Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, January 23, 2015

Are We There Yet?

Jay Edwards

One of the things (well, two) I enjoy on Facebook are “Remembering Little Rock” and “Remembering North Little Rock.” But the other day, I was in one of my un-electronic moods, and found myself looking through an old oak trunk of mom’s in which she kept mementos – not all of them, but some of them. Mom was a keeper, almost an organized hoarder, you might say, until her last few years, when organization was more difficult.

Near the bottom of the trunk was a yellowed and very large (compared to the 2015 versions) copy of an Arkansas Gazette dated May 17, 1973. She hadn’t thrown that particular one away because that was the day I turned 16 – a milestone year for any red-blooded American lad. (Get your motor runnin’! Na, na... Na, na, na, na...)

Down the left hand side of the paper was the familiar “In the News,” which they still run today. I read there that 21-year old Ann Tallent, the winner of the Miss Greater San Diego beauty pageant, won the contest with what three plastic surgeons testified “is hers” after other contestants said she’d enhanced her 35-22-35 figure with either breast surgery or silicone injections.

Five of the 18 blurbs from that day had to do with Watergate, as did five of the seven front-page stories. That soon to be historic scandal would drag on for 15 more months, ending with President Nixon’s resignation on Aug. 9, 1974.

The two non-Watergate stories on the front that day were about NASA’s launch of Skylab and the price of gold falling to $105 an ounce.

The front page photo was of the Hoffman Hotel, at 115 North Victory, being engulfed in flames; the article inside about the fire was written by Max Brantley.

On the next page were the movies. Playing at the five-year old Cinema 150 was “Camelot.” The Heights was showing “The Poseidon Adventure,” and out at the UA Four was “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean.” Also playing there, at Geyer Springs and Interstate 30, was an X-rated double feature: “Oh Calcutta” and “Fritz the Cat.” (Years later, we would name our black cat after the cartoon porn star, but he was merely PG-13. Fritz used up his ninth life on Tallyho Lane back in 2000.)

Speaking of X-rated, The Adult Cinema at 310 Rock Street, the Towne Art on Asher and Just, and The Cinema in Jacksonville were available for some. Maybe they’re still around but just not advertised. 

On the obituary page, the main difference between then and now is brevity. Back in ‘73, all they gave was the address, age, place of employment, survivors, and service info. It was easy to deduce that all the obits were written by the paper’s staff, the main clue being under each name was “Gazette State News Service.” So, back then, everyone just died, unlike today’s (1/16) issue where we had – “passed away, departed this earthly life, went to be with the Lord, was born into Heaven, and passed peacefully.” I do appreciate the effort put into today’s obits by loved ones. After any life struggle ends, the least you deserve is a few more personal parting paragraphs.

Next, I came across an article titled, “To live longer, pick right job, says new study.”

Leading the list of old age careers were prominent scientists. Not sure how the less prominent ones fared. Next came college professors, administrators, and clergymen.

My grandfather was a college professor and administrator at Hendrix, which probably explains why he lived to be 95. That, and my grandmother took such good care of him.

(To be continued)

Jay Edwards is editor-in-chief of the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist. Contact him at jedwards@dailydata.com.