times brought several hundred applicants and by April the first class of ex-servicemen was dipping, swaying and Lindy-hopping all at Uncle Sam's expense.
Exerpt from June 27, 1949 Issue.
Modern Atomic City Grows on Remote, Guarded Mesa
Los Alamos, N. Mex. is one more American manufacturing town, but it has some truly unique features. It is the only place in the world, so far as is generally known, where atomic bombs are manufactured, and has been called the most important city on earth—real progress for a town only six years old, with a population of 9,000. Los Alamos has other distinctions. Possessing the world's finest physics laboratory and with an unusually large percentage of young physicists and technicians, its citizenry probably has the highest average I.Q. of any U.S. city, and the lowest average age: 33. Poised on a remote, canyon-rimmed mesa 7,500 feet high and accessible by only one sternly policed road, it has no crime, no strangers and, because space is limited, no cemetery. Closed to the general public since 1943 when it was taken over by the federal government as the best possible site for the design and assembly of atomic bombs, the poplar-dotted mesa (Los Alamos means “the poplars”) is now building into a carefully planned town that will eventually number about 12,000 people. Life there has certain discomforts but there are also compensations. The climate is clear and sunny, the shopping and residential areas glittering new and, among other things, there is the pleasant impossibility of guests dropping in unexpectedly from the outside.
Exerpt from August 19, 1946 Life Magazine.
Folklore of America - Part 5
The frontier days of the last half of the 19th Century-crowded with the feats of wagon drivers and cowhands, bad men and shooting marshals, lumberjacks and miners—brought out the saltiest of all American folk tales. Bloody episodes, gruesome enough in fact, were daubed up in the retelling so that a single shooting became a massacre, worrisome incidents became miraculous escapes, light ladies became beauteous heroines. The stories exalted physical strength as well as the six-shooter. Steel workers and lumbermen joined the ranks of legendary heroes. But a growing sense of humor tempered the hardship and dangers of life on the exploding frontier and Americans began to have fun poking fun at one another. Towns competed in boasting that they had the biggest, the best-or the worst—of everything. Still fresh and funny, these exaggerations make a treasury of home-grown folk tales as broad and as varied as the land itself.
Exerpt From November 27, 1964 Issue.
Six-Month Delay for the Big Fight
Here it was the day before the scheduled heavyweight championship fight, with as 4.5 million gate practically in the till the Boston Garden and 230 closed-circuit TV theaters across the U.S. But there lay the once irrepressible champion Cassius Clay in a Boston hospital, stating woodenly at nothing and taking nourishment intravenously while his mother tenderly tidied his hair, The cause of Clay's predicament was emergency surgery-necessitated by an acute hernial attack in his lower abdomen that hit with the force of a knockout punch by his intended opponent. Sonny Liston, while under postoperative sedation, Clay for once in his life had little to say to his mother who came by bus from Louisville to be at his side, to his young bride Sonji who brought flowers, or to his Black Muslim colleagues who hovered around trying to cheer up the man they call Muhammad Ali, But when the drugs wore off and cassius began to perk up, he inevitably launched into his favorite subject, himself. Thanks to the operation, he said, he would probably level off at a lithe 200 pounds and be greater than ever. Meanwhile Lision will have to wait at least six months for another crack at Cassius, a long time for an aging ex-champ whose fighting days are growing shorter.
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Exerpt from February 25, 1952 Life Magazine.
The Great Paintings of a Frustrated Recluse
Currently on display at the Chicago Art Institute, and soon to be seen at New York’s Metropolitan Museum, are 130 pictures by a man who holds a unique position in the history of modern painting, Paul Cézanne. Some critics consider him the greatest painter of the past 100 years. Even those who dissent from this high opinion consider him the most influential one. Cézanne, a Frenchman who did most of his painting between 1870 and 1900, was not only a painter; he was the creator of an entirely new method of looking at the world. And so widespread and subtle has been the influence of his method that the world, to civilized people, has never looked quite the same since. Many of Cézanne's paintings have an unfinished look about them, as if they were abandoned experiments. They depict mountains and apples that look as passionate as people, and people who look as inert as mountains or apples. Few of them constitute what the average man thinks of as a pretty picture. But nearly anyone who looks at them can sense great dig. nity and repose in their rugged brush strokes—a feel. ing of depth, weight and solidity. Part of this dignity and repose arises from the painter's way of transmuting natural objects into abstract forms, so that the observer senses cones, cubes and spheres beneath his mountains, houses and fruits. Artists have studied Cézanne's principles and evolved entire schools of painting—cubism, abstractionism—from them. There is hardly a department of contemporary art that does not owe him a debt. His carefully constructed scenes contain the germs of such widely separated developments as modern magazine layout and modern architecture.
Excerpt from March 12, 1945 Life Magazine
The Good Old Days of Radio
In Hollywood on Feb. 15 Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and a notable cast put on the most gala performance of a Dick Tracy story ever known to radio. The occasion was an Armed Forces Radio Service Command Performance, which records programs for U. S. troops overseas. Bing Crosby played the square jawed detective, Dick Tracy, Hope the villainous Flattop, Sinatra the despicable Shaky. Title of the show was “Dick Tracy in b Flat," or "For Goodness Sakes, Isn't He Ever Going to Marry Tess Trueheart?” The show managed to do what Tracy's creator, Cartoonist Chester Gould, had never done: marry Tracy to Tess. The act opened with a Tracy-Tess wedding scene and song, “Oh, happy, happy, happy ... wedding day," which faded into the sound of an auto, the squeal of tires, a machine-gun burst and three pistol shots. Subsequent wedding scenes were interrupted by a bank robbery, a kidnaping, a holdup with 13 killed. At one point Hope sang a You're the Top parody, “I'm the top, I'm the vicious Flattop. I'm the top, Got it in for that cop. I'm a naughty boy, I'm the pride and joy of sin.” But the program's best moment was not in the script and will never be heard on the air. Unplanned and unrehearsed, it is shown on the next page.
The Fire and Fate Have Left Eight Widows
In the late afternoon of Jan. 27. 1967, a tall young woman in a white uniform got into her blue Mustang in a parking lot at the Manned Spacecraft Center, 22 miles from Houston, Texas. She was Dee O'Hara, personal nurse to the national space program astronauts, and she was happy. She had left work on time for a change; her car was new and it was a joy to drive. Then she snapped on the car radio. --- Four miles away on Pine Shadows Drive, in the seulement of Timber Cove where John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Scott Carpenter and Wally Schirra had built homes only a holler from each other, redhaired Adelin Hammack picked up her phone to hear the familiar voice of her husband Jerome, chief of flight operations landing and recovery division. Jerry told Adelin to go across the street to the Grissoms house and stay there until he got home, Adelin assumed that what Jerry really meant was that he'd be so late at the office that they couldn't play Poker that night. She walked across the street and said, “Hi, I guess the poker game is off? “Is it?" said Betty. "Well then, let's you and I have a drink." Before they had taken a sip, Wally Schirra's wife Jo from next door walked into the house. In Nassau Bay village Martha Chaffee was picking up dishes after having fed her two children their favorite hot dogs for supper when, unexpectedly, the wives of Astronauts AI Веan nпd Joе Кеrwin rang her doorbell. Pat White was late returning home to prepare supper because on Fridays she had to drive her daughter Bonnie to and from piano lessons in Dickinson. When Pat turned into her driveway she found her neighbor Jan Armstrong, wife of Astronaut Neil Armstrong, waiting silently in the carport.