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Fascinating True Stories from the Flip Side of History

Tag Archives: 1961

Submarine Rodeo

 

On July 8, 1961, the Pleasant Lake Lyons Club in Indiana held their annual Submarine Rodeo scuba competition. Each year, this event attracted several thousand enthusiastic fans to watch the various diving events that were scheduled.

Some of the contests included the Weight Carry, the Recovery Dive contest, and a Compass Course event.

But, the highlight of this event was the last contest of the day. It was a diving contest that involved homemade midget submarines. These various crafts had been built from old aircraft parts, boilers, and steam fittings. Contestants in this contest came from great distances to compete. Basically, the divers had to use all of their diving skills to capture one of these elusive submarines.

According to the article, the first Submarine Rodeo was held in 1959 at Pleasant Lake. The contest continued through the mid-1960s, although it is unclear when they held it for the last time. It was reported that one of the big problems with these homemade submarines was that Lloyd’s of London refused to insure any of them.

Advertisement for the 1963 Pleasant Lake Submarine Rodeo that appeared on page 12 of the July 17, 1963 issue of the Steuben Republican. (Click on image to enlarge.)

17-Year Christmas Card Mystery

 

It was reported on January 11, 1961 that Mr. and Mrs. Leo M. Dooley of 2190 Twenty-Fourth St. SW. in Akron, Ohio had been receiving a Christmas card every year since 1943 and had no clue who was sending them. The Dooley’s received the first greeting card from this unknown family before their then 17-year-old son Larry had been born.

“We have no idea who ‘Jackie, Herman and children’ are, and we’ve never sent a card in return,” Mrs. Dooley told the Akron Beacon Journal. She added that whoever was sending the cards “must be good-natured people. When I send Christmas cards four or five times and get none in return, I stop.”

In the article, the Dooley’s speculated as to who could possibly be sending these cards. They figured that it probably was not a relative but could have been a long-lost friend. Or, since Mr. Dooley had worked at B. F. Goodrich Company for more than 30 years, it could be from someone from work. Then, there was the possibility that it was from an old boyfriend or girlfriend. Whatever the situation, the Dooleys wanted to meet the family and were kind enough to invite them to dinner.

Well, a little publicity goes a long way. The very next day the mystery was solved. The cards were being sent by Mr. and Mrs. Marion H. Watson and their 5 children. It turns out that Mr. Dooley was Marion Watson’s foreman at the B. F. Goodrich plant. In that role, Mr. Dooley signed about 40 company cards every December, which a secretary addressed and mailed to each of the personnel who worked under him.

It’s not as if Mr. Dooley didn’t know Marion Watson personally. He definitely did. The problem was that Mr. Watson used the name Marion at work but went by his middle name of Herman at home. In addition, Mrs. Watson’s first name is Martha but she used the name Jackie instead.

As for the dinner that Mrs. Dooley promised the mystery family, Mrs. Watson took a rain check because she was dieting at the time. Instead, the two families planned for a summer picnic.

One of the mysterious Christmas cards received over a 17-year period by the Dooley family in Akron, Ohio.
One of the mysterious Christmas cards received over a 17-year period by the Dooley family in Akron, Ohio. They had no idea who Jackie, Herman or the children were. Image appeared on page 1 of the Akron Beacon Journal on January 11, 1961.

Girls Stuck in Phone Booth

 

It was reported on January 12, 1961 that two 15-year-old girls from McKeesport, Pennsylvania got stuck in a telephone booth. They were Christann Duran of 3842 Sarah Street and Peggy Woistman who lived at 941 Franklin Street.

They had squeezed themselves into a pay telephone booth located at the corner of Hartman Street and O’Neil Boulevard to make a call and couldn’t get the door open to get out when they were done.

They frantically hammered on the glass for assistance, but those who saw them just smiled or waved back before walking on by.

Ultimately, one of the girls was able to get her hand into her purse and pull out a dime to call the police. A patrolman arrived and had to remove the door from the phone booth. Which got me thinking: couldn’t they have simply dialed the operator for help?


Four women in telephone booths at the Hurricane Ballroom in 1943.
Phone booths are definitely a thing of the past. This photo shows four women in telephone booths at the Hurricane Ballroom in 1943. (Image from the Library of Congress.)

The Sign Said Free TV

 

Do you remember when, years ago, the signs outside most motels advertised free TV, air conditioning, and a swimming pool? Well, someone took that sign seriously on January 6, 1961. That’s when a man reserved ten rooms at the Holiday Inn Motel in Jackson, Michigan under the name of a well-known local company.

With ten keys now in hand, the man went room-to-room and stole all of the 17-inch television sets. After all, the sign did say “Free TV.”

Vintage motel postcard advertising air conditioning, telephones, and TV.  Image appears on the website http://archive.doobybrain.com/2013/03/01/the-american-motel-a-collection-of-vintage-motel-postcards-from-around-the-us/

The Ice Cream Wars

 
Useless Information Podcast

There is nothing better than tasty, ice-cold ice cream on a hot summer day. Since the early part of the twentieth century, ice cream trucks have roamed the streets of our cities bringing these delectable treats right to your door. What few people know is that behind the scenes, there has been an intense and sometimes violent turf war going on between ice cream vendors. Drivers have been beaten and robbed, trucks smashed, burned, and bombed, and death threats have been made.

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